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Sortie, Noel Daley's Hambletonian Stakes hopeful, begins his 3-year-old harness racing campaign Saturday by competing in the first of three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows, near Pittsburgh. Sortie is among 18 Hambletonian eligible trotters entered in the three divisions, with each race featuring six. Last year, Sortie won his elimination for the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. He also finished second in the Matron Stakes, but Daley believes the colt wasn't at his best because of trouble breathing. Daley has made an equipment addition in the hopes of correcting the issue. "He didn't finish off the race properly in the Breeders Crown; I know he was third, but he wasn't any good," said Daley, who trains and co-owns Sortie. "He should have jogged in the Matron and he wasn't any good. This year he came back and I've put a Cornell Collar on him, because mechanically they said his throat was fine. "He's been real good so far. I've been very happy with him." Sortie is a son of former Daley star Explosive Matter out of the stakes-winning mare Win B. Daley was interested in Sortie because of his familiarity with the colt's family and purchased the horse for $65,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. The colt is owned by Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Mario Mazza, and Daley's Sortie Stable. Last year, Sortie went off stride in three of his first four starts (he won the only race in which he did not) before starting to put it all together. He finished fourth in a division of the International Stallion and then hit the board in his final three races of the campaign. For the year, he finished with $122,055 in purses from eight starts. "He always showed talent, but he would throw his head or when you pulled him off a horse he just wanted to go a hundred (miles per hour)," Daley said about last year's breaks. "We've been concentrating on that. When we qualified him, (driver Andy McCarthy) pulled him out, put him back, pulled him out, put him back, a couple of times. He seems better. You just have to watch that he doesn't want to spin his wheels too quickly. He's a good gaited horse. He just wanted to get going." Sortie prepped for his seasonal debut by winning two qualifiers, one at the Meadowlands and the other at Harrah's Philadelphia. Daley said the horse will stay near his base in central New Jersey as he works toward the $1 million Hambletonian on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. "We'll try not to overdo it," Daley said. "It's a heavy schedule; I don't want him to be in everything. I'd rather keep him here. He can go (to Canada) later. If he's good enough, he's got everything late. I don't want to have too many tough trips when we're just trying to get him set up." The early favorite for the Hambletonian is Linda Toscano-trained New York-bred Walner, who won seven of eight starts last year and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter. Walner won each of his races by at least 1-3/4 lengths, including a 4-1/2 length triumph in the Breeders Crown. Linda's horse is obviously the horse to beat, but I legitimately think that if (Sortie) can breathe he's a top five horse, definitely," Daley said. "After Linda's horse, there's no one else I'd swap him for. We'll see. It depends who steps up. He's got to step up and do it now." Following are the fields for Saturday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions in post order with Hambletonian eligible horses in bold. Division 1: Perfect Spirit, Di Oggi, Meteoric, Gee Wizz George, Sortie, High Glider, Giveitgasandgo, Coogan, Dover Dan. Division 2: What A Cantab, Stealth Hanover, Monteverdi, Simply Volo, Andy M, Gustavo Fring, Snowstorm Hanover, Media Buzz, Don Dream. Division 3: Brown Bear, Limerence, Brand New Key, Meme Hanover, Common Parlance, Affair Of Honor, Iron Mine Johnny, Explosive Ridge, Backstage Pass. Giveitgasandgo, from the stable of John Butenschoen, was last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Snowstorm Hanover, trained by Ron Burke, won the Matron Stakes and Valley Victory. Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is pleased to announce an extensive 2017 stakes program with total purses in the neighborhood of $12 million. Grand Circuit stakes represent the vast majority of that amount featuring the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $1.25 million Fall Final Four, $1.2 million TVG Championships, $1 million Graduate Series and $750,000 Meadowlands Pace along with nearly $1 million in New Jersey Sires Stakes purses.   "We are able to maintain the 2017 stakes program with the help of sponsors from within the business and we are grateful for their support. With the Breeders Crown at Hoosier this year we picked up the Fall Final Four to give those races a home and open the Fall Meet in November," said Meadowlands Chairman & CEO Jeff Gural.   The Saturday, August 5 Hambletonian Day program (noon post time) worth over $3.5 million in purses on harness racing's greatest day will include important stakes for every division. The $1 million Hambletonian and $300,000 Cane Pace provide fans the opportunity to see a leg of both the trotting and pacing triple crowns on the same card.   Leading up to the Hambletonian, the Tompkins-Geers stake for three-year-old trotting fillies and colts is coming to The Meadowlands on Saturday, July 22 to avail horsemen prepping for the Hambo and Oaks the option of one more start over the mile oval going into the big race.   Meadowlands Pace night is Saturday, July 15 this year and a full complement of important stakes on the undercard will support that $750,000 race for sophomore pacing colts. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity will serve as a co-feature. An early post time of 6:30 is scheduled for Pace night.   The $1.25 million Freshman Fall Final Four returns to the Garden State where they began 27 years ago. The Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid for trotters and Governor's Cup and Three Diamonds for pacers will join the $1.2 TVG Free For All Championship Finals kicking off the 2017 Fall Meet with all finals scheduled for Saturday, November 25   The $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Open Trot has been moved to Kentucky Derby Day, May 6. The Cutler winner will be awarded an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp which will be raced on Sunday, May 28, this year. Although the Cutler will have no restrictions regarding the use of trotting hopples and/or Lasix, the their use is prohibited in the Elitlopp and if their invitation to compete is accepted it must be done with that understanding. Swedish racing officials wish to make it known that there will be a direct flight to Solvalla for this year's race as was done in 2017.   The $1 million Graduate Series for 4 year olds also begins on May 6 at the Meadowlands, travels to Mohawk Racetrack for leg two on June 3, then on to Tioga Downs for the June 11 third leg. Each leg of the Graduate will have a purse of $75,000 or $50,000 if raced in divisions. The $250,000 finals will be raced at he Meadowlands on Pace elimination night, July 8.   The 2017 Kindergarten series starts in early July and will again include two legs during the Freshman Festival meet in September at The Meadowlands. The $150,000 finals are scheduled for November 3 and will be raced at Vernon Downs this year.   The Miss Versatility Series will have two legs at The Meadowlands to go along with Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. The $100,000 final will remain a part of the Little Brown Jug card at Delaware, Ohio.   All of the conditions for Meadowlands administered stakes/finals have been written to award one percent of the final purse to those horses that finish "out of the money".   The NJSS offers $100,000 guaranteed finals to the sophomores in May and freshmen in July with two $20,000 preliminary legs leading up to those events for each group.   The complete Meadowlands 2017 stakes schedule may be viewed here and the live racing/stakes calendar here. The website also provides a "Stakes Application" page where you may download all the information on the 2017 events including nomination forms and conditions for all Meadowlands administered stakes. All purses listed are estimates unless denoted as guaranteed (G).   The Hambletonian and a few other Grand Circuit stakes on the Meadowlands calendar are administered by and the property of the Hambletonian Society. All of the NJSS races are handled by the NJ Sires Stakes offices. Payments on those stakes should be directed to those offices.   Trainers must be approved for nomination to Meadowlands stakes to be accepted. It's suggested that trainers submit a racing application before the February 15 deadline if you are planning to race at The Meadowlands in stakes or overnights in 2017.   Call the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130 with questions.   From the Meadowlands Media Department  

