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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The curtain came down on the Meadowlands' 2019 harness racing meet on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3), ending a seven-month run that would be the envy of any track operator. Total handle on Hambo Day was up nearly 15 percent over the year before as $6.5 million was pushed through the windows, approximately $800,000 more than the year before. The $6.5 million was by far the best single-day handle in the entire sport in 2019. Next up was the $4.4 million bet by players at Woodbine at Mohawk Park on March 30 when the track had a huge Super High-Five carryover on a mandatory payout night. The only other $4 million-plus handle this year was at the Big M on Meadowlands Pace Night ($4,044,303). The wagering trend was a positive one for the 62 Big M programs presented from the first of the year through the first Saturday in August, as a total of $174.2 million was put in play, good for an average of $2,811,179 per card. Over the same 2018 span, 58 race cards saw total wagering of $137.3 million, an average of $2,367,260. Thus, total wagering was up 27 percent at the industry's handle leader, while per-card betting increased 18 percent. One of the keys to increased handle is to card more races, and that was clearly the case this year as compared to last. During 2018, a total of 671 races were contested at the Meadowlands, an average per night of 11.56. This year, 790 races took place, good for an average of 12.74, an increase of 10.2 percent. With the additional races, there were 1,515 more starters in 2019 Big M races than there were in 2018. The track averaged 8.92 starters per race in 2019. The Meadowlands' faithful fan base bet with both hands on a consistent basis. Total handle reached $2.5 million 47 times over the 62-card span. On 12 occasions, the magic $3 million mark was achieved, while the Meadowlands Pace and Hambo accounted for the two $4 million-plus cards. "All of us at the Meadowlands are appreciative of the purse appropriation earmarked for the horse racing industry that was approved by New Jersey legislators, Gov. Phil Murphy, President of the New Jersey Senate Stephen Sweeney and Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Craig Coughlin," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "With that money in our purse account, it created more of a level playing field in the competition for horses from nearby states. "We appreciate how our horsemen have supported our entry box - we couldn't do it without them - and how our fans played our races all meeting long. We've seen consistently bigger fields at the Meadowlands, and big fields are what our fans like most when betting on our product. Competitive racing with large fields and less winning favorites at the sport's top facility is a recipe for wagering success." On the track, new fastest-ever Big M marks were established for horses of both gaits on July 6. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian champion, exploded home in :26.3 in the Graduate Final for trotters on the way to stopping the clock in 1:49.1 while Lather Up set a new mark of 1:46 in the Graduate Final for pacers, and in the process, equaled Always B Miki's fastest mile ever in the history of the sport. Grabbing headlines - as usual - was the superstar mare Shartin N, who became the fastest female in harness racing history after taking the Lady Liberty on Hambo Day in 1:46.4. It was another great year for conditioner Ron Burke, as well as his go-to driver, Yannick Gingras. Burke took his eighth straight Big M training title with 73 victories and earnings of $1.85 million while Marcus Melander had the second-highest bank account at $1.29 million. Burke, 49, also reached a remarkable milestone, becoming the first trainer in history to record 10,000 lifetime wins after his student Crucial won a Jim Doherty Memorial elimination on July 26 at the mile oval. Gingras, 40, killed it all meeting long and used a fabulous February as the catalyst for his fifth Meadowlands driving title. During those 28 days, Gingras established meet highs for wins on a single program (seven, on the 1st) and in a month (33) on the way to visiting the winner's circle a total of 127 times. He was also tops in earnings with $2.25 million. Dexter Dunn was nothing short of superb in his first full season of racing in the U.S., as the New Zealand native opened many eyes with his 86 wins, which was easily second best in the standings. Tim Tetrick's earnings of $2.18 million nosed out Dunn's ($2.14 million) in the race for second-highest driver bankroll. THE SKED: Simulcasting from Saratoga and a host of other tracks will continue every day, but there will be no live racing at the Meadowlands for eight straight weekends, beginning Aug. 9-10. Monmouth Park will conduct thoroughbred racing over the Big M's turf course on Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26. The Meadowlands will be back with live harness action on Oct. 11, and then conduct racing on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 30 before adding Thursdays in December. There will be both thoroughbred and harness racing on the same day on Oct. 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26. Post time for harness racing is 7:15 p.m. Post time for thoroughbred racing will be announced at a later date. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Wagering on the Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands was up 14.6 percent over the 2018 program. Both cards saw 16 races, but this year's total of $6,501,778 was approximately $800,000 more than the year before. The $6.5 million in action was by far an industry 2019 best. Woodbine at Mohawk Park saw $4.4 million in wagers on March 30 when the track had a huge Super High-Five carryover on a mandatory payout night. The only other $4 million-plus handle this year was at the Big M on Meadowlands Pace Night ($4,044,303). THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT: Those who stayed with Forbidden Trade throughout the Hambletonian Future Wager cashed some nice tickets. With the exception of the first pool ($22.00), Forbidden Trade paid more in legs two ($103.60), three ($40.20) and four ($57.80) than he did in the actual race ($33.80). ... The action in the two 50-Cent Pick-4 pools was predictably vigorous. The pool that covered races eight through 11 saw a meet-best $155,558 put in play, while the second pool (races 13 through 16) had a total pool of $112,948. ... The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five pool on race 11 (the Hambletonian Oaks) took in a total of $180,236 after the $53,000 carryover was added to the "live" money. ... Harness racing returns to the Meadowlands on Oct. 11. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Odds On Lauderdale continued his resurgence from an early-season slump by taking the Dash For The G Notes Final at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 4-year-old son of Western Ideal-Worldly Deo, who started the year just two for his first 11, was third at the rail to the half before moving first-over after leader Dragonology with an authoritative brush, grabbed the lead on the far turn to open up an almost 3-length lead, then cruised through a final quarter of :26.4 to score in a lifetime-best equaling 1:49.1 for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Odds On Racing for his second straight decisive win. It was three-quarters-of-a-length back to a non-threatening Machiavelli. Jackamino was third. Odds On Lauderdale, who was driven by Dexter Dunn, returned $2.60 as the 1-5 favorite and has now won eight-of-40 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $159,174. A LITTLE MORE: Dunn, Scott Zeron and Yannick Gingras all recorded driving doubles on the card. ... All-source handle totaled $2,249,038. HAMBO DAY IS HERE: The 94th edition of the Hambletonian will serve as the centerpiece for a 16-race, stakes-filled card that gets underway Saturday (Aug. 3) at noon. Greenshoe is the one to beat in the second of two Hambo eliminations while his Marcus Melander-trained stablemate, the unbeaten Gimpanzee, will be favored in the first elim. The $1 million final will be Race 12 on the card. Other equine stars who are on the program include: Defending Horse of the Year McWicked taking on 1:46 pacer Lather Up in the Sam McKee Memorial Guardian Angel As (John Cashman Memorial) 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover (John Steele Memorial) Current leading Horse of the Year candidate Shartin N (Lady Liberty) Captain Crunch and Bettor's Wish, arguably the sport's best rivalry, will go toe-to-toe in the Cane Pace. CATCH THE ACTION: In the event you are not local, or can't make it out to the track, the Hambletonian Day card will be available live in its entirety on the internet at playmeadowlands.com and on the Big M's Facebook Live page. The CBS Sports Network will have a live 90-minute presentation of the Hambletonian Day card. Host Gary Seibel and co-host Dave Brower will bring three lives races into living rooms across the country, they are:  $280,000 John Cashman Memorial for free-for-all trotters (4:10 p.m. post time)  $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies (4:40 p.m.)  $1,000,000 Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters (5:14 p.m.) There will be six wagers on the program that could bring huge payoffs that will offer a low 15 percent takeout: 20-Cent Survivor Pick-6 (Race 1) 50-Cent Pick-5 (Races 3-7) with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 7), which has a carryover of $7,000 and will have an estimated pool of $25,000 50-Cent Pick-4 (Races 8-11) with a guaranteed pool of $100,000 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 11), which has a carryover of $53,000 and an estimated pool of $150,000 50-Cent Pick-4 (Races 13-16) with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Millies Possesion looks to stay perfect in what will be her ninth lifetime start Saturday afternoon after being installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands. The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena drew post position 2 for the $500,000 event at Tuesday afternoon's post draw at the Big M. "I think it's a good spot," said trainer Jim Campbell. "I'd sooner have the two than the one. I think it's a good spot where (driver) Dexter (Dunn) can kind of see how the race shapes up and make whatever decision he sees fit." Millies Possesion upped her lifetime record to eight wins in as many starts after taking her Hambo Oaks elim last Saturday in 1:52.3, scoring by a nose over a fast-closing Evident Beauty. "(Evident Beauty) is a good filly," said Campbell. "She never gives up and keeps on going. I think it's a real tough group. The trip is going to mean everything." Evident Beauty is listed at 7-2 from post 4 with Dave Miller driving. Another big-time contender is When Dovescry (5-2, 5, Simon Allard), who crushed her foes by 3 lengths in 1:51.3 in the other Oaks elim. "Me for one, I did not see that coming," said Campbell of When Dovescry's performance. "She really came on strong at the end of last year and she was up to the task last week. It's going to be a tough race." The road for Millies Possesion was an atypical one, as the Fashion Farms-owned and bred filly was unraced at 2. "She had some soundness issues," said Campbell. "She had some issues with her hocks, so we just had to turn her out and let time heal her. We brought her back in January and the rest is history. She's been nothing short of amazing. "Anytime you have an unraced horse you don't know what to expect. I would be surprised for any unraced 2-year-old to come back and be this good. She showed us a lot training