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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 15, 2019) - The battle is on Saturday, January 26 in Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment's 4th annual Homestyle Chili Cook Off! As of January 15th, 23 contestants are registered to compete for the $1,000 grand prize plus a spot in the International Chili Society's World Championship cook off in Reno, Nevada. There is also a $500 prize for second place and $250 cash prize for the third place chili. Homestyle chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat/combination of meats and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, chili powders, various spices and other ingredients. Beans are required. Contestants must cook their chili on site between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with judging promptly after. Chili cooks can still register for the January 26th Cook Off at http://chilicookoff.com/register The 2017 Meadowlands winner, Joseph Callahan, went on to win the 2017 International Chili Society's World Championship for his Homestyle chili and took home the $4,000 prize. "This has become a must attend event to kick off the year," said Meadowlands General Manager and COO Jason M. Settlemoir. "We are excited to see how our Homestyle Chili Cook Off has grown and are really looking forward to tasting some delicious chili!" Racetrack guests are also welcome to sample the chili and vote for their favorite. The fan favorite cook will walk away with the $250 prize. Fan favorite voting begins 7:30pm, voting ballots are available at the Players Club Desk and in the live racing program. In addition to the chili competition, a separate side contest for homemade salsa will also be conducted offering the winner a $500 first prize. As an added bonus, fans can enjoy live harness racing with first race post time at 7:15 pm. For complete chili event details click here.  

Stephanie Davis of Brooklyn, NY, captured the January 12th World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Davis cashed on three early show bets to keep her in the contest and used her remaining $94 on a win bet in Race 14 on Rather Swell. Her win bet paid off at $754.40 giving her the $900 grand prize and a $1,300 seat into the World Harness Handicapping Final. This is Stephanie's first time qualifying into the WHHC; she is a regular at the National Handicapping Championship, having qualified 12 times. James Michael of Cherry Hill, NJ, also qualified for the April 13th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest. Michael hit on four of his ten wagers. The largest being a $385 score in the sixth race at the Meadowlands with a $50 win bet on Redonkulous. George Wagner of Warrington, PA, and Tim Platt of Little Falls, NJ also qualified into the WHHC Final with their third and fourth place finishes. The $400 Qualifier required contestants to place at least ten $20 minimum win, place, and/or show wagers on Meadowlands races. The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 13, 2019], with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10. Derby Wars is currently hosting regular online Qualifiers for the Final. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Club Hawthorne, Buffalo Raceway and TVG/4NJBets are also hosting WHHC Qualifiers. Visit http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 for a complete qualifier schedule.   by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands' 2019 Grand Circuit stakes schedule will offer more than $13 million in purses led by Harness Racing's most coveted prize, the 94th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Stake. The Meadowlands will again be the stage for two of the sport's biggest events. The track's signature Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace ($700,000e) headlines a card worth an estimated $2.5 million on Saturday, July 13. "The Greatest Day In Harness Racing", the $3 million Hambletonian Day extravaganza featuring an entire day of major Grand Circuit stakes, ends the "Championship Meet" on Saturday, August 3. With the help of our generous sponsors, all of The Meadowlands marquee stakes, which include many of the most sought after trophies for each division of trotters and pacers, will return in 2019. Nominations for those stakes close on February 15, 2019. The proposed stakes schedule remains contingent upon the pending purse subsidy having been approved by the New Jersey Legislature prior to the February 15 payment deadline and is subject to revision. The Meadowlands remains committed to racing integrity, adding a clause to the conditions for all Meadowlands administered stakes under the "Rules" heading that states; "...any owner who participates in a Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event (with added money greater than $25,000) with a trainer who has an outstanding Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test having occurred on or after January 1, 2019 and under appeal in any jurisdiction will be declared ineligible to participate in any Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event for 12 months following the conviction if such trainer is subsequently found guilty relating to the Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test." It is important to understand the gravity of this clause. Simply stated if a trainer appeals the penalty for a listed offence and continues to race while on a stay; if that penalty is upheld those owners that raced horses in stakes with the trainer in question would be excluded from racing any of their horses in any of The Meadowlands' stakes for one year from the date of the decision on the appeal. "Clean racing has been and remains a top priority at The Meadowlands," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "The Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) shares our passion and has included virtually the same language in their stakes." Complete information including schedules, conditions and nomination forms may be downloaded from The Meadowlands website. Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.   Nick Salvi

