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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Neither three weeks off nor a horse grabbing the lead off the far turn could stop Highalator from continuing his winning ways at The Meadowlands, as the 6-year-old won his second straight after being under siege throughout the stretch at the mile oval Saturday night. For those who bet on the Jenny Bier trainee, who last raced on Sept. 5 at The Big M, it looked almost too good to be true in the early going, as driver Ricky Still urged the harness racing son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher to the lead from post 10 without having to work too hard to do it. The quarter was reached in a leisurely :27.1 before the half was hit in a sleepy :55.3. But on the far turn, Jesse Duke N made a race of it after popping out of the three-hole on the far turn, and came after the leader with good momentum, actually grabbing a half-length advantage with three-sixteenths-of-a-mile to go. But Highalator had more. Through the stretch, Highalator and Jesse Duke N went at it toe-to-toe while U S Captain on the outside and Ideal Feeling at the rail made their way into the scrum. At the wire, Highalator determinedly prevailed in 1:50, finishing a head in front of Ideal Feeling. U S Captain, the 2-1 public choice, was third while Jesse Duke N was fourth. Owned by Jenny Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc., Highalator, who has won three of four 2020 starts at The Big M, returned $11.60 to win as the third choice in the wagering. He now has 37 victories from just 81 lifetime starts and earnings of $604,614. A LITTLE MORE: Brian Sears and Dexter Dunn sat atop the driver's colony for the evening, as each guided three winners. ... One of Sears' wins came with Exotic Dance, a 4-year-old pacing mare from the Jenn Bongiorno stable who increased her winning streak to four in a $15,000-$20,000 claiming handicap. ... Despite favorites winning both races, each 10-cent Pentafecta brought handsome payouts. The fifth race paid $1,404.70 and the 13th race came back $1,633.47. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,251,836. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.     By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Fire Start Hanover, Commanding Officer and Summa Cum Laude all remained perfect through two harness racing legs of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds at The Meadowlands Friday night. Fire Start Hanover had an easy time of it in the first race filly pace, sailing down the road in a lifetime-best 1:52.1 to win by 1¾ lengths with driver Victor Kirby calling the shots. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Fit To Frame, who is trained by Nifty Norman, paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favorite and ran her overall winning streak to three. Commanding Officer completed an all-chalk Early Daily Double for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. The 2-5 favorite cleared to the lead before the three-eighths on the way to a 1½-length romp in 1:52.1 in a division for colt and gelding pacers. The son of Captaintreacherous-Turnoffthelights returned $2.80 to win. Summa Cum Laude stayed unbeaten in taking another division for male pacers in race nine. Driven by Simon Allard for trainer Ron Burke, Summa Cum Laude took over the lead after Bettor Not Talk went off stride while racing on the point on the way to the half. The winner, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, scored by a length in 1:52.2 and returned $4.00 as the even-money post-time choice. A LITTLE MORE: Allard was the top driver of the night. Currently fifth in the standings at Pocono Downs, Allard won three races on the night, two of them for Burke. … Kirby guided a pair of winner’s circle visitors for Norman. … Mark MacDonald and Zeron also steered two to victory lane. … Big M TV personality Jessica Otten correctly selected the $267.40 Early 50-cent Pick-4. She also gave out best bet Mazzarati, who returned $9.80 to win. … Despite the 4-5 favorite scoring easily, the 13th race Pentafecta failed to yield a winning ticket. The next Late 10-cent Pentafecta will start out with a carryover of $14,331. … All-source wagering totaled $1,878,489. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – We’ve seen this before. And before the year is out, it’s almost a certainty we’ll see it again. Allywag Hanover, a close-up third in The Meadowlands Pace two months ago, ended a personal three-race losing streak with authority Saturday night at The Meadowlands, exploding home in the final eighth of a mile to take a high-end conditioned harness racing pace in 1:49.2. “We’ve seen him get airborne before,” said trainer Brett Pelling. “He gets going faster than most horses go.” Heading into the ninth race, it was difficult to know which Allywag Hanover would show up, given his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship as the 3-5 favorite at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sept. 6. “When he came back from Canada [after finishing sixth in the North America Cup on Aug. 29], he coughed a little on the Monday before the Sire Stakes,” said Pelling. “He had some clear mucus, and he had the same thing Friday, which was very acceptable. But at Philadelphia, he came up sick, so that was pretty devastating.” After taking antibiotics and getting some rest, Allywag Hanover was ready to go Saturday after taking 12 days off. Rodeo Rock, a veteran hard-hitter with a lifetime bankroll of over $723,000, grabbed the lead at the half after brushing from an early three-hole and the 6-5 second choice had things his own way after getting clear of the field through a third fraction of :27.1 saw him reach three-quarters in 1:22.3. At the head of the stretch, Rodeo Rock was sailing along on a 2½-length advantage while Allywag Hanover was a non-threatening fourth racing with cover with plenty to do. But then he did it. At the eighth pole, Rodeo Rock still looked like the