down last year, but that's all we had to go off. The way she went her first start this year (a 1:56 win in a non-winners of one at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 1), she was impressive doing it. Every race since she has stepped up to the plate and done everything we've asked of her." So does Campbell, who won the Oaks with another fabulous Fashion Farms filly, Broadway Schooner in 2009, like the role of favorite? "When you are the favorite, it means your horse has done well prior to that," said Campbell. "I really don't put a lot of thought into whether we're the favorite or not. We are in the race and prepare the horse the best way we can to have the horse the best she can be that particular day, regardless of whether you are the favorite or not." The Hambletonian Oaks is Race 11 on Saturday on a star-studded, stakes-laden 16-race program and has post time of 4:30 p.m. The first race gets underway at noon. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Highalator brought his usual harness racing high-speed show to the Meadowlands Saturday night, and the result was a fifth win in seven starts at the Big M in 2019, as the Jenny Bier trainee completed a four-race sweep of the Golden Receiver Series for pacers by scoring in the $60,000 final. "I haven't had an opportunity to drive a horse like him," said winning driver Ricky Still. "And since I have, we've had such good luck." Highalator was on the go early, and so was Western Joe, who had the top at the quarter in :26.2. Still moved Highalator to the point soon thereafter, clearing to the top just before the three-eighths. A :28.1 second fraction proved to be more than enough of a breather for the horse who had won all three preliminary Golden Receiver legs. The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher opened up on Western Joe to lead by 2¼ lengths at three-quarters, then powered home in :26 to stop the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48. It was 2½ lengths back to a fast-closing Sweet Rock. Western Joe held third. Highalator, who is owed by Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction, has now won half of his 20 starts this year. Lifetime, he's 31-for-66 and earned $516,197. As the 1-2 favorite, he paid $3.00 to win. "It's a dream come true to drive a horse like him," said Still. Also on the Saturday card were two eliminations for the 94th edition of the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the trot, with the first five finishers from each dash returning for the $500,000 final, which takes place on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3). The first elim saw the Jim Campbell-trained Millies Possesion stay unbeaten in eight lifetime starts. The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena sailed past early leader Sonnet Grace once they straightened away down the backside on the way to hitting the half in :56. Evident Beauty, who went parked the final three-eighths, made an explosive late charge at the leader but came up a nose short in a superb try. Queen Of Trixs (third), Asiago (fourth) and Sonnet Grace (fifth) were the others to earn a berth in the final. Millies Possesion completed the mile in 1:52.3 and returned $3.60 to win as the 4-5 public choice. Campbell will be searching for his second Oaks score, having won it with Broadway Schooner in 2009. "She's still learning the game," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "She's come a long way this season. I thought Dave (Miller, driving Evident Beauty) was going to beat me, but to my filly's credit, she stuck her head up." Millies Possesion (inside) holds on with Dexter Dunn at the controls (Lisa Photo) The second elim saw Pocono Downs invader When Dovescry crush her foes in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 for trainer Rene Allard and his brother-driver Simon. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Clear Dove was first over as Southwind Casha hit the quarter in a serious :26.4, then cleared to the top just after the three-eighths before reporting home an easy 3-length winner, scoring for the first time this year in four tries. Southwind Casha was second, with Princess Deo, Miss Trixton and Sweet Chapter finishing third through fifth, respectively, to earn spots behind the gate for the final. Cloud Nine Fashion, a Campbell trainee, finished sixth as the 8-5 public choice. When Dovescry returned $8.60 to win as the second choice in the wagering. "We raced her easy in her qualifier and first three races," said Simon Allard. "We have been shooting for the Oaks. Great work from Brandon Simpson, who works for my brother, and my brother. They told me that she's been training super on the front end. I never put her on the front end yet and we did it tonight and they were right. You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she trots so nice." A LITTLE MORE: The Nancy Johansson-trained Don't Let'em (7-2 second choice) put himself in the Hambletonian conversation by cruising past 9-5 favorite Swandre The Giant on the far turn on the way to a 5¼-length, 1:50.2 lifetime-best score in the W.N. Reynolds for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. ... One sharp player betting into the Twin Spires hub held the only ticket to last eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $7,233. ... Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony with three winners on the night. ... All-source handle totaled $2,682,910. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. ... Saturday (Aug. 3) is Hambletonian Day. Post time is noon. ... Check out the Hambletonian post position draw on the Big M's Facebook Live page Tuesday (July 30) at 2 p.m. Click here for full results of tonight's program By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The incomparable Ron Burke raised the training dash-win bar to new heights Friday night at the Meadowlands, as the 49-year-old Washington, PA native became the first conditioner in harness racing history to record 10,000 career victories. "It's cool," said Burke. "The next guy is probably 10 years away from doing it. It's never been done before and I'm very proud of our whole crew, my whole family." Burke won three times on the Friday twilight program at his home track - the Meadows in Meadow Lands, PA - to raise his win total to 9,999, setting the stage for the big one at the Big M. In an elimination for the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies, Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, gave Burke the victory that raised his lifetime win total to five figures by scoring in 1:54.3 and paying $6.00 for the stable's go-to driver, Yannick Gingras. "Ten years ago, I wasn't so sure we'd get here, but five years ago, maybe I thought we'd get to this point," said Burke. "We were just starting to take off then, and the addition of (owner) Mark Weaver made a big difference. It gave us someone who acquires horses all day, every day. We used to sit together at the Meadows and watch races and we could tell we were pretty good together and we wanted to go to the next level." Mission accomplished. Crucial and driver Yannick Gingras It's a pretty sound bet that Burke will stay at the top of both the dash-win and money-earnings lists for some time to come. Virgil Morgan, Jr. currently sits second in wins with just over 6,400, and the now-retired Jimmy Takter is second in earnings at $130 million. Burke's horses have earned $222 million. "It all started when my dad sold the family business selling cars in 1981. We had two horses then. Now, I have about 300 and about 70 people on my staff," said Burke. "I became the face of Burke Racing 11 years ago. There are so many of us. I put a lot of time into it but I could not have done it by myself. I thought by now I'd slow down, but I don't have any feel for when that will happen. I love what I'm doing, I love racing and the sport seems to be doing well." Maybe that's true, just not quite as well as Ron Burke is doing. CHALK TALK: Nine favorites scored on the 14-race program, setting up small payouts on the 50-Cent Pick-5 ($70.40) and Pick-4 ($13.05). Of the five losing chalks, three went off at odds of 2-1 while one was 5-2. A LITTLE MORE: Burke's home track might be in Western Pennsylvania, but he loves the East Rutherford mile oval. "The Meadowlands is still the greatest place," said Mr. 10,000. ... It figures that on a big night for Burke that Gingras would excel. The Big M's leading driver scored four times on the card. ... All-source wagering on the 14-race program totaled $2,434,672. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. For thr results of tonight's card click here. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Rich And Miserable remained the hottest 4-year-old trotter in training Saturday night, crushing a talented harness racing field in the $60,000 Mr Muscleman final at the Meadowlands. The gelded son of Explosive Matter-Wishful Me, who has now won eight of his last nine starts, sat third early before moving uncovered to the lead at the three-eighths and settling on the point at the half in a rated :56. Driver Tim Tetrick asked for speed on the far turn, and Rich And Miserable delivered by opening up a 3-length advantage on JL Cruze at head of the stretch on the way to safe 2-length win. Trolley rallied along the inside to get second. Early leader JL Cruze held third. Tetrick had some appreciation for his horse - as well as his regular driver - who was not at the Big M Saturday. "What a sweetheart (Rich And Miserable) is," said Tetrick. "Jogged around in (1):51(.1), :27(.1) home with earplugs in. Thanks, Tyler (Buter)." Rich And Miserable, who is trained by Todd Buter, returned $3.20 to win as the public choice. He's now won nine-of-12 this year. Rich And Miserable Tetrick also guided Hambletonian hopeful Green Manalishi S, who has now won seven-of-14 lifetime outings, to an easy score in a division of the Tompkins Geers for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. The son of Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S reported home a 1¼-length winner over Sheena's Boy in 1:52.4 as the 2-5 favorite. "He's got all of the attributes to be right there (in the Hambletonian)," said Tetrick. Green Manalishi S is one of three powerhouse Hambo contenders from the Marcus Melander barn, the others being Greenshoe and Gimpanzee. "He can play with those," said Tetrick. Tetrick also drove a notable pacer to a scorching mile on the 93-degree sultry northern New Jersey night, guiding last year's 3-year-old male pacer of the year, the Ron Burke-trained Dorsoduro Hanover, to a 1:47.4 score as the 4-5 choice in a high-range conditioned event. The time lowered the previous best for the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss by two seconds. A LITTLE MORE: Earl Beal Memorial upset winner Marseille won his second straight for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, taking a division of the Tompkins Geers in a lifetime-best 1:51.4. After paying $116.00 to win in the Beal, the son of Muscle Hill-Order By Wish paid just $13.20 this time around. ... Tetrick finished the night with five winner's circle visits after piloting Backstreet Shadow to a victory in the Preferred for 4-year-old pacers, the Burke trainee's second 1:47.4 score of the season at the Big M. ... One sharp player betting into the Montreal hub held the only ticket to go 10-for-10 in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and cashed in for $11,458. ... Action in the 50-Cent Pick-4 was vigorous, as $105,786 was poured into the pool. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,413,614. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Trainer Tony Alagna was on target at the Meadowlands Friday night, scoring three times in the second harness racing leg of the Kindergarten Classic series for 2-year-olds. Ramona Hill got things going for Alagna in the second race filly trot. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Lock Down Lindy led at every call on the way to an easy 4¾-length score over Jula Beauty Am in 1:54.1, giving her two wins in as many Kindergarten - and lifetime - starts. Andy McCarthy was in the sulky behind the 1-9 favorite. In the very next race, 22-1 longshot Captain Kirk sat a three-hole trip before bursting through between rivals late to record a nose win over 3-5 shot Captain Nemo - who is also trained by Alagna - in a division for pacing colts and geldings. Captain Kirk, a son of Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover who was driven by Yannick Gingras, completed the mile in 1:51.2 in winning his first career race in two tries. Alagna would have to wait until the 14th and final race on the program to complete his three-bagger, as his Chief Mate scored in 1:51.1 in another colts and geldings pace. The 2-5 public choice, who is a son of Captaintreacherous-Heaven Forbid, held on by a nose over a fast-closing Bombshell Hanover. Like Ramona Hill, Chief Mate has now made both of his lifetime starts in the Kindergarten and won them both. SATURDAY POST TIME CHANGE: Due to the anticipated extreme high heat, Saturday's 13-race program will begin at 8 p.m. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy and Dave Miller paced the driver's colony with three wins apiece, while Gingras and Andy Miller each had a pair. ... Trainer Marcus Melander had two winners on the card. ... All-source handle on the 14-race program totaled $2,306,944. There have been 57 race dates at the Big M in 2019, and on 56 occasions, handle has exceeded the $2.3-million mark.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was a case of long and short at the Meadowlands in a pair of New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals Friday night, as Villiam scored at 85-1 in the 2-year-old colt and gelding harness racing pace while 3-5 shot Fortune Starlet dominated in the 2-year-old filly trot. Villiam, a gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Village Mirage, had plenty of action unfold in front of him as the top three horses in the wagering - 3-1 Follow Your Heart, even-money Rockin The Gates and 8-5 Rockin The Aces - all battled for supremacy from the quarter to the three-quarters, and that suited driver Tim Tetrick just fine, who had Villiam in a third-over flow around the far turn. Rockin The Aces was dead game to the wire after racing uncovered for the final half-mile but got nailed by the smallest of noses at the finish. Follow Your Heart was third. The win payout of $172.60 was the highest of the meeting at the Big M. It was Villiam's first victory in three lifetime starts for trainer Eric Foster. The time for the mile was 1:53.1. "I didn't think about winning at three-quarters, I just wanted to get a good check," said Tetrick. "But those other colts beat themselves up and I picked up the pieces." Fortune Starlet ($3.20 to win), a daughter of Trixton-Fortune Dream, had no anxious moments in her dash, grabbing the lead while parked at the half before powering clear of her foes by five lengths in 1:54.3 in winning for the second time in three starts. Caviart Eva finished second but was off stride at the wire and placed fourth behind official second-place finisher Jula Champagne and Spoiled Princess, who was placed third. "She's got a beautiful gait and a great attitude," said winning driver Dexter Dunn of the George Ducharme trainee. "She showed last week (when she won in 1:55.4) what she can do. She's still learning a little, but she's got a bright future." Before the betting card, two other NJSS Finals were conducted. Play Trix On Me, a son of Trixton-Lima Playmate, took the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot in 1:55.3 for driver Tetrick and trainer Gareth Dowse to stay perfect in four lifetime tries. Ready Set Rock, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Popcorn N Peanuts, took the 2-year-old filly pace. Driver Andy McCarthy guided the winner to a 1:56.3 score for trainer Michael Hall. A LITTLE MORE: Leading driver Yannick Gingras had the hot hand once again, scoring five times on the program, twice with Per Engblom trainees. ... Chalk players cashed plenty of tickets on the card, as eight favorites visited the winner's circle. ... All-source handle on the 14 races totaled $2,682,541. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. with a stakes-laden 13-race card that features the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Here are the horses and post positions for the major harness racing events on Meadowlands Pace Night, Saturday, July 13, at the Meadowlands: Race 2 - $124,000 Del Miller Memorial (3-year-old filly trot, 1st division): 1, Miss Trixton; 2, Beautiful Sin; 3, Sonnet Grace; 4, Cloud Nine Fashion; 5, Evident Beauty; 6, Special Honor. Race 3 - $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial (3-year-old open trot, 1st division): 1, Sheer Muscle; 2, Swandre The Giant; 3, Gerry; 4, Green Manalishi S; 5, Summit In Sight; 6, Reign Of Honor; 7, Osterc. Race 4 - $40,000 Miss Versatility (mares open trot, 2nd leg): 1, Ice Attraction; 2, The Erm; 3, Darling Mearas S; 4, Hannelore Hanover; 5, Top Expectations; 6, Pat Matters; 7, Plunge Blue Chip; 8, Satin Dancer. Race 5 - $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial (3-year-old open trot, 2nd division): 1, Don't Let'em; 2, Final Claim; 3, Pilot Discretion; 4, Mass Fortune K; 5, Super Schissel; 6, Southwind Avenger; 7, Greenshoe. Race 6 - $179,550 Golden Girls (free-for-all mares pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Reclamation; 2, Divas Image; 3, Kissin In The Sand; 4, Shartin N; 5, Apple Bottom Jeans; 6, Seaswift Joy N; 7, Wisdom Tree; 8, Youaremycandygirl; 9, Alexa's