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With her impressive victory against the boys in the Hambletonian, Ramona Hill moved up in the Top Ten harness racing poll to second place. Undefeated Gimpanzee remains #1 and Sorella, winner of the Hambletonian Oaks, returned to the Top Ten poll in #6. Also moving up to the Top Ten Poll is unbeaten Reflect With Me #8 and Bettor's Wish #9. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 5 – 8/11/2020 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Gimpanzee (27) 4th 5-5-0-0 $539,592 339 1 2 Ramona Hill (8) 3tf 4-3-0-1 $651,465 312 4 3 Tall Dark Stranger 3pc 5-4-0-0 $480,131 284 3 4 Shartin N 7pm 5-4-1-0 $219,309 214 6 5 Manchego 5tm 6-4-1-1 $238,961 176 2 6 Sorella 3tf 5-4-0-0 $368,063 108 -- 7 Atlanta 5tm 5-2-2-0 $200,092 94 5 8 Reflect With Me 3pf 4-4-0-0 $193,630 92 -- 9 Bettor’s Wish 4ph 5-2-0-2 $156,482 72 -- 10 Ready For Moni 3tc 3-2-1-0 $317,570 49 10 ALSO: Party Girl Hill 40; Dancin Lou 32; Hurrikane Emperor 21; Papi Rob Hanover 18; When Dovescry 17; Darlene Hanover 15; Action Uncle 8; Back Of The Neck, Tattoo Artist 6; Backstreet Shadow 5; American Courage, Hypnotic AM, Ocean Rock 4; Southwind Tyrion 3; Bet On Becky, Captain Corey 1.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trainer Nancy Takter continued something of a family tradition Saturday (Aug. 8), winning the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies with Sorella at The Meadowlands.   Takter, whose father Jimmy won a record eight editions of the Oaks, became the first female trainer to ever win the race, which began in 1971.   Sorella and driver Yannick Gingras rolled to the front in the first turn and cruised to victory by 1-3/4 lengths over Hypnotic AM in 1:51. Panem, also trained by Takter, finished third. Hypnotic AM and Panem both started from the second tier, with Hypnotic AM in post 12 and Panem in post 11.   It is the sixth time in seven years the Oaks was won by a Takter and Gingras, who extended his record for wins by a driver to six.       “It certainly doesn’t get old,” Gingras said. “With any of these big races, you win them once and you want to win them again. I think it’s a pretty good accomplishment to have six of them. Definitely I’m proud of it.”   Gingras and Sorella started from post seven and saw Whose Blues leave for the front from post six. Whose Blues settled in the top spot, but only briefly, as Gingras pushed forward to claim the lead in a :26.1 opening quarter. From there, Sorella hit the half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.3.   “I thought there were three horses in the race that really stood out and the other two had posts 11 and 12,” Gingras said. “When I left the gate, I saw they were going to get away somewhere in mid-pack. They weren’t going to get away too close, so I was taking no prisoners from there. I figured she was the one to beat at that point and took no chances.”   Said Takter, “I thought my horses both raced super. I wish Panem would have gotten up a little bit more, but they were both really good. It kind of worked out the way I expected, so that’s good when things go that way.”   She added that Sorella’s next start would most likely come in the Zweig Memorial on Aug. 21 at Vernon Downs.   Sorella, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Kadealia, has won four of five races this year and six of 14 lifetime with earnings of $503,376. She is owned by breeder Elmer Fannin, Crawford Farms Racing and Brent Fannin. Elmer Fannin named the filly after a bottle of wine.   “We’re very excited about Sorella,” said Brent Fannin, Elmer’s son. “We knew one day (Kadealia) was going to throw a good one, and we just kept being patient and bred her to one of the better sires we could. And along comes Sorella and we’re real excited. We lost her mom earlier this year, who was in foal to Father Patrick, and hopefully Sorella can carry the torch from here.”   by Ken Weingartner with Derwick Giwner

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The stream of stakes races will overflow as a small creek would after a tropical storm, just like the money that will flood the pools at The Meadowlands on Saturday (August 8), when the 95th edition of the $1,000,000 Hambletonian takes center stage on "Harness Racing's Greatest Day". Post time for the first race is noon. Sitting atop the list of betting opportunities will be the 20-cent Super High-Five. With Saturday bringing a mandatory payout, a low 15 percent takeout and a $109,280 carryover, the sky's the limit for the wager's total pool since the race will have a bulky field of 11. "We have a unique wagering and investment opportunity for all players caused by the low takeout and big carryover," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "We have placed the wager on Race 14, which will take place 30 minutes before the prestigious Travers Stakes at Saratoga. "The opportunity for the player is superb, as the mathematics of this carryover wager have swung the advantage to the player, arguably making the mandatory payout on the High-Five the best bet offered at any