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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — May 20, 2018 — The Meadowlands held the $15,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sires Stakes for harness racing sophomore pacers and trotters on Friday (May 18).  The colts raced in non-bettting races, while the fillies were during the regular scheduled card. The 3-year-old pacing colts was won by Melanie’s Fran (David Miller) trained by Kevin McDermott in 1:57.3.  The son of Hypnotic Blue Chip owned by 80 Slot Right Stable of New Jersey, easily beat the competition, Hypnotico. Shoshie Deo (George Brennan) took the first leg of 3-year-old colt trotters in 1:56.2.  Trained by Deshawn Minor and owned by Annemette Minor, Shoshie Deo moved to the front at the quarter after U Need Stones made a break, making it an easy win for him.  U Need Stones (Yannick Gingras) came back to finish second while Brutal Storm (Eric Abbatiello) came in third. The Linda Toscano trainee Hypnotic Tale (David Miller) won the 3-year-old filly pacing division in 1:53.1.  Owned by Ronald Mario, the Hypnotic Blue Chip sired filly sat patiently in the pocket then wore down the competition at the wire.  Hurrikane Empress (Yannick Gingras) held on for second while Cruzinforavictory (Frank Milby) finished third. The 3-year-old filly trotting division was won by Samis Rolin Stone (Brett Miller) also trained by Deshwan Minor in 1:56.4.  The Wishing Stone filly owned by Daniel Lengacher took the lead at the half and never looked back.  Diamondstone Us (David Miller) finished second and Take A Wish (Steve Smith) came in third. The second leg of the New Jersey Sires Stakes for 3-year-olds is scheduled for Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Meadowlands. Courtney Stafford

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ariana G made her return to harness racing a winning one, scoring in the first of two divisions of the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands. The 2017 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown champion was ready to go in her first start as a 4-year-old off a pair of solid qualifiers, marching up to the top just after the quarter, which went in :27.3. Bill's Man, the 9-2 second choice in the wagering, came after the leader as he made progress up the backstretch and got into striking position at three-quarters, but Ariana G had been able to rate the middle half in :57.2, leaving her plenty for the stretch drive. After trotting her final quarter in :27.1, she hit the wire three-quarters-of-a-length in front of Dunbar Hall, who had explosive late trot after going a third-over trip. Yes Mickey, one of only three horses to defeat Ariana G a year ago, finished third. "(Driver) Yannick (Gingras) said she was loaded," said winning trainer Jimmy Takter. "But I'm always nervous when my horses make their first start of the year." He needn't have been. As the 2-5 favorite, Ariana G returned $2.80 to her backers for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She trotted the mile in 1:52.1 and now has 22 wins from 27 lifetime starts and earnings of $1.89 million. The second Graduate division saw a thrilling stretch duel go to Achille Duharas, who nailed International Moni by a nose on the wire in 1:52.2. Making his first start of the year, International Moni was sharp, working out an inside trip and looking like a winner in deep stretch, but the Toronto invader Achille Duharas ($8.20 to win), with Jody Jamieson driving, got up as they hit the finish. Lord Cromwell was third. A LITTLE MORE: The total wager of $2,172,322 represented a 25 percent decrease from the corresponding card from a year ago. A total of only 83 horses participated on Saturday's program, an average of 8.3 per race for the 10 races. Last year, 112 horses were spread over 12 races, an average of 9.3 per race. ... One lucky simulcast player in Toms River, N.J. raked the pot in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. After surviving nine legs, he or she walked away with $15,257. ... Harness racing's biggest pot of gold got a little bit bigger. The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $233,359. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - David Miller had the hot hand Friday night at the Meadowlands, winning three times on the 10-race harness racing card. The Hall of Famer scored in the first race - a New Jersey Sire Stakes event for 3-year-old pacing fillies - with 3-5 public choice Hypnotic Tale (Hypnotic Blue Chip-Born Storyteller) in 1:53.1, which lowered her previous lifetime best by two-and-two-fifth seconds. Miller's second score came with the Domenico Cecere-trained Hat Trick Habit, who prevailed in a lifetime-best 1:54 as the 9-5 public choice in the fourth race conditioned trot before he completed his three-bagger with Super S Yzerman in the ninth race "Dash for the G Notes" pace in 1:53 as the 3-1 second choice. In the process, Super S Yzerman lowered his previous lifetime best by four-and-one-fifth seconds. CHURN, BABY, CHURN: Chalk players had a nice night, as the first five races were taken by the post-time choice and a total of six favorites scored on the program. Two other races were taken by the second choice. A LITTLE MORE: The Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five was hit. The lucky player holding the combination of 7-8-5-1-9 in the eighth race cashed in for $10,522. ... All-source wagering was down 18 percent over the corresponding card from last year. The primary culprits being one five-horse field and another that was scratched down to four. The total wagered was $2,030,038. ... The 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 saw one simulcast player at Pompano Park the only bettor to survive nine legs. The payoff was $17,070. