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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If excelling with trotters was a course one could take in school, there's little doubt Ake Svanstedt would get straight 'A's. Saturday night at the Meadowlands, Svanstedt - serving as both harness racing trainer and driver - won both divisions of the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds on the trot with Six Pack and Muscle M Up. In the first division, the look of the race changed with the scratch of 2018 Hambletonian champion Atlanta, but that appeared to suit Six Pack just fine. The son of Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady was on the move from the start and moved to the lead while parked past the quarter in :27.2, putting 3-5 favorite Fiftydallarbill in the pocket. A :30.3 sleepwalk of a second quarter followed as the top two betting choices raced 1-2 all the way to the wire. Fiftydallarbill rallied some in deep stretch but was no threat to Six Pack, who held on by a half-length in 1:53.1 in his 2019 debut. As the 6-5 second choice, Six Pack returned $4.40 to his backers while winning for the 16th time from 24 career starts, good for earnings of $1,383,290. A year ago, his major wins included the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot. While Six Pack has a monster resume, stablemate Muscle M Up does not, but that did not stop the son of Muscle Hill-Fashion Athena from taking the other Graduate division in a sizzling lifetime best of 1:51.2. Svanstedt once again asked his horse for early speed and got it, racing on the lead at the quarter in :27.2 before yielding to 3-5 chalk Mission Accepted. Crystal Fashion raced first-over to go after the leader around the far turn with Muscle M Up waiting for some space to race. He found it by swerving out to the four path for the stretch drive once there was enough clearance to do so and cruised past the field to record a half-length win over Crystal Fashion. Mission Accepted was third. The winner returned $17.60 to his backers as the third choice in the wagering and won for the seventh time in 14 lifetime starts. His earnings stand at $87,972. A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick drove four winners on the card, while Andy McCarthy had two to run his total to nine over the last three programs. ... Betting on the 50-Cent Pick-4 was vigorous as a total of $111,102 was poured into the pot. Those sharp enough to have the sequence with winner's odds of 4-1, 7-1, 7-2 and 11-1 hit for $1,182.15. ... Conditions were ideal as of the 11 pacing events on the card, seven went in under 1:50. ... All-source wagering was just short of the $3 million mark, as $2,947,166 was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. Gabe Prewitt will make his return to the Meadowlands' TV team and serve as co-host of the live in-house simulcast show.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Let the Hambletonian hype begin. Greenshoe began his 2019 season by sending a message to the rest of the 3-year-old trotters seeking to win harness racing's greatest prize on the first Saturday in August: He is a force to be reckoned with after putting on a dazzling display in taking his division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands Friday night in 1:51.2. The only horse to go faster on the trot this year was 2018 Hambo champ Atlanta, who went 1:50.4 a week ago Monday at Miami Valley. "His manners were good," said Brian Sears, who drove the Marcus Melander trainee. "We were happy with him. He was a little high strung while scoring before the race, but then he came back to me. He relaxed after that. I think he's starting to get it." During his 2-year-old season, the son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be, won half of his four starts despite going off stride in each and every one of them. Sears handled Greenshoe carefully at the start Friday, as in 2018, he went off stride three times before the start of his races. There was none of that on this night. Greenshoe sat a four-hole for the first five-eighths before vacating the rail and going after leader Sheena's Boy, who hit the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.1 on an open lead. "I took a peek and saw they were going a little bit," said Sears. "When I tipped him, he went up there." The 2018 NJSS champion quickly got himself into contention and was charging after the leader coming toward the top of the stretch. Sears barely moved a muscle as Greenshoe, who paid $3.00 as the post-time choice, rolled by his over-matched foes during a final quarter of :26.2 to score by 3½ widening lengths while lowering his previous lifetime best by two-and-one-fifth seconds. Sheena's Boy held second with Battenberg third. "He's a natural," said Sears. "He's got some gears that most horses don't have." In the other NJSS division for sophomore male trotters, Soul Strong scored in 1:53 at odds of 15-1 for trainer Ake Svanstedt and driver Yannick Gingras. Evident Beauty scored in the first of two 3-year-old filly trots for trainer Nifty Norman and driver Dave Miller in 1:53.3 as the 8-5 favorite. The Lucas Wallin-trained Queen Of Trixs took the other division in 1:55.4 for driver Andy McCarthy at odds of 6-1. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras and McCarthy both recorded driving triples on the program. ... The 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 took in $47,911 in wagers, and those who had the winning combination of 2-2-4-3 collected $67.15 for a ticket that included three favorites. ... One bettor in Ontario was the only player to hold a winning ticket in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $14,085.04 for lasting eight legs. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,500,166. ... Big M gates open at 9:30 a.m. for Preakness Day. Post time for the first at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. while the Preakness is slated to go at 6:48 p.m. ... Live racing at the Meadowlands resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that have been near the top of the driver standings at the Meadowlands since the start of the current meeting in mid-October belong to a pair of harness racing drivers from "Down Under", New Zealand-native Dexter Dunn and Australian Andy McCarthy. Horsemen from that region of the globe have had an impact over the years at the Big M. Ross Croghan, Noel Daley, Mark Harder, Nifty Norman, Brett Pelling and Chris Ryder. Be they "Kiwis" or "Aussies", these trainers have done their share of winning at the mile oval. Ryder uses Dunn, 29, on many of his horses, and among them is the talented 3-year-old colt Bettor's Wish, who is currently seventh in the weekly "Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace" poll put out every week by the Big M's media relations department. "He's a family friend from New Zealand," said Ryder of Dunn. "But he's not driving just because I know the guy. He's driving because he's capable. I thought he might have trouble hooking on here when he arrived (about a year ago), but his talent and personality have overcome that." The stats back up what Ryder says, as Dunn has won 86 times from 587 starts at the Meadowlands since the meet began. And thus far in 2019, Dunn sits second in the Big M standings with 65 wins, a total surpassed only by Yannick Gingras' 96. As for McCarthy, he was the leading driver at the Meadowlands until he went on an extended vacation earlier this year to his homeland. For the meeting, he's won 50 races from 355 starts. "Is Andy my primary driver?" asked Brett Pelling. "I would say that. He's driving my best horse, Caviart Ally, and when you have a good horse, it puts you in the limelight." McCarthy guided Caviart Ally to a hard-fought victory in 1:50 over a star-laden Preferred for pacing fillies and mares field Saturday (May 11) night, an evening that saw the 33-year-old win the first three races on the card and four of the first five. He also drives Pelling's Reigning Deo, currently ninth in the RTTCFMP. "I want someone who is focused," said Pelling. "And Andy and Dexter know enough to be focused. Dexter is a great talent, and if Andy wasn't available, would I use Dexter? All day long." Pelling also spoke about the sense of community felt by those who hail from Australia or New Zealand: "We are here together. The Down Under people know Down Under people. And that means something." BROWER HITS BIG: Dave Brower of the Meadowlands' award-winning TV production had a night to remember Saturday (May 11), as he gave his followers a hit for the ages. After the nightly segment when Brower gave out his Pick-4 ticket for on-track and simulcast players, favorites won the first (Highalator) and final legs of Brower's $32 play, but what happened in between is what made the payoff special. Somebaddude paid $100.00 to win in the second leg while 10-1 chance On Duty scored in the third. After Albergo Hanover won the final leg (Race 11), Brower's followers collected $2,028.15, good for a profit of $1,996.15. The total Pick-4 pool was a typically strong $102,125 on Saturday and as always, free program pages for this week's 50-Cent Pick-4 - as well as the Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) - are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. SUPER HIGH-FIVE HIT: Despite the 6-5 favorite winning the race, one lucky player betting into the Oregon Express hub walked away with a huge score nonetheless Saturday (May 11) night. The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, with the two longest shots in the field finishing second and fifth, yielded only one ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9, and was good for a return of $33,010.24. This Friday (May 17), the carryover for the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5) stands at $91,214. PREAKNESS UP NEXT: The 144th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is the featured simulcast event on Saturday (May 18) at the Meadowlands. Post time for the first of 14 races at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. The Preakness, for 3-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths, is Race 13 on the card and has a post time of 6:48 p.m. BEERFEST ON TAP: On Saturday (May 18), the Meadowlands will host its fourth annual "Beerfest". The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, a special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling. Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold. A $35 General Admission ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and a four-hour sampling. Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while GA customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.   Dave Little

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Highalator continued his remarkable Meadowlands run Saturday night, taking the second leg of the Golden Receiver harness racing series in 1:48.3, giving him four wins in five Big M tries this year. Displaying his trademark explosive early speed, the 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher went parked around the first turn from post eight and grabbed the top while on the outside in :26.4. Ricky Still then relaxed the 3-5 favorite, rating the second fraction in :28.3 before Always At My Place was on the move first over at the half chipping away at Highalator's advantage to become a threatening presence at three-quarters. Then Highalator went to work. The Jenny Bier trainee shrugged off Always At My Place before sprinting his final quarter in :25.2 to record a 1¼-length win. Pocket-sitting Sweet Rock was second with Classy Dragon finishing third. The winning time equaled the third fastest mile in the sport this year. Highalator returned $3.20 to his backers and has now won five of his last six - the only loss coming at the Meadowlands when he went a huge mile to get second - and is two-for-two in the Golden Receiver. Lifetime, he's won 27-of-60 starts and earned $394,028 for owners Jenny Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Earlier on the card, Caviart Ally bested a strong field in the $30,000 Preferred for pacing fillies and mares. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool made the top while parked in :26.4 and went all the way from there, scoring by a half-length over Gold Orchid N in 1:50 as the 7-5 favorite for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Brett Pelling. Delightfulmemphisn was third with Bettorhaveanother fourth. Youaremycandygirl, making her seasonal debut, finished fifth. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy was on fire early on, driving four of the first five winners on the card. ... Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-4 was typically strong, with a total pool of $102,126. Big M TV's Dave Brower gave out the Pick-4 to his followers. For those who played Brower's ticket, the wager was $32 with the payout a handsome $2,028.15. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five yielded a single-ticket winner despite the race being won by the 6-5 favorite. The ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9 paid $33,010.24. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,566,272. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After a disappointing effort a week ago in the Cutler Memorial, Fiftydallarbill rebounded in an easier spot Friday night at the Meadowlands, taking the featured harness racing $25,000 conditioned trot in a lifetime-best 1:51.3. The only trotter to go faster in 2019 was Atlanta, who went 1:50.4 on Monday at Miami Valley. In the Cutler, the Katricia Adams trainee was at the rail in sixth when he broke at the head of the stretch. He did finish sixth but was disqualified and placed 10th for interference. This time around, it was a far different story. Mission Accepted, the 4-5 favorite, was on the point at the half, and just after that split, Fiftydallarbill was popped out of the four-hole by Tim Tetrick to challenge. The 4-year-old son of Swan For All-CR Dixie Chick inched his way toward the front around the far turn and wore down the leader nearing the wire, hitting the finish three-quarters of a length in front after trotting his final quarter in :26.3. Henderson Seelster was third. Fiftydallarbill, the 2017 Breeders Crown champion, returned $4.20 to his backers as he won for the 17th time in 38 career starts. He has earned $858,450 for his owner John Barnard. HAMBO STAYS PUT: The Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands have signed an agreement that will keep the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian Maturity at the Big M through 2023. There will be a major change coming for the 2020 edition of the Hambo. Eliminations will be contested the week before the final. A LITTLE MORE: Andy Miller suffered a non-racing-related broken hand that will cost him a month on the sidelines. ... Scott Zeron pinch-hit for Miller, guiding a pair of winners for Andy's wife, trainer Julie Miller. ... The 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 took in just under $50,000 in action, and after a sequence that saw winner's odds of 2-1, 7-2, 5-2 and 7-1, those who had tickets with the winning combination of 4-3-6-9 walked away with $134.36. ... One sharp player betting into the Ohio hub held the lone ticket that lasted seven legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and cashed in for $8,536. ... After sweeping the Late Double, Tetrick had three winners on the night and now has 10 over the last three race cards. ... All-source handle was $2,298,689. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Finding a way to keep harness racing's marquee performers on the track has always been a puzzle that if solved would allow the sport's fan base to follow equine standouts not only through the end of their 3-year-old seasons, but beyond. Last Saturday (May 4) at the Meadowlands, the sport's traveling road show for 4-year-olds - the Graduate Series - made its first stop of 2019, and many of the top sophomore pacing performers from 2018 were behind the gate in the two divisions of the series' opening leg. Lather Up, the North America Cup winner from a year ago in a season that saw him earn just under $900,000, displayed explosive late pace to take the Graduate's first division, defeating 3-year-old standouts from last year This Is The Plan and Dorsoduro Hanover. Courtly Choice, the 2018 Little Brown Jug and Meadowlands Pace winner who earned just over $900,000, went parked the final five-eighths in taking the second Graduate division, besting horses such as Thinkbig Dreambig and American History, another pair of top performers from a year ago. "Time will only tell if the Graduate can provide a dramatic rivalry with Lather Up and Courtly Choice," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "We are fortunate to have the Graduate, which is a great series that keeps our stars in the spotlight racing, and not taking the fast track to the breeding shed. For that, we thank the owners of these horses for helping to grow the game. "Think back to 2016 when Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit battled all year for the 'Heavyweight Championship' of the sport. Whenever and wherever those two met, that was the featured race on the continent. Those two older horses grew the game immeasurably that year. Hopefully, the Graduate can provide that level of excitement. Could the Lather Up-Courtly Choice pairing possibly be a similar rivalry? Or will other top older horses have something to say? Either way, the sport is a big winner." Leg Two of the Graduate for pacers is June 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, followed by Legs Three (June 9) and Four (June 28) at Tioga Downs and the Meadowlands, respectively. The Final is July 6 at the Big M. The Graduate for trotters gets underway at the Meadowlands on May 18. After a slow beginning due in all probability to the delay of the start of the card as the inquiry in the Kentucky Derby moved at a snail's pace, wagering on the Big M's live program picked up in a big way. Saturday's seventh race, the Graduate division won by Lather Up, served as the catalyst for another $3-million handle night at the Big M, the ninth time that magic figure has been reached this year at the mile oval. In that 12-horse field, the Big M faithful plunked down $363,400 in bets, with the straight ($103,034) and Exacta ($116,101) pools pushing past the six-figure plateau. Saturday's 50-Cent Pick-4 (Race 8) pot was also in excess of $100,000, as $103,306 was put in play. As always, free program pages for the 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) and 50-Cent Pick-4 (both Friday and Saturday) are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. TIM TERRIFIC: Tim Tetrick had the hottest hands at the track last weekend, driving seven winners. FREE MONEY: Get a free $5 betting voucher at the Meadowlands Friday night (May 10). To qualify, you must be a member of the Big M email database. If you are not a member, go to http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/index.aspx?id=13548. To receive the voucher, stop by the Players Club desk from 6-9 p.m. and show the email with the $5 voucher offer on your phone or print out. TRIBUTES IN PINK: Great music and great food will be available in Pink restaurant Friday (May 10) night. "Hats and Shades" is not only a Blues Brothers tribute band, but play the music of Neil Diamond as well. The buffet, which costs $39.95, gets underway at 5:30 p.m. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations. DIG FOR DIAMONDS: On Saturday (May 11), betting vouchers, watches and diamond jewelry are on the list of prizes in the Big M's "Diamond Dig". Entries will be taken up to Race 4 when 10 lucky contestants will be chosen to dig following Race 5. For more information, go to www.playmeadowlands.com. BEERFEST ON TAP: On Saturday (May 18), the Meadowlands will host its fourth annual "Beerfest". The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling. Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold. A $35 GA ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and four-hour sampling. Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while GA customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.   Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pulling off upsets are Cruzado Dela Noche's specialty, so when he won Saturday night's $175,200 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for harness racing free for all trotters at the Meadowlands at odds of 8-1, it didn't come as a shock to his driver Brian Sears. "I was pretty confident," said Sears. "I wasn't concerned that it was his first start since November since he hadn't raced in three or four months before the International Trot." In Yonkers Raceway's International last October, Cruzado Dela Noche and Sears pulled off a 30-1 shocker, and like in the Cutler, never spent a moment at the rail. Half of the bulky 12-horse field was away from the gate quickly in the mile and an eighth Cutler, and after they settled in after the quarter, Trolley was on the point, I Know My Chip was in the pocket, Yes Mickey was first over, providing perfect cover for Cruzado Dela Noche. As Yes Mickey continued to inch closer to the leader at three-quarters, Cruzado Dela Noche got himself into position to pounce three-wide as they straightened away at the head of the stretch. With confident handling from Sears, Cruzado Dela Noche made his way past Trolley nearing the wire to record a half-length score. Will Take Charge rallied for third. Pinkman, the 8-5 favorite, raced along the rail and never had a chance, finishing seventh (placed sixth). The time for the added distance of a mile and an eighth was 2:07.3. "This horse has raced in Europe all his life," said Sears. "So he's good with the distance. He's got enough stamina to put himself in play and we were never really used that hard. He's easy on himself." As the fifth choice in the wagering, Cruzado Dela Noche, who is trained by Marcus Melander, returned $19.00 to his backers. He's now won 16 of 60 career outings, good for earnings of $1,295,739 for owners Courant A B of Stockholm, Sweden. GRADUATES IMPRESS: The first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers had a pair of $50,000 divisions on the Saturday undercard. Lather Up ($13.20 to win as the third choice) was explosive late to score in 2:02.4 for the mile and an eighth in the first division while 2018 Meadowlands Pace champion Courtly Choice ($3.60 as the favorite) went parked for the final five-eighths on the way to taking the second division in 2:01.4. Both were making their first starts of the year. Lather Up A LITTLE MORE: After a slow start at the windows with the Kentucky Derby inquiry delaying the start of the card, betting gathered momentum as the night wore on, and when the action was tallied, all-source handle stood at $3,273,805, the ninth time this year wagering at the Big M exceeded the magic $3-million mark. ... Tim Tetrick guided three winners on the card, giving him seven victories over the weekend. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tim Tetrick was on target Friday night at the Meadowlands, guiding four winners on the 13-race harness racing program. "The Bionic Man" got his evening underway in the second race, piloting the Ron Burke-trained Elektra King to victory in a fillies and mares non-winners of two pace in 1:52.2. As the fourth choice in the wagering, Elektra King returned $9.60 to win. Shezza GNP was win No. 2 for the 37-year-old driver, as her back class showed in race eight in defeating a mid-range conditioned field of filly and mare pacers in 1:52.2. The 8-5 favorite, trained by Peter Tritton, paid $5.20 to win. With aggressive handling from Tetrick, the Jeff Cullipher-trained Resita made the lead while parked at the quarter in :27.3 in the 11th race and went down the road from there in a mid-range conditioned trot. As the fourth choice in the betting, Resita returned $14.20 after finishing the mile in 1:53.2. Tetrick completed his four-bagger in the next race, scoring with 2-1 second choice Whiskersonkittens for trainer Rick Dane Jr. in 1:52.2 in a low-range conditioned pace for fillies and mares. She paid $6.20 to win. A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn drove three winners on the card. ... All-source handle totaled $2,890,791, thanks in part to race eight which saw $326,266 pushed through the windows. The 50-Cent Pick-4 pool was $88,789, and was outdone by the Exacta pot, which totaled $90,825. ... The Can-Am Pick-4 saw its biggest payout yet, as a 29-1 shot at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the wager's third leg helped bloat the payoff to $1,260.57 for the winning combination of 10-6-5-10. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. with the Cutler and Graduate sitting atop the marquee. IT'S DERBY DAY: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will serve as the centerpiece of the day at the Big M Saturday. Gates open at 9 a.m., with the first race at Churchill Downs at 10:30 a.m. Post time for the "Run for the Roses" is 6:46 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's been a good four months for harness racing business at the Meadowlands thus far in 2019, and April was the best month yet when you consider where things were just one year before. An identical total of eight race cards were contested at the Big M in both April of 2018 and 2019, but the similarities end there. A year ago, all-source handle totaled $18,288,404, good for an average per race card of $2.286 million. During 2019, $22,342,097 was put in play, an average of $2.792 million. "On Saturday (April 27), we handled $3 million," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "A year ago, on the corresponding card, we bet $2.3 million, so we were up 31 percent. We are hoping to keep that momentum this Saturday (May 