The Meadowlands Racetrack, longest-running host track of the classic Hambletonian race for harness racing 3-year-old trotters, has set a date of Saturday afternoon August 5, 2017 for the 92nd edition of the classic event. The Hambletonian Society, which owns the race, and Jeff Gural, chairman of the New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC, have an existing contract to host the Hambletonian through 2021. The $1 million Hambletonian, and the companion race for 3-year-old fillies, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, are the richest of their kind currently offered in harness racing, and among the richest worldwide, regardless of breed. There are currently 350 colts and 347 fillies eligible to make sustaining payments in February 2017 to remain eligible to participate in next year's race. "Despite the likelihood that the casino referendum will be defeated, the Meadowlands is fully committed to host the Hambletonian next year on August 5 and continues to expect to fully promote this prestigious race as our signature event," said Jeff Gural. Hambletonian day continues to set North American handle and attendance records in the new Meadowlands grandstand, with more than $6.9 million wagered in 2016. The Hambletonian race is also the longest-running live national TV broadcast in harness racing. For more information contact Moira Fanning at the Hambletonian Society (732-306-6713) or Rachel Ryan at the Meadowlands Racetrack (201) 842-5015. Moira Fanning Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown

The 2016 Hambletonian broadcast which featured harness racing's U.S. Pacing Championship, Hambletonian Oaks and The Hambletonian Final from the Meadowlands on Saturday, Aug. 6, projected an estimated 100,000 viewers combined for two airings. The 90-minute broadcast aired live on CBS Sports Network from 4:00-5:30 p.m. on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 6, and was re-aired on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 3:00 p.m. CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, is available across the country in more than 99 million homes nationwide. CBS Sports Network has been the broadcast home of the Hambletonian since 2012. The Hambletonian has been nationally televised for more than 40 years, and is the only harness racing broadcast on national TV this year. The television coverage was made possible by a partnership of the Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racetrack and United States Trotting Association. Hambletonian CBS - Part one Hambletonian CBS - Part two Hambletonian CBS - Part three

Trenton, NJ --- About the only thing that could replace Saturday (Aug. 6) as the most memorable day for accomplishments in harness racing driver Scott Zeron’s life, is if he is ever elected Prime Minister of Canada. And even that might not do the trick, as the 27-year-old Canadian had a Hambletonian Day for the ages at the Meadowlands on Saturday. First, he defeated harness racing’s “Big Three” by driving Shamballa to an upset victory in the $225,550 U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers. The fact Shamballa is trained and partly owned by Scott’s dad, Rick Zeron, made it even more special. Two races later in the $1 million Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, Zeron came from first over to drive Marion Marauder to a photo-finish win over Southwind Frank. It was the second such occurrence of the afternoon as Marion Marauder also defeated Southwind Frank in their Hambletonian elimination. Finally, Zeron capped his day by being recognized as the leading driver at this year’s Meadowlands meet. Zeron’s 82 wins were 12 more than runner-up Tim Tetrick. Zeron, who became the second-youngest driver to ever win the Hambletonian, became the first under-30 driver to win the Big M title since 29-year-old John Campbell led the colony in 1984. Any one of those feats would have made for an awesome day. To gain all three was like reaching into the pocket of a barely used jacket and discovering a crumpled $100 bill; hitting the Powerball later that day; and having the IRS immediately declare there will no longer be income tax on lottery winnings. “I don’t know how I could have a bigger day than I did on Saturday,” said the personable Zeron, who will drive Shamballa in Friday’s (Aug. 12) $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. “It wasn’t just about those two big wins; it was about winning the Hambletonian, an internationally known race, and also winning for my dad. It’s going to be very tough to surpass the emotions I had that day.” The fun started in the second Hambletonian elimination of the day. Marion Marauder was up against Southwind Frank, who had beaten him in all four meetings last year and was a 1-5 favorite. At 3-1 odds, Zeron’s horse trotted a lifetime best mile of 1:51.3 and overtook Southwind Frank in the final strides. “When I was looking on the TV, it doesn’t look as bad, it looks like he had three or four lengths on me, but when I was out there and by the time I had gotten all the way up four wide, it looked like he was a quarter-mile away from me,” Zeron said. “When I moved my horse over and he had that momentum, I thought halfway down the lane maybe I could get him. “I started asking my horse a little bit. I’m getting a little closer and I start pushing him a little more. When I got closer and closer I knew it was going to be huge to win that elimination and head into that final (because of being ensured a starting spot inside post six). It turned out the post position didn’t matter because everybody drew well.” Shortly thereafter, Scott got in the sulky behind Shamballa, who went off at 8-1 in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Rick Zeron’s horse was going against world champions Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete, considered harness racing’s “Big Three” this year. Shamballa promptly made it the “Big Four” by pacing a career-best 1:47.1 to upset 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit by one length. “I went into that race definitely thinking I had a chance to win it,” Zeron said. “If I had the right trip I could beat those horses. He showed in a very vigorous first-up trip (in the William R. Haughton Memorial) when Miki beat me in a mile and an eighth race, that I could stay with those horses (Shamballa was second by three-quarters of a length). If things kind of worked out, I could beat the Big Three. “Not a lot of people believed I could. I was ecstatic with that one, with the family connections. I wish my dad was there to watch that race with me, but it was unbelievable to win that race. I was so excited. Beating those horses is one thing, but to win it for your father is another.” Although not in attendance, Rick felt the emotions and took the humble route when it was over. “The last thing he’ll ever talk about is the horse,” Scott said. “He’ll tell me how proud of me he is, and how much he loves me and he knew we could do this. And then we’ll get to ‘The horse raced great.’ He was all water works when we went across that wire. The fact that both of us believed this horse could do it and to always be the underdog, it felt unbelievable to get that win.” Zeron is looking forward to facing the "Big Three" again in Indiana on Friday, and feels Jimmy Takter’s horse may make a bigger impact after finishing fourth as the favorite in the U.S. Pacing Championship on Saturday. “It’s a great track for Miki and Miki was coming off a three-week layoff,” Zeron said. “I think he would be better up at Hoosier.” After posting two huge wins Saturday, Zeron and Marion Marauder geared for Scott’s first drive in a Hambletonian final. Both driver and horse were feeling good after their earlier victory. “It was huge to mow down Southwind Frank (in the elimination) with the insurmountable lead that he had,” Zeron said. “It was great for my horse to beat him. You just get that momentum, everything has to click on that day and that’s kind of the way it happened. To win from where we were sitting at that three-quarter pole, it just felt like we were going to win that final.” They prevailed in the most gut-wrenching way possible, launching a first-over assault to win a photo finish over Southwind Frank. Marion Marauder was fifth after a half-mile and second behind favorite Bar Hopping after three- quarters, before Bar Hopping dropped back and Marion Marauder charged ahead and ultimately held off Southwind Frank. “I knew I was going to be first up and I was very content with that because I could control my own destiny,” Zeron said. “My horse just slowly, gradually picked up his speed throughout the mile, so first up isn’t a spot that’s too challenging for him. I was happy, though, that when I did move him first up, he grabbed on and he wanted to go. “He knows coming around that turn that soon it’s go time. But when I moved him up to go first up, he wanted to go. It’s an amazing feeling to have that; when it’s the second heat, you already won a big first heat, and to just know that he felt good right there at the half. It was a warm feeling for me to know he wanted to win this race.” Zeron had to keep his joy in check, however, due to the photo finish. Southwind Frank's driver Yannick Gingras glanced over and congratulated Zeron, who remained mellow as he looked over to find Marion Marauder’s connections heading to the winner’s circle. “I’m staring over there and not one of my people are going over to that stand,” he said. “Nobody else was either. I’m thinking this is much closer than I even think. This could really be tight. “When I hit that wire I couldn’t enjoy it because I was so concerned about whether or not I won or not. We’re on CBS, so I’m not going to start fist pumping and going ballistic when there’s a shot I might not have won.” After a few minutes, which seemed like a few hours for Zeron, trainers Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling and owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling, Marion Marauder was declared the winner. “When they put it up on the TV screen all my connections went nuts,” Zeron said. “Then it really started to sink in.” As did the fact he was the track champion in just his third year of driving at the Meadowlands. Zeron had been eyeing the title for the past two months and finished with a 12-win cushion over Tetrick. “I wanted it and Timmy and I would talk about it in the last couple months, how many is he away, how many am I up by,” Zeron said. “For me it meant a lot. I was very focused on it the last few weeks.” Scott admitted things have accelerated in his career much faster than he thought. He has now crossed off two major races on his bucket list -- the Little Brown Jug and the Hambletonian. “They’re the two biggest races, especially for that international presence,” he said. “Everybody watches those races.” His top goal has not been reached, however, as he is still seeking a victory in the North America Cup. “Growing up in Canada, to me that’s the end-all, be-all race,” he said. “The NA Cup is my hometown race, that’s the one I want next year.” After all, it couldn’t hurt if he ever waged a campaign for prime minister. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

East Rutherford, NJ ---- It wasn’t the perfect drive. But it was the perfect ending. Marion Marauder won Saturday’s (Aug. 6) $1 million Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, by a nose over Southwind Frank in 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Sutton was third as the top three horses stretched across the finish line separated by only a neck in the 91st edition of the sport’s top race for harness racing 3-year-old trotters. It was Marion Marauder’s second win of the day. Earlier in the afternoon, he won his Hambletonian elimination by a half-length over Southwind Frank in a career-best 1:51.3. Last year, Marion Marauder was winless in races against Southwind Frank, finishing second on four occasions. In the Hambletonian final, Marion Marauder was fifth as Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping traded the lead in the first half of the race. At that point Scott Zeron, driving Marion Marauder for the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling, put his horse in gear and launched a first-over attack. Marion Marauder was second behind Bar Hopping at three-quarters, but reached the front at the top of the stretch. As Bar Hopping dropped back, eventually finishing fifth, Marion Marauder held off hard-charging challenges from Southwind Frank to his inside and Sutton on the outside. Waitlifter K was fourth, beaten a length. Zeron, who at age 27 became the second-youngest driver to win the Hambletonian, thought he might have moved too soon with Marion Marauder. “I know better,” Zeron said. “I know that when he clears another horse, he thinks the race is over, and I got a little over anxious. I just tried to get away on Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping and just sprint away from them and my horse just kind of started lollygagging around and not knowing where the wire was but he hung tough to finish. “It is amazing. The Wellwood family has trained trotters their whole lives and everything they’ve done has lead up to this point. The pressure is all on the Hambletonian and we delivered, the horse delivered. It was amazing. I can’t believe it.” Wellwood, who became the second female trainer to win the Hambletonian, along with Linda Toscano, is the daughter of the late Bill Wellwood, a driver/trainer enshrined in both the U.S. and Canadian halls of fame. Marion Marauder is owned by Wellwood’s mother, Marion Jean, and her 19-year-old son, Devin Keeling. Marion Marauder’s name combines the names of Wellwood’s mom and the nickname of Devin’s college mascot at McMaster University, where he will play football. Interestingly, the horse’s original name already had “Marion” in it; he was purchased for $37,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale under the name Marion Monopoly. According to Wellwood, this was the family’s 10th try at winning the Hambletonian. “It means the world; it was my father’s dream,” Wellwood said. “It has been my mother’s and my dream. We’ve tried. When this horse came along, you dare to dream. We started to dream last year. “I was in shock (at the finish) it was so close. I knew where he was, I knew he was first up and had taken over the lead. I guess I was in shock, I couldn’t even scream. I watched and I thought it was too close to call and everyone was saying it was too close to call.” Added a teary-eyed Marion Jean Wellwood, “It feels really good. I’ve been trying for this for a long time and I just want to say I dedicate this to my late husband.” Marion Marauder, a son of 2009 Hambletonian winner  Muscle Hill out of the Nova Award-winning mare Spellbound Hanover, has won six of seven races this year and seven of 20 career starts. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $1.01 million with his Hambletonian triumph. “The difference between last year and this year is that he grew quite a bit,” Paula Wellwood said. “He got bigger and stronger but the real difference is that he learned how to win.” Zeron’s win capped a memorable championship meet at the Meadowlands for the driver, who won the track’s driving title. “I want to thank Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling for bringing me in to drive this horse full time,” said Zeron, who was driving in the Hambletonian for the first time. “Not a lot of people give a young guy a chance to drive a Hambletonian trotter. It’s amazing.” by Ken Weingartner and Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, NJ ---- Bar Hopping and harness racing driver Tim Tetrick won the first of two $70,000 elimination races by open lengths in 1:51.4 to advance to the final of the $1 million Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, on Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Meadowlands. Milligan’s School (Andy Miller) was second and Lagerfeld (Yannick Gingras) was third. Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis) was fourth and Mavens Way (John Campbell) was fifth and got the final spot in the Hambletonian final. The time was Bar Hopping’s lifetime best. The son of Muscle Hill is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marin Katz and Al Libfeld. Brooklyn Hill (David Miller) was first to the lead in :27.2, but Bar Hopping was out past that mark to challenge and grabbed the lead before hitting the half in :55.4. Milligan's School was out to challenge at the five-eighths-mile marker but could not get past the leader at the 1:24 third quarter. Bar Hopping pulled away from the field for the win. “He was super. He was even better than he was the last couple weeks,” said Tim Tetrick. “Jimmy’s good at those big days and he’s got him right where he wants him. I didn’t know (about multiple horses making breaks past the three-quarters). But when Andy (driving Milligan's School) was first up and he started growling at his, mine took right off. I wasn’t worried from there. I think he’s ready for the final.” Bar Hopping Marion Marauder stormed through the stretch and overtook leader Southwind Frank in the final strides to win the second of Saturday’s two eliminations for the Hambletonian. The time for the mile was 1:51.3, a lifetime best for Marion Marauder, who was sent off at odds of 3-1. Joining Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in the $1 million final were Waitlifter K, Sutton, and The Royal Harry. Southwind Frank, the 1-5 favorite, got the lead in a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and led through fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.2. Scott Zeron drove Marion Marauder for trainer Paula Wellwood and owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. It was the colt’s fifth win in six races this year. “If I had a helmet cam on, it would have been pretty interesting to watch,” said Scott Zeron, competing in his first Hambletonian. “There were some people in front of me and I was hoping that things would work out a little bit differently but it didn’t and he ended up overcoming the distance we had to make up at the three-quarter pole. We were trying to mow down a horse that I thought was the best horse, I felt, to get to the final (Southwind Frank) and he did it. And he did it impressively.” Below is the draw for the Hambletonian final. 1 – Southwind Frank 2 – The Royal Harry 3 – Bar Hopping 4 – Waitlifter K 5 – Marion Marauder 6 – Sutton 7 – Milligan’s School 8 – Iron Mine Bucky 9 – Mavens Way 10 – Lagerfeld by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

The Harness Racing Museum's gift shop staff is again bringing a great selection of harness racing giftwares, books, toys and clothing to the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day. Conveniently located on the first floor just outside the Simulcast Room, be sure to stop by and support the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and pick-up a new souvenir at the same time. Loads of merchandise, both new and old favorites including items for the youngest racing fan to the seasoned horseperson will be available. You will also be able to purchase a brick or paver to celebrate your winning horse or to remember someone special; forms will be available for you to personalize your selection. If you need to renew your museum membership or join for the first time, you can conveniently take care of if while you are at the track. Even if you are not in the mood to shop, please stop by to say hello - we are always happy to see familiar faces and chat with you. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, NY, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour 4 p.m.). Thanks to USTA support, the Museum is currently offering free admission for walk-in visitors and group docent-guided tours at a minimal charge per person. For additional information about the Museum, its membership program, special events and educational programs, call (845) 294-6330 or visit The history of harness racing lives here. Janet Terhune

East Rutherford...CBS Sports Network will present a 90-minute telecast of the harness racing $1 million Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, live from The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ, on Sat., Aug. 6 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT). The Hambletonian is the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network, which has been the broadcast home of the Hambletonian since 2012, also will air the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the $233,000 US Pacing Championship and provide coverage of the $285,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown. "Live television of the Hambletonian has always been a top priority of the Hambletonian Society," said Tom Charters, president of the organization which owns and administers 135 of racing's most important events. "The Hambletonian has been televised for over 40 years, and we're proud to continue that tradition on CBS Sports Network, with the support of our host racetrack, The Meadowlands, and the U.S. Trotting Association." The on-air team for the Hambletonian is a stellar trio of award-winning harness racing veterans. Gary Seibel, a former host of racing coverage on ESPN, NBC, CBS and TVG, will anchor the coverage. A member of harness racing's Communicators Hall of Fame, Seibel will be appearing on his 24th straight Hambletonian broadcast. Dave Brower, one of harness racing's sharpest handicappers, will co-anchor. Brower is an alumnus of "Racing from the Meadowlands" television program on SNY, Fox Sports New York, MSG Networks and TVG's "Drive Time". He is the author of the bestseller Harnessing Winners: The Complete Guide to Handicapping Harness Races. Justin Horowitz returns for his third year in his role of trackside reporter. Horowitz, a former sports video-journalist in Minnesota and New York, is now the racing and media manager for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in New York and Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Emmy Award winner Mike Trager and the Trager Group have been executive producers of the Hambletonian broadcasts for the past 25 years. The award winning team will be lead by producer Peter Lasser and director David Newman, both Hambletonian and harness racing broadcast veterans. NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. will be at The Meadowlands to present the Hambletonian trophy to the winning connections. Meadowlands announcer Ken Warkentin will provide his racing expertise and race call. The 91st Hambletonian show will re-air Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, is available across the country in more than 99 million homes nationwide. CBS Sports Network televises nearly 600 live events and over 3,000 hours of live programming every year including live college football, college basketball, and more from the MW, AAC, Big East, C-USA, A-10, Army, Navy, and the Patriot League. CBSSN is also the home to Professional Bull Riding and Arena Football League. For more information, and to access the CBS Sports Network channel finder, go to Throughout the year, the network also telecasts a full slate of original programming and studio coverage. It is home to NFL Monday QB featuring Trent Green, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein, We Need To Talk the first-ever all-female sports show, Boomer & Carton, The Doug Gottlieb Show, and That Other Pregame Show which covers Pro, College, and Fantasy Football every Sunday morning. CBSSN has become the extension of CBS Sports sharing talent and graphics as well as providing support coverage of every major event that CBS produces including Super Bowl 50, SEC football, NCAA Tournament, The Masters, and PGA Championship. Ken Weingartner

Bud Hatfield fell in love with Bar Hopping the moment he saw the colt as a yearling at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. His affection for the horse remains high, and why not? For the first time in four decades in harness racing, Hatfield is sending a horse to the Hambletonian. And the horse is Bar Hopping. Bar Hopping is the 9-5 favorite in the first of two nine-horse eliminations of the Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the event beginning at 4 p.m. "It's a thrill," said Hatfield, a 67-year-old Columbus, Ohio, resident who has enjoyed success in racing both as an owner and amateur driver. "My wife (Kelli) and I are so excited. I've been in big races before, but nothing like the Hambletonian. That's the big one. There's nothing that compares to this." Bar Hopping is trained by Jimmy Takter, who is going for an unprecedented third consecutive Hambletonian victory and record-tying fifth triumph overall. Hatfield owns the colt with Christina Takter, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. "We were at the sale in Harrisburg and they told me they had three or four trotters they liked," Hatfield said. "I went and looked at Bar Hopping and I fell in love with him. I just kept going back and looking at him. We kind of zeroed in on him, and it was a good thing. It's paid off." Hatfield, who is a two-time champion on the Billings amateur driving circuit, where he is known as "Trader Bud" because of his career