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Darin Zoccali, the former Director of racing at the Meadowlands and the current manager of VIP operations for Sportsbook Casinos, is our special guest on this week's Harness Racing Alumni Show.   Darin tells Freddie, Trade and Bob the inside reason that harness racing does not have its own TVG channel and some thoughts on how we can remedy this situation. There's no doubt that an exclusive channel for our sport would substantially boost the awareness of our Standardbred racing industry and increase its income. Don't miss this captivating discussion....!!!   Click on this link to hear the show: www.spreaker.com/user/6959769/harness-racing-alumni-show-darin-zoccali        

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 9, 2016) - One week ago Bushwacker emerged on the scene at The Meadowlands in the featured Open Handicap with a compelling harness racing victory. Saturday night was no different as Bushwacker steamrolled to another sharp score, posting the first sub-1:50 mile of the season, winning in 1:49.3. Despite winning last week, Bushwacker (8/5) was relegated to the second choice in the wagering behind Doctor Butch (4/5) who was making his second start off the brief layoff. Doctor Butch left hard off the gate, as did Bushwacker, but it would be the former to dictate the terms. Doctor Butch set an ambitious pace, reaching the points of call in 26.1, 55 and 1.23. While Bettor Than You rode the pocket, Bushwacker launched a bold blitz toward the lead and overtook Doctor Butch just as the field was set to turn for home. Bushwacker quickly opened up by a pair of lengths and he maintained that margin through the stretch thanks to a 26.3 final quarter to score his second victory of the year in as many starts. Doctor Butch held on to the place spot, with Kingofthejungle rallying from last to be third. Bushwacker won for the 14th time for trainer Chris Ryder and owner Henderson Farms. His career earnings surpassed $380,000 with the win. Corey Callahan scored a grand slam of driving victories on the card, including the aforementioned featured Open pace. Total handle for the 14-race program was $2,935,127, a 12-percent increase over the totals for the 13-race card one year ago. Racing returns on Friday, with first post time at 6:35 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Post time for The Meadowlands will be moved to 6:35 P.M. for the eight weeks, encompassing the entire months of January and February. This move comes on the heels of consecutive Saturday nights that produces nearly $7.4 Million in combined handle.   "It is impossible to ignore the success we have had the past two Saturday nights of racing," said General Manager, Jason Settlemoir. "Granted, we had two additional races each night, but the average per-race handle has shown significant gains as well. Moving post time up will enable us to card 14-race programs while our horse population supports it. This gives our horsemen additional opportunities to race as well."   It is anticipated The Meadowlands will be able to card 14-races each night for the next two months. The wagering format will remain the same as the past two weekends, with the Pick Five beginning in race three, Early Pick Four in race five and Late Pick Four in race nine. The Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers will be offered in races seven and 14.   Darin Zoccali

The 15-race Saturday card at The Meadowlands produced a total handle of $3,775,943, an increase of $1,178,455 over the 13-race harness racing card on this same night in 2015, or 45-percent. The per-race handle of $251,729 was a 26-percent increase over the $199,806 per-race handle on this night in 2015. In addition, on-track handle nearly doubled, increasing 95-percent from $209,066 to $407,897 and the per-race on-track handle increased 69-percent as well. The total handle of $3,775,943 was the third highest-handling program since the Breeders Crown of 2014, trailing only Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian Day of 2015. Bushwacker Ships and Scores at The Meadowlands Coming into the $25,000 Open Handicap on Saturday night at The Meadowlands, Bushwacker's Meadowlands resume was short and select. He sported just seven starts at the East Rutherford oval, with five of the seven races coming in stakes events. While Bushwacker had never won at The Meadowlands, he is stakes-placed in races like The Graduate and New Jersey Classic. On Saturday night, he found The Big M winner's circle. Getting plenty of support at the betting windows, Bushwacker, the 8/5 favorite at post time led at the first point of call, a 26.1 quarter, before yielding to the pocket behind the brushing Kingofthejungle. Bushwacker sat the pocket past the half-mile in 53.3 and three quarters in 1:22.3 as Kingofthejungle blazed the way. In the stretch, Bushwacker found a seam up the pylons and powered through to the lead. Doctor Butch, off a three month layoff rallied boldly down the center of the track, but Bushwacker was long gone and he would score in 1:50.1. Ontario Success was even off cover, finishing third. Winning driver Corey Callahan said in a pre-race interview that Bushwacker, "hits a knee at Dover and should like the bigger track." He was right, as Bushwacker won for the 13th time in his career, with earnings of $367,612. Bushwacker is trained by Chris Ryder for Henderson Farms. Bettorthanyou Impresses in Sale Audition Bettorthanyou, who is January Mixed Sale-bound on the 18th of the month, scored in the $17,500 upper level condition pacing event. Released as the 7/2 second-choice in the wagering, Bettorthanyou assumed command early in the mile and was well-rated throughout, putting up fractions of 28.1, 56.3 and 1:24.2 before sprinting home in 27-second to score the victory for Yannick Gingras. Sunfire Blue Chip, 3/2 choice, was locked in the pocket for much of the stretch as Gingras made sure to keep his gelding glued to the pylons and didn't have clear sailing until the shadow of the wire. Mr. Franklin, who went a tough first over trip, held on gamely to finish third. Bettorthanyou is HIP #200 in the January Mixed Sale presented by Tattersalls at The Meadowlands Racetrack on Monday, January 18th. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable L.L.C. and Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. The win was the 13th in the career of Bettorthanyou, whose earnings went past $350,000 for his career. Campbell Wins Four John Campbell closed out his 2015 season with a five win night at The Meadowlands, the last of which pushed Campbell past $5 Million on the year. He opened his 2016 season in similar fashion, winning four races on the Saturday program, including a 27-1 upset with Mudslide. Campbell has now won nine of his last 27 races at The Meadowlands. If you had wagered $2.00 on John Campbell in each of those races, your total investment of $54.00 would have realized a return of $260.80 an Return On Investment of just shy of $10.00 for every $2.00 wagered. Bongiorno With a Hot Start On the heels of the most successful season of his young career, Joe Bongiorno began 2016 much like he ended 2015, winning races at The Meadowlands. He scored a driving triple on the card, including the 14-horse race at one and one-eighth miles. The 2015 season saw Bongiorno win 192 races for earnings of $1,973,758. Both career highs for the 22 year old reinsman. His Meadowlands numbers included 46 wins and earnings of $659,784, the highlight of which was the dead-heat victory in The Valley Victory Final with Make Or Miss. Friday racing returns on January 8th, with post time returning to 7:00 P.M. The Meadowlands racing schedule returns to each Friday and Saturday through Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 6th. Darin Zoccali

The $25,000 Open Trot featured an ultra-competitive harness racing field of 11 in the 9th race feature on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. The slight 2-1 favorite, Tweet Me began from a trailing position in the second tier. That mare was favored by a mere $82 over Uva Hanover (also 2-1), in a win pool of over $55,000. Both favorites would lead at different points of the mile, but the last horse to the lead would be Cash Me Out (5-1), who was patiently handled by Jonathan Roberts and rallied from fourth-over position to score in the featured trotting event. Uva Hanover was the first horse to the lead, reaching the quarter in 27.2, while Il Mago pressed while parked on the outside. Hyway Marcus was anxious and moved three-wide early-on in the mile for Joe Bongiorno, reaching the lead just before the half-mile in 56.2. The early leader, Uva Hanover, allowed both Hyway Marcus and Il Mago to go by before moving back to the outside and challenging for the lead on the far turn. Detroit Rapper was slightly gapped second over, favored Tweet Me was in striking range third over with Cash Me Out lurking in the outer flow. Uva Hanover and Hyway Marcus reached three-quarters in a contested 1:25.1 before the field fanned out across the track in the stretch. Tweet Me rallied down the center of the track to grab the lead in mid-stretch, but was quickly challenged by Cash Me Out and the favorite could not hold off the closing kick of Cash Me Out, who scored in a lifetime best 1:53.3. Tweet Me was second with Uva Hanover third. The win was the 13th in the career of Cash Me Out a four-year-old gelding by Cash Hall, whose earnings reach $439,649 with the victory. He is owned by Traylor Racing L.L.C. and conditioned by Kyle Spagnola. Jonathan Roberts was the winning driver. John Campbell Wins Five The leading driver in Meadowlands history put on a show on Saturday night, winning five races. While some of his wins were formful, he also scored a 63-1 upset in the second race with Celebrity Massive. Campbell ends his 2015 season at The Meadowlands with 93 wins and earnings of nearly $2.2 Million. With his victory in the Meadowlands finale, Campbell's earnings for 2015 surpassed $5 Million. It was the richest season for Campbell since 2010 and his 148 victories were the most since 2009. Longshot Parade Sparks Huge Dividends Saturday night at The Meadowlands offered 15 races with 160 horses entered to start producing an average field size of over 10 horses. What could be better? The answer, massive payouts. The Pick 5 returned $26,555 as there was only one correct winning ticket with all five winners. In the same race, the jackpot super hi-five was also hit and that returned $19,409 for a $.20 cent play. Through the first seven races there was only one winning favorite and the list of winners included 63-1 longshot Celebrity Massive, 25-1 Celebrity Pegasus and 23-1 Alibi Seelster. The run of longshots also produced an Early Pick Four payout of $17,426. Meadowlands Posts Huge Numbers on Final Night of Season The final night of the 2015 racing season proved to be a consistent handicapping puzzle, with many of the regular Meadowlands drivers taking the night off and longshots finding the winner's circle repeatedly. But that didn't stop the bettors from wagering confidently. Total handle for the 15-race Saturday program reached $3,619,093, an increase of $553,858 compared to the 13-race program on this same night in 2014, an increase of 18-percent. The on-track handle recorded a 22-percent increase as well. For the 2015 season, over $220 Million was wagered on The Meadowlands harness racing product. After a season-long handle in 2012 of just over $170 Million, handle has now surpassed $210 Million for three consecutive seasons. The Meadowlands will not race on New Year's Day. The first racing program of the 2016 season will take place on Saturday, January 2nd. The program will feature 15-races and a special post time of 6:35 P.M. 2015 Year In Review at The Meadowlands Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Trainer Julie Miller's stable accounts for the morning-line favourites of both Open Trots on Friday (December 18) evening's 14-race harness racing card at The Meadowlands, and over $150,000 in guaranteed pools and carryovers await punters on a card that boasts 10- and 11-horse fields all round.   