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $226,062. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m., with the first race at Pimlico slated for 10:30 p.m. and the Preakness scheduled to go at 6:48 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Hightstown, NJ --- It is not uncommon to see a female trotter receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages 2 and 3. What is uncommon is to see one of those harness racing ladies win another award at age 4. Since the first Dan Patch Award for 2-year-old filly trotters was handed out in 1978, only Peace Corps and CR Kay Suzie have accomplished the feat. When Ariana G launches her 2018 campaign in Saturday’s first round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters, she will be the fourth female trotter in as many years to attempt to join that select group. Ariana G, one of two mares to enter the Graduate Series opener, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of two $50,000 divisions. A total of 13 filly trotters have won Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3, including Broadway Donna, Mission Brief, and Shake It Cerry in the three years prior to Ariana G. Ariana G won 12 of 15 races last year and earned $1.12 million for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who also bred the horse. Trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, her victories included the Hambletonian Oaks, Breeders Crown, and Elegantimage Stakes. For her career, Ariana G has won 21 of 26 races and earned $1.86 million. Katz told Hoof Beats magazine the decision to bring Ariana G back rather than to start her on a broodmare career was based on conversations with Takter. Those talks began during the middle of last year’s racing season. “We have the greatest of respect for Jimmy Takter’s opinion,” Katz said. “He felt she deserved the right to come back and that she was certainly capable of coming back and racing with any and all, and could develop into a great aged mare as well.” Added Gingras, “There’s only so many horses like her. She’s very special and you hate to see a horse like her go to the breeding shed too early. There’s no doubt every time I stepped on the racetrack with her, I knew I had the best horse in the race. Maybe it didn’t work out the way we wanted every time, but she’s very special and she gives 100 percent each time.” Ariana G faced male rivals on three occasions last year. She won an elimination of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and finished third in the final. She also finished second in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. Her foes Saturday are New Jersey Viking, Bill’s Man, Lindy The Great, Yes Mickey, Fraser Ridge, Dunbar Hall, and Sortie. In the second division of the Graduate, Achille Duharas is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The remainder of the field is Moonshiner Hanover, Lord Cromwell, Swell Chap, International Moni, Don Dream, and the mare Barn Bella. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). The Meadowlands card also includes second-round action in three other series -- the Rainbow Blue, Escort, and Hot Lead. For those arriving at the track early, harness racing’s all-time richest horse, 14-year-old pacer Foiled Again, will be in a qualifier at approximately 5:15 p.m. as he gets ready to resume his season before retiring at the end of the year. For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands entries, click here. For track announcer Ken Warkentin’s analysis, click here. Editor's Note: To read a feature story on Ariana G from the March 2018 edition of Hoof Beatsmagazine, click here. To subscribe to Hoof Beats, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The forecasted rainy weather on Saturday, May 19th is no match for Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment's 3rd Annual Spring Beer Fest. Doors open for VIP at 4:30 pm with General Admission at 5:30 pm and beer is poured until 9:30pm. It is an evening of great craft beer and horse racing. The event is rain or shine, all beers will be served under large tents or covered bars and festival goers are encouraged to bring umbrellas and ponchos. Ponchos will also be available for sale during the event. Should strong storms become forecasted some tastings will move inside to the Track's Food Court to provide additional cover from the rain. Sixty-three breweries and cideries are participating with over 160 beers and ciders available for tasting. The complete list of breweries including and the full beer lineup is at posted https://meadowlandsracetrack.ticketleap.com/2018-meadowlands-racetrack-beer-festival/details Special VIP only tastings include a Blue Point cask of Mosaic IPA with cucumber, Devil's Backbone Oso Muerte, an Imperial Stout with chili peppers, Neshaminy Creek's Leon, a Russian Imperial Stout, 7 Mile's Walter White, Bolero Snort's Pina Bullada and Lone Eagle's Bourbon Barrel GOLDEN Stout. Johnny Checo from Neshaminy Creek will be the featured speaker providing festival goers the chance to learn about the brewing process and about Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company. The 3rd Annual Beer Fest will be held in the Backyard and on the East Apron rain or shine and will open to the public at 4:30 pm for VIP admission. The VIP ticket is $75 and includes an additional 1 hour of sampling, exclusive VIP Tent beer samplings, and food. General Admission begins at 5:30 pm and is available in advance for $35 or at the door for $45. Live harness racing will commence at 7:15 pm. To purchase tickets : https://meadowlandsracetrack.ticketleap.com/2018-meadowlands-racetrack-beer-festival/  