winner, but Allywag Hanover, much like he did on July 4 when he kicked home in :25.3 to win in 1:48, found another gear to nail Rodeo Rock at the finish by a neck after pacing a final quarter in :26. Like Clockwork was third. “It looked to me like he moved twice,” said Pelling. “[Driver Tim] Tetrick said the same thing. He was going, then it looked like he spotted [Rodeo Rock] and started going again.” In upping his lifetime stats to eight wins from 19 career starts, Allywag Hanover returned $3.60 to his backers as the 4-5 public choice. His earnings now stand at $234,163 for owners Allywag Stable. Pelling revealed what the plan is for his prized 3-year-old colt, who is a product of Captaintreacherous-Anderosa Hanover. “He’s going to Hoosier Park Friday for the Jenna’s Beach Boy Stakes,” said Pelling. “And he has other races, too. He’s Breeders Crown eligible. Beyond that, I’m pretty sure he’ll race beyond this year, but it hasn’t been spoken about yet.” A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy continued to make a big impression at The Meadowlands, driving three winners on the program. Andy McCarthy’s 27-year-old little brother has now won nine races over the last three Big M programs. … All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,448,703, capping a second straight weekend where wagering exceeded the $5-million mark. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Marcus Melander shined brightest at The Meadowlands Friday night, as his trainees scored three times among the 10 harness racing divisions of the first leg of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gait. Moonstone S was the first winner of the night for Melander in the third race colts and geldings trot. The son of Muscle Hill-Moonlight Kronos, who finished second in the Aug. 8 Peter Haughton Memorial, pulled the pocket after the half and sailed off to an easy 2½-length score as the 6-5 favorite with Tim Tetrick driving. He recorded his first win in five lifetime starts after stopping the clock in 1:55. Melander and Brian Sears teamed up to take the fourth race filly trot with Ineffable, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Jolene Jolene, who won for the second time in five lifetime tries. The 6-5 public choice, who was third in the Aug. 8 Jim Doherty Memorial, emerged from the pocket to win by a half-length in 1:56.2. In race seven, Melander completed his three-bagger with a second score in a colts and geldings trot as his Sonofamistery, with Sears driving, rolled to an easy 1¾-length win in 1:56.1 after racing parked out for the final half mile. The son of Muscle Hill-Mistery Woman, who broke in each of his first two seasonal starts, paid $3.00 after being sent off as the heavy 1-2 favorite. He’s now won twice from four outings. BIG ACTION: Betting was vigorous in the two multi-leg wagers that offered carryovers. The Late 20-cent Pick-5, which had $21,811 in the hat to start, attracted $123,810 in “new money” for a total pool of $145,621. Those who had tickets with the combination of 5-8-6-6-5 cashed in for $414.64. The Late 20-cent Pick-4 sported a total pool of $172,828 after $134,438 was added to the $38,390 carryover. Tickets reading 8-6-6-5 returned $344.30. … All-source wagering totaled $2,618,071. A LITTLE MORE: Lindysmusclemania stayed perfect in three starts after taking a Kindergarten division for trotting colts and geldings. The Ake Svanstedt-trained son of Muscle Hill-Possessed By Lindy hit the wire in a lifetime-best 1:54.4, 3½ lengths to the good with Andy Miller driving the 6-5 favorite. … Speaking of favorites, they scored in nine straight races beginning in race two. By night’s end, 10 post-time choices had visited the winner’s circle from 13 races. … Live racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarthy! No, not Andy of Hambletonian fame, but little brother Todd, who stole the show at The Meadowlands Saturday night. The recent Australian invader won four times on the 13-race card to record his first harness racing victories at the mile oval. There figure to be many more to come. McCarthy, 27, arrived from Down Under at the end of August and has made an immediate impact racing in the States, winning 11 times from 87 starts entering action Saturday. "Australia was good to me. It's been great for years," said McCarthy. "I was the top driver at Menangle Racetrack in Sydney for the last five years. The timing was tricky [to come to the States] the way things are in the world right now, but it was a good time to come over and give it a go. The racing here is definitely faster and a little more aggressive, but so far it's been great and I'm really enjoying it." So did those who bet him Saturday night. McCarthy got the ball rolling in the third race, finishing first in a dead heat. Guiding A Major Omen, he managed to catch Griffon Hanover at the wire to record his first career Big M win in 1:52.2 in a low-end conditioned pace, paying $7.20 to win. Both horses went off at odds of 6-1. Somebodyitreasure and McCarthy hooked up to destroy their foes in a non-winners of two pace by 5¾ lengths in 1:49.4 as the 6-5 favorite in race four before Flyingevenbettor N gave McCarthy his third win of the night in the sixth race non-winners of four pace in 1:51.2 as the 1-2 public choice. Completing McCarthy's grand slam was 7-1 chance The Bettormack N, who got the better of 3-5 favorite Ocean Colony nearing the finish of race seven. The time for the mile in the mid-range conditioned pace was 1:50. "I've had a good night," the understated McCarthy said. "With a lot of help from some good horses and some good trainers. I've been a lot busier than I thought I'd have been. I think for anyone in the harness racing industry, you look at America, The Meadowlands is the pinnacle. To crack one tonight and then to get a few more after that, it was pretty awesome." Big brother Andy has been in his corner. "Andy's been a key factor in throwing a lot of work my way," said Todd. "The fact that he's been away [racing in Canada] has