race track or sports book on Hambletonian Day. There will be more money paid out Saturday than the money wagered on the High-Five if the final pool is under $800,000." His point is a valid one. In the event there is $190,720 in "new money" bet into the High-Five, which is a low-end guess, that would create a total payout of $271,392 (good for a surplus of $80,672), which would result in a staggering 42 percent edge for the bettor. If there is $290,720 in new money, that would create a total payout of $356,392 (surplus, $65,672), creating a 22 percent advantage for the player. But, naturally, on the 16-race program that will conclude The Big M's "Championship Meet", that opportunity to make a score is merely one of many. In fact, there will be five other wagers on the program which will undoubtedly take big action while offering the small 15 percent rake: 20-cent Pick-6 (Race 1) 20-cent Pick-5 (Race 3, $75,000 guaranteed pool) 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 8, $100,000) 20-cent Pick-5 (Race 11, $50,000) 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 13, $50,000) CHECK YOUR WATCH: Friday (August 7) night's races will begin at the usual 7:15 p.m., but on Saturday (August 8), Hambletonian Day, the huge 16-race program gets underway at noon. The Hambletonian Oaks has a post time of 3:30 p.m., while the Hambletonian is slated to go at 4:35 p.m. NATIONAL TV: The Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks will be presented on a tape delayed one-hour broadcast that will be seen on the CBS Sports Network beginning at 6 p.m. The show will be hosted by Gary Seibel remotely, with the Big M's TV team of Dave Brower and Dave Little serving as the primary on-site players. Gabe Prewitt, Ashley Mailloux and Jessica Otten will handle interviews during the 60-minute show. Ken Warkentin will call the race for the 21st time in his career as the voice of The Big M. STAKES MENU: In addition to the $1,000,000 Hambo, the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $273,125 Cane Pace, $90,525 Shady Daisy, $229,660 Sam McKee, $177,100 Lady Liberty, $284,200 John Cashman, $166,550 John Steele, $339,000 Peter Haughton and $350,300 Jim Doherty will also be on the Saturday card. WANT TO BET THE HAMBO ON FRIDAY? Wagering on the entire Hambletonian Day card will be available all day long on Friday, August 7. Check wherever you normally get your action as all 16 races should be available for those who want to bet 24 hours in advance. WANT TO BET THE HAMBO "ON THE GO"? The Meadowlands will offer wagering for those who need the convenience of a walk-up window given the track's reduced capacity. There will be a betting window in Lot M off Berry's Creek Road. Tellers will take action from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Programs will be available for sale for not only the Meadowlands races, but for simulcast action as well. COMING TO THE TRACK? For those interested in coming out to the track on Hambletonian Day, they should go to this link for complete information: http://playmeadowlands.com/News.aspx?id=20611 FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where race fans can access Races 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 for Friday. For Friday's PPs, go to this link: http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/Handicapping/Past_Performances/mxx0807x.pdf Saturday's entire 16-race program will be available free of charge. For those PPs, go to this link: http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/Handicapping/Past_Performances/mxx0808x.pdf CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on this link to check out Friday's card: http://playmeadowlands.com/RaceReviews.aspx?racedt=8/7/2020 Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt) and Mailloux (@ashley_mailloux). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. HOW TO WATCH, HOW TO BET: For those fans who prefer to not attend the races but are still anxious to be a part of the action, they can watch the races on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv) or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races go to 4njbets.com, tvg.com or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform. READ ALL ABOUT IT: Go to the following harness racing outlets on the internet for everything Hambletonian, before and after the race: playmeadowlands.com, ustrotting.com, drf.com/harness/, harnessracing.com, standardbredcanada.ca, harnessracingupdate.com and harnesslink.com. Also check out Hambletonian Facebook livestream, @Hambletonian_ and hambletonian.com. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