Hightstown, NJ --- Chuck Connor Jr. stood in the race paddock at the Meadowlands Racetrack one recent morning and looked around at the 2-year-old trotters and pacers on hand for a training session at the North Jersey harness racing oval. “Right now, everyone has got hope,” Connor said. “This is where the dream starts.” Connor would like to be living the dream in several months when the 2-year-olds are in the midst of their rookie seasons. Connor and his wife Janice, along with their son Brian, train a small stable of horses in Goshen, N.Y., based at Historic Track adjacent to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. The Connors have a stable of 17 horses at the moment, with nine 2-year-olds. Six of the 2-year-olds made the trip last week to the Meadowlands for their first training session away from home. “You have some that look like an A, some that look like a B, some that look like a C,” Connor said with a laugh. “But right now I’m hopeful that we’ve got a couple of As. It’s looking OK. It’s their first time here and things are a little exciting. It’s a little different for them, but at least they’re learning.” The Connors’ 2-year-olds on the trip, all trotters, included colts Amico Mio Bi (Donato Hanover-Lapponia) and The Chutzpah Kid (Conway Hall-Ms Fushsia) and fillies Muscle N Beauty (Muscles Yankee-Cabaret Hall) and Taja Mahala (Trixton-Kindling). Muscle N Beauty’s dam Cabaret Hall is a half-sister to stakes-winner Cash Hall and full sister to stakes-winners Cartier Hall and Capetown Hall. Taja Mahala’s dam Kindling is a half-sister to Personal Banner, who upset Moni Maker in the 1996 Breeders Crown. “You hope for soundness, number one,” Connor said about evaluating his 2-year-olds. “Then that they show you a little speed and each week they increase that speed a little bit. That’s what you’re hoping they show up with. And manners are key. “They accomplished everything I was looking for here. I was looking for around 2:09, 2:10 and everybody went there. They were all comfortable and did it well. That’s what you hope for.” In recent years, the Connors’ top horse was Rules Of The Road, who finished second to Wild Honey in the 2015 Hambletonian Oaks. Last year, trotter Whats The Word had success on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit, but went off stride as the 9-5 favorite in the series championship. The stable also had a stakes winner in pacer Real Rayenbow. “You could always have a better year, no matter how good it is,” Connor said, laughing. “You never win enough races and you never make enough money. You just hope you don’t have disappointments along the way, and last year we had a few disappointments. But we still had pretty good horses. “You stay positive and hope everything works good and comes together. That’s why we’re here.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - During the course of the live harness racing program at the Meadowlands Friday night, the five eliminations for the $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic for both male and female 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs will be shown live on the Big M feed, weaved in between Meadowlands events. "Many top trotters will be racing," said Jason Settlemoir, the Big M's chief operating officer and general manager who also serves as Vernon's regional vice-president, racing and simulcast. "Including a pair of top fillies. One being Plunge Blue Chip, who went nine-for-10 last year and won the Goldsmith Maid. Another is Atlanta, who won last week at the Meadowlands, beating older males and females in 1:52." The first EBC elimination is set to be shown at 7:34 p.m., soon after the first Meadowlands race replay is concluded. Thereafter, the elims will be shown after each Meadowlands replay of races 2 through 5. The Empire Breeders Classic finals are set for Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 at Vernon Downs. Free program pages for Vernon's all-EBC Pick-4 (Races 6 through 9, guaranteed pool of $2,500) as well as the Meadowlands' Pick-4 (Races 7 through 10, guaranteed $50,000), courtesy of Track Master, are available on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. The Meadowlands' live racing programs this Friday and Saturday get underway at 7:15 p.m. SUPER CARRYOVER: arness racing's biggest pot of gold will be up for grabs in the Friday finale at the Big M, as the carryover for the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five has now grown to $221,892. ... Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural will answer questions about the recent green light for sports betting on Friday night's "Racing from the Meadowlands" pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. PREAKNESS DAY: Come on out to the Meadowlands Saturday and see if the Bob Baffert-trained Justify can take the second jewel of Thoroughbred Racing's Triple Crown when he tries his luck at a mile and 3/16ths in the 143rd running of the Preakness at Pimlico. Gates at the Big M will open at 9:30 a.m. The first race at Pimlico is slated for 10:30 a.m. while post time for the Preakness is 6:48 p.m. Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Week Three There were no changes in the top 10 on the Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace from last week to this. That's certain to change this time around as all 10 horses will be in action on Saturday. Click here for the complete list. Meadowlands Media Relations    

East Rutherford, NJ - The New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for harness racing 3-year-olds get underway on Friday, May 18 at The Meadowlands.   The once mighty program has diminished to where there are but a handful of horses to compete in each of the $15,000 sophomore divisions, necessitating that both colt races be held off the night card and raced early as non-betting events.   The same two pacing colts who competed in last year's freshman division will match up again with Melanie's Fran (Dave Miller) who swept through the series last season facing his rival Hypnotico (Austin Siegelman) at 6:00 pm. Kevin McDermott trains Melanie's Fran for the 80 Slot Right Stable.   U Need Stones (Yannick Gingras) had his way with the trotting colts as a freshman and he'll look to continue his mastery over three rivals for leading trainer Ron Burke at 6:10. "Stones" has come back strong this season with a win and a second in as many starts this year for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Shoshie Deo is the main rival here.   The filly divisions drew five entries in each and will be raced as part of the pari-mutuel card.   Hurrikane Empress (Gingras) is the returning champ of the filly pacing division for trainer John McDermott and she'll begin her title defense in race 1. She swept the division with ease last year and has had a few starts to prepare for this battle for owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing and Pegasis Investment Group.   The filly trot goes as the third race where Princess Marxxx (Gingras) is the returning final winner in what is clearly the most competitive division. She took last year's final for owner/breeder Steve Stewart and was a winner in her most recent overnight contest. Justin Lebo is the trainer.   The NJSS comes back next Friday for leg #2 with the finals set for June 1.   The big news on campus is that Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural will sit for an interview with Dave Brower on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to permit sports betting in New Jersey. That interview will be on Racing From The Meadowlands at 6:45 pm on The Meadowlands live broadcast.   Post time is 7:15 pm.   Nick Salvi      

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On Saturday May 19th, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment hosts its 3rd Annual Spring Beer Fest. Doors open for VIP at 4:30 pm with General Admission at 5:30 pm and beer is poured until 9:30pm. It is an evening of great craft beer and harness racing. The event is rain or shine, all beers will be served under large tents or covered bars and festival goers are encouraged to bring umbrellas and ponchos. Ponchos will also be available for sale during the event. Sixty-three breweries and cideries are participating including a number of local New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York craft brewers. NJ favorites 7 Mile Brewery, Flying Fish, Beach Haus, River Horse, 902 Brewing Company, Lone Eagle, Forgotten Boardwalk, Bolero Snort, Ironbound Cider and Melick's Hard Cider will be at the festival. PA favorites including Sly Fox, Victory, Neshaminy Creek, and Yards will also be onsite. Brooklyn, Defiant, Saranac, Cooperstown, Harlem Brewing, Bronx, Captain Lawrence, Southern Tier, Northway Brewing Co, and Ommegang are just a few New York based companies that will be attending. Other breweries and cideries attending the festival include: Breckenridge, Red Hook, Elysian Brewery, Golden Road, Virtue Cider, Goose Island, Devil's Backbone, Kona, 10 Barrel Brewing, Terrapin, Lord Hobo, Left Hand, Sweetwater Brewing, Boulevard Brewing, Austin East Cider, Two Roads, Epic, Cigar City, and Dogfish Head. The complete list of breweries and the full beer lineup is at posted here. Special VIP only tastings include a Blue Point cask of Mosaic IPA with cucumber, Devil's Backbone Oso Muerte, an Imperial Stout with chili peppers, Neshaminy Creek's Leon, a Russian Imperial Stout, 7 Mile's Walter White, Bolero Snort's Pina Bullada and Lone Eagle's Bourbon Barrel GOLDEN Stout. Johnny Checo from Neshaminy Creek will be the featured speaker providing festival goers the chance to learn about the brewing process and about Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company. The 3rd Annual Beer Fest will be held in the Backyard and on the East Apron rain or shine and will open to the public at 4:30 pm for VIP admission. The VIP ticket is $75 and includes an additional 1 hour of sampling, exclusive VIP Tent beer samplings, and