as a car dealer, owns several horses with Takter. In addition to Bar Hopping, he is among the owners of Peter Haughton Memorial finalist King On The Hill. Bar Hopping has won three of 17 career races and hit the board a total of 12 times, earning $391,728. He heads to the Hambletonian off a win in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial on July 24 at Vernon Downs. Southwind Frank is the 4-5 favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination. The Ron Burke-trained colt has won 16 of 18 career races, but both defeats came in races won by Bar Hopping. "I think Bar Hopping has got a chance," Hatfield said. "Southwind Frank is some kind of horse; he's phenomenal. We've got our work cut out for us, but hopefully we'll be right there and be competitive. "I love the sport and owning good horses is fun. Jimmy told me at the beginning just to be patient with Bar Hopping and he's going to be a good one. It looks like that patience has paid off." Hambletonian Day first race post time is noon. Below are the fields for the two Hambletonian eliminations: $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 1 Race 8 - Post time 2:58 p.m. PP-Horse-Sire--Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Bar Hopping - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-12/1 3. Make Or Miss - Donato Hanover - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-20/1 4. Milligan's School - Yankee Glide - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 5. Brooklyn Hill - Muscle Hill - David Miller-Jonas Czernyson-3/1 6. Mavens Way - Muscle Hill - John Campbell-Ake Svanstedt-6/1 7. Tight Lines - Yankee Glide - Jeff Gregory-Jeff Gregory-25/1 8. Iron Mine Bucky - Explosive Matter - George Dennis-Greg Haverstick-15/1 9. Reigning Moni - Donato Hanover - David Miller-Jimmy Takter-4/1   $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 2 Race 9 - Post time 3:25 p.m. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Jimmy William - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-20/1 2. The Royal Harry - RC Royalty - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-20/1 3. Sutton - Donato Hanover - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-6/1 4. Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 5. Southwind Frank - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/5 6. Hollywood Highway - Muscle Massive - John Campbell-Staffan Lind-30/1 7. Dominion Beach - Muscle Hill - Bjorn Goop-Nancy Johansson-30/1 8. Love Matters - Explosive Matters - Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-12/1 9. Waitlifter K - Muscles Yankee - David Miller-Andrew Harris-10/1 Ken Weingartner

A word of advice concerning Saturday’s Hambletonian: don’t take the “other guys” for granted. Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping will be the clear-cut harness racing favorites when the 91st edition of the Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, takes place at the Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 6). But there are four talented dark horses that can make things very interesting coming down the stretch. They are Sutton, Milligan’s School, Marion Marauder and Brooklyn Hill. Bar Hopping is a 9-5 favorite in the first nine-horse elimination at 2:58 p.m. Also in his race will be Milligan’s School (10-1) and Brooklyn Hill (3-1). Southwind Frank is a 4-5 favorite in the second elimination at 3:25 p.m., while Sutton is 6-1 and Marion Marauder is 3-1. Milligan’s School has three firsts and a second in seven starts this year, winning $160,166. He has finished in the money in 14 of 23 career starts, including eight firsts, and has won $462,726. He drew post four in his elimination. Trained by Julie Miller and driven by Andy Miller, Milligan’s School opened the season winning two straight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes events in 1:55.3 at the Meadows and 1:54.4 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. After breaking in his next two starts he trotted to a a career best 1:53.2 in the $75,000 Earl Beal Jr. Consolation at Pocono and is coming off a second-place trip in the $300,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs on July 24. “I take complete responsibility (for the breaks), that was my fault,” Julie Miller said. “I was tinkering with his shoes, I made a bad choice, but I got him back the way he was. If it wasn’t broken, I shouldn’t have tried to fix it. Luckily he’s bounced back after those mishaps and Andy was really pleased with him in the Zweig, so we like him.” Sired by 1997 Hambo elimination winner Yankee Glide, Milligan’s School is owned by Natalia Stroy of Stroy, Inc. Stroy, an importer and exporter of meats, is flying in from Russia to watch her first Hambletonian entry. “She’s very excited, obviously,” Miller said. “She’s remarkable. Pete Spears of Hanover Shoe Farms introduced us at Harrisburg and we had horses with her last year and now this year. “She’s a smart, educated lady, she follows American racing and I’m always impressed by her e-mails and the questions she asks. She has her finger on the pulse. I’m glad to work with her.” After Andy Miller drives Milligan’s School, he will climb in the bike behind Sutton, who his stable owns along with Jason and Doug Allen. Sutton opened this season winning a qualifier at the Meadowlands in 1:51.2 on May 28, making him the fastest 3-year-old trotter of 2016. He won his first start of the year in an overnight race at Pocono in 1:56.2 over a sloppy track on June 5. After finishing fifth as the beaten favorite in a PA Sire Stakes event at Pocono on June 12, he raced against older foes in two overnights at the Meadowlands, finishing seventh and second. The horse, who drew post three, is coming off a strong second to Southwind Frank from post 11 in a $153,250 division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 16. He then posted a 1:52.4 score in the $75,000 Zweig Consolation on July 24 at Vernon Downs. “We’ve been really happy his last few starts, it seems like he’s putting it together,” Julie Miller said. “He raced at Pocono in the mud and I think that kind of kinked him up. Luckily I think he’s come out of that and I think we have him as healthy and fit as we can have him for Saturday.” Sutton has two wins and two seconds in six starts, earning $87,539 this year. He has four wins and five seconds in 15 career starts for $166,706 in winnings. He is the first foal of his dam, I Wanted Wings, who won the NJSS final at two. “He’s always had a great demeanor on and off the track,” Miller said. “He is full of himself, being a stud horse and nickering and playing. But I really just think he’s always been sensibly mannered. It’s just overcoming his endurance and fitness. He’s coming into himself and Andy has a lot of confidence in him.” Andy Miller, whose best finish in five Hambo finals was fourth in 2009, has a potential pleasant dilemma of who to drive if Milligan’s School and Sutton both reach the final. According to his wife, however, it’s not an issue at all. “We have no choice because we own part of Sutton,” she said. “He will be the driver of Sutton if he makes it. I will have to snatch up a catch driver for Milligan. I am not even going to worry about it. (Milligan’s School) is a nice horse to drive and there’s a top-notch crew that’s going to be here Saturday. If we cross that bridge, I am sure I can find one. I don’t think I’ll get an ‘I’ll pass’ on that.” Marion Marauder hopes to finally pass Southwind Frank -- preferably in the Hambo final -- after having finished second to him four times as a 2-year-old. The two missed each other earlier this year when they were in different divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Starting from post six, Marion Marauder won his $153,250 division in 2:08.1 at a mile and one-eighth as the even money favorite. He was then entered in a July 30 qualifier at the Meadowlands as a Hambletonian tune-up but, in order to maintain his confidence, was eventually scratched from a field that included numerous older and accomplished horses. “We don’t want to go in against aged trotters,” trainer Paula Wellwood said. “We drew in against Pinkman and Rose Run Parker. I wasn’t going to do that.” The Canadian-based horse, who drew post four, was trained by Linda Toscano at Magical Acres last Saturday in order to work on his endurance. “He’s got the speed, and he trained very, very well,” Wellwood said. “He doesn’t mind the New Jersey heat at all.” Marion Marauder has four wins in five starts this year, winning $194.905. He has five wins, five seconds and three thirds in 18 career