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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Covered Bridge has been so good early on in his 4-year-old harness racing campaign, he's even surprised his trainer, Ron Burke. "He has been even better than we had hoped," said Burke of the gelded son of American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses, who was a dominant winner of the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $27,500 high-end conditioned pace. "We couldn't be happier with him," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "He's getting stronger every week." A scary thought for all the other 4-year-olds who will take him on this season. Covered Bridge remained unbeaten in three starts this year - all at the Meadowlands - facing his toughest test of the season. He was in against Sintra, the "Terror from Toronto" who had won all four of his starts this season facing the best on the grounds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the super-formful Bell I No, who had finished second or better in seven straight Big M outings. Unlike a week ago, Gingras opted to put Covered Bridge on the engine, making a second move to the top after yielding briefly to Sintra just after the quarter. Given the caliber of the combatants, the half was reached in a lazy :56.1, and when one considers that Covered Bridge had won his first two outings of 2020 in 1:48.3 and 1:49.2, it was going to take a lot to catch him. As it turned out, it could not be done. After three-quarters was clocked in 1:24, Covered Bridge had a :26.3 kicker in his tank to easily beat Sintra, who is presumably on his way to Yonkers next week for the Borgata Series, by 1½ lengths in 1:50.3. Bell I No finished third.   "Mostly 4-year-old races," said Burke when asked what the plan is for Covered Bridge. "But we will be re-evaluate soon." Is he the type of horse you'd put into the Graduate, which gets underway May 2 at the Meadowlands? "I think for sure." Covered Bridge, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Mortgage Boys Stable, returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 favorite and has now won 10-of-36 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $273,837. BOMBS AWAY! Pat Berry, aka "The Blue Berry Bomber", put a big smile on his fans' faces when he guided 47-1 shot Barefoot Bluejeans to victory lane in the 12th race. The win price of $96.40 was the largest of 2020 at the Big M. Apparently unsatisfied with one huge longshot, Berry came right back in the 13th race and scored with 27-1 chance Jumping Jake, giving the 44-year-old pilot a sweep of the Late Double that paid $2,700.40. Berry scored earlier on the card with an 11-1 shot and his one Friday winner went off at 10-1. With Berry's bombs hitting their targets in the final two races, the Late Pick-4 returned $18,446.90 after driver Andy Miller and trainer Nick Surick teamed up to take legs one and two at odds of 5-1. A LITTLE MORE: Betting surpassed the $2.5-million plateau for the 12th time in the last 13 race cards, as a total of $2,845,232 was pushed through the windows on the 13 races. ... Berry, Gingras and Andy McCarthy had driving triples on the program. After scoring in both co-features Friday, McCarthy finished the weekend with five winner's circle trips. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just 48 hours after arch-rival - and 2019 Horse of the Year - Shartin N won in 1:50 at Dover Downs in her seasonal debut, Caviart Ally sizzled over a sloppy strip at the Meadowlands Friday night in her first start of 2020, taking the co-featured $30,000 Preferred for harness racing pacing fillies and mares in 1:49.4 in rainy and chilly conditions over a sloppy track with a -2 variant. "I'm very proud of her," said Caviart Ally's trainer Brett Pelling. "She is reasonably fit and race ready but there's nothing like a race to get her on her game." Let the rivalry resume. "Racing Shartin N always presents a dilemma since they both share the same racing style," said Pelling. "No matter what, posts at Yonkers will dictate [when the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series gets underway next week]." JK American Beauty, spectacular two weeks ago when she won her first start of the year in a lifetime-best 1:50.2, was on the go early and grabbed the top. After taking a brief tuck, Caviart Ally was up after the lead and cleared at the three-eighths before hitting the half in :55.1. 'Ally' was clear of JK American Beauty as Odds On St Lucie inched her way into the fray at three-quarters while first-over, but through the stretch, after some coaxing from driver Andy McCarthy, Caviart Ally hit the wire a safe neck in front of JK American Beauty. Odds On St Lucie was third.   "She was terrific," said McCarthy. "I was hoping to [come from off the pace] but I had to put her in the race. I wanted to give her a good tightener and we were in a bit of a soft bunch, so I figured we had to be close to the front anyway." Caviart Ally, a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool who is owned by Caviart Farms, returned $3.40 to win as the 3-5 public choice. She's now won 26-of-73 lifetime starts and earned $1,839,516. ANDY MAC-NIFICENT: Winning one of the features on the card wasn't enough for McCarthy, who also scored in the $30,000 Preferred for trotters, with Joey Bats, in 1:53.1. Joey Bats went parked past the quarter but eventually got around a head-strong Muscle Diamond soon thereafter before reaching the half in :55.4. Pappy Go Go, who along with Joey Bats comprised a power-packed uncoupled 1-2 punch for trainer Andrew Harris, raced fifth to the half before uncorking a burst of speed to get into contention on the far turn, but faded soon thereafter. The pocket-sitting Muscle Diamond took his shot in deep stretch but would come up a neck short. Misslarose finished third but was disqualified and placed last in the field of six for interference. Pappy Go Go finished fourth, then placed third.   "He was good," said McCarthy of Joey Bats. "I think he needs to sit off a helmet, but if I didn't go to the lead tonight, I knew I would have to come first-over. I knew I had to win tonight. I know they staked him up pretty good, so I wanted to make sure he won." "Joey is just a phenomenal horse who is still developing," said Harris. "I think he has every bit of what it takes to become a stakes winner at some point. Andy Mac just knows how to manage him." Joey Bats, a 5-year-old gelded son of Holiday Road-JN Daytona who is owned by Scott Dillon, Michele Nelson and Marc Reynolds, returned $5.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite. He's now won 18-of-58 lifetime outings and earned $329,962. Pappy Go Go, who was in search of a fifth straight Meadowlands win, did not bring his best effort. "Pappy was a little disappointing," said Harris. "He's a very talented horse and when he didn't get better position off the gate, in short fields, everyone is protecting. I knew he was going to be stuck with a tough journey." A LITTLE MORE: Drew Monti, the 25-year-old driver regularly seen on the Buffalo-Batavia circuit, upped his win total at the meeting to 12 after winning three races on the card. ... All-source handle on the 13-race program totaled $2,503,586. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5 million mark in 11 of the last 12 Big M cards. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Preferred Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night may have lacked quantity, but it did not lack for quality - or a thrilling finish - as None Bettor A recorded a narrow harness racing victory over Trump Nation in 1:50.4. After Endeavor scratched, the $30,000 event was down to a field of five, and in the early going 4-5 favorite Trump Nation, who was in search of a fifth straight Big M score, put even-money second choice None Bettor A in the pocket. There wasn't much action to the half, which was clocked in :56.1, but with three-eighths of a mile to go, Andy McCarthy edged None Bettor A to the outside as Yannick Gingras and Trump Nation braced for the challenge. Then, the action went from pedestrian to pulse-pounding. Trump Nation dug in through the length of the stretch as the Andrew Harris-trained None Bettor A relentlessly continued to inch closer, and at the wire, it took the photo-finish camera to determine that None Bettor A, making his seasonal debut, had nosed out Trump Nation. Both recorded final quarters of :26.1. Rodeo Rock was explosive late after racing last to the top of the stretch to finish third. Harambe Deo and Franco Totem N cashed the final two checks. "I've trained Trump Nation [in the past]," said Harris. "And I know how quick his turn of foot is. But I won't lie. When I saw those fractions, I was not sure what to think. But this being None Bettor's first start, and against top horses, I'm very pleased. He's tuned up and ready for stakes season. "He will skip next week most likely. Then on to the [March 14] Borgata Series [at Yonkers]. And he's staked up pretty good, so we will play it by ear as we go and he will tell us what he's ready for and when." None Bettor A returned $4.20 to win as the second choice in the wagering. The 7-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight-Limerick Star, who is owned by Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing, now has 29 wins in 77 lifetime starts and earnings of $459,445. POWERFUL PICK-6 POOL: The 20-cent Pick-6, which had a carryover of $11,270 from Friday, saw $77,512 in "new money" for a total pool of $88,782. A formful sequence saw four favorites, one even-money second choice and one 5-1 shot combine to create a payoff of $288.98. WILD WAGERING WEEKEND: For a second straight night, betting was less than $30,000 away from the magic $3-million mark, but was more than enough to complete the biggest weekend of betting at the Big M in 2020. After $2,973,673 was pushed through the windows Saturday, the third best single night of the year, the weekend total reached $5,944,408. A LITTLE MORE: When Jeff Dauplaise, 58, moved Soho Chelsea A along the inside to win the 11th race, it gave the veteran driver his first win at the Meadowlands since Dec. 5th of 2015. Lifetime, he's won 228 races. ... Dexter Dunn led the driver colony with four wins on the card. ... Gingras had a driving double, lifting his February win total to a track-best 23. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Machnhope pulled off an upset in the harness racing feature on an otherwise formful evening of racing, and betting came oh-so-close to the magic $3 million mark on an eventful Friday night at the Meadowlands. The Noel Daley-trained Machnhope, a 5-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Hope For Life, scored in the $25,000 fillies and mares high-end conditioned pace after racing along the rail in the three-hole before Pat Berry swerved her to the outside at the head of the stretch. The pair then exploded home in :27.2 to record a half-length win over Odds On St Lucie in a lifetime-best 1:51.3. The race set up for a closer after early leader Lily Hammer, in search of her fifth victory in six starts, was pressed by Odds On St Lucie, who was nothing short of gigantic going parked the mile, racing without cover from start to finish. 'Lucie' nudged past the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go and was clear nearing the finish, only to get gunned down. Write Me A Song, the 6-5 favorite who was making her 2020 debut, went second over and finished third.   