Harness Racing This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, Lady Liberty, Dr. John Steele Memorial, 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. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1 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 $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $284,200 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $229,660 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $177,100 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $166,550 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $273,125 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $90,525 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $319,000 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $350,300 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Catch The Fire hung tough against a host of pursuers Saturday (Aug. 1) to capture the $375,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows and provide an indelible career highlight for trainer John Ackey. Chief Mate (Scott Zeron) rallied for second at 50-1 while the hard-used No Lou Zing (Josert Fonseca).earned show. The winning time over a sloppy surface was 1:49.3. Catch The Fire hung tough against a host of pursuers to capture the $375,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Chris Gooden photo. After Elver Hanover (Chris Page) seized the early lead from post nine, Wilder and Catch The Fire quarter-poled to the point, where they faced a backside challenge from No Lou Zing. "I was really worried about that horse," Wilder said. "He went a humongous trip in the elimination. He showed he can take a lot of air. I couldn't shake him, and then a whole herd of them came at me. But my horse dug in. He's true grit." Five horses remained live in deep stretch, but none could reach Catch The Fire, the 2-1 second choice in the wagering off his elimination win last week. Last year's Kentucky Sires Stake champion, Catch The Fire soared over $400,000 in career earnings. Ackley, who trains a small stable at Ohio's Fayette County Fairgrounds and operated a forklift for 20 years before switching to racing, called the Adios victory the highlight of his career. "It's a big win, to have a horse that can compete at this level and win," Ackley said. "No way I could have imagined this; it's fantastic." For Wilder, the triumph was even more emotional. An Ohio native who has been a fixture at The Meadows for many years, Wilder and his family are exceptionally active in many aspects of racing and the community. His wife, Heather, is a popular interviewer on harness shows while serving as president of the United States Harness Writers Association Keystone Chapter. Their teenage daughters, Scarlett and Lauren, also are active in USHWA. Yet even though Wilder has amassed more than 8,300 career wins, he had never finished better than fourth in an Adios final. He choked up as he tried to describe his emotions. "This means the world to me," Wilder said. "The Good Lord is in control of everything in this world, and I was the lucky man today. It means everything for my kids to see it and for my wife to be here. It's something I'll never forget. It's something that may never happen again, although you wish it would." Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 277; 2. Tim Tetrick - 189; 3. Dexter Dunn - 174; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 167; 5. Brian Sears - 154. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 301; 2. Nancy Takter - 190; 3. Marcus Melander - 158; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 144; 5. Tony Alagna - 127. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 62.5; 2. S R F Stable - 60; 3. Brad Grant - 58.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 51; 5. Black Horse Racing - 50. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for free for all pacers; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake highlighting 10 stakes; at Tioga Downs with the Crawford Farm and Joie De Vie for older trotters and Artiscape for older pacing mares; at The Meadows with the Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Harness racing trainer Marcus Melander will send morning-line favorite Hypnotic AM to Saturday's $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands and, for the second year in a row, three horses to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes final. Melander's Hambletonian trio last year - Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, and Green Manalishi S - were the bettor's top-three choices in the race won by Forbidden Trade. His group Saturday will lack the same backing, each of his horses is 15-1 on the morning line, but the 28-year-old Melander still relishes the opportunity to compete in harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. "We all hope for that win, even though it's going to be tough," said Melander, who will send out Capricornus, Hollywood Story, and Rome Pays Off in the Hambletonian. "I don't feel defeated with any of my horses because they're all good. They just need the right trip to get up there." Melander is looking for his first win in the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. He was second in last year's Hambletonian with Greenshoe while Gimpanzee was third and Green Manalishi S fifth. He was fourth in last year's Oaks with Miss Trixton. The Hambletonian is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network will air a delayed one-hour broadcast of the Hambletonian from 6-7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The stakes-filled card at The Meadowlands starts at noon. While Melander is sending out perceived longshots in the Hambletonian, Hypnotic AM gets the early nod in the Oaks, which is for 3-year-old female trotters. The winner of 10 of 13 career races and $624,725, she is 5-2 on the morning line. Hypnotic AM, a homebred daughter of Chapter Seven-Daydream AM S owned by Courant Inc., enters the Oaks off a 1:52.3 win in a prep race this past weekend at The Meadowlands. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Oaks, which attracted a field of 12 fillies. "I was very happy with her," Melander said. "She has a lot of speed and this year she has been handy as well. She got a little grabby and hot at the end of last year and you couldn't really control her. This year she has been much better. "She just has a great attitude and she wants to do it out there. I'm very confident with her, but there are nice horses in there. They will be tough to beat but I'm very confident in my horse." Hypnotic AM and driver Brian Sears will start the Oaks from post 12, which is in the second tier behind the starting gate. "It is what it is," Melander said. "It's up to Brian, that's why we have him. He worked it out perfectly with Gimpanzee from post 13 (in the Hambletonian Maturity on July 18) so hopefully he can work something out here as well." Hypnotic AM was last year's New York Sire Stakes champion and she opened this season with two wins on the New York circuit, including the Empire Breeders Classic. She then finished third in the Del Miller Memorial, won by Ramona Hill in 1:50.3, on July 18 at The Meadowlands in her start prior to the Oaks prep. "She got a tough trip and was interfered with, but she needed that race," Melander said. "It's been a little bit too easy on her in New York. She gets to the lead and has had some pretty soft halves and sprinted to the win. It was good that she got tired in that Del Miller race. That really helped her to get in form. We were very happy with her performance." Sorella from the stable of trainer Nancy Takter is the 7-2 second choice in the Oaks and Jim Campbell's Next Level Stuff is 9-2. As for the Hambletonian, Melander is happy with his horses heading into the final. The last trainer to have at least three Hambletonian finalists in successive years was Jimmy Takter, who accomplished it in 2013 through 2015. Rome Pays Off, driven by Melander's 24-year-old brother Mattias, was fifth in his Hambletonian elimination after racing on the outside the entire mile. He won his first two races of 2020, including the Tompkins-Geers Stakes in 1:52.3. Last season, the son of Muscle Hill-Order By Wish won three times on the Pennsylvania circuit and was second in both the Peter Haughton Memorial and Breeders Crown. He has won five of 15 career races and $392,934 for owner S R F Stable. Rome Pays Off starts the Hambletonian from post eight. Tony Alagna-trained Ramona Hill, who bypassed the Oaks to challenge the boys in the Hambletonian, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. "It's going to be hard to beat Ramona Hill," said Melander, who was the 2019 Trainer of the Year in the U.S. "She's going to be the favorite and should be the favorite. Behind her I think it's pretty wide open. Rome Pays Off could be second as could anyone else in the race. It's an open race in my opinion. "(Rome Pays Off) drew a little bad but he's a nice horse and always shows up. I have nothing bad to say about that horse. He always does his best." Hollywood Story opened this year with back-to-back wins in conditioned races before finishing fourth in a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial and second in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He was fifth in his Hambletonian elim. He will start the final from post three with driver David Miller. The Courant Inc.-owned son of Muscle Hill-Counter Pointe has won four of seven lifetime races. "He's still a little bit green but he develops more and more with every race," Melander said. "He started with some easier races and then we had to go to Grand Circuit competition to see if he was good enough to aim for the Hambo or not. He got a good draw. We'll see." Capricornus, who finished second in last year's William Wellwood Memorial and has won three of 15 career starts, finished third in his Hambletonian elim. He will start from post seven with driver Tim Tetrick. The son of Cantab Hall-Oh My Darlin is owned by JJ Racing Stable. "Maybe he's not the type that wins every week, but he always does good races," Melander said. "The elimination was a race like that as well. He got shuffled back and still had a lot of trot to the end." Following are the fields for the Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian. $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1. Crucial - Father Patrick - (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), 15-1 2. Next Level Stuff - Sebastian K S - (Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell), 9-2 3. Reba Blue Chip - Chapter Seven - (Verlin Yoder, Verlin Yoder), 20-1 4. May