food. General Admission begins at 5:30 pm and is available in advance for $35 or at the door for $45. Live harness racing will commence at 7:15 pm. To purchase tickets : https://meadowlandsracetrack.ticketleap.com/2018-meadowlands-racetrack-beer-festival/ Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - According to her harness racing trainer, everything went wrong for Broadway Donna last year. That's all in the past now. The Jim Campbell trainee made her return to the races Saturday night, and she got rave reviews from all who saw her dominate the field in the feature at the Meadowlands, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. "Last year, she got off to a good start," said Campbell. "But after we shipped her to Canada early in the season, everything went wrong. She got sick. She tied up. We had some starts where I thought she'd be good, but she wasn't. Everything just kind of backfired on us." Campbell ended Broadway Donna's one-win season in early October and did not bring her back until a pair of April qualifiers at the Big M. "She was pretty good in her last qualifier (on April 28)," said Campbell. "She was closing in on Hannelore Hanover. Dave (Miller) was very happy with her." Saturday night, Broadway Donna got away third, brushed up to the top at the three-eighths, sped clear of the field by almost three lengths at the head of the stretch before going on to an easy win in 1:51.4, just three-fifths of a second off her lifetime best. "I'm going to race her every two or three weeks," said Campbell. "And we sure did get off to a good start tonight." Broadway Donna returned $3.40 to win as the odds-on public choice, hitting the wire 1½ lengths in front of Misslarose. Lagerfeld was third. The 5-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover has now won 18 of 33 lifetime starts and banked $1.28 million for owner Fashion Farms. A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Blake MacIntosh had a big night, as he entered the evening with zero wins at the meeting before recording three on the program. ... Meadowlands Pace hopeful Babes Dig Me beat up on an overmatched field in a division of the Escort for 3-year-old colts and geldings in 1:53.4 as the 1-9 favorite. ... Dave Miller, Yannick Gingras, Jim Marohn Jr. and Scott Zeron each drove two winners. ... All-source wagering on the card dipped to $1,824,071 due to a lack of entries. On the corresponding card a year ago, the total handle was $2.03 million as 95 starters competed on an 11-race card that averaged 8.6 starters per race. On Saturday night, only 71 starters took part in the 10-race program, an average of 7.1 per race. ... There was only one player who survived nine legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10, and they walked away with $13,943. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $221,892. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - Harness racing Qualifiers went at 5:00 this evening, Saturday, May 12, at The Meadowlands under overcast skies on a wet fast track with temps in the high 50's and a gusty 7-10 mph headwind in the stretch.   Manchego headlined the Q card as the unbeaten Dan Patch award winning freshman trotting filly of last season made her first public appearance of the season and she picked up right where she left off in the 2017 Breeders Crown final, with a win.   It was a workman-like effort for the talented filly as driver Yannick Gingras settled her mid-pack early through honest fractions then followed the live cover of Top Expectations (Andy McCarthy) before eclipsing that game rival by a pair of lengths to win in 1:53.4 with her last quarter in 27.3 under her own power. Jimmy Takter is the trainer and she is owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman.   Takter also sent out Nutcracker Sweet from his battalion of sophomore pacing colts and what a performance he put on for driver Tim Tetrick. On not a particularly nice evening he set a comfortable pace then ripped home in 26.2 for a 1:50.2 score. Another colt from Takter's barn that did not race at two, Thinkbig Dreambig (Gingras) went a remarkable trip, actually gaining a bit in that torrid final stanza to be second. HA Taylor, Order By Stable and R. Lombardo own Nutcracker Sweet.   Jimmy took the lines on his most accomplished returning trotting colt, last year's Peter Haughton Memorial winner You Know You Do, eased him to the front by the three-eighths then used a 27.4 final quarter to hold a game first-over Shoshie Deo (D. Minor) at bay by a length in 1:54.1. Wolfgang (Gingras/Takter) made his seasonal bow as well and was a good fourth off a conservative trip. Taylor, Order By, Hatfield, Katz and Libfeld share ownership of the winner.   Sophomore filly trotter Repentance (Tetrick) was a very game 1:53.3 winner, cutting the mile and fighting back after the good Supergirl Riley (McCarthy) poked a head past her early stretch in the 27.2 final quarter. Lina Toscano trains the Diamond Creek homebred.   Bautista (Gingras/ Takter) won in 1:55 and Band Stand (Brett Miller/Tony Alagna) also posted wins on the card.   