Power; 10, Caviart Ally; 11, Bettor Joy N. Race 7 - $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity (4-year-old open trot at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Run Director; 2, Phaetosive; 3, Fiftydallarbill; 4, Atlanta; 5, Manchego; 6, Custom Cantab; 7, Crystal Fashion; 8, Muscle M Up; 9, Southwind Chrome; 10, Mission Accepted; 11, Six Pack. Race 8 - $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace (3-year-old open, with morning-line odds): 1, Captain Crunch, 2-1; 2, Escapetothebeach, 15-1; 3, Captain Ahab, 12-1; 4, Bettor's Wish, 3-1; 5, Hurrikane Emperor, 10-1; 6, Reigning Deo, 15-1; 7, Best In Show, 10-1; 8, U S Captain, 12-1; 9, Workin Ona Mystery, 5-1; 10, Captain Trevor, 15-1. Race 9 - $423,000 William Haughton Memorial (free-for-all pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Endeavor; 2, Duplicated N; 3, Beckhams Z Tam; 4, Always A Prince; 5, Lather Up; 6, McWicked; 7, Western Joe; 8, Highalator; 9, Dorsoduro Hanover; 10, This Is The Plan; 11, Dealt A Winner; 12, Filibuster Hanover. Race 10 - $207,700 Mistletoe Shalee (3-year-old filly pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Sylph Hanover; 2, Warrawee Ubeaut; 3, Tall Drink Hanover; 4, Trillions Hanover; 5, Rose Run Uptowngal; 6, Philly Hanover; 7, Zero Tolerance; 8, Stonebridge Soul; 9, St Somewhere; 10, Sweet Lucy Lou; 11, She's Allright; 12, Renaissance Lady K. Race 11 - $126,500 Del Miller Memorial (3-year-old filly trot, 2nd division): 1, Sister's Promise; 2, Princess Deo; 3, Millies Possesion; 4, Asiago; 5, Queen Of Trixs; 6, The Ice Dutchess; 7, Starita. The 13-race card gets underway at 7:15 p.m. with purses totaling $2,597,900. The Meadowlands Pace has an off time of 10:10 p.m. Dave Little  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The stage is set for a harness racing glamour division grudge match. Captain Crunch and Bettor's Wish - the 1-2 finishers three weeks ago in the North America Cup - will go at it again next week in the $682,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Final for 3-year-olds after both emerged victorious in eliminations for the Big M's signature event Saturday night. The Nancy Johansson-trained Captain Crunch had little trouble taking the first elim in 1:48.3. The son of Captaintreacherous-Sweet Paprika went after even-money second-choice Workin Ona Mystery as that one made the lead approaching the three-eighths, before 'Crunch' moved to the top shortly thereafter. Captain Crunch hit the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.4, and despite Workin Ona Mystery making one last lunge nearing the wire, held on for a safe half-length win. U S Captain, Captain Ahab and Reigning Deo finished third through fifth, respectively, to grab spots in the July 13 final. "Nancy always keeps her horses fresh, so I wasn't concerned (that he had been off for three weeks)," said winning driver Scott Zeron. "Once I saw (we went) :27 to the first quarter and everything was going nice and steady, I was comfortable with any kind of fractions. He's just a different type of animal." In winning for the fourth time in five outings in 2019, Captain Crunch returned $3.60 to win as the 4-5 favorite. Captain Crunch Bettor's Wish was even more impressive, scoring in the other elim in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. He hit the finish 2¼ lengths clear of Best In Show, with Hurrikane Emperor (third), Captain Trevor (fourth) and Escapetothebeach (fifth) grabbing the last three berths in the final. Bettor's Wish, who was driven by Dexter Dunn, put a beating on his foes by brushing to command at the three-eighths, hitting the half in :55.3 before pacing his back half in :53.3 to go on to the easy win. "I think we are in a good spot," said winning trainer Chris Ryder. "I suppose we won't be favored next week. But I think we're dangerous." A son of Bettor's Delight-Lifetime Star, Bettor's Wish returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 public choice in winning for the fifth time this year in six starts, his only loss coming to Captain Crunch in the NA Cup. Bettor's Wish PACE POSTS: Here are the post positions for the $682,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Final, which takes place Saturday, July 13, at the Meadowlands: 1, Captain Crunch; 2, Escapetothebeach; 3, Captain Ahab; 4, Bettor's Wish; 5, Hurrikane Emperor; 6, Reigning Deo; 7, Best In Show; 8, U S Captain; 9, Workin Ona Mystery; 10, Captain Trevor. A LITTLE MORE: Lather Up (6-1 third choice) sat a perfect pocket trip behind Always A Prince and rolled home to take the $250,000 Graduate Final for 4-year-olds on the pace. His eye-popping time of 1:46 equaled Always B Miki's all-time fastest mile in harness racing history. Lather Up . ... Atlanta (1-5 favorite) stayed perfect in six 2019 starts by taking the $250,000 Graduate Final for 4-year-olds on the trot. Her time of 1:49.1 was the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history. Atlanta . ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five resulted in a single-ticket winner. That NJBets mobile player had the only winning ticket with the combination of 7-9-2-11-8 and walked away with $126,155 . ... All-source wagering on the 11-race card totaled $2,654,612. The per-race average of $241,328 was the fourth highest of the meeting. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Darling Mearas S joined an extremely exclusive club after taking the overnight harness racing feature high-class conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night, as she joined J L Cruze (2015) and Plunge Blue Chip (2018) as the only 1:49.4 performers in the history of the Big M. Although she had lifetime earnings of just over $750,000, Darling Mearas S, who is Swedish owned and bred, had no North American mark at a mile except for a 1:56.1 qualifier on May 11, but the 6-year-old daughter of Cantab Hall-Khao Manee made quick work of that in her second lifetime North American start. Darling Mearas S floated away from post five in the event for non-winners of $17,500 in their last five starts, opting to race first-over past the quarter. She followed Very Very Fast, who towed her into contention before yielding the top to the eventual winner just after the half, which was timed in :54.4. Driver-trainer Ake Svanstedt had no intention of letting 7-5 favorite Joey Bats go by as he moved into contention first-over, and parked that foe around the far turn after a three-quarter time of 1:22. Darling Mearas S, who went off stride in her North American debut at Woodbine at Mohawk Park four weeks ago, had plenty left in the tank from there, trotting her final quarter in :27.4 to become the game's fastest trotter of 2019. It was 2½ lengths back to Buen Camino, who went an inside trip and outlasted a tired Joey Bats for second. Darling Mearas S, who is owned by Snogarps Gard, returned $6.80 to win as the second choice in the wagering and has now won 13-of-31 lifetime starts. A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras led the driving colony with three winners on the program, while Dexter Dunn, Andy McCarthy and Tim Tetrick had two apiece. ... After a one-week hiatus, the Can-Am Pick-4 returned and took in $47,931 in action. Hopefully, racing fans followed Big M TV's Gabe Prewitt and played his ticket, which came in and returned $357 for the bet with the 20-Cent base wager. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $120,242. ... All-source wagering on the 14-race card totaled $2,559,124. ... Racing resumes Saturday at a special earlier post time of 6:35 p.m. The Big M will salute its faithful on "Fan Appeciation Night" with concession-stand specials, a pair of Graduate Finals (each worth $250,000) and eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. When the card ends (sometime before 11 p.m.), the track will then light up the sky with a spectacular fireworks show. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing driver Marcus Miller was on fire at the Meadowlands Saturday night, driving five winners on the 14-race card. Miller began his big night in the second race by guiding 4-5 favorite All It Takes to a 1:52 score in a non-winners of $3,500 for pacers. He then reeled off three straight wins, beginning in race seven. First was Rocks Noble Artist as the 5-2 second choice in 1:52.1 in a TrackMaster rating Dash for the "G" Notes Final pace, followed by 7-2 third choice Sams A Champ A in a non-winners of $6,000 pace in 1:50, and then 6-5 favorite Music Is Art in a non-winners of $9,000 on the pace, also in 1:50. Miller capped his big night in race 13 by scoring with Daylyn Horizon as the 5-2 second choice in a $7,500 up to $10,000 claiming handicap for pacers in 1:52.3. The 30-year-old pilot came close to having a half-dozen winners, but lost race 10 by the smallest of margins, missing by a nose with the classy Sweet Rock in a non-winners of $17,500 pace to Ideal Feeling, who just held on in 1:49. Miller now has 36 winners at the meeting, good for sixth in the Meadowlands' driver standings. A LITTLE MORE: Greg Merton had a driving double on the card while trainer Edgar Clarke also won twice. ... Despite a sequence that saw one odds-on favorite and no horse longer than 5-1, the 50-Cent Pick-5 returned $650.00. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $118,780. ... All-source handle totaled $2,599,180. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. ... Next Saturday (July 6), post time will be 6:35 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Caviart Ally, Always A Prince and The Downtown Bus all established lifetime harness racing bests while Always A Prince went one step further, going a Meadowlands' season's-fastest 1:47.3 Friday night at the Big M. One week ago, Caviart Ally equaled her lifetime-best of 1:48.3 in the final leg of the Rainbow Blue Series for mare pacers and was even faster Friday, stopping the clock in 1:48 in the series' final. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool stayed perfect in four Meadowlands starts this year by clearing to the lead before the half, hitting three-quarters in 1:22.2, then exploding home in :25.3 to seal the deal for driver Andy McCarthy. Apple Bottom Jeans completed the $4.20 Exacta, finishing 2 lengths behind the winner. Bettor's Up was third. The Brett Pelling-trained Caviart Ally returned $2.40 to win, and now has 20 victories in 61 starts, good for earnings of just a hair under $1.3 million. "She was great tonight," said McCarthy. "I think Brett has got her spot-on at the moment. She was very straight and focused on her job. I'm extremely happy and excited going forward." In the first of two divisions of the fourth and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds on the pace, Always A Prince went first-over for most of the final half-mile, grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and held off the late-rallying 4-5 favorite Jimmy Freight - who was raging along the inside - by a head. American History, who was towed into contention by the eventual winner, settled for third. Always A Prince, who returned $9.40 as the second choice in the wagering, is a son of Always A Virgin-Glorious Princess who was driven by Dave Miller. The Tyler George trainee now has 21 wins from just 29 lifetime starts and has banked almost $550,000. "Not at all," said Miller if he was surprised at how good his horse was. "I knew what he was capable of. He raced great and went a big mile." The Downtown Bus sat a three-hole trip to score in the other Graduate division in 1:48. Shadow Cat cut out sizzling fractions of :25.4, :54.1 and 1:21.3 but stopped in the stretch, allowing the pocket-sitting 4-5 favorite Courtly Choice the opportunity to go on to what appeared to be an easy win, but Tim Tetrick put The Downtown Bus right behind