Machnhope returned $29.60 to win as the fifth choice in the eight-horse field for owner Gary J. Lance and now has 20 wins from 70 lifetime starts and earnings of $243,867. BETTING BIG: All-source handle reached $2,970,735, the third best night of business in 2020 at the Big M. The only two bigger totals occurred on Jan. 3 ($3,069,967) and Feb. 1 ($3,026,740). Betting has now exceeded $2.5 million nine of the last 10 race cards. PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With three of the winners going off at odds of 25-1, 17-1 and 13-1, there were no tickets with all six winners in the 20-cent Pick-Six, creating a carryover of $11,270 heading into Saturday's card. Those with five winners cashed in for $939.30. As part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative, there will be a $40,000 guarantee on Saturday's pool. There was a Pick-6 carryover of $14,376 heading into the card of Feb. 21, which led to $76,682 in "new money" being poured into the pot for a total of $91,058. Saturday's 20-cent Pick-6 begins with the fourth race in the program. A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras kept his February roll moving, driving two winners on the card, giving him 21 victories for the month. ... Berry and Andy Miller also had two winners apiece. ... Chalk players ruled again, as for a second straight program, eight winning favorites hit victory lane. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras recorded five wins and won the feature at the Meadowlands, as he scored with Trump Nation in Saturday night's Preferred Handicap for pacers. Trump Nation, sent to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, blasted away from post seven in the field of eight along with Atta Boy Dan and Americanprimetime. Endeavor was in the early scrum but driver Corey Callahan decided to back off into the four-hole as Atta Boy Dan led at the quarter. Trump Nation continued on until surging to the top at the three-eighths. Endeavor, the 2-1 second choice, was on the move at the half racing on the rim and chipped away at the leader's edge, drawing to within a length at the head of the stretch. The rivals battled through the lane as Endeavor continued to inch closer, but at the wire, it was an ultra-determined Trump Nation out-gaming Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Harambe Deo was third.   Gingras wasn't worried as his primary foe was closing in. "I was pretty confident I was going to be able to hold him off," said Gingras. "This horse was super again." Trump Nation, a 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.80 to his backers. He's now won 15 of 40 lifetime starts and earned $432,446 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Evan Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. THE NEED FOR SPEED: A fast track and comfortable-for-the-time-of-year temperatures in the 40s on a clear night led to some rock-the-clock times on the program. The red-hot Bell I No, who won a week ago in 1:49.1 despite cold conditions and a -1 track variant, recorded the second fastest mile in North America of 2020 when he ripped through fractions of :26.4, :54.1 and 1:22 before completing the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48.4 to record his third win in four starts in the sixth race high-end conditioned pace. Andy Miller drove the Andrew Harris trainee. Just two races later, the Ron-Burke trained Covered Bridge equaled Effronte A's national season's-best of 1:48.3 by coming from off the pace in taking another high-end conditioned pace. Driven by Gingras, Covered Bridge lowered his previous lifetime mark by two-and-one-fifth seconds while making his seasonal debut. A LITTLE MORE: Chalk players ruled the night, as eight winning favorites scored on the card. ... Wagering on the track's four popular multi-leg puzzles was vigorous as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544), 20-cent Pick-6 ($29,150), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($89,159) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($74,289) accounted for total bets of $268,142. ... Gingras, Dexter Dunn (three winners), Andy McCarthy (two) and Marcus Miller (two) combined to win 12 of the 13 races. ... Burke recorded three wins on the night. ... All-source handle on the card totaled $2,687,050, the eighth time in the last nine programs that wagering has exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Yannick Gingras was the star of the night at the Meadowlands Friday, guiding five winners on the harness racing card, including Dayson, who won the featured high-end conditioned trot in 1:52.3. The 7-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus emerged from a first-turn scrum in perfect position, racing in the pocket behind the speedy Nows The Moment, who was on the point to the head of the stretch despite being pressed around the far turn by Kenziesky Hanover. Through the lane, Nows The Moment weakened, and as he did he bore out, creating more than enough room for Dayson to cruise under the wire first racing along the inside. It was a half-length back to 8-5 favorite Eye Ofa Tiger As. Elysium Lindy, who won this race a week ago, was trip compromised when pushed wide around turn one and raced from the back of the field before charging home to get third. Nows The Moment was fourth. "He raced great," said Gingras of Dayson. "He's such a game horse and tries hard." Dayson, who returned $8.20 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering, races out of the Ron Burke barn and is owned by Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and L. Karr. He now has 38 victories from 89 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $1,181,127. Burke had a huge night, winning four races. He hooked up three times with his go-to pilot Gingras. PICK-6 REPORT: A total of $76,682 in "new money" was added to the carryover of $14,376 in the 20-cent Pick-6, meaning that players were betting into a rare "player's advantage" pool. A total of $79,555 was paid out, almost $3,000 more than was pushed through the windows. There were many winning tickets in the Pick-6, as the payoff of $238.98 was the result of a sequence that saw winner's odds of 7-2, 1-1, 5-2, 5-2, 6-5 and 6-5. The action was big in all four of the Big M's multi-leg wagers, as a total of $290,158 was wagered in the 20-cent Pick-5, 20-cent Pick-6 and two 50-cent Pick-4 pools. The Late Pick-4 took in $75,592, by far its best showing in five tries since debuting earlier this month. A LITTLE MORE: The Nancy Takter-trained JK American Beauty - who now has lifetime earnings of $422,790 - made her 4-year-old debut a winning one, taking the fifth race high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in a lifetime-best 1:50.2 with Gingras driving. ... All-source handle totaled $2,689,916 on the 13-race program, the best Friday night thus far in 2020 and third-best overall. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Maybe the trip didn't go exactly as driver Yannick Gingras had hoped, but he made it work nonetheless in the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, scoring with I'm Some Graduate in a $31,250 high-end conditioned pace. The 7-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, dismissed by the bettors at odds of 14-1, was away in good order, sitting second to the quarter behind 9-5 second choice McThriller in :27.2. Brushing to the top before the half was Eddard Hanover, pushing I'm Some Graduate back into the three-hole, and as the train developed on the rim with Stonedust providing a live tow for 8-5 favorite Americanprimetime, I'm Some Graduate was in a tough spot approaching the head of the stretch. Off the far turn, Gingras guided I'm Some Graduate into the three-path as Eddard Hanover and Stonedust weakened. Americanprimetime tipped off his cover and grabbed the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and looked like the winner, but I'm Some Graduate swung to that one's outside late and with a final burst of speed, nailed the favorite by a head in 1:50.3 on a 28-degree night with a track variant of -1. Decision Day rallied to grab third.   I'm Some Graduate returned a healthy $31.40 to his backers as the fifth choice in the seven-horse field, but clearly belonged if you take Gingras' word for it. "I believe he won the last time he raced [at the Meadowlands] at a higher class." Gingras was right, of course, as I'm Some Graduate won the Preferred for pacers in his last Big M appearance in December of 2018. "They race him at Yonkers most of the time but he loves this track," said Gingras. "He's just a nice horse." The Ron Burke trainee, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr, has now won 21-of-98 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $453,383. A LITTLE MORE: It only took two weeks to create some 20-cent Pick-6 buzz. The new wager was not hit, creating a carryover of $14,376 heading into the next race card. Those who had five out of six cashed in for $165.24. ... Driver Andy Miller had a natural hat trick, winning the sixth, seventh and eighth races. Corey Callahan also recorded three wins on the card. ... The remarkable Preppy Art won the 13th and final race of the night, giving him 10 wins in his last 15 starts after registering zero victories in his previous 59 tries. He was claimed out of the race for $10,000 by trainer Nick Surick. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,665,111, marking the sixth time in the last seven cards that wagering exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Andy McCarthy put Elysium Lindy in play early, and the veteran trotter took care of the rest, pulling off a 10-1 surprise in the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 7-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall-Olympic Lindy displayed a burst of speed at the start from post six and had the lead around the first turn before yielding the front to 3-5 favorite Misslarose, who has been doing good things of late against the likes of Pappy Go Go and JL Cruze, as the quarter was reached in :28.4. The second quarter saw little in the way of action, but on the way to three-quarters the outer flow developed with Winning Lyric, Kenziesky Hanover and Eye Ofa Tiger As gaining ground on the rim. At the head of the stretch, Misslarose looked strong on the point with Kenziesky Hanover still going well on the outside as McCarthy waited for just the right moment to move Elysium Lindy from the pocket. That moment came at the sixteenth pole, when Elysium Lindy split rivals - Misslarose to his inside and Kenziesky Hanover to his outside - and got up on the wire to win by a hard-fought half-length over a game Misslarose. Kenziesky Hanover finished third.   "Paul Gagne and Anthony MacDonald sent me this horse," said winning trainer Andrew Harris. "And I can't thank them enough. He's been so good and the only reason he threw a couple of clunkers in his last two starts was he was hitting the bike. We got that sorted out. Andy Mac is just a magician. I love that guy." Elysium Lindy, making his first appearance at the Meadowlands since March 8 of last year, returned $22.60 to his backers as the fifth choice in the wagering in the seven-horse field. He completed the mile in 1:53.3, equaling his lifetime best on a chilly night when the track variant was -2. He's now won 28 of 133 lifetime starts and earned $428,467 for owners Panic Stable. A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan and Yannick Gingras both recorded driving triples on the program while McCarthy guided two to victory lane. ... Ron Burke and Harris, the top two trainers in the Big M standings, each had a pair of winners. ... Despite 3-5 shot Caviart Jane, 6-5 Obrigado and Misslarose all tasting defeat, six favorites still emerged victorious on the program. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,187,146. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Trump Nation benefitted from aggressive Yannick Gingras handling Saturday night to take the $37,500 featured Preferred for harness racing pacers at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N was in a first-turn scrum with Sicily and Endeavor and raced second while parked to the quarter as Sicily led in a snappy :26.2. Trump Nation then sped to the top, but led only briefly, as Endeavor, the 3-5 favorite who was in search of a second straight score in the weekly feature, went past Trump Nation and hit the half in :54.1. The pocket trip worked to perfection for Gingras and Trump Nation, as the duo ducked to the inside nearing the wire to nail a super-game Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Franco Totem N was third. "He raced big," said Gingras of Trump Nation. "That's the trip I was looking for tonight, but he can win no matter what the trip. He's just a nice horse." Trump Nation, who races out of the Ron Burke barn, returned $7.80 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering. He's now won 14-of-38 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $414,246 for owners Burke Racing Stable, E. Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. Trump Nation CHANGES WORKING WELL Based on the big action that was taken on the 13-race program at the industry's handle leader, it appears that the new earlier 6:55 p.m. post time and extensive wagering menu changes will be around for some time to come. A total of $2,856,554 in bets were taken, the third-highest handle during 2020 at the mile oval. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5-million mark for five straight programs. The action was hot and heavy from the get-go as a season's-best $72,364 was put in play in the 20-cent Pick-5, serving as the catalyst for the first-race total pool of $293,871. The sequence saw but one 5-1 shot and four other winners that went off at 7-2 or less yet still came back a giant $3,548.36. The 20-cent Pick-6 pool saw an increase of 36 percent from its first offering Friday. Total play Saturday was $24,474, and one shrewd player who used 10-1 shot Americanfirewater in the payoff leg (race nine) walked away with $20,797.76. Adding a second 50-cent Pick-4 appears to be a hit with the racing faithful. The Early Pick-4 saw a total pool of $86,015 while the Late P4 saw $61,934 in action, meaning that a total of $147,949 in Pick-4 bets were taken. Big M TV's Dave Brower gave out the Early Pick-4 on the track's live in-house simulcast show, investing just $30 before cashing in for $291. The big action wasn't limited to the multi-leg wagers, as the fifth race was the only one on the evening to push past the $300,000 mark in total play. A huge exacta pool of $88,403 led the way to the total wager of $301,002. A LITTLE MORE Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony by scoring five times. Marcus Miller, Andy McCarthy and Corey Callahan all had two apiece. Dunn has 32 winners at the winter meeting, tops at the track. Callahan is next with 24. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The action at the Meadowlands has heated up in a big way of late, and the trend continued Saturday night. Wagering on the 13-race harness racing card pushed past the $3-million mark for the second time this year as $3,026,740 was put in play. The other time betting went past the magic $3-million mark was on Jan. 3, when $3,069,967 was pushed through the windows. Saturday night got off to a good start, as in the first race, $250,382 in action was taken. A total of $71,830 was pumped into the 50-cent Pick-5 pool, outdoing the previous 2020 best of $63,798 (on Jan. 4) by 12.5 percent. Betting on the 50-cent Pick-4 also reached a season high with a total pool of $117,502, which is just over $8,000 more than was pushed through the windows on Jan. 3. Total wagering on the eighth race - which is the start of the Pick-4 - was a night-best $306,163. Betting has now surpassed the $2.5-million mark for three straight racing programs at the Big M. PAPPY KEEPS GO GO GOING  Pappy Go Go ran his winning streak to four facing his toughest test yet, taking the co-featured $37,500 Preferred for trotters. The Andrew Harris-trained 6-year-old son of Tad The Stud-Paging Willy left the gate quickly, along with Nows The Moment and JL Cruze while Misslarose was also away alertly to protect rail position. Pappy Go Go marched to the top at the three-eighths and took the field past the half before taking pressure from JL Cruze, who backed off just a bit on the far turn before coming back on late, only to be out-kicked for second by Muscle Diamond, who was explosive in the latter stages to miss by a neck. Corey Callahan drove the winner, who covered the mile in 1:52.3, to his 33rd win from 84 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $268,297 for owners Michael Goldberg Racing. He returned $4.20 as the even-money favorite. Pappy Go Go "It's the Pappy-lands," joked Harris. "He's as good as he's ever been. He beat a solid group tonight. In this class, you can't expect a blowout every week. Corey is driving him smart." THE CAPTAIN COMMANDS BOTH FEATURES Callahan, aka The Captain, was the driver colony's top gun Saturday, winning four times on the night. The 41-year-old pilot swept both features, as after winning with Pappy Go Go, he guided Endeavor to the winner's circle in the $37,500 Preferred for pacers. Working out a pocket trip behind 8-5 favorite Italian Delight N - who was looking for his third win in as many starts since arriving in North America from Australia - Endeavor vacated the pocket in mid-stretch and rolled right by the public choice to record an authoritative 3½-length victory in 1:49.1. Sicily out-kicked Italian Delight N for second. Endeavor, a 7-year-old gelded son of American Ideal-Jett Diamond who is trained by Jeff Cullipher, won for the 33rd from 112 lifetime starts, and now has earnings of $702,062 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher. As the third choice in the betting, he paid $8.20 to win. Endeavor REMINDER  When racing resumes Friday (Feb. 7), post time will change to 6:55 p.m. A LITTLE MORE Woodbine Mohawk Park TV personality Monique Vag correctly selected the Can-Am Pick-4 that returned $260 for a 20-cent bet. ... Yannick Gingras matched Callahan, driving four winners on the card. Not surprisingly, trainer Ron Burke conditioned all of Gingras' winners ... One sharp player betting into the Oregon hub held the only ticket to last six legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and cashed in for $10,026. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras drove four winners Friday night at the Meadowlands, and among them was Dayson, who took the featured $20,000 conditioned trot. "He's such a nice horse that tries his best every time," said Gingras. Sure, Dayson did his job, no doubt, but so did Gingras, who gave his horse a perfect steer. The first turn looked like a rugby scrum as Lagerfeld had rail position, Dayson was to that one's outside and Obrigado was three wide and winging. Gingras opted to back Dayson off into the three-hole as Lagerfeld yielded to Obrigado, who hit the quarter while parked in :27.4. "There was definitely more action than I thought there would be in the first turn," said Gingras. "But I figured Dayson was the best and he proved it." Showing little patience, Gingras moved swiftly with Dayson to the top after vacating the rail at the three-eighths and cleared before the half as Obrigado was put in the pocket. Max was now on the move, gaining on the leader from first-over, but Dayson - who was able to rate the middle half in :58 - still had a length on that foe both at three-quarters and the head of the stretch. Through the final three-sixteenths, Dayson showed his class, fending off a pesky Max to his outside and Obrigado to his inside, holding on determinedly to defeat Max by a neck in 1:54.1. Obrigado was third. Dayson, a 7-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.20 to his backers as the odds-on favorite. He has now won 37-of-87 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $1,167,377 for owners Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and L. Karr. A LITTLE MORE: If Gingras wins four, it's a good bet Burke has had a good night, and the Big M's leading trainer did just that, winning three on the card, all driven by Gingras. ... The 50-cent Pick-4 saw big play with a total pool of $92,561, its biggest since Jan. 4, when $94,701 was pushed through the windows. ... All-source handle was vigorous at $2,591,628, surpassing the $2.5-million mark for a second straight card. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - In the unlikely event you weren't sure who the best trotter on the grounds at the Meadowlands was before Saturday night's harness racing feature, there was positively no doubt after. Despite taking two weeks off, the red-hot Pappy Go Go upped his winning streak to three after taking the $37,500 Preferred in 1:52.2 over a track rated 'good' with a -1 variant, missing his lifetime best by just two-fifths of a second. The Andrew Harris trainee never had an anxious moment after being sent to the gate as the 8-5 favorite in the talented field of seven as driver Corey Callahan - who won five races on Friday's card - hit the gas pedal early with the 6-year-old gelded son of Tad The Stud-Paging Willy from post seven and made the front while parked at the quarter after a headstrong Misslarose yielded the top in :27.2. Pappy Go Go trotted easily through the second fraction while unpressured in :27.3 as Misslarose sat the pocket. Morairtime, who was so good winning eight days ago after going a first-over trip, was in gear making up ground while racing on the rim uncovered. After three-quarters was reached in 1:23.4, Pappy Go Go accelerated, opening up a 3-length edge at the head of the stretch on the way to an easy 3½-length score. Morairtime was second with Misslarose third. "I wasn't worried about the layoff at all," said Harris. "He'd been prepping every week in between. They just didn't have a Preferred for him, so hopefully, horses start entering so I can race him a little more." Is Pappy Go Go the type of horse who can go with the game's best? "I don't have any big dreams for him," said Harris. "He's a nice open horse, but realistically, I can't spend money staking him to go against the likes of Manchego and Atlanta. So, we'll race in the Preferred and try to keep him happy and fresh and being the big fish in the pond until the floods come later." Pappy Go Go returned $5.40 to his fans and has now won 32 of 83 career outings, good for earnings of $249,547 for owners Michael Goldberg Racing. ANOTHER GIANT MILE: The Robert Cleary-trained Harambe Deo went parked for a little more than the final half-mile and had no trouble blowing away his foes in the pacing feature, a high-end conditioned event with a $31,250 purse. The 5-year-old gelded son of Woodstock-Tea Time, who was the 8-5 favorite, stopped the clock in 1:50.4 with Tyler Buter in the bike to win for the third time in his last five starts. McThriller finished second, 1¼ lengths behind. A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick had the hot hand, leading the driver colony with four winners. Buter, Drew Monti and Vinny Ginsburg had two apiece. ... The 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 failed to pay at least $3,000 for an eighth straight time, but it came close, as three players lasted eight legs and cashed in for $2,611.98. ... The 20-cent Can-Am Pick-4 came back $175.32, the key to cashing being Leg One, when Heza Thrill N won at Woodbine Mohawk Park at odds of 7-1. ... All-source handle totaled $2,667,043. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Odds On St Lucie gave harness racing driver Vinny Ginsburg quite a workout Friday night. And that was just in the post parade. Before the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares at the Meadowlands, the 4-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou-Shes Some Treasure was rank in the pre-race lineup and would not calm down until the outrider intervened. "Headstrong doesn't quite describe her," joked Ginsburg. Given how she raced, the amount of difficulty she brought was well worth it. Odds On St Lucie saw her two-race win streak end last week at the hands of odds-on favorite Major Occasion A, but got back on the winning track Friday by beating a top-flight field in 1:50.2. Wisdom Tree, the 4-5 favorite, made her way to the top while parked at the half in a demanding :54.4. Once Wisdom Tree cleared, Odds On St Lucie was left first-over, and while she did inch her way closer to the leader down the backstretch, she was still 2¼ lengths behind in third with just three-sixteenths to go. But she was up to the task at hand. "She's wicked fast and becoming versatile and improving every time she goes on the track," said Ginsburg. Odds On St Lucie Through the stretch, 'Lucie' kept on coming, and after having to swerve a bit to avoid contact with Sandy Win as that one vacated the pocket, went on to a neck victory. Sandy Win finished second with Wisdom Tree third. "She really dug in tonight off a tough trip against some nice mares," said Ginsburg. "I thought I'd be second-up but when Timmy (Tetrick, driving Wisdom Tree) went to the lead I just rode and she did the rest." Odds On St Lucie returned $8.00 to her backers as the 3-1 second choice in the betting. She races out of the Tony Alagna barn for owners Odds On Racing and has now won 10 of her 27 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $231,217. ALL HAIL THE CAPTAIN: Corey Callahan had the hot hand among the drivers, steering five to the winner's circle. 