Nick Salvi    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Maybe Rick Zeron was right. The harness racing trainer of Atlanta has been quoted as saying his 3-year-old trotting filly will give unbeaten Manchego "a run for her money" during the upcoming stakes season, and Friday night at the Meadowlands, the daughter of Chapter Seven did nothing to make anyone think otherwise. In the feature, a conditioned event for trotters that included 3-year-old colt (and Hambletonian hopeful) Fashionwoodchopper, 4-year-old mare (and 2017 New York Sire Stakes standout) Celebrity Ruth as well as several older male trotters, it was Atlanta who reigned supreme in an eye-popping effort. In the early going it was P L Icabod on the front as Atlanta sat sixth along the rail. D Ws Revenge vacated the five hole at the five-eighths, giving Atlanta a live tow heading to three-quarters. Scott Zeron, driving Atlanta for his dad, had the eventual winner in a third-over flow before swinging four wide at the head of the stretch. Atlanta's explosive final quarter of :27.1 then carried her past the field with ease, as she went on to win by 1½ lengths in 1:52, which lowered her previous lifetime best by two seconds. Celebrity Ruth was second with even-money favorite Fashionwoodchopper third. "Was I surprised by her effort?" asked Scott Zeron in the winner's circle. "No. But I was impressed." Atlanta paid $12.20 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering for owners R. Zeron Stables, Holland Racing Stables, H. Taylor and B. Grant. She's now 5-for-10 lifetime. A LITTLE MORE: All-source wagering on the program dipped to $1,622,801 (as compared to $2.4 million on the comparable 2017 card), due to short fields - the result of a lack of entries - throughout the nine-race program. As compared to the comparable card from last year, not only did the Big M have one less race, it had but 66 starters (as compared to 85 the year before) and an average number of starters of 7.33 per field (as compared to 8.5). Friday's card included five 7-horse fields and one that had but six betting interests. ... One lucky bettor had a huge night, cashing in for $25,476 for being the only player to survive eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-9. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $218,567. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Harness racing trainer Tony Alagna will send out three horses in each the Escort and Rainbow Blue series Saturday (May 12) at the Meadowlands Racetrack while also on the card two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Broadway Donna and stakes-winners Bill's Man and Lagerfeld all will make their seasonal debuts in the Preferred Handicap Trot. The opening leg of the conditioned Escort Series, for 3-year-old male pacers, attracted 14 horses, with the group divided into two $12,500 seven-horse divisions. The conditioned Rainbow Blue Series, for 3-year-old female pacers, also was split into two $12,500 divisions after a total of 13 horses entered the first round. Also on Saturday's card is the first round of the conditioned Hot Lead Series, for pacers of all ages. Second-round action in all three events will be May 19. The finals are May 26. Alagna's entries in the first Escort division are Odds On Lauderdale and Legal Power. Both horses are making their seasonal debuts. Odds On Lauderdale (Western Ideal-Worldly Deo) was winless in 11 races last year, but hit the board in two divisions of the Kindergarten Series and an elimination of the Metro Pace. He also earned paychecks in divisions of the Nassagaweya, Champlain, and International Stallion stakes as well as an elimination of the Breeders Crown. The colt, who is fully staked, is owned by Odds On Racing. His family includes stakes-winners World Of Rocknroll and Rock N' Roll World, and that duo's dam, multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Worldly Beauty. Legal Power (Somebeachsomewhere-Authorize) was winless in five starts last year. He is owned by breeder Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, and Legal Power Racing. His family includes his stakes-winning dam as well as Dan Patch Award-winner Artiscape. "Odds On Lauderdale was a very nice colt last year," Alagna said. "He didn't have the best of luck last year. But he's a real nice horse. He's got a huge turn of speed. If you don't use him hard early, he can really kick home hard. I think the big track really suits him. "Legal Power showed ability last year but just never really fulfilled what we thought he should do. We (gelded) him over the winter and it seemed to really help." Alagna's Babes Dig Me (Somebeachsomewhere-Western Babe) is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the second Escort division. The colt won a conditioned race last year in eight starts and hit the board in divisions of the International Stallion and Champlain. He is owned by Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert Leblanc, and In The Gym Partners. Babes Dig Me, whose family includes 2006 Pacer of the Year Total Truth, made his debut last week with a second-place finish to This Is The Plan in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows. "He ended up stuck on the front, which isn't his forte, but he still was a good second," Alagna said. "He's eligible to the (upcoming Art Rooney Pace) so I wanted to get a start in him here in case the Rooney doesn't have eliminations. That way he can have a start beforehand. He's heavily staked. He's a nice colt." In the Rainbow Blue, Alagna sends out first-time starter Odds On Ashley in the first division followed by first-time starter Studio Girl