The featured $25,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot is carded as the evening's eighth race, coinciding with the start of a $50,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4. Julie Miller sends out 5-2 morning line favourite Opulent Yankee from post 7 for the partnership of Little E, Geiger, Settlemoir, and Stolz. The 4-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding is rounding into form, most recently chasing Handover Belle in last week's Open after emerging out of traffic a quarter mile from the winning post. Andy Miller will once again drive the 8-time winner. Among Opulent Yankee's toughest competition are Waiting On a Woman (post 5, Corey Callahan), a winner of two straight upper-level events for trainer Kyle Spagnola before a game defeat at this level last week; top-level Philadelphia shipper and Ron Burke trainee Appomattox (post 6, Yannick Gingras); and Crosbys Clam Bake (post 9, Scott Zeron), who sprung a 29-1 upset over Open foes for the Andy Federico stable a fortnight ago.   A sub-featured $20,000 Open 2 Handicap Trot is scheduled two races earlier, and Miller trainee Lindy's Tru Grit was assigned post position 10 after a lengthy stakes campaign through the summer and fall months. The 5-year-old Cantab Hall entire qualified sharply last week after a two-month layoff, sprinting off to defeat Crazshana by over 11 lengths in a 1:54.4 mile. Andy Miller handles the driving duties of the 2-1 morning line favourite for the Lindy Racing Stable and Robert Rudolph. Like his stablemate later in the evening, Lindy's Tru Grit will have to tackle a fit Burke trainee invading from Harrah's Philadelphia in March Awareness (post 7, Gingras).   In addition to the standard $105,000 in guaranteed pools throughout the evening's Pick 5 and twin Pick 4s, both Jackpot High-5 wagers bring carryovers into Friday's card. In the fifth race, the 20-cent wager carries a $7,181.28 progressive jackpot, while $34,296.44 will be added to the 14th race pool should a lone winner emerge.   Post time for Friday's program at The Meadowlands is 7:00 p.m. EST. For more information on racing, dining, and entertainment at The Meadowlands, visit playmeadowlands.com.   Darin Zoccali

The Meadowlands continued its strong December, with another harness racing weekend which yielded gains over 2014.   The 13-race Friday program handled $2,720,893, an increase of over $400,000 compared to the same Friday the previous year. The 13-race Saturday card posted a handle of $2,671,529, more than $50,000 better than the previous year on that same day. The weekend resulted in a 10-percent increase overall compared to the prior year. Live handle also showed mild gains.   Overall thus far for the month of December, there has been an additional $1,366,169 wagered on The Meadowlands racing. The on-track handle has increased six-percent, while export handle has grown 15-percent.   "It was certainly encouraging to see the increases from the first weekend carryover into this past weekend,' said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "We'll continue implementing our gameplan which has produced these results. The entry box has been filled and the bettors are responding."   Through this past weekend over $211 Million has been wagered on The Meadowlands standardbred product in 2015.   This coming weekend there will be 28 races contested at the East Rutherford oval, 14 on Friday and 14 on Saturday. Both nights consist of full-fields, with 286 horses scheduled to start over the course of the weekend. "We understand that the racing opportunities are lesser than usual these next few weeks, so we thought by adding more races and filling some of our fields to 11 horses, we could help the horsemen out a bit. Hopefully the horsemen will reciprocate when we need them to enter their horses to fill our cards in the spring."   Post time for both nights in 7:00 P.M.   Meadowlands “Toys for Tots” Drive a Success Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment wrapped up its 11th annual Toys for Tots collection drive on Saturday.     For the past few weeks, employees and customers of both Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne OTW donated toys to be given to those children less fortunate.  The collection drive was a resounding success, with over 270 toys donated.    General Manager Jason Settlemoir was thrilled with the response.     “I am extremely pleased with this year’s Toys for Tots collection drive,” said Settlemoir.  “The holiday season is all about family and helping others that are less fortunate.  All of us at the Meadowlands Racetrack are happy that our donations will make the holidays a little brighter for local children in need.”  Live racing continues this Friday & Saturday at the Meadowlands with 7 pm first post.  On Saturday beginning at 6:30 pm the first 1,000 fans receive a 2016 Meadowlands wall calendar featuring the top horses and drivers from the 2015 Meadowlands Meet.    Meadowlands trainer report request list now available online   In an effort to better accommodate the often busy morning schedules of trainers racing at the Meadowlands, a list of horses for which trainer reports are requested for a given week is now posted athttp://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/trainerreport1218.pdf.  This list will be posted every Tuesday afternoon going forward for that weekend's races.  Note, this week's list will be updated with preliminary morning line favorites for Saturday by this evening, so please check again prior to Wednesday for updated information.   Trainers are encouraged to check this list and email their reports to trainers@playmeadowlands.com by 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday for Friday entrants, and 1:00 p.m. on Thursday for Saturday entrants.  Alternately, they can phone reports to Darin Zoccali at (201) 460-4041 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, or trainers to whom the personal mobile phone numbers of Zoccali or James Witherite have been made available can submit them by text message or phone call. It is anticipated the additional lead time availed our horsemen will make this process easier and more efficient while still yielding the same information to our betting public.   Darin Zoccali