starts, good for $476,891 in earnings. Paula’s mother, Marion Jean Wellwood, and her son, Devin Keeling, own the horse. He is trained by Wellwood and her husband, Mike Keeling. Marion Marauder is named after Marion Wellwood and the McMaster University mascot, the Marauders. Devin enrolled to play football at McMaster, and Marion Marauder was born on his birthday. The colt's sire, Muscle Hill, was the 2009 Horse of the Year after going 12-for-12 and winning the Hambletonian in a world record 1:50.1. Scott Zeron, 27, who currently leads the Big M standings and is eyeing his first Meadowlands driving title, is hoping to make his first Hambo final appearance driving Marion Marauder. “He couldn’t be coming into the Hambletonian any better,” said Zeron, who became the youngest driver in history to reach 2,000 wins in 2013. “He has finished with guns a blazin’, and I haven’t had to pop the ear plugs. He’s strong and fresh, and his last quarter is always his best.” While Zeron aims for uncharted territory, Hall of Famer David Miller is gunning for his 12th Hambletonian final with Brooklyn Hill. Miller has two third-place Hambo finishes. Another son of Muscle Hill, Brooklyn Hill has not won a race this year but has finished in the money in four of five starts to earn $46,500. He has two firsts, eight seconds and two thirds in 15 career starts, winning $235,200. He opened the season by finishing second in a New Jersey Sires Stakes division on May 20, and followed with a second-place finish to Southwind Frank in the $100,000 final on June 4. After taking second in an elimination, Brooklyn Hill made an early break and finished eighth in the $500,000 final of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono on July 2. “We kind of had a mishap at Pocono, so that put us where we’ve made only $46,000 this year,” said trainer Jonas Czernyson, who has put 13 starters in Hambletonian finals and had a second-place finish in 2000. “But we’ve got five starts, with three seconds, one third and one break. You can’t really fault him. He’s trotted in (1):52 in about half of those starts. I’m very happy about him. I think he’s going to be right there.” Brooklyn Hill’s final Hambletonian tune-up produced a third-place finish in the $75,000 Zweig Memorial Consolation, setting the pace and trotting a 1:53.2 mile. “I think we’re in a good spot,” Czernyson said. “Leading up to this, I think he’s as good as we can get him right now. I’m very happy with how he’s been. I’m excited.” Owned by SRF Stable of Delray Beach, Fla., Brooklyn Hill starts from post five, prompting Czernyson to note, “I’m happy we drew mid-pack. I think we are good to go.” Below are the fields for the two Hambletonian eliminations: $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 1 Race 8 - Post time 2:58 p.m. PP-Horse-Sire--Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Bar Hopping - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-12/1 3. Make Or Miss - Donato Hanover - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-20/1 4. Milligan's School - Yankee Glide - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 5. Brooklyn Hill - Muscle Hill - David Miller-Jonas Czernyson-3/1 6. Mavens Way - Muscle Hill - John Campbell-Ake Svanstedt-6/1 7. Tight Lines - Yankee Glide - Jeff Gregory-Jeff Gregory-25/1 8. Iron Mine Bucky - Explosive Matter - George Dennis-Greg Haverstick-15/1 9. Reigning Moni - Donato Hanover - David Miller-Jimmy Takter-4/1   $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 2 Race 9 - Post time 3:25 p.m. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Jimmy William - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-20/1 2. The Royal Harry - RC Royalty - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-20/1 3. Sutton - Donato Hanover - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-6/1 4. Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 5. Southwind Frank - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/5 6. Hollywood Highway - Muscle Massive - John Campbell-Staffan Lind-30/1 7. Dominion Beach - Muscle Hill - Bjorn Goop-Nancy Johansson-30/1 8. Love Matters - Explosive Matters - Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-12/1 9. Waitlifter K - Muscles Yankee - David Miller-Andrew Harris-10/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Joe Bongiorno is in position to become the youngest driver to ever win the Hambletonian, harness racing's most prestigious event. That can lead to some pretty anxious moments in the days leading up to the race. But the 22-year-old from Colts Neck, N.J., has a great way of not thinking about it. He just doesn't give himself the chance. With the 91st edition of the Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, set to take place at the Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 6), Bongiorno will be driving 20-1 longshot Make Or Miss out of post three in the first elimination. Rather than dwell on the magnitude of what he is doing, Bongiorno just stays busy. He has not had a day off in three weeks. This week, he raced at Yonkers on Monday and Tuesday and Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday, and will compete at Yonkers on Thursday, Philadelphia Friday afternoon and the Meadowlands Friday night. After the Hambo, trainer Tony Alagna is flying him to Vernon to drive some Sire Stakes on Saturday night. "I think the more horses you drive, the sharper you stay," he said. "As long as you're not getting run down it's OK. I'm still young. I can do this without getting too exhausted and too tired." Named 2011 National Amateur Driver of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers' Association and 2011 Rising Star Award winner from the Monticello-Goshen chapter of USHWA, Bongiorno is enjoying his finest season to date. He has already amassed career highs in purse starts (1,565), firsts (254), seconds (227) and thirds (192). He has $1,959.235 in earnings, just $14,453 shy of last year's all-time high; and credits trainers such as Richie Johnson, Alagna and Burke for giving him quality horses to drive. Growing up within an hour of the Meadowlands, Bongiorno and his harness racing family have attended Hambletonians since he was a child. Despite his youth, he understands as much as any veteran what the race means. "I was on my way back from Canada the other day, so I was sitting at the airport watching the post position draws," he said. "You just watch that press conference video and see all the fans in the videos of the Hambletonians back in the day. It just gives you chills to watch a video like that. When I was just starting out, I never thought I'd be driving here this young. "You're racing in the most prestigious race in harness racing. I'm doing it in my favorite track. There's nothing like it. It's an awesome place to race, Jeff Gural has done an unbelievable job keeping the place going. Just to race in this race is awesome and if I get lucky enough that things click and the horse happens to do some good, there's no words to explain how it would feel." Joe got his break last November when he drove Burke's Make Or Miss to a dead heat win in the $489,400 Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old trotters. It was his first drive in a race worth more than $150,000. "When I got lucky enough to pick up Make Or Miss and we got to the dead heat in that Valley Victory final, I knew he was my horse to drive this year," Bongiorno said. That has not been the greatest of rewards for the driver, as the horse is winless in four 2016 starts, making breaks in three of them. Coming off a 2-year-old season in which he had two wins and one second for $214,445, he has earned just $1,532 during his sophomore season. There is, however, another side to the story. "So far this year, things haven't really clicked with this horse," Bongiorno said. "But on the other hand, Ronnie did make some shoeing changes that he and I both agreed on, that we thought would help the horse stop interfering. I watched the horse train (Wednesday) morning, Ronnie trained him himself, and the horse looked the best he's ever looked. He looked absolutely phenomenal." The handlers are hoping the alterations will stop Make Or Miss from getting in his own way. "He hits his hind shin pretty hard and I think that's what's been going on; he hits himself and he just can't get through it," Bongiorno said. "We made a pretty drastic change to him, because the way we looked at it is, what we've been doing hasn't been working and for something to change you had to make a change. So that's what he did." Bongiorno calls racing in the Hambo at