'The Captain' piloted the winners of four in a row beginning in the sixth race before taking the 13th and final to cap his five-bagger. ... Muscle Fashion and Pat Berry Pat Berry had three winners, including 5-1 and 16-1 shots, respectively, in the 10th and 11th races, to complete the Pick-4, which paid $285.40 despite Callahan winning the first two legs at 3-5 and 3-2. ... Ginsburg also handled three winners on the card, meaning Callahan, Berry and Ginsburg combined to win 11 of the 13 races on the program. A LITTLE MORE: One sharp player betting into the Kentucky hub was the only bettor to last eight legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and collected a healthy payoff of $7,538.82. That makes seven straight SP10s that have paid $3,000 or more. ... All-source handle totaled $2,290,954. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Odds On St Lucie Muscle Fashion Tt`s D-jay By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Last Friday, Major Occasion A flew home in :25.3, but because she was eighth at three-quarters while three-wide, had to settle for second at the hands of rival Sandy Win, who would win a third straight harness racing start. Driver Dexter Dunn made sure that wasn't going to happen again. Major Occasion A, instead of racing from well off the pace as she had in her first two North American outings, was hustled to the top at the half this time around and had little trouble from there, recording an easy score in the Friday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $25,000 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares. Dunn, who would go on to win four times on the program after his incredible seven-winner night last Saturday, had Major Occasion A in the four-hole early before brushing up to take command at the half while parked before settling in on the point. Ideal Lifestyle A was left first-over at this point while applying token pressure as Major Occasion A used a :27.1 third quarter to maintain a safe 1½-length lead on the pocket-sitting Odds On St Lucie. Through the stretch, no one threatened the 1-2 favorite, who reported home an easy 1¾-length winner in 1:51 after pacing her final half in 54.2. Odds On St Lucie held second with Wisdom Tree rallying for third. Sandy Win failed in her bid for a fourth straight score, settling for fourth after racing three-wide at three-quarters from mid-pack. Major Occasion A, a 6-year-old daughter of Art Major-Fake Occasion who is trained by Nifty Norman, returned $3.00 to her backers and has now won 16 times from 51 lifetime starts for owners Enzed Racing Stable. Her earnings stand at $193,280. For Dunn, it was merely another day at the salt mine, with one - make that two - exceptions. The 30-year-old New Zealand native did score with the heavy favorite in the feature and with 4-1 Hammer Time in a mid-range conditioned trot, but he also won with a pair of longshots. The 2019 United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year guided 20-1 Bold Goddess to victory lane in a low-end conditioned trot and also scored with the night's biggest price of the night with 26-1 chance Auteur Hanover, who hit the wire first in another low-end conditioned trot. Dunn now has 18 winners at the winter meeting and is well in front of Corey Callahan, whose driving double gave him 10 victories, good for second in the driver standings. A PAIR OF FOURS: Yannick Gingras is apparently not interested in Dunn running away with the driver's title, as the Big M overall driver champ from 2019 also guided four to the winner's circle. A LITTLE MORE: One sharp player betting into the Oregon Express hub held the only ticket to last five legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $8,596.70. The wager has now paid at least $3,526.86 during each of the last five race cards. ... Chalk players took it on the chin most of the night as only two favorites won over the first 12 races, which helped bolster the payouts of the 50-cent Pick-5 ($6,292.35) and 50-cent Pick-4 ($3,155.05). ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,416,176. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For one lucky player, the 14th and final race Friday night at the Meadowlands was well worth the wait. That sharp handicapper, betting into the Oregon Express hub, held the only 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five ticket with the winning combination of 1-7-3-6-4 and cashed in for $118,148.72. The race was won by 2-1 favorite Lily Hammer and driver Corey Callahan. Finishing second through fifth, respectively, were Northern Swift (25-1), Moonshinecharleigh (8-1), Manhattan Play (3-1) and Justabitofcharm (30-1). The carryover heading into Friday night's JSH5 was $105,787. Last Friday, Major Occasion A flew home in :25.3, but because she was eighth at three-quarters while three-wide, had to settle for second at the hands of rival Sandy Win, who would win a third straight start. Driver Dexter Dunn made sure that wasn’t going to happen again. Major Occasion A, instead of racing from well off the pace as she had in her first two North American outings, was hustled to the top at the half this time around and had little trouble from there, recording an easy score in the Friday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $25,000 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares. Dunn, who would go on to win four times on the program after his incredible seven-winner night last Saturday, had Major Occasion A in the four-hole early before brushing up to take command at the half while parked before settling in on the point. Ideal Lifestyle A was left first-over at this point while applying token pressure as Major Occasion A used a :27.1 third quarter to maintain a safe 1½-length lead on the pocket-sitting Odds On St Lucie. Through the stretch, no one threatened the 1-2 favorite, who reported home an easy 1¾-length winner in 1:51 after pacing her final half in 54.2. Odds On St Lucie held second with Wisdom Tree rallying for third. Sandy Win failed in her bid for a fourth straight score, settling for fourth after racing three-wide at three-quarters from mid-pack.   