Back to back quality starts behind the potential horse of the year ensures inheriting the role of favoritism in your next start. That was certainly the case with Rodeo Romeo, who was bet down to five-cents on the dollar in the third race at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. The prohibitive choice did not disappoint, powering away to a near five length harness racing victory in a very sharp 1:50.3. Rodeo Romeo had finished fifth in his previous two tries in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs behind Meadowlands Pace champion Wiggle It Jiggleit. Prior to that, he was an easy winner in the non-winners of two condition at The Meadowlands, the level he returned to on Saturday night, where he romped again. Driven by Brett Miller, Rodeo Romeo was asked for speed off the gate and he reached the lead prior to the opening quarter in 27.1. An outer-flow developed, but the race favorite coasted through a 29.1 second panel before moving onto the far turn. In the meantime, Wegottatruckyea broke stride passing the five-eighths pole causing some confusion in behind, only enhancing the favorite's prospects. Rodeo Romeo reach three quarters in 1:23.4 and sprinted away from the field with a 26.4 final quarter to win while pulling away from the field in a lifetime best 1:50.3. Midnight Lightning chased in futility while finishing in the runner-up spot, while Major In Life, who was bothered by the breaker on the far turn, made up a substantial amount of ground and rallied willingly to be third. Rodeo Romeo is a three year old son of Rocknroll Hanover and is trained by Chris Ryder. The colt earned his second lifetime victory for his owners, Oompa's Farm Inc., Robert Mondillo and Michael Day. Kingofthejungle Repeats The feature race, a nw15000L5 event for $16,500 kicked off the Late Pick Four and it included a very well-balanced field of nine. The post time favorite, was Kingofthejungle at 2-1, despite the move up in class. He did not disappoint. Kingofthejungle took over past the opening quarter and sprinted to the half-mile pole in 54.4, pacing the final turn in 27.1 before completing a back half-mile in just 54.2 seconds to establish a new lifetime mark of 1:49.1, one of the fastest miles of the young Meadowlands meet. Kingofthejungle rebuffed a challenge from Shooter's Dream throughout the stretch. That rival was riding the pocket behind the winner around the far turn and that pair scampered away from the rest of the field. But Shooter's Dream could not get to the winner in the stretch and had to settle for the runner-up spot. Itrustyou finished third. The winner, a four year old gelded son of Well Said was driven by Andy Miller for trainer Mark Capone. He is owned by Fox Racing Inc. and Darius Oshidar. The win was the 12th in the career of Kingofthejungle, whose earnings have now surpassed $270,000. Sunfire Blue Chip Back in the Winner's Circle Sunfire Blue Chip, who earned over $700,000 as a three year old returned to the winner's circle for the first time since winning the Prix D'Ete last September, scoring in a mid-level condition pacing event on Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 2013 Adios winner made a strong brush to the half-mile pole and led the field all the way to the wire to score in 1:49.4 with Brett Miller in the sulky. Jimmy Takter conditions the now five year old son of American Ideal for Christina Takter, John/Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and A W Equine Incorporated. The win was the 17th in the career of Sunfire Blue Chip, whose lifetime earnings now stands at $914,799. Jet Airway Back on Top Jet Airway was making just his third start since the 2014 Breeders Crown Eliminations. Following a pair of races where he was left with too much to do, Jet Airway was launched on the far turn and paced away in mid-stretch before holding on to win a mid-level condition pacing event at The Meadowlands. Jet Airway earned over $300,000 as a three year old in 2014, but had not won since an Ontario Sire Stakes event in September of his three year old campaign. He is closing in on $400,000 lifetime. The 1:50.2 triumph on Saturday night was the 11th from 33 starts in the career of Jet Airway for trainer Erv Miller, whose son, Marcus, steered the four year old to victory. The son of Jereme's Jet is owned by Erv Miller Stable, Massey, Sunderhaus and Agle. Total handle for the 13-race program was $2,671,529, a slight increase over the same Friday in 2014 ($2,616,757). On-track handle was up five percent as well. Racing returns on Friday with first post time at 7:00 P.M. The double-draw for the Friday and Saturday programs will take place on Monday, with the entry box closing at 9:00 A.M. Darin Zoccali

One of the better trotting mares in harness racing the past three years, Handover Belle ,found the winner's circle for the fifth time this season in the $25,000 featured Open Trot on Friday night at The Meadowlands.  One week after missing by just a neck at the same level and two starts removed from a third place finish in the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship, Handover Belle defeated the boys to score a 1:53.4 triumph in the featured trot. Sent to the post as the 3/5 favorite, Handover Belle sat third early, before brushing towards the three-eighths pole where the mare took over command from last week's winner Crosbys Clam Bake. Handover Belle coasted through a 59-second middle half before facing a challenge from longshot Tirade Hanover as the field left the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, the challenges came from all sides, with Opulent Yankee lunging to the wire off cover, but Handover Belle was able to dig-down and hold on by a head over that rival. Cash Me Out was a half-length behind in third. The first five finishers were covered by just one and a half-lengths. Handover Belle was driven by her long-time partner in the sulky, Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke. The iron-tough mare is owned by Burke Racing Stable, H. and J. Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi. The win was the 17th in the mare's career and her earnings are now just shy of $565,000 lifetime. Handover Belle It was Miller Time early and often on Friday night at The Meadowlands. "The Buckeye" who has not slowed down since winning five Breeders Crown Championships in Canada, won four races on the card, including three of the first seven. He also scored in the 12th race for pacing mares with Icommandmyspirit. One of his four Friday night wins was a 38-1 upset in the $20,000 Dash For The "G NOTES" Trotting Final. In that race, Ulster was sent off as the 2-1 favorite and led at the first three point of calls through strong fractions of 27.1, 55.2 and 1:25, but he could not sustain that speed in the stretch. In the meantime, Massacaia was handled smartly off the gate and found a comfortable spot on the pylons stalking the speed. When the leader kicked away on the far turn, Miller was able to guide his horse to the outside and he quickly reeled in the favorite and opened up impressively to win going away for a lifetime best victory of 1:54.1. Longshot Soapy Sap, making her 97th career start at The Meadowlands, rallied up the pylons to finish second, while Fox Valley Legend overcame a tough trip where he was stacked up last with dull cover to finish third. The winner was conditioned by Jason Robinson for owner Robert Main. Massacaia Cash Poor reached the $100,000 plateau for the 2015 racing season with a win in the $20,000 Open II Trot on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Sent to the post as the 1/2 prohibitive betting choice, Cash Poor was allowed to relax mid-pack in the early going before launching a backstretch brush to the lead. The seven year old gelding reached the half-mile in a sharp 55.2, but quickly faced a challenge from the oncoming Hyway Marcus, who was racing on Lasix for the first time for conditioner Ron Burke. The pair reached three-quarters in 1:24.2 while racing on even terms. But in the stretch, Cash Poor found another gear and accelerated away for Dave Miller to win convincingly in 1:53.1, a new lifetime mark. Hyway Marcus raced well to be second, while longshot KLM Express rounded out the trifecta. The win was the 10th on the season for Cash Poor, for trainer Harold Reddick Jr., who conditions the trotter for Traylor Racing L.L.C.. Cash Poor Handle for the 13-race program was $2,720,893, an increase of $411,165 or 18-percent compared to the same Friday in 2014. Racing returns on Saturday with a first race post time of 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali

While a trio of high-dollar trotting events headline Friday's harness racing program at The Meadowlands, pacers will take centre stage on Saturday (December 12) evening, with a $16,500 upper-level conditioned event serving as the featured race on the 13-dash program. Nine vie for the winner's share of $16,500 in the top-level conditioned pace, carded as the night's eighth race. Rockin Wizard, a recent runner-up in two straight upper-level events, has been installed as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, and Scott Zeron returns to the bike for trainer Mike Russo. Starting from post 8, the 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding will be flanked by a pair of top-notch young contenders in Badix Hanover and Winds of Change. Badix Hanover (9-2), most recently sixth to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace at Dover, will look to make amends for traffic trouble after enjoying seven wins already this season. John Campbell drives the sophomore Western Ideal gelding from post 7 for trainer Kevin McDermott. Winds of Change (5-1), a 4-year-old American Ideal entire, took a 1:48.2 mark at Mohawk earlier this year, but was fruitless in recent Open class events at Yonkers. Brett Miller handles the driving assignment for Hall-of-Fame trainer Jimmy Takter out of post 9.   While the outside trio pack a mighty punch, they face off against a trio of rising winners, including 3-1 morning line favourite Itrustyou. The Ron Burke trainee proved a dominant pillar-to-post winner over first-level company two races back on November 21, since defeating mid-level foes at Harrah's Philadelphia in similar fashion. Yannick Gingras will once again drive the 49-time winner, leaving from post 4. Other rising winners are Real Nice (Andy McCarthy, post 5), invading from Plainridge, and Kingofthejungle (Andy Miller, post 6), whose :25.3 closing quarter last week pushed him clear of dueling pacesetters in deep stretch.   A pair of third-level conditioned paces act as supporting events, with projected favourites coming from a duo of powerful stables. In the $14,000 opener, the red-hot Kyle Spagnola sends out 2-1 morning line choice Our Dragon King. The 5-year-old Dragon Again gelding made every yard a winning one before kicking clear to a 1:50.4 triumph over second-level foes in his most recent try. Andy Miller is back in the bike, and the pair will start from post 6 in a field that also includes Bettor Than You (Gingras, post 3), a game third-place finisher at this level last week in his first start back off a nearly three-month layoff. The evening's seventh race sees Burke trainee Panchester United installed as the 5-2 morning line selection, stepping down off an even fourth-place finish at Harrah's Philadelphia against just tougher. He's shown consistent staying power, but will have to face an improving Bondi Hanover (Corey Callahan, post 4) and class-droppers Jet Airway (Marcus Miller, post 7) and Pointsman (Todd Frocione, post 8).   Punters have ample targets at which to shoot on Saturday night's card, as nine of the 13 races feature full 10-horse fields. To sweeten the pot some, a Pick 5 and two Pick 4s offer combined guaranteed pools of $105,000, and the closing-race Jackpot High-5 will see a carryover in excess of $28,700 should it elude Friday evening's players.   Post time for the Saturday card is 7:00 p.m. For more information on harness racing at The Meadowlands, visit playmeadowlands.com.   Darin Zoccali