A limited number of seats remain for Meadowlands Racetrack's 5-course Italian Wine Dinner this Saturday, January 19. Each course is paired with a wine that is crafted by smaller or lesser known Italian producers that use high quality, old world grape varietals. The dinner begins at 7:00 pm with live harness racing beginning at 7:15pm. The menu created by executive Chef Dennis Sammarone includes: 1st course: Assorted Italian Antipasti including eggplant, mozzarella, prosciutto, provolone & olives paired with Barbera D'Asti Superior 2nd course: Linguine Cozze E Vongole Scampi (pasta with mussels, shrimp, & clams in a white wine sauce) paired with Theresa Eccher Carricante-Catarratto 3rd course: Classic Caesar Salad paired with Mosparone "Brina" Piemonte Sauvignon 4th course: Grilled Strip Steak with Tuscan fries & creamed spinach paired with Agricola Bellaria Irpinia Campi Taurisini 5th course: Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake & Belgium Mousse Cake with Campania Passito Fiano di Agricola Bellaria The dinner is $70 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). For reservations call 201-460-4079. For the complete dinner menu click here. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If you're going to rock the apple cart, then your name might as well fit the result. Saturday night harness racing at the Meadowlands, a win for K Ryan Bluechip or Geez Joe in the Preferred Handicap would have established the victor as the Big M's top pacer in training, but Constntlysidewys A threw a monkey wrench into the machine, going a big mile for owner-trainer Tahnee Camilleri, and scoring as the 9-2 fourth choice in the wagering in the $21,000 weekly feature. The race saw plenty of action as New Talent was the leader at the quarter before K Ryan Bluechip, the 5-2 second choice, came calling to poke a nose in front at the half before assuming the front end. Tuxedo Bay ripped out of three hole shortly thereafter to grab the lead at the three-quarters as Constntlysidewys A was advancing from first-over. At this point, 2-1 favorite Geez Joe was last in the field of seven in a third-over flow. Through the stretch, 15-1 Tuxedo Bay was stubbornly hanging in there as Constntlysidewys A continued to chip away at his advantage, and it wasn't until deep stretch that Constntlysidewys A would get past that foe, winning by a hard-fought head in 1:50.1 for driver Dexter Dunn. Geez Joe kicked home in :27 but finished an unthreatening third. Mindtrip was fourth. K Ryan Bluechip faded to fifth. Constntlysidewys A, an 8-year-old gelded son of Village Jasper-Miscilla, paid $11.60 to win. Lifetime, he has 26 wins from 102 starts and a bank account of $169,117. Dexter Dunn A LITTLE MORE: A meet-best $109,617 was poured into the 50-Cent Pick-4 pool, and despite favorites winning the last two legs of the bet, the return was a giant $11,646.50 after a 14-1 and an 80-1 hit the wire first in the initial two legs. ... Driver Dexter Dunn got a big leg up on possibly being named the Big M's "Driver of the Week". The New Zealand native, after winning three times on Friday, added four more scores on the Saturday card, finishing with seven victories over the course of the two-card race week. ... All-source handle on the 14 races totaled $2,704,027, meaning wagering has exceeded $2.5 million for five consecutive programs. ... The always entertaining Larry Lederman called the Saturday race card. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Apparently, Trolley did not get the memo. You know the one. The one where Muscle Diamond goes off as the 1-5 harness racing favorite in Friday night's featured $21,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands and wins his sixth in a row for fun. No, Trolley was clearly not on board with that. In what is developing into a great rivalry, Trolley and driver Marcus Miller powered their way past Muscle Diamond in deep stretch to win for the fourth time in five starts, using a little racing luck along the way. For the first three-quarters, it was the longest shot on the board, 43-1 chance Two AM, cutting the fractions. Muscle Diamond vacated the four-hole at the half and gradually made up ground on the leader as Trolley sat inside, racing in the three-hole as the flow developed, putting himself in a tough spot with no place to race. But at the top of the stretch, Miller found his way off the rail as Muscle Diamond was starting to create separation between himself and the rest of the field. In deep stretch, the relentless Trolley found a seam between horses and charged at the leader, and with a late burst got past the odds-on choice by three-quarters-of-a-length in 1:54. Dover Downs invader Fraser Ridge rallied well for third. As the 5-1 second choice in the betting, Trolley returned $12.00 to his backers for trainer Erv Miller and owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Lifetime, the 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride has won 12-of-26 starts and banked $302,959. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-4 exceeded the $90,000 plateau for a fifth straight program, as $93,295 was pushed through the windows. ... Driver Shane Taggart recorded his first career win at the Meadowlands, guiding Nows The Moment to a 1:54 score in the sixth race conditioned trot. ... Dexter Dunn drove three winners on the card while Corey Callahan, Andy Miller and Pat Berry all had two apiece. ... All-source wagering on the 14-race program was $2,504,720. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Special guest announcer Larry Lederman will call the races. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Business was brisk at the Meadowlands as the 2019 harness racing calendar year kicked off last weekend (Jan. 4-5) at the mile oval with bettors pushing a little more than $5.6 million through the windows over the course of the two-card race week. Wagering was almost identical on the pair of 13-race programs, with $2,831,028 bet on Friday before $2,856,661 in action was taken Saturday. The average handle per race was a strong $218,757. The 50-Cent Pick-4, the track's signature bet, took in $106,836 in wagers Friday before Saturday saw $92,512 in action. For those handicappers sharp enough to use 27-1 shot Whittaker in Saturday's 11th race, the Pick-4 returned a handsome $4,393. The first three legs of the wager were taken by 'havable' 5-1, 8-1 and 6-5 shots, respectively. The 50-Cent Pick-4 has a low 15 percent takeout and a guaranteed pool of $50,000. Free program pages are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. Twenty-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five players have a pair of carryovers to shoot for Friday night, as the fifth race will begin with $22,265 in the hat while race 13 will have $26,504 to start. 'ORANGE' CRUSHES, 'HORNET' STINGS: Andy Miller, aka 'The Orange Crush', was the man on Saturday (Jan. 5) night, driving six winners on the program. Yannick 'The Green Hornet' Gingras won five times over the course of the weekend. NFL FAN? GO TO THE BIG M: For National Football League playoffs lovers who love to bet the games, the Meadowlands is the place to be. The track's FanDuel Sports Book will offer action on all of this weekend's divisional round with the first game kicking off Saturday (Jan. 12) at 4:35 p.m. with the Indianapolis Colts traveling to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Then, at 8:15 p.m., the Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday (Jan. 13) at 1:05 p.m., the Los Angeles Chargers travel to New England to play the Patriots while the late game (4:40 p.m.) has the New Orleans Saints hosting the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. SKIP LUNCH, GO TO PINK: On Friday (Jan. 11), a sumptuous Italian-themed buffet will be available in the Meadowlands' Pink restaurant during the live race card. The buffet is $29.95 and features all classic Italian dishes. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM. WHHC KICKOFF: On Saturday (Jan. 12), the Meadowlands will host the first 2019 contest of the World Harness Handicapping Championship, with four spots to the April 13 WHHC Final on the line. The competition, which is presented by DerbyWars.com, has a cost of $400 ($200 entry fee/$200 bankroll). Interested patrons should check-in at the Clubhouse Main Entrance (across from the Players Club Desk). The entry fee comes with a live racing program and food voucher and walk-up entries are welcome with unlimited entries per person. Contestants should sign up between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The rules: Players must bet a minimum of 10 Meadowlands races with a $20 minimum (no maximum bet per race). Win, Place, Show or WPS wagers only. One horse per race. Click here to take a look at the contest brochure: http://www.playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/2019_January_WHHC_qualifier.pdf Meadowlands Media Relations

This Friday, January 11th fans can watch the world's greatest racing while dining on delicious Italian food in Pink at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The Italian-themed buffet is $29.95 and features all the classic Italian dishes. Guests can start their night with Italian wedding soup, assorted antipasti, and classic Caesar salad. Buffet entrees include Chef Dennis Samarrone's famous chicken Cacciatore, pork chop Murphy with hot cherry peppers, homemade manicotti, chicken parmigiana and beef Maison. Assorted Italian desserts round out the tantalizing meal. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM. Live harness racing kicks off at 7:15 pm. As an added bonus, diners will now be able to "Eat & Earn" with the new dining VIP card. Guests that dine in Pink Friday nights five times will get 50% off their 6th buffet. Guests that have dined on 11 Friday buffets will get their 12th buffet for free. Diners will receive a rewards card on their first visit to a Friday night buffet. Visit PlayMeadowlands.com for the full Italian buffet menu and live racing schedule.