Baby - Guccio - (James Yoder, James Yoder), 10-1 5. Tricky Sister - Trixton - (Corey Callahan, Andrew Harris), 20-1 6. Whose Blues - Cantab Hall - (Daniel Dube, Luc Blais), 20-1 7. Sorella - Muscle Hill - (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 7-2 8. Fortune Starlet - Trixton -  (No Driver, George Ducharme), 15-1 9. Solsbury Hill - Muscle Hill - (Scott Zeron, Rick Zeron), 12-1 10. Ab'sattitudexpress - Trixton - (Tim Tetrick, Lucas Wallin), 20-1 11. Panem - Father Patrick - (Dexter Dunn, Nancy Takter), 6-1 12. Hypnotic AM - Chapter Seven - (Brian Sears, Marcus Melander), 5-2 NOTE: Panem and Hypnotic AM will start from the second tier. $1 Million Hambletonian PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1. Ready For Moni - Ready Cash - (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 3-1 2. Back Of The Neck - Ready Cash - (Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt), 4-1 3. Hollywood Story - Muscle Hill - (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 4. Big Oil - Father Patrick - (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), 15-1 5. Ramona Hill - Muscle Hill - (Andrew McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 5-2 6. Threefiftytwo - Royalty For Life -  (Scott Zeron, Luc Blais), 6-1 7. Capricornus - Cantab Hall - (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 8. Rome Pays Off - Muscle Hill - (Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander), 15-1 9. Sister Sledge - Father Patrick - (Brian Sears, Ron Burke), 12-1 10. Amigo Volo - Father Patrick - (Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman), 12-1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Only once since 1992 has a trainer won the Hambletonian in consecutive years, but Luc Blais hopes he can accomplish the harness racing feat Saturday. Blais won last year's Hambletonian with Forbidden Trade, who upset favorite Greenshoe to win harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. This year, he sends Threefiftytwo to the $1 million final at The Meadowlands. Threefiftytwo finished second to Ready For Moni in his Hambletonian elimination this past weekend and is 6-1 on the morning line. Jimmy Takter is the most recent trainer to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years, with Trixton in 2014 and Pinkman in 2015. "We've got a chance, that's for sure; we're in," Blais said, adding with a laugh, "The first part is to be in. The second part is tougher. Everything needs to be perfect that day. A healthy horse, the best trip, everything needs to be perfect." The Hambletonian is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network will air a delayed one-hour broadcast of the Hambletonian from 6-7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The stakes-filled card at The Meadowlands starts at noon. Threefiftytwo has won five of 13 career races and $167,818. His victories last year included a leg of the Define The World Series and two legs of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold series. He finished fourth in the sire stakes final. This season, Threefiftytwo has a win and a second in four races. His triumph came in a conditioned race at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:52.3. In his start prior to the Hambletonian elim, he went off stride in a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold series. The colt is owned by Determination stable, which also owned Forbidden Trade. Threefiftytwo is a son of 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life out of Four Damsals and was trained by Royalty For Life's conditioner George Ducharme before being purchased by Determination following his first start. "He's a nice horse," Blais said. "He was a tricky horse a little bit in the beginning. I think it took us a little time to figure him out. We made a few changes. I think this year he is more mature. I know he made a break the start before (the elimination) but I think he went too fast in the turn. Two weeks ago, he raced super good and the other night he looked good again. He raced very good." For the past seven years, the Hambletonian eliminations and final were raced on the same day. This year, the format returned to contesting eliminations the week prior to the final, which Blais said is a benefit to Threefiftytwo. "He's a different horse than Forbidden Trade," Blais said. "He's more anxious, he's not a cool horse. To have the elimination and then the final the week after is perfect for him. That is better than a doubleheader, that's for sure." Hambletonian elimination winners Ramona Hill, one of two fillies taking on the boys along with Sister Sledge, and Ready For Moni were guaranteed starting spots in posts one through five for the final. Ramona Hill will start from post five and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Ready For Moni will start from post one and is 3-1. Threefiftytwo will start from post six. Scott Zeron drove the colt in his elimination, but also is listed to drive 4-1 Back Of The Neck in the final. "That's a good draw for him," Blais said. "He likes to leave a