and lightly raced Someangelsomewhere in the second. Odds On Ashley (Rock N Roll Heaven-Docdor Cameo) is owned by Odds On Racing. Studio Girl (American Ideal-The Art Museum) is owned by breeders Brittany Farms and Mel Hartman. Someangelsomewhere (Somebeachsomewhere-Angel Scent) was winless in three races last year and is making her 2018 debut. She is owned by breeders Spring Haven Farm and Doug Millard as well as Brad Grant and Joe Sbrocco. "Odds On Ashley trained down good last year, but was just very immature," Alagna said. "It took her a little time to get going. She's come back good. Studio Girl is a sister to (Dan Patch Award-winner) Artspeak. Someangelsomewhere had a lot of sickness issues last year, so we turned her out. She's come back much better. I'll be glad to get a start in them and see where we're at. I think they've come back well so far." In the Preferred Handicap Trot, Broadway Donna is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Bill's Man is 5-1 and Lagerfeld is 8-1. For the Meadowlands complete Saturday entries, click here. For track announcer Ken Warkentin's analysis, click here. Ken Weingartner

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - You could say the Kentucky Derby - and the return to the races of a harness racing Dan Patch Horse of the Year - justify why it was such a big day at the Meadowlands on Saturday (May 5). It all began with the first race at Churchill Downs beginning 90 minutes before lunchtime and was still going strong as Bob Baffert's Justify took the 144th Kentucky Derby at almost 7 p.m. It was then time for a superb Meadowlands program, and the 11 races saw two divisions of the Graduate Series as well as the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, which was highlighted by the return of 2017 HOTY Hannelore Hanover, who overcame post position 12 to win her seasonal debut. "All of us at the Meadowlands would like to thank everyone for coming out on Derby Day and making the day - and night - such a success," said Jason Settlemoir, the track's chief operating officer and general manager. Wagering on the live Big M card came close to reaching the magic $3 million mark, but came up just short, at $2.95 million. "But on the three occasions when we have bet $3 million this year," said Settlemoir. "We had at least 12 races on the program. Because last Saturday had an 11-race card, our average wagered per race was $268,253, which is our 2018 high." The Cutler and Graduate's two divisions all had full (or overflow) fields and were contested at a mile and an eighth. The public bet them with both hands, as a total of $897,012 was wagered on the three added-distance events. CARRYOVER CRAZY: Harness racing's biggest carryover continues to impress, as those who want to take a shot at the Late Jackpot Super High-Five Friday night will have a chance to walk away with a payoff of better than $215,668 for a 20-cent bet. One of the steadiest pools in the game is the Big M's Pick-4, which is averaging $90,000 during 2018. The wager features a low 15 percent takeout and free program pages for the bet, courtesy of Track Master, are available on the Meadowlands' website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. SEE YOU IN BALTIMORE: Better yet, don't bother driving down Route 95, come on out to the Meadowlands on Saturday, May 19 and watch Justify try and win the Preakness Stakes, which will headline the Big M simulcast menu. After the big race, stay for live harness racing as well as the track's third annual spring Beer Fest. Doors open for VIP at 4:30 p.m. with general admission holders admitted at 5:30 p.m. Beer will be poured until 9:30 p.m. For more information, go to https://meadowlandsracetrack.ticketleap.com/2018-meadowlands-racetrack-beer-festival/details. Meadowlands Media Relations  

Hightstown, NJ --- A 2-year-old’s first trip to the harness racing track for a training session is somewhat similar to high school orientation. It’s an opportunity to learn their way around and get comfortable in a new environment before the real work begins. “The first time, I don’t care how they go, really,” said trainer Ray Schnittker, who brought a small group of horses to the Meadowlands last week for the first of several training days at the track this month for 2-year-olds. “I just want them to experience going on the trailer. I just want them to see everything here; go by tractors -- because they’ve never seen this many water trucks or tractors -- be in the paddock, get used to a new setting. “A lot of guys don’t do it, but I think it does help. Usually the first time I’m disappointed in how they train here. The second time they’re a lot better. They figure it out.” The training days at the Meadowlands for 2-year-olds, a cooperative effort between the Big M and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, are offered from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. each Thursday in May. The costs for the sessions are covered by the SBOANJ. The organization and Backstretch Community Assistance Program (BCAP) also sponsor breakfast for grooms and trainers at JoJo’s Paddock Café. Schnittker’s horses making the trip to the Meadowlands included Branquinho (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), who is a homebred full brother to Dan Patch Award-winning pacer Huntsville, and Cloudbreak (Somebeachsomewhere-Must