been a help. He's told some of the trainers, 'I'm away, you can throw my brother down on something'." McCarthy said he plans to race at Philadelphia, Pocono Downs and The Meadowlands in the coming months. "I've enjoyed every track I've raced at," said McCarthy. It shows. BOMBS AWAY! Driver Pat Berry, aka "The Blueberry Bomber", was up to his old tricks again, guiding three winners on the card, none close to being the post-time public choice. Berry scored with Always The Sun ($15.20 to win) in the first race and Imageofarocker ($12.00) in the fifth before saving his best for last, winning with 33-1 shot Harambe Deo ($68.40) in the 10th. On March 7, the last night of racing before the coronavirus shutdown, Berry swept the late double that paid $2,700.40 with horses who went off at 47-1 and 27-1. A LITTLE MORE: With a carryover of $37,159 serving as the catalyst, Early 20-cent Pick-5 players got to shoot for a total pool of $188,387. Those correctly selecting five winners cashed in for $271.46. ... With Harambe Deo providing the big upset, neither the Late 50-cent Pick-4 nor the Late 20-cent Pick-5 were hit. When racing resumes, the Late Pick-4 will have a carryover of $38,390 while the Late Pick-5 will start out with $21,811 in the hat. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,744,326. ... The Big M's next live racing program is Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing fans of The Meadowlands' multi-leg wagers will no doubt be betting with both hands Saturday (Sept. 12) night, as after Friday night's Early 20-cent Pick-5 and 20-cent Pick-6 failed to result in winning tickets, each will offer big guaranteed pools. Thirty-two to one longshot Lear Seelster won the first race at the mile oval Friday night, leading to an Early 20-cent Pick-5 that did not have a ticket with five winners. Those with four correct cashed in for $108.22. Those who play the wager Saturday evening will have a shot at a huge score, as a carryover of $37,158 led Big M management to guarantee the pool at $100,000. Bettors can expect a final pool much larger than that as the last time a Pick-5 had a carryover on July 31, a total of $382,726 was pushed through the windows. The Pick-6's payoff leg was taken by 9-1 chance Stonebridge Reef, resulting in a carryover of $6,810. The track has guaranteed that pool at $20,000 for Saturday's card. Those who had five winners Friday walked away with $71.94. The last Pick-6 carryover (also on July 31) resulted in a total pool of $74,489. Free past performances for both Saturday's Early 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 1 through 5) and 20-cent Pick-6 (Races 3 through 8) are available at The Big M's website, playmeadowlands.com. FOUR SCORES FOR MILLER: Driver David Miller had the hot hand on the Friday program, visiting the winner's circle four times. Before the betting card began, Miller guided Reign Of Honor to victory lane in the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for trotting 4-year-old horses and geldings in 1:55.1. Then it was Miller time for the bettors. "The Buckeye", who is fifth on the all-time driver dash-win list with 13,037 victories, got his night started with the classy Dayson ($2.60 to win), who scored in 1:54 in a mid-range conditioned trot in race seven. He then scored one race later with 9-1 shot Stonebridge Reef ($21.00) in 1:54 in a 2-year-old non-winners of two pace before capping his night with a natural hat trick in the ninth behind The Last Chapter ($15.20), who took an upper mid-range conditioned trot in 1:53.4. A LITTLE MORE: The new 10-cent Pentafecta is worth a long look for players. Despite even-money favorite Lifetime Royalty scoring in the 13th race, the bet requiring one to correctly select the top five finishers paid $371.33. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,359,729. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Over the past two years, Highalator has impressed time and again at The Meadowlands, and Saturday night at the mile oval, he brought his ‘A’ game once again in defeating a talented harness racing field in the featured $18,500 high-end conditioned pace. Unlike his Big M score on June 6 at odds of 42-1 from post 10 from off the pace, driver Ricky Still had the 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher on the go early from post 8, following 6-5 favorite Angers Bayama around the first turn. Angers Bayama – seeking his fourth straight win – led at the quarter in :26.2, but Highalator surged to the top shortly thereafter, securing the lead at the three-eighths before being permitted to rate the half in :54.4. Donttellmeagain was now on the move as Tim Tetrick asked that one for pace, and the pair made up ground racing on the rim down the backside and around the far turn, and were just off the leader’s flank at the head of the stretch. But just as he did while sweeping the 2019 Golden Receiver Series at The Big M, Highalator found more. Through the stretch, Highalator had to contend with a pesky Donttellmeagain to his outside and Angers Bayama to his inside. But Highalator was up to the task, fending off that two-pronged attack to score by a safe head after pacing his final quarter in :26.4. Angers Bayama finished second with Donttellmeagain third. The Jenny Bier trainee, who paid $11.00 to win as the third choice, stopped the clock in 1:49 and now has 36 wins from 80 lifetime starts for owners Jenny Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. His earnings are now just shy of $600,000. A LITTLE MORE: Hambletonian champion Ramona Hill qualified Saturday morning, winning from off the pace in 1:53.1. … The program marked the start of The Big M’s new 10-cent Pentafectas. The fifth race combination of 9-3-4-10-1 was good for a payoff of $689.34, while the 13th race paid $132.07 for a ticket bearing the combination 3-8-5-2-4. The second and third choices finished in the top two in both races. … Wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,594,313. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras came from "off the pace" to best Dexter Dunn in the hotly contested battle for top driver at the Meadowlands meeting that came down to Saturday's Hambletonian Day card. By winning three races Friday and four more Saturday, Gingras overcame Dunn's 82-79 lead in the standings entering the final weekend of racing. After Dunn won the final race of the meet - with 19-1 shot Starvin Marvin - he stood one behind Gingras, who won the title by a count of 86 to 85. Gingras and Dunn also finished 1-2 in money earnings. Ron Burke, the winner of 12 consecutive national trainer titles, topped the Big M trainer colony in wins with 50. Nancy Takter was the leading money-earning trainer. She had just over $1 million in earnings heading into Hambo Day. Leading owners at the meeting were Pollack Racing LLC and Jeffrey Cullipher. HANDLE HIGHLIGHTS: All-source North American wagering on the 16-race Hambo Day card totaled $5,730,615, by far the highest total in the industry in 2020. It marked the second time during the 41-program meeting where wagering topped the $5-million plateau. On 33 occasions, wagering went past the $2.5-million mark, while the $3-million barrier was busted 10 times. Wagering on the Hambletonian was red hot, as a total of $845,469 was pushed through the windows on the 11th race Saturday, an increase of $322,305 over last year (61 percent). Wagering totals from international outlets will not be known for several days. A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy not only won his first Hambletonian, but was the top driver on Hambo Day, winning five times. ... Tony Alagna trained three to victory lane, all were driven by McCarthy. ... Live racing at The Meadowlands resumes on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7:15 p.m., and with the exception of Christmas Day, will be conducted on the normal Friday-Saturday schedule through the end of the year. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Tyrion continued his impressive winning ways Friday night at The Meadowlands, upping his lifetime record to three wins in as many starts after taking the $60,000 Garden State - sponsored by the Standardbred Owners and Breeders of New Jersey - for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot in 1:54.3 over a track labeled 'good'. The popular 1-9 favorite swung wide off the far turn and sprinted past his foes through the stretch to record a safe 1-length win for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Cricket Fashion was second with Red Redemption third. Two weeks ago, Southwind Tyrion took the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in a lifetime-best 1:54. He now has earnings of $122,500 for owners S R F Stable, Ake Svanstedt, Knutsson Trotting and Brittany Farms.   In the first of two Garden State divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the trot, Lindys Dollywood, the 4-1 third choice in the wagering, came from off the pace to nail Beautiful Game at the wire. The George Ducharme-trained, Scott Zeron-driven daughter of Muscle Hill-Lindys Crazy won for the first time in three career starts after stopping the clock in 1:54. The Svanstedt-trained Presto made it two wins in three lifetime outings in the second division, hitting the wire in a lifetime-best 1:56.2. Yannick Gingras guided the product of Trixton-Susie's Magic to an easy score as the 1-5 favorite. Dune Hill ran her winning streak to four in the Continentalvictory for 3-year-old filly trotters, holding off Ms Savannah Belle by a nose in 1:53.4 in winning for the sixth time in 16 starts for trainer Ron Burke with Gingras in the bike. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible paid $9.20 as the third choice in the betting. Hillexotic, a Muscle Hill-Exotic Destination colt trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer held off the late-charging 3-5 favorite Play Trix On Me in the Muscle Hill for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. The winner, who was sent to the gate as the fourth choice in the betting at odds of 6-1, won for the first time in four career starts, hitting the wire in 1:53. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras recorded three wins on the program while Dexter Dunn had one. Heading into the last day of the meeting, Dunn leads Gingras 83-82 in the driver standings. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,377,908. ... Racing resumes Saturday, Hambletonian Day, at a special early post time of noon. ... There will be a 60-minute Hambletonian show telecast on tape delay on the CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Post Time with Mike and Mike is proud to announce the show's lineup for Thursday, August 6th, 2020, at 10:30 AM. Guests include Andy McCarthy, Mike Wilder, and Dave Little. McCarthy, the regular driver of Ramona Hill, will talk about the filly's chances in the upcoming Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Saturday. She's coming off of an impressive come-from-behind win in her elimination. Wilder, the go-to pilot of Catch The Fire, won his first Adios at The Meadows this past Saturday in an emotional win over his home oval. Wilder will talk about what was going through his mind after he crossed the wire first. Little, part of the broadcast team at The Meadowlands, will preview the upcoming Hambletonian card from a handicapping point of view. You can listen live at 10:30 AM Eastern or on-demand at posttimewithmikeandmike.com. by Michael Bozich, for Post Time