East Rutherford, N.J. - Two Open events for trotters and a $20,000 "Dash for the 'G' Notes" final for first-level square-gaiters headline the on-track harness racing action Friday (December 11) at The Meadowlands, with full fields of 10 contestants squaring off in all but three of the evening's 13 events.   In the featured $25,000 Open 1 Handicap, carded as the ninth race on the program, Opulent Yankee (post 4) makes his second start back after nearly five months away from the races. Last week, the 4-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding finished sixth behind 29-1 longshot winner Crosbys Clam Bake, yet he only missed by 1-3/4 lengths while one-paced from the pocket. As usual, Andy Miller handles the driving duties for his wife, trainer Julie Miller. Crosbys Clam Bake (post 8), the 5-year-old gelded son of Kadabra who kicked on late to just prevail last week, retains the services of Scott Zeron. Handover Belle (post 9, Yannick Gingras) comes back as well after the narrowest of defeats last week, as her first-over bid was bested by only Crosbys Clam Bake in the final yards. A trio of Saratoga invaders--Stirling Cadet, Stitch in Time, and Cash Me Out--all line up on the inside portion of the gate.   Three races earlier, a field of nine contest a $20,000 Open 2 event, with 3-year-old Lima Pride facing older foes after a pair of mild closing wins in Pennsylvania. The Ãke Svanstedt trainee starts from post 1 and seeks his third win in as many tries this season, but he faces strong upper-level contenders in T Js Mr Lavec (post 4, Greg Merton) and Hyway Marcus (post 8, Gingras). Bob Krivelin's Current Crisis (post 5, Zeron) is a noteworthy addition to this group as well, sustaining a wide bid to take the $25,000 Billings Final at Harrah's Philadelphia in his most recent outing.   In addition to the evening's Open events, a field of 10 first-level trotters vie for $20,000 in their "Dash for the 'G' Notes" final in the seventh race. Ulster figures to be the horse to beat, reeling off two dominant front-end wins in as many starts for trainer Kyle Spagnola. Corey Callahan who was listed on the likely favorite instead opted to drive Tag Up and Go, a last out winner. Scorcher Hall (post 4, Marcus Miller), and Sweet Justice (post 10, Zeron) also return off wins in their respective preliminaries from last week.   As always, the program features two Jackpot High-5 opportunities, with the 20-cent wager available in races 5 and 13. With the early Jackpot High-5 taken down last Saturday for $36,414.40, the fifth race pool will start fresh. The High-5 in the Friday finale boasts a carryover of $28,724.02. Fans on track this weekend will also have the opportunity to win a 30-second spree in the Meadowlands Money Machine.   Post time is 7:00 p.m. Eastern time. For more information on racing at The Meadowlands, visit playmeadowlands.com. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC

While the first three harness racing weekends of The Meadowlands meet were impossible to compare to the prior year due to The Breeders Crown being raced at the East Rutherford oval in 2014, this past weekend was the first true indicator in terms of wagering handle. The early returns are very encouraging.   The Friday, December 4th program handled $2,758,743 compared to $2,273,465 in 2014, an increase of $485,278 or 21-percent. On Saturday, December 5th, total handle was $2,722,745, compared to $2,307,791 in 2014, an increase of $414,954, or 18-percent. Combined the weekend saw $900,232 in additional handle compared to 2014, or 19.6 percent. In addition, on-track handle realized an increase of over 10-percent as well.   "The first three weekends of the meet were hard to gauge," said Chairman Jeff Gural. We were comparing to handle figures that centered around the Breeders Crown and our TVG Championships were contested on a different weekend as well. This was our first direct comparison of the meet and it is certainly encouraging."   Full fields remain the key to The Meadowlands success. "We have the bigger track with 10 horses across. That is where we have an edge and we have to capitalize on that. We had 254 betting interests in 26 races, that's nearly 9.8 horses per race, which is where we need to be."   Gural added that coordinating post times has become a focal point of the meet as well. "We hired a consultant who coordinates with other racetracks, thoroughbred and standardbred alike so that our races are not going off at the same time as races that could negatively impact our handle. There are so many tracks out there to keep track of and to have one person being able to focus on just that task throughout the night is a big help to us. We have also developed a schedule with Woodbine where our races are essentially ten minutes apart from one another. We haven't had a single race this meet go off close to Woodbine."   There have been a few other tweaks that seem to be helping as well. "The earlier post certainly hasn't hampered us thus far and it has helped on the back end of the card as we aren't ending too late. In addition, by moving post up, we were able to put a race between our early and late pick four and this weekend shows us that move is working as well. On this weekend in 2014, our early pick four averaged $42,000 and our late pick four came in at $63,000. This year the early pick four averaged $49,000 and the late pick four $72,000, so that move seems to have helped as well."   The on-track attendance is also an area in which Gural's team is making a big push. "We are spending serious money in marketing and promotions to bring people to the facility for racing. We have a presence in midtown Manhattan in the form of a large digital billboard and we have other strategically located billboards throughout the New York City area. We have pushed forward with direct marketing and retaining our current players as well as building our player rewards club, which has grown every month this year. Our on-track promotions are second to none and we have a giveaway every race night. This past Saturday there was a line out the door to get a long sleeve t-shirt. We will continue to push forward in enhancing the on-track experience. We also had a Christmas Party for our VIP guests this past Saturday and all of our skyboxes were filled with groups holding their Christmas parties at The Meadowlands. The facility continues to prove to be marketable to groups for all occasions."   Another interesting observation is that Friday did as well as Saturday. "We have less competition in terms of the overall product available to bettors on Friday and that seems to help us there as well. If we can bring Friday to the same level as Saturday and have some weekends where both nights handle $3 Million, that would be very encouraging."   Gural is looking forward to the next few months. "Hopefully horsemen keep entering their horses like they did this weekend and we can keep putting full and competitive fields on the track for our customers. That is the most important factor for us without question."   Racing returns on Friday, December 11th, with post time at 7:00 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