little bit and that's a good place for him. He will be very focused for that. "It's exciting all the time to race in this kind of race," Blais added. "It is a big race. We enjoyed the moment (last year)." In addition to having Threefiftytwo in the Hambletonian, Blais has long shot Whose Blues in the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters. Whose Blues, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Bright Baby Blues, finished eighth in an Oaks prep this past weekend at The Meadowlands. Whose Blues won the Pure Ivory Series last year. She has won six of 13 career races and $92,874 for owner Determination. She is 20-1 on the Oaks morning line. "She raced just OK," Blais said. "I'm going to try to work on that." $1 Million Hambletonian PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Ready For Moni-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-3/1 2-Back Of The Neck-Scott Zeron-Ake Svanstedt-4/1 3-Hollywood Story-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-15/1 4-Big Oil-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 5-Ramona Hill-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-5/2 6-Threefiftytwo-Scott Zeron, Luc Blais-6/1 7-Capricornus-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-15/1 8-Rome Pays Off-Mattias Melander-Marcus Melander-15/1 9-Sister Sledge-Brian Sears-Ron Burke-12/1 10-Amigo Volo-Dexter Dunn-Nifty Norman-12/1 $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Crucial-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 2-Next Level Stuff-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-9/2 3-Reba Blue Chip-Verlin Yoder-Verlin Yoder-20/1 4-May Baby-James Yoder-James Yoder-10/1 5-Tricky Sister-Corey Callahan-Andrew Harris-20/1 6-Whose Blues-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-20/1 7-Sorella-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-7/2 8-Fortune Starlet-No Driver-George Ducharme-15/1 9-Solsbury Hill-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-12/1 10-Ab'sattitudexpress-Tim Tetrick-Lucas Wallin-20/1 11-Panem-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-6/1 12-Hypnotic AM-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-5/2 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The field for the 95th edition of the $1,000,000 Hambletonian, an open event for 3-year-olds on the trot, which takes place at The Meadowlands on Saturday, August 8 and has a post time of 4:35 p.m., with post position, horse (driver, trainer) and morning-line odds: 1. Ready For Moni - Ready Cash - (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 3-1 2. Back Of The Neck - Ready Cash - (Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt), 4-1 3. Hollywood Story - Muscle Hill - (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 4. Big Oil - Father Patrick - (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), 15-1 5. Ramona Hill - Muscle Hill - (Andrew McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 5-2 6. Threefiftytwo - Royalty For Life -  (Scott Zeron, Luc Blais), 6-1 7. Capricornus - Cantab Hall - (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 8. Rome Pays Off - Muscle Hill - (Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander), 15-1 9. Sister Sledge - Father Patrick - (Brian Sears, Ron Burke), 12-1 10. Amigo Volo - Father Patrick - (Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman), 12-1 he field for the 95th edition of the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the trot, which takes place Saturday, August 8 and has a post time of 3:30 p.m., with post position, horse (driver, trainer) and morning-line odds: 1. Crucial - Father Patrick - (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), 15-1 2. Next Level Stuff - Sebastian K S - (Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell), 9-2 3. Reba Blue Chip - Chapter Seven - (Verlin Yoder, Verlin Yoder), 20-1 4. May Baby - Guccio - (James Yoder, James Yoder), 10-1 5. Tricky Sister - Trixton - (Corey Callahan, Andrew Harris), 20-1 6. Whose Blues - Cantab Hall - (Daniel Dube, Luc Blais), 20-1 7. Sorella - Muscle Hill - (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 7-2 8. Fortune Starlet - Trixton -  (No Driver, George Ducharme), 15-1 9. Solsbury Hill - Muscle Hill - (Scott Zeron, Rick Zeron), 12-1 10. Ab'sattitudexpress - Trixton - (Tim Tetrick, Lucas Wallin), 20-1 11. Panem - Father Patrick - (Dexter Dunn, Nancy Takter), 6-1 12. Hypnotic AM - Chapter Seven - (Brian Sears, Marcus Melander), 5-2 NOTE: Panem and Hypnotic AM will start from the second tier. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