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – It was a Meadowlands Pace harness racing rematch, where third-place finisher Allywag Hanover was looking for some revenge against Pace champion Tall Dark Stranger. But Captain Kirk did not get the memo that said one of the two favorites would emerge victorious. A son of Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover, Captain Kirk went directly to the top from post 8 before going directly down the road in the $84,800 Tompkins Geers for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Driver Joe Bongiorno was aggressive with the Tony Alagna trainee, and while he never had a moment’s peace, Captain Kirk recorded a determined three-quarter-length win nonetheless in a lifetime-best 1:48.3. Allywag Hanover (the 3-2 second choice) was second, Sandbetweenmytoes third and Tall Dark Stranger fourth. Sent off as the 16-1 third choice in the betting, Captain Kirk led at the quarter in :26.4 while taking bitter pressure from 131-1 chance Rogerthat Bluechip. The duo continued to trade blows to the half as Rogerthat Bluechip had a nose up in :54.2. Rogerthat Bluechip was done soon thereafter, and it was now Allywag Hanover’s turn to turn up the heat on the outside, but Captain Kirk kept on rolling, hitting three-quarters in 1:22.1, before extending his edge to two lengths for the sprint home. It was no problem from there. Captain Kirk ($35.60 to win), who finished seventh in The Pace, still had enough gas in the tank to pace his final quarter in :26.2 to get his second lifetime win in 13 starts. Tall Dark Stranger, the 3-5 favorite, had things go anything but smoothly from post 10, and did not fire after going a second-over trip. In the $53,100 Tompkins Geers split for 3-year-old fillies on the pace, Rocknificent sat in the pocket behind dueling leaders Peaky Sneaky and Alexis’s Beach before swinging three-wide on the far turn. The Scott Zeron-driven, Linda Toscano-trained daughter of Captaintreacherous-Rocklamation, who returned $4.80 as the 7-5 public choice, had to contend with a fast-closing Lady Lou along the rail, and just got up to record a head win in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. Peaky Sneaky was third. The fourth leg of the $40,000 Miss Versatility for open mare trotters went to 2-5 favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato), who needed every inch of the stretch while racing extremely wide to record a nose win over Kenziesky Hanover in 1:52.2 for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. The 5-year-old lifted her lifetime earnings to $1.267 million. A LITTLE MORE: Three of the Big M’s most popular puzzles took big action, as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($106,654), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($95,893) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($97,996) accounted for a total of $300,543 worth of wagers. … Betting blew past the $3-million mark for a second straight card and ninth time this year, as $3,242,000 was pushed through the windows. … Alagna finished the night with three winners, including American History, who took the Open for pacers in 1:47.1, just a fifth of a second off the national season’s record. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. … Saturday’s (August 8) huge Hambletonian Day card gets underway at noon.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was a night for the players who love The Meadowlands' multi-leg wagers Friday night, as a pair of big carryovers led to windfalls for shrewd bettors. Right off the bat, the first race saw the 20-cent Pick-5 attract $330,061 in "new money" on top of the $52,665 carryover. The pool total was $382,726, and those who had winning tickets where the winner's odds were 7-2, 3-2, 17-1, 12-1 and 2-1 cashed in for $3,974.94. Twenty-cent Pick-6 winners also cashed in for big green. After $61,325 was pumped into the pool on top of the $13,524 carryover, a total of $74,489 was in the hat. Winner's odds for that sequence were 12-1, 2-1, 7-1, 6-5, 5-1 and 7-2, and those who held live tickets walked away with $4,689.20. With the boost provided by the big Pick-5 betting, the total pool on the first race was $483,599, which set the tone for the rest of the evening, as total wagering exceeded the $3-million mark for the eighth time this year with $3,065,942 pushed through the windows on the 13-race card. That number represented a 34 percent increase over the corresponding program from a year ago. ON THE TRACK: Plumville Prince scooted up the rail after three horses vacated the pylons on the far turn, then split rivals in deep stretch to record a 1¾-length score in the lone Peter Haughton Memorial elimination for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. Sent to the gate as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering, Plumville Prince stopped the clock in 1:54.2 in winning for the first time in three lifetime starts. Scott Zeron drove the product of Father Patrick-Lady Athens for his father, trainer Rick. Finishing second through seventh, respectively, were Moonstone S, Venerate, Media Mogul, Caruso, Zenith Stride and Incentive. They will join three horses who accepted byes - Locatelli, Type A and Spy Booth - in the $324,000 Final on August 8. Chalk players took it on the chin in both eliminations of the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. In the first elim, 2-5 choice Insta Glam broke on the far turn, setting up a win from well off the pace from 12-1 chance Darlene Hanover (Chapter Seven-Danielle Hanover), who scored in 1:54.4 in registering her first lifetime score for trainer Brett Bittle and driver Andy McCarthy. Material Girl, Hot As Hill, Ineffable and May Karp finished second through fifth, respectively, earning berths in the August 8 final, which will go for $310,000. Altar, also 2-5 in the betting, was sailing along on the lead in mid-stretch before going off stride in the second elim, allowing Mazzarati (Cantab Hall-Falls For You) a trip to the winner's circle. Driven by Tim Tetrick for Lucas Wallin, Mazzarati hit the wire in a lifetime-best 1:56. Avenir, Ixia Maculata S, Altar (finished 3rd, disqualified and placed fourth) and Sel's Choice were second through fifth in the official order of finish to advance to the final. In a pair of $40,000 divisions of the Home Grown, Caviart Audrey (Somebeachsomewhere-Darlin's Delight) used a wicked late kick (:25.4 final quarter) to catch 3-5 favorite Grace Hill in taking her lifetime debut in 1:51.4 at odds of 2-1 for Yannick Gingras and Nancy Takter in the split for 2-year-old pacing fillies. The division for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace saw Summa Cum Laude (the 6-5 slight second choice) blast directly down the road for Dexter Dunn and Ron Burke. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate hit the wire in 1:51.4, a lifetime best. Monterrey Jack, also 6-5, finished third. BEFORE THE BETTING CARD: Shake That House, a son of American Ideal-Shake That Junk, went wire to wire in 1:49.1, taking the New Jersey Breeders Maturity Final for pacing 4-year-old horses and geldings for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Joe Bongiorno. It was 1¼ lengths back to Hurrikane Emperor in second. A Beach Cowgirl (Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl) sat a perfect pocket trip and got up as they hit the wire to gun down JK American Beauty by a nose in a lifetime-best 1:49.4 for Annie Stoebe and Andy McCarthy in the New Jersey Breeders Maturity Final for 4-year-old mares on the pace. HAMBO PROPS: Fans who want to stop into the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Big M will have a chance to make some prop bets on Saturday night's Hambletonian eliminations. You can get +220 on Zeron to finish on the board in both elims, or maybe you have a strong opinion on who will finish in front of whom in the matchup pitting Ramona Hill (-125) and Beads (+110). There will be a handful of bets available, including the winning margins of both elims. A LITTLE MORE: Dunn, Zeron, Bongiorno and McCarthy all recorded driving doubles on the program. ... Betting in the Late 50-cent Pick-4 surpassed the $100,000 mark for a fourth straight time, as $106,675 was put in play. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m., featuring two eliminations for the $1,000,000 Hambletonian. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With each having recorded a sharp score in their respective divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Back Of The Neck and Ready For Moni have been installed as the morning-line favorites in their respective Hambletonian eliminations, which take place Saturday (August 1) night at The Meadowlands. The Hambo Final is August 8. In the first of two $50,000 elims, Back Of The Neck is listed at 2-1 from post one for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Ake Svanstedt. After missing a nose in his seasonal debut on June 27 to Sorella - one of The Hambletonian Oaks favorites - the son of Ready Cash-Big Barb has reeled off two straight wins from off the pace in impressive fashion, scoring in the July 11 Reynolds in a lifetime-best 1:52 before his Dancer win on July 18, also in 1:52. "No, he is not one dimensional," said Zeron after being asked if his horses' best game is coming from behind. "His best effort was on the front end in his first start. To have come home in :26.1 and get picked off at the last second, that was a great effort. "I avoided the front end going forward because I wanted to teach him to do other things. [Having drawn post 1] Gives me options. I definitely don't have one trip in mind. I avoided the front in his last two on purpose, but we will play it by ear. I'm happy with the post position." Ready For Moni will start at 5-2 on the big board from post 8 in the second elim as Nancy Takter and Yannick Gingras look to become the first trainer-driver team to sweep The Meadowlands Pace and The Hambletonian in the same year. The son of Ready Cash-Nothing But Moni went a perfect cover trip in his only outing of 2020 when he won his Dancer split in a lifetime-best 1:51.4 after kicking home in :27.1. So, what about the outside post position? "I'm a little indifferent about it," said Takter. "On paper, it looks like we are in the easier of the two eliminations. I think we are in good shape. I think the eight is a good spot." Takter is not concerned about Ready For Moni having only had one outing this season. "It's just the way his schedule played out," said Takter. "I would have preferred one or two more starts but all of our horses have a good foundation. I think it's a myth that these horses need a lot of races. They go so fast. I think [having too few starts] is better than having too many." For the complete post-position draw of both Hambletonian eliminations, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/hambletonian-eliminations-set/ HAMBLETONIAN – 1st ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt), 2-1 2. Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 8-1 3. Amigo Volo (Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman), 7-2 4. Big Oil (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), 10-1 5. Maesteraemon (Brian Sears, Marcus Melander), 12-1 6. Hollywood Story (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 10-1 7. Ramona Hill (Andy McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 5-1 8. Beads (Jimmy Takter, Per Engblom), 9-2 HAMBLETONIAN – 2nd ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Capricornus (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 2. Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), 3-1 3. Jula Trix Treasure (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 6-1 4. Rome Pays Off (Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander), 9-2 5. Threefiftytwo (Scott Zeron, Luc Blais), 8-1 6. Chestnut Hill (David Miller, Nifty Norman), 6-1 7. Sky Castles (Corey Callahan, Andrew Harris), 20-1 8. Ready For Moni (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 5-2 9. Moon Bridge (Andy Miller, Ake Svanstedt), 20-1 FABULOUS FILLIES: Attempting to become the next filly to win the Hambletonian (Atlanta was the last in 2018) are Ramona Hill (5-1 in the first elim) and Sister Sledge (3-1 in elim two). OAKS A SINGULAR EVENT: The $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks saw 12 horses enter, meaning that event for 3-year-old fillies on the trot will not need eliminations and will be one dash for the cash on Saturday, August 8. To view the complete list of horses entered, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ENTERED-2020-Hambo.pdf POST DRAWS LIVE: The post-position draws for both The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will take place during Saturday night's program at The Meadowlands and will be broadcast on the track's in-house simulcast feed live. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Sister Sledge threw her hat into the ring as a big-time contender in the August 8 Hambletonian Oaks with a dominant harness racing performance in one of three Tompkins Geers divisions at The Meadowlands Saturday night. In the second of two splits for 3-year-old filly trotters, driver Yannick Gingras was patient early with Sister Sledge, vacating the three-hole after the quarter and clearing the top at the half in :55.4. The daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors sailed home as much the best from there, hitting the wire in 1:51.2, lowering her previous lifetime best by one-and-four-fifth seconds. It was 4¾ lengths back to Ms Savannah Belle. Dubai Princess was third. The Ron Burke trainee, who paid $2.80 to win as the 2-5 public choice, upped her lifetime stats to 11 wins in 16 starts, good for earnings of $622,058. Sister Sledge Caviart Eva pulled off a big upset at odds of 30-1 in the first filly division, gunning down 2-5 favorite Next Level Stuff by a nose in 1:52.1, a lifetime best for the Trixton-Caviart Elle product, who was driven by Andy McCarthy for trainer Nancy Takter. Caviart Eva In the lone dash for colts and geldings, 10-1 chance Rome Pays Off (Muscle Hill-Order By Wish), driven by Mattias Melander for his brother Marcus, scored in a lifetime-best 1:52.3, possibly punching his ticket to take a shot in The Hambletonian. Play Trix On Me, the 3-2 favorite, was 2¾ lengths behind at the wire to finish second. Rome Pays Off BIG CARRYOVERS FRIDAY No winning tickets were sold in two of the track's popular multi-leg wagers, setting up a pair of carryovers sure to titillate players when racing resumes Friday night. Despite 4-5 favorite Caviart Rockland winning the final leg, no one held a winning ticket on the 20-cent Pick-5, which led to a carryover of $52,665. Big M management announced that a guaranteed pool of $150,000 will be offered next week for the wager with the low 15 percent takeout. The odds of the winners for the first four legs were 8-1, 10-1, 5-1 and 30-1. The pool total was $82,618, and those who had four out of five cashed in for $103.72. The 30-1 shot - Caviart Eva in the fourth race - was the key to both carryovers, as she began a 20-cent Pick-6 sequence that saw the following five winners score at odds of 4-5, 2-5, 10-1, 12-1 and 4-5. The Pick-6 pool, which totaled $21,226, will have a carryover of $13,524, with much more expected to be pumped through the windows next week. Those who went five for six got back $126.10. A LITTLE MORE Gingras led the driver's colony with four winners on the night. He and Dexter Dunn finished the weekend with five victories apiece and are tied for the top spot in the driver standings with 77 winners each. ... For a third straight time, wagering in the Late 50-cent Pick-4 exceeded the $100,000 mark, as $103,746 was put in play. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,767,603. ... Check out The Meadowlands Facebook page on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. as Jessica Otten will host the live post-position draw for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations, which take place Saturday night. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - They might have taken different paths to get there, but Altar and Southwind Tyrion both found their way to the harness racing winner's circle in a pair of $160,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals at The Meadowlands Friday night. Altar, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Swan Hot Mama, led at every call in taking the 2-year-old filly trot for driver Dave Miller and trainer Per Engblom. After heading to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, Miller urged Altar to the top and never surrendered the lead in a thoroughly dominant performance, hitting the wire 2¾ lengths in front of Material Girl in a lifetime-best equaling 1:54.4. Presto finished third. "I actually wanted to get out of there and get on Yannick's [Gingras, driving Presto] back," said Miller. "I thought that would be better. She finished real strong." After hitting the half in a rated :58, Altar accelerated and opened up 2½ on the field at three-quarters and had no anxious moments from there. "Not particularly," said Miller when asked if he intentionally sped clear of the field. "She was so relaxed, I did chirp to her on the far turn, and she did everything on her own from there."   Altar returned $3.60 to her backers, and now has two wins in three lifetime starts, good for earnings of $92,500 for owners Diamond Creek Racing. In the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Southwind Tyrion stayed perfect in two lifetime outings after scoring in a lifetime-best 1:54 coming from off the pace. The son of Muscle Hill-Taylor Jean was pushed wide into the first turn and took back to mid-pack before emerging from the five-hole approaching the half, flushing cover from Mon Amour, who was looking for a three-race Sire Stakes sweep. Miller and Heartbreak Hill were sailing along on the lead at three-quarters but brought little from there. After tipping off his cover, Southwind Tyrion exploded home in :27 to record a 3-length win over Locatelli, who did well from post 10 as the 2-1 favorite. Spy Booth grabbed the show dough. Southwind Tyrion, who returned $16.40 as the fifth choice in the wagering, now has earnings of $92,500 for owners S R F Stable and Ake Svanstedt Inc. STAYING PERFECT: A pair of $96,000 NJSS Finals for 2-year-old pacers were contested before the betting card, with both winners completing three-race sweeps after taking both of their respective preliminary legs. First up was