Coming into the Saturday night program at The Meadowlands, there were a pair of carryovers in the two Jackpot Super Hi-Five wagers. As of 9:00 P.M., the first of those jackpots was hit to the tune of $36,414 in the fifth race.  The winning $.20 cent ticket was wagered through a TVG outlet. Prince Palani, a 13-1 upset winner led the longshot parade that resulted in there being just a sole winning ticket in the super hi-five.  Smile A Little, a 59-1 bomb finished second followed by 7-1 Steady Warrior third.  That trifecta returned over $5,600 for a $2.00 wager and was the catalyst for the jackpot being hit.  The official top five in the order of finish were 4-6-7-5-1. The jackpot Super Hi-5 at The Meadowlands produced a pair of six-figure payouts in 2015, returning $173,094 on July 4th and $200,000 on March 14th. The Jackpot Super Hi-Five is offered with a twenty-cent minimum in the fifth and last race of each racing program. Darin Zoccali

One week after being beaten a neck for all the money, Ontario Success did not disappoint those that bet him down to odds on favoritism in the top-level harness racing condition pace for $17,000 on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Released as the even money choice, driver Yannick Gingras took no prisoners, sending his horse to the lead past the opening quarter in 27-seconds. He was able to work out a 57.3 middle half-mile, hitting the half-mile in 55.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. On the far turn, he faced a bold challenge from 35-1 longshot Kingofthejungle, who launched a big move and was at the leaders throat latch coming off the far turn. Martini Hanover was tracking from the pylons while Rockin Wizard began to rally off the cover of Kingofthejungle. In the middle of the stretch, Kingofthejungle stumbled and Ontario Success suddenly found himself with a two length lead. Rockin Wizard was closing well down the center of the track, but the wire came just in time for Ontario Success who scored in 1:51.2 over Rockin Wizard. Martini Hanover, last week's winner in this class finished third. The victory was the sixth of the season for Ontario Success for trainer Ron Burke who co-owns the gelding with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. The win was one of three on the card for Yannick Gingras. Tim Tetrick also bagged three winners on the Saturday program. Ontario Success Ashley's Husband Returns A Winner Ashley's Husband has taken his seasonal mark each of the last two years at The Meadowlands, his mark this year of 1:50, was a lifetime best effort as well. So it was fitting that he returned off the 10-week layoff at The Meadowlands and it was no surprise that he returned a winner. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, Ashley's Husband tracjed a live outer flow throughout the second half of the mile for Joe Bongirono, tipped three-wide into the stretch and paced fastest of all to the wire, to score in a lifetime-best equaling time of 1:50. The win marked his seventh trip to the Meadowlands winner's circle. Ashely's Husband is trained by Kyle Spagnola who made it four consecutive starts resulting in victories at The Meadowlands with this win. He would improve on that record when Our Dragon King won the 10th race as an overwhelming favorite as well. For the meet, Spagnola's record shows 7 wins from 9 starts, following a weekend that saw him go five-for-five. Ashley's Husband is owned by William J. Donovan. This was his 22nd lifetime win and he now has earnings over $164,000. Ashley's Husband Another Takter Two Year Old Trainer Jimmy Takter continues to send out powerful two year old performers at The Meadowlands. On Saturday evening, it was a two year old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, All The Cookies, the latest Takter-trainee to grace the Big M winner's circle. The even money favorite, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky was three-wide early in the first turn, but settled and made a strong brush to the lead as the field straightened away on the backstretch. After a 27.2 first quarter, All The Cookies led the field through fractions of 55.1 and 1:24.2 before turning for home in command. Major In Life rallied well in the stretch, but not enough to threaten the winner, All The Cookies who scored in 1:53. Wegottatruckyea was a sneaky-good third. All The Cookies won for the second time in three starts to begin his career. The Jimmy Takter trainee is owned by Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, L. Camara and J. Sbrocco. All The Cookies Surick Scores with New Acquisition Pistopackinpiper, who established his career in the Midwest, made his first start for new trainer Nick Surick a winning one, when he rallied in deep stretch to win a three-horse photo in 1:52.2 for Marcus Miller. Surick also teamed up to win the $10,000 claiming nightcap with Brioni. Pistopackinpiper had ground to make up on Mullet Blue Chip who led at every point of call, but used every inch of the long Meadowlands stretch to just grab the victory on the wire. App Heaven rallied up the pylons to be third. The winner, conditioned by Nick Surick is owned by Jerry Graham and Engel Stable Of Illinois. Pistopackinpiper Handle for the 13-race Saturday program was $2,519,723. Racing returns on Friday, December 4th, with first post time at 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Harness racing trainer Kyle Spagnola