See), a half-brother to 2009 Pacer of the Year Well Said. They were joined by Check Out Trixie, a daughter of 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Schnittker’s two-time Dan Patch Award-winning trotter Check Me Out, filly trotter Jezzys Legacy (Donato Hanover-Jezzy) and colt pacer Captain Malicious (Captaintreacherous-Silky), who is a half-brother to stakes-winner Malicious. Schnittker, who has 15 total 2-year-olds in training, plans to bring a different group to the Meadowlands this week. The horses will train multiple times at the Big M before heading to qualifiers. “It’s a pretty good group,” Schnittker said. “No disappointments yet. We’ll see what happens.” Among the other trainers at the Meadowlands last week was Marcus Melander, who brought nine horses. “We only have a half-mile track to train on at home, so I don’t go that fast with them,” Melander said. “We will try them with a little more speed here, push them a little the last quarter, but mostly this first time they’re just here to learn. I’ve got another group for next week and this group will come back in two weeks. They should be ready to qualify at the beginning of June.” Melander’s horses included colt trotter Greenshoe (Father Patrick-Designed To Be), who sold for $330,000 under the name Rifleman at last year’s Lexington Selected Sale. Other colt trotters with Melander were Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows), who sold for $170,000 under the name Army Of Monkeys at the Standardbred Horse Sale, Kredit Karma (Credit Winner-No Pain No Gain; sold as The Fat Cobra), Great Explorer (Muscle Mass-Mayflower Volo; sold as Massive Volo), Swedish-bred Green Manalishi (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich) and Olympic Goal (Donato Hanover-Bewitching Beauty). He also had three filly trotters: Isolde (Cantab Hall-Tosca), Shee La (Cantab Hall-Victory Bouquet) and Tangent (Cantab Hall-Fraction). “They’re very nice,” Melander said. “I can’t say one bad thing about any of them right now. Hopefully they continue that way.” Overall, Melander is training 28 2-year-olds. “It’s a good group,” he said. “There are a couple that are a little bit behind, but we’re happy with most of them.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - She's baaack! And much to the chagrin of the others in the harness racing older trotting division, she just might be better than ever. Hannelore Hanover, the defending Dan Patch Horse of the Year, overcame post position 12 in her 2018 debut to win the $182,500 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands Saturday night. The betting public was unafraid despite the second-tier starting spot, sending the Ron Burke trainee to the gate as the 3-5 choice. With the race at a mile and an eighth, the starting gate looked a bit wobbly as they made their way out of the turn heading to the start. "The gate bounced in everybody's face (in the first tier)," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "So I had to give myself a little room and be a little cautious." At the start, 9-1 chance Will Take Charge was on the go and led at the quarter before yielding the point to 7-2 second choice Crazy Wow, who hit the half in :55.1. Mambo Lindy was making progress racing on the rim while towing Hannelore Hanover closer to the leaders. At the head of the stretch, Mambo Lindy was at Crazy Wow's throat as Hannelore Hanover tipped off cover and started to roll. With a sixteenth to go, Will Take Charge found room after racing in the pocket and was rallying along the inside, but he did not have quite enough to prevent Hannelore Hanover from winning for the 37th time in 59 lifetime starts. "At the top of the stretch, I thought I was going to be an easy winner," said Gingras. "Then I was a little worried, but she kicked in. She's definitely better now than she was at the start of last year. Hopefully, she has as good a year as she had last year. She's just an incredible horse." The 6-year-old daughter of Swan For All finished the 1 1/8 mile distance in 2:06, a neck in front of a stubborn Will Take Charge. Crazy Wow held on for third. The winner, who returned $3.40 to her backers, is owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, F. Baldachino and J and T Silva Stables. Her lifetime bankroll now stands at $2,565,064. FILIBUSTER FABULOUS: Filibuster Hanover ($2.80 to win), who was nothing short of vicious closing in :25.2 in a 1:49.3 qualifier on April 28, kept that momentum by using an electric brush to grab the lead down the backstretch on the way to a 2:04 score (for the 1 1/8 mile distance) in the first division of the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds on the pace. The winner was from the team of Gingras and Burke. Tim Tetrick guided Donttellmeagain ($10.00) to a perfect second-over trip in the other division to win in 2:04.1. A LITTLE MORE: The 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 resulted in a single player surviving all 10 legs, and that Oregon simulcast patron cashed in for $14,761. ... Betting was strong all night long, as a total of $2,950,771 was wagered on the 11-race card, an average per race of $268,251. The average per race was a Meadowlands' 2018 best. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $215,668. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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