Theres bipartisan support in Trenton for a measure one critic decries as an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey. New Jersey lawmakers are looking to revive taxpayer-funded subsidies for the horseracing industry with legislation that would provide a total of $100 million over the next five years. A bipartisan bill seeks to establish a $20 million annual subsidy to boost the purses that can be won at horse tracks operating in New Jersey; it has already been approved by the state Senate and is now awaiting adoption in the Assembly. Sponsors and other supporters of the legislation say it will provide a much-needed “shot of adrenaline” for an industry that was once a roughly $1 billion sector of the state economy and still helps to support thousands of jobs while also maintaining the viability of many farms in rural regions of New Jersey. But critics have labeled the proposed taxpayer-funded subsidy a “bailout” and are questioning how a state with perennial budget problems could afford to cover the annual payments that would be promised under the proposed legislation. Horseracing has long been a part of New Jersey’s sports landscape, with Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park both tracing their roots to the 1800s. Both tracks are still operating today, and the state’s other remaining horse track is in the Meadowlands, where races started being held in the 1970s. Fewer people are going to the track The tracks used to draw huge crowds in their heyday and at one point also received subsidies from the Atlantic City casino industry to help boost purses that attracted the best horses in the country to compete. But the industry’s popularity has waned in recent years and former Gov. Chris Christie ended the subsidies as the Atlantic City casino industry faced its own economic troubles in the wake of the Great Recession. The racetracks got a boost last year when state lawmakers adopted sports-betting legislation in the wake of a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made licensed tracks and casinos the only places in New Jersey that are allowed to offer and profit from in-person sports betting. Initial returns suggest the sports-betting operations have been hugely successfully, with nearly $1 billion bet in the state since sports gambling was legalized last June. But lawmakers say they remain concerned about the health of the horseracing industry amid stiff competition from other states that already use tax dollars to subsidize purses. They have pitched the proposed taxpayer subsidies as a way to help sustain the estimated 13,000 jobs that are still connected to New Jersey’s horse industry. Bill sponsors also point to more than 175,000 acres of farmland that are sustained by the industry. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) “This will be a huge help for the horseracing industry that is an important part of New Jersey’s heritage and culture and a key source of jobs and economic activity,” said Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). The bill calls for the state to provide $20 million during each of the next five years to subsidize the purses at all three of the state’s privately-run racetracks. The money would come out of the state budget’s general fund starting with the current fiscal year if the bill is signed into law before June 30. Something for owners and trainers too The legislation calls for the money to be split between the purses awarded for thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park and harness racing at the Meadowlands and Freehold. Some funding would also be set aside for “purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses” as an additional boost for winning horses bred in New Jersey. The legislation requires the racetracks where sports betting operations have already been established to enter into formal profit-sharing agreements with the groups representing the state’s thoroughbred owners and trainers, and the state’s owners and trainers of standardbred horses, which are used for harness racing. A.J. Sabath, who represents the state’s standardbred breeders and owners, told lawmakers during a hearing last month that the horseracing industry has faced “a long road to recovery” in New Jersey. “We feel that this purse-supplement money as well as the ability to enter into agreements with sportsbook operators at the racetracks will provide a necessary shot of adrenaline into the horseracing industry,” Sabath said. The measure was approved unanimously by the full Senate in late December and is expected to come up in the Assembly as early as this month. ‘Corporate welfare’ Despite its bipartisan support among lawmakers not everyone is hoping the bill is ultimately signed into law. Critics note the state budget is already severely strained by one of the worst-funded public-employee pension systems in the country. It’s also not clear where the revenue for the $20 million annual subsidy would come from as the legislation doesn’t create a dedicated source of funding for it. Erica Jedynak, state director of Americans for Prosperity-NJ, a group that espouses free-market values, called the proposed subsidy “an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey.” “Where’s the bailout for the average resident paying property taxes? If it was a successful industry, it would prosper without the dollars of hardworking New Jerseyans,” Jedynak said. She urged lawmakers to resist the temptation to keep pace with taxpayer-funded horseracing subsidies that are being offered to the horseracing industry by other nearby states. “Upping the ante for corporate welfare is a race to the bottom,” Jedynak said. By John Reitmeyer Reprinted with permission of The New Jersey Spotlight    