4) as we expect a big Kentucky Derby Day crowd to bet the "Run for the Roses" as well as the Graduate and Cutler, which are on our live harness card at night." The Big M has always been a track where players can bet against favorites with confidence, and that was on display during April as a mere 26 percent of post-time choices (28 from 104 races) hit the wire first. Of harness tracks currently racing, the median percentage of winning chalks is 46 percent, according to statistics provided by the United States Trotting Association. Friday nights at the Big M feature a new wager - the Can-Am Pick-4 - that's been a big hit. It requires a player to pick two winners at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Since its inception on March 22, the CAP4 has averaged a little over $61,000 per pool, and last week, after a pair of favorites and two longshots won, the payout for the bet with the 20-Cent base and low 15 percent takeout was $361.70. When you consider that a player could single a horse in one leg and use five in the other three and only spend $25, that makes the CAP4 a great value play. The Big M's 50-Cent Pick-5 and Pick-4 continue to attract steady action week after week, and that was clearly the case over the last eight racing programs. The popular Big M puzzles had average pools of $59,980 and $99,532, respectively, during April. Free program pages for the 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 and Meadowlands' 50-Cent Pick-4 are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. DERBY DAY IS HERE: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday (May 4). Come on out to the Meadowlands and bet the entire Churchill Downs card, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. (Big M gates open at 9 a.m.) Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:46 p.m. Players are reminded that morning-line favorite Omaha Beach has been scratched allowing Bodexpress to draw in from the also eligible list. In the Gallery, there will be a special Derby Day lunch buffet for $39.95. Food service begins at 11:30 a.m. That evening in Pink restaurant, there will be a southern inspired buffet for $54.95 that begins at 4:30 p.m. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations. There will be a $100 Derby win-wager contest with entry forms available in the Derby program and at the Players Club Desk. Contestants must enter by 5 p.m. In addition, there will be a $100 live win-wager contest beginning at 6 p.m. with those entry forms available in the live harness program as well as the Players Club Desk. Ten winning contestants will be selected throughout the evening. It wouldn't be Derby Day without a hat contest for the ladies who come out to the track. Contestants can register from 2-4:45 p.m. at the Clubhouse Main Entrance. Judging will take place in front of the winner's circle at 5 p.m. There are five cash prizes up for grabs, ranging from $50 up to $500. TAKE AIM AT HORSEPLAY: On Friday (May 3), take your best shot in the Big M's Horseplay Giveaway. To play, contestants must complete an entry form and grab a free toy horse at the Players Club Desk or the outdoor Horseplay table. If you throw your horse into the window of the target car, you qualify to win a $100 betting voucher. In the event you win the voucher, you will then be entered in a drawing on Friday, August 2, where the prize is a 2019 Toyota C-HR. In addition, for each horse that makes it into the target car, the Meadowlands will donate $10 to a designated charity. During May, the money will go to A Lot to Grow. The contest will be conducted each night of live racing until the end of the meeting. For complete contest details, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=11075 Dave Little    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Saturday night at the Meadowlands served as the perfect prelude to the start of next week's "Championship Meet" as two series finals and two series opening legs were contested on the 13-race harness racing program. In the $54,500 Walner Series final for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, Goes Down Smooth was an opportunistic winner in 1:54 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ron Burke. Final Claim, also from the Burke barn, was the 2-5 favorite looking to stay perfect in four seasonal starts. He turned for home with the lead but went off stride in mid-stretch, allowing Goes Down Smooth to inherit the top. He hit the wire a neck in front of Warrior One. Cheap Tricks was third. Goes Down Smooth, a son of Muscle Hill - Peach Martini, returned $8.40 to win as the second choice in the wagering. Prince Of Tides got a great steer from Andy Miller and won the $58,500 Wiggle It Jiggleit Series final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:49.4. Dealer's Table, the 7-5 favorite who was impossible to rate in defeat last week, again was too hot on the front end (hitting three-quarters in 1:21.1), enabling Miller to vacate the pocket - a position he earned by leaving the gate at the start from post eight - and roll by the leader before holding off a determined Stone Hanover, who missed by a big nose after closing well late. World On Edge was third. Prince Of Tides, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Tug River Princess who is trained by Ross Croghan, returned $15.80 as the third choice on the tote board. Prince Of Tides Pinkman ($5.20 to win as the favorite), the 2015 Hambletonian champion and lifetime earner of better than $2.7 million, was victorious in the first leg of the Mr Muscleman for open trotters in 1:52.4 while Highalator ($5.40 as the public choice) scored in the opening leg of the Golden Receiver for open pacers, stopping the clock in 2:03.4 for the added distance of a mile and an eighth. HIghalator has won three of four starts at the Big M this year. HIghalator A LITTLE MORE: 2018 Hambletonian champion Atlanta, who now resides in the Burke barn, qualified impressively Saturday morning in 1:52.3 with new driver Yannick Gingras. She now races without the use of trotting hobbles. Hambletonian hopeful Greenshoe was ultra-impressive, winning in 1:54.1 under wraps with Brian Sears at the controls for trainer Marcus Melander. Melander also has two other high-profile sophomore trotting colts in Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee. ... All-source handle pushed past the magic $3-million mark for the eighth time in 2019, as $3,015,228 was put in play by the Big M faithful. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Reclamation has been nothing short of dominant of late at the Meadowlands and the Ron Burke trainee ran her win streak to three with another easy harness racing victory Friday night at the Big M in a conditioned event for pacing fillies and mares. Around the first turn, it appeared that Reclamation and longshot Truth And Liberty were in close quarters and possibly locked wheels as Reclamation made her way toward the front and Truth And Liberty was alongside three wide, but driver Yannick Gingras urged Reclamation to the top while parked past the half in :55.3 and said there were no issues. "I was just protecting position in the first turn," said Gingras. "Nothing happened to her." Reclamation hit three-quarters in 1:23.4 while in high gear and sprinted clear to a 4½-length edge at the head of the stretch before hitting the wire 3½ lengths in front of 25-1 chance Rockin Praline. Brazuca was third. "She fits this (non-winners of $12,500 or $125,000 lifetime) class for a little longer so hopefully we can wait to find out if she can compete with the preferred mares," said Gingras. "She doesn't have much experience and is learning every week." Reclamation covered the mile in 1:51.1 over a track labeled 'good' to win for the 10th time in 18 lifetime outings. The 4-year-old daughter of A Rocknroll Dance-Art Sale now has career earnings of $63,655 for owners W J Donovan and Donal Murphy. CAP4 BET BIG AGAIN: The Can-Am Pick-4 was a hot commodity once again as the wager that requires one to select two winners at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Mohawk Park took in wagers totaling $64,937, coming just short of reaching the $65,000 mark for a third time in six tries. Odds-on favorites scored in the first two legs but after a 34-1 and a 23-1 won the back half, the payoff for the 20-Cent base wager was $361.70. A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Linda Toscano has a Hambletonian hopeful on her hands. Guaranteed, a Muscle Hill-Beauty Of Gray colt, won his career debut in a non-winners of one in impressive fashion as the 2-5 favorite in 1:53.4 with Tim Tetrick in the bike. ... Guaranteed Gingras drove three winners on the card. ... The team of trainer Allen Sisco and driver Tyler Buter scored twice at a big price, with Say You Do ($33.80) in the second race and Starsaboveallerage ($48.00) in the 11th. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,597,293. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When legislators and Gov. Phil Murphy said yes to a $20 million yearly appropriation to support horse racing in the State of New Jersey, Garden State horsemen were predictably pleased that the purses they would go for would increase considerably. But would the fans react in a way that would make one think harness racing's lifeline would lengthen? Thus far, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'. The Meadowlands has been able to withstand the yearly opening of Pennsylvania's harness venues unscathed having been able to battle them on a level playing field for the precious horse population with purses that have experienced two significant increases in the last two months. The proof? Last Saturday (April 20), Big M players wagered $3,046,148 on the 13-race card, as betting exceeded the $3 million mark for the seventh time this year. In addition, over the course of the 32 race cards contested at the Meadowlands in 2019, 29 have seen handle of at least $2.5 million. Big fields and big competition in evenly-matched races are what the Big M faithful crave. "Over the last four racing programs, only nine favorites have won from 52 races," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The current percentage of winning favorites at the Meadowlands is 38. Of harness tracks currently racing, the median percentage is 46. In fact, our 38 percent compares right there with some of the top thoroughbred tracks. Often, the knock on harness racing is how easily horses make the lead and win, but we've had great racing with non-stop action, which makes it possible for horses to win from anywhere." According to Brisnet, Santa Anita (36 percent), Tampa Bay (36) and Gulfstream (37) are right there with the Big M when it comes to winning chalks. Last Friday (April 19), despite bad weather that arrived early in the evening, the action was plentiful. A new wagering high was established in the Can-Am Pick-4, which saw $65,333 in action. Those who went four-for-four cashed in for $87.17 for the bet with the 20-Cent base wager and low 15 percent takeout. One lucky patron wagering on the Meadowlands' signal into the Oregon hub went home with a huge smile on his or her face in the 13th race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five. After 10-1 shot Knightofvictory held off 5-2 favorite Prince Of Minto after a stirring stretch duel, that player holding the only ticket with the winning combination of 6-8-1-10-3 cashed in for $68,059. When live action resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., racing fans will have a big carryover to shoot for, as the 'other' 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five will start out with $82,307 in the hat in race five. For 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 and Meadowlands' 50-Cent Pick-4 players, free program pages are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. Saturday's $3-million night was highlighted by the eighth race, when a total of $341,302 was pushed through the windows, with the always prolific 50-Cent Pick-4 accounting for $116,859 of the pot. Only once in 2019 has the Pick-4 had a larger pool, when $134,614 was put in play on March 2. 1 MILLION PENNY GIVEAWAY: On all live racing nights during April, make sure to try and win one or more of many prizes totaling $10,000 in the Big M's "1 Million Penny Giveaway". Guests may enter once per live race day. The month-long contest concludes Saturday (April 27). For complete information and a list of prizes, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16148 HORSEPLAY ALLOWED: Come on out to the Meadowlands on Friday (May 3) and take your best shot in the track's Horseplay Giveaway. To play, contestants must complete an entry form and grab a free toy horse at the Players Club Desk or the outdoor Horseplay table. If you throw your horse into the window of the target car, you qualify to win a $100 betting voucher. In the event you win the voucher, you will then be entered in a drawing on Friday, August 2, when the prize is a 2019 Toyota C-HR. In addition, for each horse that makes it into the target car, the Meadowlands will donate $10 to a designated charity. During May, the money will go to A Lot to Grow. For complete contest details, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=11075 COUNTDOWN TO THE DERBY: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is one week from Saturday on May 4. Come on out to the Meadowlands and bet the entire Churchill Downs card, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. (Big M gates open at 9 a.m.) Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:46 p.m. In the Gallery, there will be a special Derby Day lunch buffet for $39.95. Food service begins at 11:30 a.m. That evening in Pink restaurant, there will be a southern inspired buffet for $54.95 that begins at 4:30 p.m. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations. You better hurry! There will be a $100 Derby win-wager contest with entry forms available in the Derby program and at the Players Club Desk. Contestants must enter by 5 p.m. In addition, there will be a $100 live win wager contest beginning at 6 p.m. with those entry forms available in the live harness program as well as the Players Club Desk. Ten winning contestants will be selected throughout the evening. It wouldn't be Derby Day without a hat contest for the ladies who come out to the Big M. Contestants can register from 2-4:45 p.m. at the Clubhouse Main Entrance. Judging will take place in front of the winner's circle at 5 p.m. There are five cash prizes up for grabs, ranging from $50 up to $500.   Meadowlands Media Relations Dave Little  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As the leading harness racing driver at the Meadowlands, Yannick Gingras has had his share of big nights at the mile oval, and Saturday at the Big M was just another of many for the 39-year-old, who scored four times on the 13-race program, among them the featured conditioned pace. Seeing Eye Single, a 4-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again-Shabalabadingdong, overcame post 10 and lowered his previous lifetime best by one-and-one-fifth seconds after stopping the clock in 1:49.3 in the event for non-winners of $17,500 in their last five starts. Gingras had Seeing Eye Single on the go from the start, following Captain Deo (who led at the quarter in :27) before clearing the lead just after the first split. A rated second fraction of :28.2 would follow before pressure would come from Stonedust, who was inching his way closer to the leader while first-over at three-quarters. Seeing Eye Single shrugged off that challenger to get some separation at the head of the stretch before holding sway to the wire, finishing a length in front of the pocket-sitting Captain Deo. Rough Odds was third with Penzance Hanover fourth. K Ryan Bluechip, the 4-5 favorite, was in a fourth-over flow before closing well to be a non-threatening fifth. Seeing Eye Single returned $6.00 as the second choice in the wagering, and in the process upped his resume to 11 wins from 28 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $359,926 for owners Burke Racing, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Larry Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. "He was strong and won fairly easily," said Gingras of the Ron Burke trainee who sprinted his final quarter in :26. "He loves the big track." Gingras' other wins came with McRaven (first race, $8.20, 1:52.3), All It Takes (third, $6.00, 1:52) and Always A Diamond (sixth, $8.20, 1:52.1). BETTING TOPS $3 MILLION: For the seventh time in 2019, wagering at the Meadowlands exceeded $3 million, as a total of $3,046,148 was pushed through the windows. Race eight saw $341,302 in action, and the ever-popular 50-Cent Pick-4 served as the catalyst with a pool of $116,859. A LITTLE MORE: It was huge day for Austin Siegelman. Monticello Raceway's leading driver took his act on the road Saturday and piled up the victories. After winning five times during the day at Freehold, Siegelman then won three more under the lights at the Big M. ... Players who don't like chalk are loving life of late at the Meadowlands. Over the last four programs, favorites have gone nine-for-52, good (or bad, based on your preference) for a minuscule win percentage of 17. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Considering the talent level of the field he was facing, even harness racing driver Andy Miller must have been surprised at how easily his Sutton won his second straight Friday night feature at the Meadowlands, the $30,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. After all, Sutton was taking on arch-rival Trolley, the only horse to defeat him (twice) this year. In addition, there was $2.7-million lifetime earner Pinkman to contend with, as well as Dover Downs shipper All Champy, who was looking for his third straight win, not to mention Sutton's stablemate, Top Flight Angel, who was second in last year's Breeders Crown. But there was Sutton, leaving the gate alertly before yielding the top to Pinkman at the quarter, and even though the track was unforgiving to speed all night long, Miller put the 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-I Wanted Wings right back on the point at the three-eighths. After a sleepy :29.4 second quarter, Sutton was in full control as Trolley was the first to pull off the rail - from sixth - after the half. His attempt to beat Sutton - as well as everyone else's - would prove futile. Sutton raced on a clear lead around the far turn as Trolley picked up cover from longshot Sortie, but no one ever got close. Sutton trotted his final quarter in :26.3 and hit the wire in 1:53. It was 2¼ lengths back to Pinkman. Sortie was third while Trolley finished fourth. The winner, trained by Julie Miller, paid $4.20 to win as the even-money favorite and now has 13 wins from 40 lifetime starts and earnings of $557,288 for owners Andy Miller Stable and Jason and Douglas Allen. CAP4 REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: The fifth edition of the Can-Am Pick-4, which requires a bettor to select two winners at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Mohawk Park, provided the wager's biggest pool yet, as a total of $65,333 was put in play. After a sequence that saw winner's odds of even-money, 8-1, 8-5 and 2-1, the return for the bet with the 20-Cent base was $87.17. The Meadowlands' Dave Brower and Woodbine's Jason Portuondo gave out winning selections to their followers. BIG HIT IN JSH5: One lucky patron wagering on the Meadowlands' signal into the Oregon hub went home with a huge smile on his or her face Friday night. In the 13th race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, 10-1 shot Knightofvictory held off 5-2 favorite Prince Of Minto after a stirring stretch duel and that player holding the only ticket with the winning combination of 6-8-1-10-3 cashed in for $68,059. A LITTLE MORE: Five drivers won two races on the program: Yannick Gingras, Dexter Dunn, Corey Callahan, Dave Miller and Andy Miller. ... Ron Burke had a training triple while Mark Harder scored twice. ... Tyler Buter found a late seam to win the ninth race with Parkin In Heaven, giving him 2,999 driving wins for his career. ... All-source handle totaled $2,717,504. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Dover Downs shipper Highalator rose to the top of the horse colony at the Meadowlands by putting together a pair of dominant wins, but his quest for a third straight score was thwarted by another Dover invader in the Big M's Saturday night harness racing  feature, the $30,000 Preferred for pacers. Sweet Rock, a Wayne Givens trainee who shipped in from Delaware off a pair of hard-fought wins, got a perfect ground-saving trip and pulled off a 24-1 upset, and in the process, became the fastest performer in the sport this year when he stopped the clock in 1:48.1. The script played out differently than expected as a group of leavers left 4-5 favorite Highalator four-wide into the first turn. Driver Richard Still opted to take back and sit a three-hole to the quarter as Sunfire Blue Chip hit the first split in :26. Another Dover invader, Bags To Riches, had designs on the lead, but Sunfire Blue Chip was not in a yielding frame of mind and parked that foe to the half in :53. At three-quarters, Bags To Riches started to back out of it as the pocket-sitting New Talent took second. Highalator was now second-over and swung three wide around a struggling Bags To Riches while Sweet Rock and driver Dexter Dunn sat in the three-hole. After hitting three-quarters in 1:21.1, Sunfire Blue Chip was done for the night. Highalator was in full flight on the outside while Sweet Rock was closing along the pylons after New Talent had angled off the rail. In deep stretch, it would be Sweet Rock, the eighth choice in the nine-horse field, grabbing the lead and holding off Highalator - who went a huge mile - by a half-length. New Talent held third. Sweet Rock, an 8-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover-Penny For Nickel, returned $51.00 to his appreciative backers while lowering his previous lifetime-best by one-and-one-fifth seconds. For his career, he now has 31 wins from 169 starts and earnings of $719,106 for owners Legacy Racing of Delaware, Reginald Hazzard II and Gary Calloway. BETTING REACHES $3 MILLION: Players who don't care for favorites bet with both hands all night long, as no post-time choices hit the winner's circle after 3-5 chance Abigail Dawn took the first race. All-source wagering exceeded the magic $3-million mark for the sixth time this year, as $3,025,740 was pushed through the windows during the 13-race card. A LITTLE MORE: Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Dave Miller all drove three winners on the program while Chris Ryder had a training double. ... Blood Line made his seasonal debut a winning one, gunning down 2-5 shot Wheels On Fire in the second race high-range conditioned pace. Wheels On Fire had won two weeks ago in 1:49.1, at the time the fastest Big M mile of the year. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. as the fifth edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 will take center stage.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Rollwithpapajoe rebounded in a big way from a sub-par seasonal debut a week ago to win a division of the Wiggle It Jiggleit Series for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace at the Meadowlands Friday night. The Jenn Bongiorno trainee, a tough-trip fifth-place finisher on April 5, came back with a strong mile as Dave Miller moved the son of Roll With Joe-Crazy On You off the rail from fifth at the three-eighths and made steady progress past the half and onto the far turn, trailing leader - and 6-5 favorite - Actor Hanover by just a head at three-quarters. Through the stretch, Rollwithpapajoe drew clear over a sloppy track as heavy rains fell. Rollwithpapajoe, who paid $6.80 as the second choice in the wagering, hit the wire 1¾ lengths in front of Prince Of Tides in 1:51.3. Sugartown was third. "That's the performance from Papajoe that I was waiting for him to show everyone," said Bongiorno. "This horse has serious speed and ability. Last week, the problem was they walked to the half. Tonight, he showed that he loves his job and wants to win." The first of three Wiggle It Jiggleit divisions went to 6-1 chance Rockme Rollme ($14.00) for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Nik Drennan. Miller dove to the inside in deep stretch to nip even-money favorite Dealer's Table at the wire by the smallest of noses in 1:50.4 as Dealer's Table saw his four-race win streak come to an end. Stone Hanover was third. The third and final Wiggle It Jiggleit division went to JK Captain Jack for driver Josert Fonseca and trainer Nancy Johansson. The winner went first over for a little more than the final half-mile to score by a half-length over Bring The Thunder. Goldberg, the 3-5 favorite, settled for third. JK Captain Jack paid $13.20 as the second choice in the wagering after completing the mile in 1:52. The third and final leg of the Wiggle It Jiggleit takes place April 19. The April 26 final will offer a purse of $58,500. A LITTLE MORE: The fourth edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 saw a total pool of $55,610, and after a sequence saw winner's odds of 5-2, 5-2, 4-1 and 5-2, the return for the wager with the 20-Cent base bet was $158.76. ... The Meadowlands' 50-Cent Pick-4 took in $95,127 in wagers and those who had horses that went off at 2-1, 4-5, 5-2 and 5-2 walked away with $107.50. ... Yannick Gingras drove three winners to up his meet-leading total to 78. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $78,108. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,400,551. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

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