his age an "unbelievable opportunity" and while he isn't making any grand predictions, he feels Make Or Miss has the potential to surprise some people. "I know he's a longshot going into the race, but I don't look at this horse that way," he said. "I look at this horse as if things do click, miracles can happen with him; because he is fast enough. To me he's about as fast as any of them, if not faster. He's a very, very fast horse, it's just a matter of getting his gait down. "From what I saw (Wednesday), I've watched this horse train all year this year and he's not looked anything like he looked today. He looked absolutely unbelievable. Ronnie made a few equipment adjustments as well as the shoeing, and he just looked like a different horse on the racetrack. So I'm hoping that things click just like they did last year in the Valley Victory." Whether they do or not, it will be an afternoon to remember for Bongiorno. He is not intimidated by a big race at the Big M -- at which he is fourth in the driving standings this year -- after driving longshot Manhattan Beach to a fourth-place finish in the Meadowlands Pace. "It was cool," Bongiorno said. "You're thinking 'Wow at 22 years old I'm driving in the Meadowlands Pace.' I drove the race like I would drive any other race and that's what I intend on doing at the Hambletonian also. "It's another race, it's another big race, and you do gain experience as you drive in these bigger races. A lot of money's on the line; some people drive different. I just have to do my thing, drive it like another race. Win, lose or draw, it's just a great experience to be a part of this race." And with the schedule he keeps, Bongiorno won't really be thinking about it until the day it arrives. The Hambletonian as well as the U.S. Pacing Championship and Hambletonian Oaks will be presented during a 90-minute broadcast from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday on CBS Sports Network. Hambletonian Day first race post time is noon. Below are the fields for the two Hambletonian eliminations: $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 1 Race 8 - Post time 2:58 p.m. PP-Horse-Sire--Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Bar Hopping - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-12/1 3. Make Or Miss - Donato Hanover - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-20/1 4. Milligan's School - Yankee Glide - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 5. Brooklyn Hill - Muscle Hill - David Miller-Jonas Czernyson-3/1 6. Mavens Way - Muscle Hill - John Campbell-Ake Svanstedt-6/1 7. Tight Lines - Yankee Glide - Jeff Gregory-Jeff Gregory-25/1 8. Iron Mine Bucky - Explosive Matter - George Dennis-Greg Haverstick-15/1 9. Reigning Moni - Donato Hanover - David Miller-Jimmy Takter-4/1   $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination 2 Race 9 - Post time 3:25 p.m. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Jimmy William - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-20/1 2. The Royal Harry - RC Royalty - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-20/1 3. Sutton - Donato Hanover - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-6/1 4. Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 5. Southwind Frank - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/5 6. Hollywood Highway - Muscle Massive - John Campbell-Staffan Lind-30/1 7. Dominion Beach - Muscle Hill - Bjorn Goop-Nancy Johansson-30/1 8. Love Matters - Explosive Matters - Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-12/1 9. Waitlifter K - Muscles Yankee - David Miller-Andrew Harris-10/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Columbus, OH --- The post positions have been drawn and the harness racing fields are set for the first weekend of the 2016 Grand Circuit Challenge with three races this Saturday (Aug. 6) on Hambletonian day, presented by Mullinax Ford, at the Meadowlands. The 2016 Grand Circuit Challenge offers a $100,000 grand prize to any contestant who can successfully pick the winner in each of the contest's 18 races. If no one correctly picks every winner, the contestant with the most wins will earn $5,000, the runner-up wins a VIP experience and the third-place finisher gets a special harness racing gift pack. There will also be weekly prizes awarded throughout the contest including autographed drivers' colors from Brian Sears and Billy Haughton and VIP experiences such as winner's circle presentations, starting gate car rides and backstretch tours. Other prizes include Hambletonian and track logo merchandise, dinner in the clubhouse, gift baskets and gift certificates as well as free track programs. To help you make your selections, some of harness racing's top handicappers will provide their expert opinions on all of the races. Each week, the Daily Racing Form's Derick Giwner will share his opinions on the DRF website at Click on the link to see who he likes in this weekend's three contest races. There will also be selections from other top harness handicappers from the Horseplayers Association of North America on Also, for each of the 18 races, contestants will be provided with past performances courtesy of TrackMaster at no charge. Get the free past performances by clicking here. Following is the schedule for the $100,000 Grand Circuit Challenge: Aug. 6 - Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Aug. 6 - Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands Aug. 6 - U.S. Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands Aug. 12 - Dan Patch at Hoosier Park Aug. 20 - Battle of the Brandywine at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Aug. 26 - Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs Sept. 3 - Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway Sept. 3 - Messenger at Yonkers Raceway Sept. 10 - Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs Sept. 17 - Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Racetrack Sept. 21 - Jugette at the Delaware County Fairgrounds Sept. 22 - Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fairgrounds Sept. 30 - Dayton Pacing Derby at Dayton Raceway Oct. 9 - Tattersalls at Red Mile Oct. 9 - Kentucky Futurity at Red Mile Oct. 15 - International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Oct. 28 - Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands Oct. 29 - Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands Ken Weingartner

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (August 4, 2016) - The Hambletonian and harness racing reached a massive audience when Meadowlands officials helped ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square on Wednesday. The ceremony was televised live on several financial television networks, reaching a worldwide audience. In addition, a video highlighting the Hambletonian was aired for one hour on the MarketSite's seven-story video screen in the middle of Times Square. The bell ringing ceremony was arranged through a partnership with ARK Restaurants, a Nasdaq listed company that provides the food and beverage service at the Meadowlands. "I don't know if The Hambletonian or our sport has received this type of publicity in a long time," said Jason M. Settlemoir, COO/GM of the Meadowlands. "I have to thank Justin Horowitz for arranging this whole event and our partners at ARK for supporting our desire to promote harness racing to a worldwide audience." After the bell ringing ceremony, Settlemoir and Horowitz participated in a Facebook Live chat hosted by Nasdaq on its Facebook page that has more than 621,000 likes. The chat focused on horse ownership and the prestige of the Hambletonian. The video may be viewed here: The Hambletonian is also getting attention thanks to a huge billboard in Manhattan at Seventh Avenue & 49th Street. The billboard has visibility from Central Park and should receive more than six million impressions during the week leading up to the Hambletonian. Hambletonian Day is Saturday, August 6 with a 12:00 p.m. post time. Live network televisions coverage of the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, and U.S. Pacing Championship will air from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. About Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Since 1976, the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ, has been a staple in North American racing, known for events like the Hambletonian and Meadowlands Pace. In November 2013, managing partner Jeffrey Gural and The Hard Rock unveiled the newly constructed Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The state of the art complex features racing, entertainment, dining and more. Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment boasts year-round horse racing & simulcasting, Victory Sports Bar that doubles as an event space, a tiered dining restaurant Pink, corporate and private events spaces, as well as family-friendly Backyard activities. Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment creates an exciting environment that both racing and non-racing fans can enjoy. For more information on schedules and events, please visit: or call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). About The Hambletonian The $1 million Hambletonian, and the companion race for 3-year-old fillies, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, are the richest of their kind currently offered in harness racing, and among the richest worldwide, regardless of breed. The Hambletonian is the first leg of the trotting Triple Crown, followed by the Yonkers Trot on September 3 and Kentucky Futurity on October 9. Justin Horowitz