Wine & Dine at the Italian Wine Dinner at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Take a tour of Italy at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment's 5-course Italian Wine Dinner on Saturday, January 19 in Pink Skybox Suites. Each course is carefully paired with a fantastic Italian wine by executive Chef Dennis Sammarone. The dinner begins at 7:00 pm with live racing beginning at 7:15pm. The menu with wine pairings includes: 1st course: Assorted Italian Antipasti including eggplant, mozzarella, prosciutto, provolone & olives paired Barbera D'Asti Superior 2nd course: Linguine Cozze E Vongole Scampi (pasta with mussels, shrimp, & clams in a white wine sauce) paired with Theresa Eccher Carricante-Catarratto 3rd course: Classic Caesar Salad paired with Mosparone "Brina" Piemonte Sauvignon 4th course: Grilled Strip Steak with Tuscan fries & creamed spinach paired with Agricola Bellaria Irpinia Campi Taurisini 5th course: Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake & Belgium Mousse Cake with Campania Passito Fiano di Agricola Bellaria The dinner is $70 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). For reservations call 201-460-4079. For the complete dinner menu visit http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=15082   Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Andy Miller might be known as "The Orange Crush" but on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, anyone who referred to the harness racing driver as "Red Hot" would have been 100 percent accurate. Miller won six times on the 13-race program, and for good measure, included among his victories was the $21,000 featured Preferred Handicap for pacers. The 50-year-old's half-dozen got started with Surfing Tide, who scored in the second race non-winners of three pari-mutuel races pace in 1:52.1 as the even-money favorite before he scored with Joe's Bid in the next race in 1:51.4 in a non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts pace as the 3-2 public choice. The sixth race NW$11,500L5 pace saw another favorite as Miller got 9-5 Winning Linc up on the wire in 1:51.4, but the man clad in orange, white and black colors was only halfway done. Win No. 4 was the big one, as in race eight, Miller put K Ryan Bluechip into a live third-over flow and stormed home to take the feature in 1:50.4 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. Andy's fans got their biggest price of the night in the ninth, as Miller coaxed just enough speed out of Awesomeness to get his fifth win - at odds of 8-1 - in 1:51.2 in a NW$8,600L5 pace before completing his six-bagger in the 12th with Odds On Lauderdale, the 6-5 public choice, in 1:51.4 in a NW4PM pace. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-5 was vigorous, with $58,083 in action taken. After favorites won four of the sequence's races, the return was $244.40. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 topped $90,000 for a fourth straight card, taking in $92,513. After a sequence that saw winner's odds of 5-1, 8-1, 6-5 and 27-1, the payout was a healthy $4,393.05. ... All-source wagering topped $2.8 million for a third straight program, as $2,856,661 was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - So much for drawn-out suspense. Driver Yannick Gingras is not inching but streaking his way toward the 7,000-win plateau for his career, as after scoring four times on the Friday Meadowlands card, the 39-year-old Quebec native now has 6,996 lifetime victories. Right after being named the track's Driver of the Week for winning a half-dozen times last weekend (Dec. 27-29), Gingras was off and running in the first race after a late driver change, picking up 2-1 public choice Tech Titan and scoring in 1:55 on the front end in a low-range conditioned trot. Pappy Go Go would come next in 1:52.4 in a high-class conditioned trot, although things didn't look all that good down the backside. The Andrew Harris-trainee lost ground after vacating the rail before the half in race seven and did not look like he would come close to delivering on his 6-5 promise. But Gingras knew what he had, tweeting: "He runs in pretty good, so they have him rigged for that. But once he hit the backstretch he was then pretty rough and running out. Once we hit the last turn, he straightened up and was fine." Texican gave Gingras his third of the night as the 3-5 favorite in the ninth race mid-range conditioned trot after following perfect second-over cover, just getting past a stubborn Possessed Fashion as they hit the wire in 1:54. Bizet scored for the fourth time in his last six starts in the 12th race trot for non-winners of three races as Gingras racked up win No. 4. The result was a never-in-doubt rated speed score in 1:54.3 as the 4-5 public choice. THE 'PLAINRIDGE PHENOM' DOUBLES: Mitch Cushing had quite a year in 2018, and so far in 2019, things are continuing to click for the 20-year-old driver. Cushing, who finished second in the dash-win standings and first in win percentage (among those with at least 15 victories) at Plainridge Park last year, had a big impact on the Big M Friday program, winning twice on the card, helping to key a big payout in the track's 50-Cent Pick-5 wager. Blitz Victory was the first winner of the night for Cushing in the third race low-range conditioned trot in 1:55.4, making his fans smile at odds of 12-1 after following live cover. The winning Trifecta combination of 1-9-5 - with the second- and third-place finishers each going off at odds of 50-1 - came back $17,370.80. The young pilot came back in the next race to score at 6-1 with Western Redhot in 1:54.2 in a $7,500 claiming pace. The Cushing effect on the Pick-5 was profound. The popular wager, which has been relocated to races one through five, returned $3,258.30 after $64,727 in action was taken. The other three legs of the bet were won by 'havable' horses who went off at 2-1, 6-1 and 5-2, respectively. A LITTLE MORE: There were four winning favorites on the card and Gingras drove them all. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 was its usual popular self, as a meet-high $106,836 was pushed through the windows. There were plenty who cashed in, as the winning combination of 8-6,7,8-9-9 returned $95.20 despite only one winning favorite during the sequence. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,830,776, good for second best at the meeting. The per race average of $217,752 was a meet high. ... Racing resumes Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little  Meadowlands Media Relations PHOTO: Pappy Go Go scores in the overnight trotting feature at the Meadowlands Friday night, one of four winners on the evening for driver Yannick Gingras. (Credit: Lisa Photo)  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Meadowlands hosts live harness racing for the first time in 2019 this Friday and Saturday (post time, 7:15 p.m.) hoping to keep things rolling after an outstanding Saturday (Dec. 29) night program that saw the largest single-card handle of the meeting. A total of $2,986,115 was wagered on the 14 races, which was good for an average per race of $213,293. As usual, the 50-Cent Pick-5 and 50-Cent Pick-4 were extremely popular, with $69,507 and $94,136, respectively, being wagered into those pools. The Winter portion of the 2018-19 racing year kicks off Friday with some wagering menu changes to ring in the new year, as the 50-Cent Pick-5 moves to race one, the Survivor wager to race three and the 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Fives to the fifth and last, respectively. The 50-Cent Pick-4 will remain on race eight, the lone Pick-3 will be offered on the final three races of the night and Daily Doubles lovers are sure to love the new format, as eight Doubles will be available on the Friday and Saturday cards. Some of harness racing's best value wagers will continue to have low takeout rates of 15 percent: the 50-Cent Pick-5 (guaranteed pool of $25,000), 20-Cent Survivor and 50-Cent Pick-4 ($50,000 promise). The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Fives will start 2019 with carryovers, as on Friday the fifth race JSH5 will offer $18,638 before wagering starts while race 13's will begin with $20,652 in the pot. Free program pages for the Big M's races are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. THAT'S A HALF-DOZEN, COUSIN: Brett Miller and Yannick Gingras wore out a path to the winner's circle last weekend (Dec. 27-29) as each drove six winners. Big M fans are losing one of their favorites, effective immediately, as Miller will now be relocating to his native Ohio. On the training side, Ron Burke led the way with four winner's circle visits. GET WILD BETTING THE NFL: In addition to the best harness racing anywhere, the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook figures to be buzzing more than usual this weekend. On Saturday (Jan. 5), the Wild Card round of the National Football League playoffs begin at 4:35 p.m. when the Indianapolis Colts travel to Houston to take on the Texans. At 8:15 p.m., the Dallas Cowboys will host the Seattle Seahawks. Sunday (Jan. 6) will offer another NFL doubleheader as the L.A. Chargers will take on the Ravens in Baltimore at 1:05 p.m. before the Chicago Bears host the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at 4:40 p.m. COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TITLE TILT: Get to the sports book early if you want a seat on Monday (Jan. 7), as a pair of undefeated powerhouses will go at it in the College Football Playoff Championship game when the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers go head-to-head. Kickoff is 8 p.m. Meadowlands Media Relations

Contestants have until 6:45pm tomorrow, Friday, January 4 to register and make their selections in the always popular harness racing Meadowlands Winter Meet Survival Challenge powered by 123Racing. The grand prize is $1,000 & 2019 WHHC Spot The second-place prize is $500 & 2019 WHHC Spot The third-place prize is $250 & 2019 WHHC Spot Most winners prize is $250 Trackmaster will provide Platinum Past Performances for each night of the contest. The game covers the Meadowlands' Winter Meet and concludes on March 30, 2019. The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 "across the board" wager [win, place and show] on selections for three designated races each program. However, to continue in the game, entrants have to "survive" by finishing in-the-money [first through third] with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player's survival a "lucky horseshoe" is given. The lucky horseshoe is a "free pass" given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or all three of his selections fail to hit the board. The free contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada 18 years and older, and all selections must be made through the format provided on the Survival Challenge website page. No selections will be accepted by phone, fax, e-mail or any other means. Trackmaster Platinum Past performances for the three designated races will be provided through the game board. To login or to register as a first time player, visit www.survival-challenge.com.  