Courtly Choice as that one vacated the pocket on the far turn, then ducked to the inside with an eighth of a mile to go before using some explosive pace on the way to an easy 2½ length score. Rock Lights was third. A son of Mach Three-Slimsplace, The Downtown Bus is trained by Jeffrey Gillis and paid $8.00 as the second choice in the betting. He now has 15 lifetime wins from 46 starts and earnings of $414,505. "On the middle of the last turn my horse felt great," said Tetrick. "'The Bus' is just a cool little horse." After The Downtown Bus hit the wire, the Meadowlands became the first track in the sport this year to have three miles of 1:48 or faster on a single race card. A LITTLE MORE: The Graduate Finals for both trotters and pacers are on July 6. ... Tetrick and Scott Zeron both recorded driving triples while Yannick Gingras and Miller had two apiece. ... Chalk players had a big night, as eight favorites scored on the 14-race program. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $117,559. ... All-source handle totaled $2,319,581. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It was another Saturday night at the Meadowlands where most of the regular harness racing drivers were out of town, and Pat Berry took full advantage, guiding Backstreet Shadow to a lifetime-best - and Meadowlands' season's-fastest - 1:47.4 clocking in the featured $30,000 Preferred for 4-year-olds on the pace. With many of the Big M drivers at Pocono Downs, Berry had the Scott DiDomenico trainee in a perfect position second-over following Albergo Hanover as 3-5 favorite Always A Prince hit three-quarters in 1:20.1. All Berry had to do at that point was tip off his cover, and he did just that during the stretch drive, before rolling to a three-quarter length victory over a fast-closing American History. Always A Prince held on for third. Backstreet Shadow, a son of Shadow Play-Backstreet Sweetie, gave notice in his last race that another big effort might be on the way. On June 9 at Tioga Downs, he won a division of the Graduate Series in a then lifetime-best 1:49.1. The winner paid $13.20 as the third choice in the wagering, and has now won five-of-12 starts this year for owner William Hartt. Lifetime, he's won 12-of-29 outings and banked $262,146. A LITTLE MORE: Vinny Ginsburg and Eric Abbatiello led the driver's colony with three winners each. Berry and Steve Smith both visited victory lane twice. ... The 50-Cent Pick-5, which saw a total pool of $56,304, had no winning favorites during its sequence, but was still havable as the longest price of the five was $14.40, which led to a payout of $3,263. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $116,410. ... All-source handle totaled $2,461,122. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Atlanta and Fiftydallarbill were the impressive winners of the fourth and final leg of the Graduate Series for harness racing 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night. The finals for both pacers and trotters take place on July 6 at the Big M. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner who trotted the fastest mile in Canadian harness racing history a week ago with a 1:50.2 clocking in the Armbro Flight, opted to come from off the pace in her Graduate division. The daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip picked up live cover from Muscle M Up down the backstretch after racing eighth and last to the opening quarter, tipped with an eighth of a mile to go, and stormed past the field to score by 1¼ lengths over a fast-closing Plunge Blue Chip. Crystal Fashion was third. "I kind of wanted to race her off a helmet tonight," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "I wanted to see what she would do. I was confident. There was never an anxious moment." Atlanta, who is trained by Ron Burke, trotted the mile in 1:50.4 and returned $2.40 to her backers as the 1-5 public choice while staying perfect in five 2019 starts. In the other Graduate division, Fiftydallarbill worked out a perfect pocket trip behind even-money favorite Six Pack and charged by his rival nearing the wire to record a neck victory. Phaetosive was third. Driver Corey Callahan likely won the race during the initial quarter, extending Six Pack through an opening split of :27.4. "I was trying to make him work a little bit into that first turn," said Callahan. In mid-stretch, Callahan tipped the son of Swan For All-CR Dixie Chick out of the pocket with an eighth to go and wore down Six Pack to record his 18th lifetime win in 42 starts. "I thought we were going to get by," said Callahan, who was fortunate to pick up this drive. "I really lucked out. He's gone through a couple of drivers but I really didn't have a horse for this class, so it worked out well for me." Fiftydallarbill paid $8.00 as the second choice in the wagering for trainer Katricia Adams. His final clocking of 1:50.2 equaled Greenshoe (May 31) and Atlanta (last Saturday) for the fastest trotting mile of the year in the spot. A LITTLE MORE: Caviart Ally was no doubt glad to not have to face Shartin N (whom she went up against in each of her last three starts) and took it out on her foes in the third leg of the Rainbow Blue Series, stopping the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48.3 while 1¾ lengths in front of Apple Bottom Jeans. The Brett Pelling trainee, who was driven by Andy McCarthy, returned $3.40 as the 3-5 favorite. ... Speaking of favorites, eight visited victory lane during the course of the 13-race card. ... One sharp player wagering into the Twin Spires hub had the only ticket to survive six legs of the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $8,960. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $115,221. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,337,789. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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