sent three trotters to the gate on Friday night at The Meadowlands and all three found the winner's circle. Two of the wins came with Andrew McCarthy in the bike. The first, Ulster romped by a dozen lengths in the third race condition trot, winning in a lifetime best 1:53.1, while Keystone Thomas was a wire to wire winner in 1:54.3 in the fifth race condition trot. Spagnola wasn't done, as he sent out the prohibitive 3/5 choice in the $17,000 featured trot in the eighth race and the favorite did not disappoint. After brushing to the lead, past fractions of 27.2 and 56.1, Waiting On A Woman and driver Corey Callahan took on the challenge of Lady Windsor around the far turn. But when the favorite reached three quarters in 1:25, it was clear that he had plenty left in the tank and the seven year old gelding powered away with a 27.3 final quarter to win going away by just over three lengths in 1:52.3. The final time was just one-fifth of a second off his lifetime mark. Trainer Kyle Spagnola now sports a record of five wins from his first seven starts at the 2015-2016 Meadowlands meet. The win was the 50th in the career of Waiting On Woman, who now has career earnings of over $373,000. Waiting On A Woman is owned by Michael Polansky. The win was one of three races won by Corey Callahan through the first eight races. Waiting On A Woman Jerseylicious Chases Down Radar Contact The seventh race condition mare pacing event was a filled choc-full of mares with stakes experience. Radar Contact was a strong 3/5 favorite, but on paper there was competition in the form of Jerseylicious and it played out that way on the racetrack as well. Radar Contact was quarter-moved to the lead by John Campbell past the first point of call in 27-seconds and she would hold that lead into the stretch, through fractions of 55.1 and 1:24. Meanwhile, Jerseylicious was sitting mid-pack and committed first over down the backstretch as Radar Contact blazed the way. As the field approached the stretch, Jerseylicious had room to tuck behind the favorite and did so until the middle of the stretch, when Callahan showed his mare racetrack again and she responded to that move by accelerating late, chasing down the favorite to win in 1:51.2. For Jerseylicious, the win marked the 15th victory in her 62 race career and sent her earnings past $636,000. She is trained by Wayne Givens for owners Legacy Racing of Delaware Incorporated, Pamela Curran and Niel Gargiulo. Jerseylicious Takter With Another Promising Young Trotter The stakes season may have come to an end, but Jimmy Takter is still winning promising races with young trotters. In the first race on Friday night at The Meadowlands, the Jimmy Takter trained, Massive Clout (Muscle Massive), parlayed a pocket trip into a pylon skimming win by the narrowest margins over Moulin Rouge who defeated this condition one week ago. Massive Clout and Corey Callahan sat comfortable in the pocket behind pacesetter Barnaby Rudge through fractions of 29.3, 59.1 and 1:29.1. Meanwhile, the even-money favorite, Moulin Rouge was tracking in a live outer flow and loomed boldly three-wide off the far turn and appeared poised to blow by, but Massive Clout found room at the pylons and was full of trot as well. The pair of trotters raced down to the wire together, with Massive Clout escaping with a nose-victory in a mild upset at odds of 5-1. Moulin Rouge was second with Barnaby Rudge third. In the field of 10 trotters, there were three-two year olds and they ironically comprised the trifecta. Massive Clout is a homebred for Brixton Medical who co-owns the colt with Christina Takter. The winning time of 1:57.2 was a lifetime best performance and was the second consecutive win for the son of Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive who now has two wins from three starts. Massive Clout GSY AMATEUR TROT Robert Krivelin's name has been one of the most popular among amateur drivers for years and that name reigned supreme again with an 8-1 upset in the GSY Amateur Trot with Chocolate Xplosion. Krivelin, who also trains the four year old gelded son of Chocolatier, turned a pocket trip into a 1:56.3 victory, a lifetime best performance for Chocolate Xplosion. Crazed N Lindy rallied from well-back for Peter Kleinhans to be second with Jack's Reef and Hannah Miller third. The win was the 184th amateur driving victory in the career of Robert Krivelin, with earnings over $1.2 Million. Chocolate Xplosion Total handle for the 13-race Friday card was $2,642,922, a seven-percent (7%) increase over this same Friday last year. On-track handle also showed slight gains. The guaranteed pools performed well on Friday, with the pick five totaling $44,233, the early pick four handling $47,983 and the late pick four reaching $78,955. Both jackpot super high five carryovers continued to grow as the fifth race now stands at $17,625.09 and the last race now at $18,381.34. Racing resumes on Saturday with a 13-race card set to begin at 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali  

East Rutherford, NY - After careful consideration and consultation with various horsemen, The Meadowlands will be suspending its rule limiting a trainer to two horses (other than any horse the trainer has campaigned since the horse's first start) in the Final of a stakes race.   "There had been concerns voiced to us in the past regarding any trainer having multiple starters in one stakes final," said Jeff Gural. "But after listening to the view points of several horsemen, we will suspend the rule going forward. In addition, with the horse population continuing to decrease, limiting the number of horses entered into some of our biggest races may not be in the best interest of the Meadowlands as a business. We will monitor this going forward and we certainly reserve the right to bring this rule back with 30 days notice, if we feel it is necessary."   The suspension of this rule is effective immediately and all trainers should be aware of this when submitting their nominations for our stakes events on February 15th. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

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