Harness Racing This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Lady Liberty, Fresh Yankee, Cane Pace, Shady Daisy, Peter Haughton Memorial, and Jim Doherty Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action takes place this Saturday (Aug. 6) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.14 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $273,600 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $225,550 U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers, the $235,950 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the 188,350 Fresh Yankee for older trotting mares, the $320,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $94,675 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $306,500 Jim Dohery Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Looped from the gate and forced into brutal fractions of :25.2 and :52.1 -- in the slop, no less -- Racing Hill showed his talent and heart when he drew away from the field late and captured Saturday's (July 30) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows in a career-best 1:48.4. The pocket-sitting Check Six could not improve his position in the lane and finished second, 2-1/4 lengths back, while Fernando Hanover was a ground-saving third. Racing Hill entered the 50th edition of the Adios with the flashiest credentials, including his victory in the $500,000 Hempt Memorial final and second-place finishes in the finals of the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace. But if his rivals didn't appear up to the task of beating Racing Hill, it seemed that weather and the trip might do him in. Rain punctuated by storms -- the skies cleared shortly before the Adios went off -- created a surface that proved tiring to some early leaders throughout the card. And Racing Hill, the 2-5 favorite, couldn't take the lead from Check Six until just before the three-eighths. "The race was not going the way I wanted it to go," said winning driver Brett Miller. "I was expecting a few more people to leave and kind of shooting for the three-hole. When that didn't happen, I said to myself, we're in trouble." Once he thwarted the first-over challenge of longshot Another Daily Copy, the son of Roll With Joe-Chasing Ideals opened up and had only the timer to beat. The win pushed his career bankroll to $970,028. Tony Alagna, who trains Racing Hill for owner/breeder Tom Hill, said he expected a swift opening half-mile if only because his colt was facing five foes from the powerful Ron Burke stable. "I didn't think they would let us get to the half in :55," Alagna said. "I knew they would make us earn it. I'm a big believer in watching drivers' body language. I was watching Brett in the bike, and he was telling me that he felt he had something left." Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 448.5; 2. Tim Tetrick - 387.5; 3. David Miller - 341; 4. Matt Kakaley - 259; 5. Jordan Stratton - 236.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 584; 2. Jimmy Takter - 354.5; 3. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 175; 4. Clyde Francis - 152.5; 5. Peter Tritton - 149.5. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 149.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 138.25; 3. Bamond Racing - 117; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 114.3; 5. Tom Hill - 87. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Northfield Park led by the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for free for all pacers; at The Meadows with the Moni Maker for sophomore filly trotters; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stakes highlighting 10 stakes; and at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers events for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It's a rarity to see a Western New York connection in the Hambletonian but there's one set for the 2016 harness racing edition which is scheduled for this Saturday afternoon (August 6) at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.   Buffalo Trotting Association President Bill Richardson along with former Buffalo Raceway regular Jeff Gregory have teamed up along with Jesmeral Stable (Steven Finklestein) to send the three-year-old gelded trotter Tight Lines (Yankee Glide-IIia) into this year's Hambletonian.   "I've never been to a Hambletonian before and I am thrilled to death to be going this year," the 83-year-old Richardson said. "I've been involved in racing for more than 45 years and this is the highlight. I'm excited to get a chance to see Tight Lines participate in the Hambletonian."   The last time Western New York was represented at the Hambletonian was in 2012 where Archangel battled it out for trainer/co-owner Pete Arrigenna and driver Jim Morrill Jr. Archangel finished second in his elimination, losing to eventual Hambletonian winner Market Share in 1:52.2.   Tight Lines drew the seven post into the first elimination scheduled as the eighth race with an approximate post time of 2:20 p.m. and is a long shot at 25-1. To advance to the $1 million finals, Tight Lines needs to finish in the top five of his elimination which has nine entrants.   "I think we have a really good chance of doing that," Richardson said confidently.   The morning line odds didn't bother Richardson at all. "I'm realistic about our chances. Tight Lines is a really nice colt who's had a little bit of bad luck. Jeff (Gregory) is very high on him and believes he is better than what a lot of people think."   Gregory said, "Obviously he's going to be a long shot, but this is a tough race to pass up. He's a nice little horse. He's an over-achiever, if anything. He's never really disappointed us. By no means do we expect anybody to respect us too much, but we didn't want to pass up the opportunity. You don't know how many more of these opportunities you'll get. It's a shot in the dark but we want to give it a try."   Tight Lines missed most of his two-year-old campaign due to an injury but Gregory thinks he might just be rounding into top form.   "We just started him a couple times to get him some experience," Gregory said. "But he was one of my better 2-year-olds training down last year. He's a little bit green this year, but he's really done everything we've asked of him. He's learning. It doesn't seem like he's ever tired. He's always willing. He raced super in the Zweig. We had a terrible post (nine) and he finished great. He came home in :27.1 and did it the right way."   With three victories in 11 career stars, Tight Lines has won $50,781 in his brief career. All of his wins have come at Pocono Downs.   For Richardson, he was offered a unique chance to get in on 25 percent of Tight Lines.   The 49-year-old Gregory bought Tight Lines as a yearling for owner Bill Weaver. A renowned owner and breeder and a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Weaver passed away in February and thus giving Richardson and Steven Finkelstein's Jesmeral Stable an opportunity to buy in.   Richardson said, "Oddly enough, I have yet to meet Steven Finkelstein."   But nothing would be better for them to get to know each other on Saturday in the winner's circle.   The CBS Sports Network will have a 90-minute live broadcast including the $1 million Hambletonian final, the $225,550 U.S. Pacing Championship, and the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks beginning at 4 p.m. The first post for Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands is noon.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway        

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