Anna Jeans (Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover), who won the filly event in 2:05.2 for driver Jason Thompson and trainer John Urbanski. Fika Time (a Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite gelding) stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:55.4 in the division for colts and geldings for Tim Tetrick and Chase Vandervort. There were also a pair of New Jersey Breeders Maturity events for 4-year-old pacers, the first of which - for horses and geldings - went to Hurrikane Emperor in 1:50. The son of Hurrikane Kingcole-Hurrikane Schmumma, the fastest horse in the sport this year by virtue of his 1:47 clocking in the Graduate on July 11, was piloted by Mark MacDonald for John McDermott. A Beach Cowgirl (Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl) established her lifetime best of 1:50 in holding off JK American Beauty by a half-length for Dexter Dunn and Annie Stoebe in the division for mares. A LITTLE MORE: 2016 Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder won the overnight feature - a high-end conditioned trot - in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. ... Miller led all drivers with four wins on the card. ... Betting surpassed the $2.5-million mark for the 29th time in 35 Big M programs this year, as a total of $2,759,620 was pushed through the windows, including $100,394 of action in the 50-cent Late Pick-4. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The action was pulse-pounding - both on the track and at the windows - and Dave Briggs of harnessracingupdate.com summarized by writing "We needed this". Both are accurate takes on what transpired Saturday on Meadowlands Pace Night at The Meadowlands. Harness fans' thirst for a huge night of racing was quenched by the Big M's 13-race program, which included 10 stakes events, highlighted by the 44th edition of The Meadowlands Pace, where Tall Dark Stranger came back after being passed in the stretch by arch-rival Papi Rob Hanover to record his 11th career win in 12 tries for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Takter in a Pace finish that will go down as one of the most thrilling in history. "Honestly, I thought he was beat," said Gingras. "This horse is just so gritty. He wants to fight them off. Papi was a half-length by me." "An incredible night for harness racing," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Congratulations to the entire Meadowlands team on a historic card, when Meadowlands Pace Night handle topped $5 million for the first time since 2008." Some handle highlights from the card: Total handle: $5,051,261 (an increase of $1,006,958 - 25 percent - over 2019) Average per race: $388,558 50-cent Pick-4 pool: $191,288 The 20-cent Super High-Five pool featured a mandatory payout. It started with a $65,089 carryover before $133,578 in "new money" was wagered for a total of $198,667 Meadowlands Pace (Race 9) pool: $645,423 (an increase of $145,498 over 2019) SMALL INVESTMENT, BIG GAIN: The Big M's popular multi-leg wagers offered generous payouts on the plays that have a base bet of 20 cents as the Late Pick-5 ($1,494), Pick-6 ($5,016), Super High-Five (Race 11, mandatory payout, $3,765) and Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 13, $4,990) all provided handsome returns. THE POWER OF THE PEN: As Briggs wrote in his Sunday HRU space: "But in this, of all years, we needed this: an epic battle of equine fortitude and speed and strength that reminded us what we love so much about horses. "We needed it played out on a delightful card on the biggest stage featuring more than $2.6 million in purses, betting that exceeded $5 million and a raft of equine superstars that had collective earnings north of $53 million heading into the night. "We needed it like a kid in Grade 7 needs to burst from school when the final bell rings on the last day before summer vacation. That's exactly how it felt watching the whole delicious card unfold. "Yes, the card, given the pandemic, was far from normal, but The Meadowlands stellar broadcasting crew, led by the two Daves - buoyant Brower and savvy Little - did their utmost to make it seem as if everything was right in the world. "Maybe Saturday was just a momentary distraction from the misery. Likely, the euphoria won't last long. But, dammit, we needed this." THE NEXT BIG ONE: Harness racing's trotting classic, The Hambletonian, takes place at The Meadowlands on Saturday, August 8. Post time will be noon. Two horses who figure to be on hand are Ready For Moni and Back Of The Neck, the winners of the two Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions Saturday who are currently 1-2 in Ken Warkentin's "Road to the Hambletonian" Top 10. To see the entire poll, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Road-to-the-Hambletonian072220.pdf. MARCH IN GABE'S ARMY: The Meadowlands' Dave Brower, Dave Little, Warkentin and Jessica Otten will be joined this weekend by Gabe Prewitt, harness racing's "Man of Many Hats" who calls the action at Pompano Park and Lexington's Red Mile and played a key role in Scioto Downs besting the $2-million handle mark for the first time in track history earlier this year. The social media wiz, who is the leader of his "#senditin army", will be on hand to bolster the Big M's TV presence by sitting beside Brower Friday night and serving as co-host of the live simulcast presentation, which begins at 6:45 p.m. Post time for the first race on Friday and Saturday is the usual 7:15 p.m. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where race fans can access the Late 50-cent Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (races 10-13) on both Friday and Saturday. In addition, on Friday, Race 6 will be offered (New Jersey Sire Stakes Final) and on Saturday, add Races 2, 4 and 6 (The Tompkins Geers). CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Otten (@JessicaOtten1) and Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

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