Day At The Track

Meadowlands Pace elims top weekend action

06:46 AM 06 Jul 2018 NZST
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The Meadowlands Pace Eliminations.jpg

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - This Friday and Saturday signals the start of a five-weekend stretch at the Meadowlands during which many of the stars of the sport will be competing at the mile oval as the Meadowlands Pace kicks things off before the stakes-frenzy concludes on Hambletonian Day.

After a 14-race Friday card (post time, 7:15 p.m.) that features many 2-year-olds, the Saturday program (post time, 6:35 p.m.) has a pair of eliminations - for the first time since 2015 - for the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds in the spotlight.

In the first elim (Race 6), the field includes Nutcracker Sweet, who missed by just a head when second in the Hempt; Stay Hungry, fourth in both the North America Cup and Hempt; and Thinkbig Dreambig, who was interfered with in his first career start earlier this season before reeling off four straight victories.

The second elim (Race 8) looks a bit stronger than the first, and features American History, who paced the fastest mile of the year in the sport last week when he won in 1:47 at the Big M. In addition, two talented colts have supplemented to the Pace for $61,690, and each has a big shot at winning the whole thing.

First up is Courtly Choice, who is off a blowout 12½-length win in the Hempt Consolation in 1:48.4. Next is Jimmy Freight, who lost his seasonal debut by a nose. His only other loss this year in seven starts came at the hands of older standouts Sintra and McWicked in a 1:48 mile.

A pair of Graduate Finals for 4-year-olds are also on the Saturday card, and each carries a purse of $250,000.

In the fifth race for trotters, Ariana G will look to get back on track after losing two in a row for the first time in her career. She'll face Dunbar Hall and Moonshiner Hanover, each of whom was victorious in their respective most recent Graduate preliminaries.

Miso Fast won preliminary legs at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Tioga Downs last month and will be one of the favorites in the 10th race for pacers. Early-season sensation Filibuster Hanover won a Graduate prelim at Tioga three starts back before a second and a fifth, respectively, in the Ben Franklin, which were his first two losses of the season.

SUPER HIGH CARRYOVER: On Friday night, bettors will have a good reason to wait around for the 14th and final race. The carryover for the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five stands at $272,052.

Speaking of the JSH5, in the event the jackpot is not hit this weekend, there will be a mandatory payout of the carryover and any new money wagered on Friday, July 13.

WIENER TAKE ALL: Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night as the Big M hosts its 1st annual Wiener Dog Races. For those who own a dachshund and want to enter, go to

At the conclusion of the races, stay for a fantastic fireworks display. They'll be beer and food specials all night long.

Remember, there is a special early post time of 6:35 p.m. this Saturday.


JULY 14: History will be made both on and off the track, as the Meadowlands' signature event, the $701,830 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, takes center stage, while a new era will be ushered in for Meadowlands' fans as Las Vegas-style sports betting will be offered for the first time.

Patrons will not only be able to wager on live Meadowlands and simulcast horse and harness races but also on Major League Baseball games and future bets on National Football League games and prop bets, as well as many other professional sports events.

The live racing program, which gets underway at 6:35 p.m., will offer other major stakes as well:

The $400,000E Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old open trotters, $187,000E Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old fillies on the pace, $190,000E Golden Girls for filly and mare pacers 3-years-old-and-up, $250,000E Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old fillies on the trot (divisions), $350,000E Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters (divisions) and $467,000E William Haughton Memorial for open pacers 3-years-old-and-up.

(E-estimated purse. Exact purse becomes available when field size is determined at the entry box.)

AUGUST 4: Harness racing's signature event, the $1 million Hambletonian, brings the best 3-year-old trotters to not only the Big M, but to a national television audience (on the CBS Sports Network). Post time is noon for harness racing's biggest day.

by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands



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