Major Occasion A, a 6-year-old daughter of Art Major-Fake Occasion who is trained by Nifty Norman, returned $3.00 to her backers and has now won 16 times from 51 lifetime starts for owners Enzed Racing Stable. Her earnings stand at $193,280. For Dunn, it was merely another day at the salt mine, with one – make that two – exceptions. The 30-year-old New Zealand native did score with the heavy favorite in the feature and with 4-1 Hammer Time in a mid-range conditioned trot, but he also won with a pair of longshots. The 2019 United States Harness Writers Association’s Driver of the Year guided 20-1 Bold Goddess to victory lane in a low-end conditioned trot and also scored with the night’s biggest price of the night with 26-1 chance Auteur Hanover, who hit the wire first in another low-end conditioned trot. Dunn now has 18 winners at the winter meeting and is well in front of Corey Callahan, whose driving double gave him 10 victories, good for second in the driver standings. A PAIR OF FOURS: Yannick Gingras is apparently not interested in Dunn running away with the driver’s title, as the Big M overall driver champ from 2019 also guided four to the winner’s circle. A LITTLE MORE: One sharp player betting into the Oregon Express hub held the only ticket to last five legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $8,596.70. The wager has now paid at least $3,526.86 during each of the last five race cards. … Chalk players took it on the chin most of the night as only two favorites won over the first 12 races, which helped bolster the payouts of the 50-cent Pick-5 ($6,292.35) and 50-cent Pick-4 ($3,155.05). … All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,416,176. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The hottest name in harness racing these days is Dexter Dunn, and the recently named United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year lived up to his considerable current hype at the Meadowlands Saturday night, winning seven times on the 14-race program, falling just one victory short of tying the mark for most wins on a Big M program. Dunn was red-hot from the start sweeping the Early Daily Double that paid $24.20. The 30-year-old New Zealand native then turned up the volume to "10" by winning five straight races beginning in Race 5. Among those winners were JL Cruze, the first-ever sub-1:50 trotter in Meadowlands history, and a pair of Down Under pacers from Darren Cassar's barn.  The first was Italian Delight N, who flew home off cover to take the sixth race before Effronte A, a 7-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Fleur De Lil, exploded home in :25.4 after a cover trip to win in 1:48.3, the fastest mile of the year in the sport. Dunn's final two wins were of the close-call variety, as he scored with Harambe Deo in the featured high-range conditioned pace, barely edging out Eddard Hanover, who came back along the inside very late after being passed in deep stretch. In the next race, Dunn and Hurrikane Ali got passed by Whatstroublnurocky only to come back nearing the wire and score by a small neck to give Dunn his seven-bagger. "JL Cruze was great," said Dunn. "I was really happy with the way he trotted tonight. He was very smooth. Effronte A was awesome. He got a really good trip. When I asked him halfway down the straight, he knuckled down and was really motoring." Here is a recap of Dunn’s winners, with horse, winning time, post-time odds (*-denotes favorite) and race conditions: ·         Willie Boots, 1:52.1, 9-5*, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace ·         A Major Omen, 1:50.2, 7-2, 5YO and under NW of 2 pace ·         JL Cruze, 1:51.2, 3-5*, NW of $15,000 trot ·         Italian Delight N, 1:50.1, 9-5*, NW of $10,000 pace ·         Effronte A, 1:48.3, 6-5*, NW of $10,000 pace ·         Harambe Deo, 1:50.2, 7-5*, NW of $22,500 pace ·         Hurrikane Ali, 1:51.2, 7-2, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace “I was not aware,” said Dunn if he knew about how close he was to making Meadowlands history. “I had some good drives, but it doesn’t always work out. I got some good trips and my horses raced really well tonight.” In Race 11, it appeared Dunn had the record tied when he and Rock Lights had a 4-length lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to go. But it wasn't to be. "He just over-raced," said Dunn. "He got down to the half fast (:53.4) and I was trying to get him to go slower, but he was really fired up." Rock Lights weakened and finished third. The record of eight wins on a Meadowlands program is shared by Mike Lachance (July 14, 1995) and Brett Miller (December 16, 2016). The last time a driver had seven on a card was Yannick Gingras, who turned the trick on Feb. 1 of last year. A LITTLE MORE: For those who hit the first 2020 edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 it was a good night, as the payout for the wager with the 20-cent base was $1,413.40. ... The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $105,787. ... All-source handle totaled $2,567,930. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands    

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