Meadowlands Harness Racing & Entertainment's popular Friday night theme buffets are back starting January 11th! "Our Friday themed buffets were extremely popular last year," said Jason Settlemoir, COO & GM of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "They provide variety that our fans enjoy. This year we brought back the most successful menus and introduced a few new themes we believe will not only appeal to our current customer, but will attract some new faces to Pink." The themed night buffets are $29.95, excluding tax & gratuity, and include appetizers, soup, main courses, side dishes and dessert.  The themed buffet schedule is as follows: This Friday, January 11: Italian Night – Enjoy a tour of Italy featuring assorted antipasti, fried calamari, home-made manicotti, pork chop Murphy, chicken cacciatore & parmigiana and plenty of Italian desserts Friday, January 25: Mexican Fiesta – Enjoy our make your own taco bar, chili con queso, chicken & beef chimichangas, freshly made pico de gallo and home-made tres leche cake Friday, February 8: Endless Soup & Pasta – Create your own soup bowls with our home-made broths and fixings plus enjoy delicious pasta creations Friday, February 22: Brunch for Dinner – Enjoy all your breakfast favorites including French toast, farm-fresh eggs, maple bacon & sausage and a variety of muffins, breads and desserts Friday, March 1: 70s Friday featuring Elvis Through the Years – Dine on your favorites from the 1970s including quiche Lorraine, chicken ala King, cherries jubilee and more.  Plus enjoy an entertaining ride through the career of The King with Ralph Carey as Elvis of the 50s, 60s & 70s! In addition to the theme nights, diners will now be able to “Eat & Earn” with the new dining VIP card.  Guests that dine in Pink Friday nights five times will get 50% off their 6th buffet.  Guests that have dined on 11 Friday buffets will get their 12th buffet for free.  Diners will receive a rewards card on their first visit to a Friday night buffet.   On non-themed nights, the Pink Friday buffet remains $29.95 and $39.95 on Saturdays. Live harness racing post time is 7:15 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (201) THE-BIGM.  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Maybe all of the Meadowlands' faithful found money in their Christmas stockings. Betting on the 14-race Saturday night Big M harness racing program came within $14,000 of the magic $3-million mark, as all-source wagering reached $2,986,115, eclipsing the previous meet best of $2,764,913, which was established on Nov. 24. The current meeting began on Oct. 12. The action got off to a fast start as $724,232 was pushed through the windows on the first three races of the night, which included $273,448 in the third, which was the high for a single race. The 50-Cent Pick-5 saw $69,507 poured into the pot while the 50-Cent Pick-4 took $94,136 in wagers. The Pick-5 came back $4,074.10 while the Pick-4 paid $287.40. STARZNHEAVEN TAKES FEATURE: Starznheaven benefited from patient handling from driver Anthony Napolitano to take the featured $15,000 conditioned pace. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Dancinwithethestarz stayed at the rail most of the way and was in the four hole at the half as 2-5 favorite Tact Tate N was sailing along on the point on the way to what looked like a easy score. But shortly after clearing the top, Tact Tate N was a bit hard to handle as he bore away from the rail before driver Dexter Dunn got the public choice righted and back to the inside. But he was vulnerable. Around the far turn, the pocket-sitting Dragon Time came after the leader while the Jimmy Nickerson-trained Starznheaven ($10.20 to win as the second choice) followed that one's cover before fanning out into the three path mid-lane. Starznheaven then surged past Dragon Time in the shadow of the wire to record a narrow neck victory in 1:50. Tact Tate N held on for third. A LITTLE MORE: Brett Miller led the driving colony with three victories on the card while Andy Miller and Yannick Gingras had two apiece. ... Trainer Jeff Cullipher continued to make an impact at the meeting, as the Hoosier Park regular conditioned a pair of winners on the program. ... Racing resumes Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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