East Rutherford, NJ --- Hypnotic AM and driver Brian Sears grabbed the lead on the backstretch prior to the half-mile point and cruised to victory in Saturday's $15,000 harness racing prep for 3-year-old filly trotters entered in next week's Hambletonian Oaks, defeating May Baby by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.3 at the Meadowlands. Solsbury Hill finished third. Hypnotic AM, the even-money favorite, started from post eight in the eight-horse field and raced on the outside until clearing early leader Solsbury Hill for the top spot following an opening quarter of :27.1. From there, the Marcus Melander-trained filly reached the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.4 on the way to her third win in four tries this season.   "I was just going to try to go forward if it looked like it was possible and take it from there," Sears said. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Hambletonian Oaks, the sport's top race for 3-year-old filly trotters. Twelve horses entered the Oaks, with eight opting to race in Saturday's prep at the Meadowlands. The $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks is Aug. 8 at the Big M, part of a card that includes the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes. Hypnotic AM is a daughter of Chapter Seven out of Daydream AM S. She is owned by breeder Courant Inc. and her triumphs this year include the Empire Breeders Classic. For her career, Hypnotic AM has won 10 of 13 races and $624,725. "We've come back this year and tried to get her to relax a little bit," Sears said. "At the end of last year she was getting a little warm with us, but Marcus has done a great job keeping her calm and she's been doing everything we've asked so far." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

A total of 17 three-year-old trotters have entered the harness racing $1M Hambletonian on August 8. There are 15 colts along with two fillies, Ramona Hill (Tony Alagna) & Sister Sledge (Ron Burke) have opted to try the open competition. There will be two $70,000 eliminations carded for this Sat., Aug. 1 and posts will be drawn on Meadowlands Facebook at 1:30 p.m today. There are a total of 12 filly trotters entered for the 50th edition of the Hambletonian Oaks. All 12 will go directly to the $500,000 final slated for Saturday, August 8. Post positions for the Oakes will be drawn during the race card Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Meadowlands. Habletonian Oaks by Ken Weingarter, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ - The 95th Hambletonian on Saturday, August 8th at the Meadowlands has a great Backyard dining option available to harness racing guests. Reservations must be pre-paid and are $25 per person. By making a reservation for the Backyard, guests are guaranteed track admittance and seating. The $25 is also a food credit that can be used at the Backyard BBQ & Grill and Backyard Bar. The Backyard BBQ & Grill will have waitress service. Guests can dine on delicious summer-time grilled fare including burgers, sausage and hot dogs along with brisket, ribs and mac & cheese. $15 Brunch specials will also be served and include: Brisket & Eggs with choice of home fries, French fries or hash browns Huevos Rancheros with corn tortillas, sunny side up eggs, salsa ranchera, refried beans & queso fresco Waffles & Pulled Pork with spicy maple syrup House Smoked Bacon & Eggs with any-style eggs and choice of home fries, French fries or hash browns Reservations for Backyard dining can be made by emailing Jennifer Jordan at jjordan@arkrestaurants.com. Please include your phone number in the email. Backyard diners will be able to enter via the Backyard Entrance on Saturday, August 8th at 10 am. All must wear face coverings while not at their table, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All are also encouraged to download and fill out the required the health questionnaire (available here) to speed up the check-in process. There is no valet parking available. The 95th Hambletonian on Saturday, August 8th has a dining option available to guests near the winner’s circle on the finish line.  Reservations must be pre-paid and are $100 per table. Each table seats up to four people. By making a reservation for the Cafe, guests are guaranteed track admittance and seating.  The $100 is also a food credit that can be used at the outdoor Café on Hambletonian Day. The credit is valid on Saturday, August 8th only. The Café will have waitress service. Guests can dine on racetrack staples including chicken wings and French fries, cheese steaks, burgers, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream and more. The full Café menu can be viewed here Table purchases for Café dining on the finish line can be made here. Cafe diners will be able to enter via the Simulcast Entrance on Saturday, August 8th at 10 am. Post time for the first race on Hambo Day is 12 noon. All must wear face coverings while not at their table, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire.  No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All are also encouraged to download and fill out the required the health questionnaire (available here) to speed up the check-in process.   There is no valet parking available. All updated racing and dining information can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com. From the Meadowlands Media Department

Cranbury, NJ... February sustaining and nominating payments for 133 Hambletonian Society stake and late-closing events are due Saturday, February 15 and per USTA Rule 12 section 2, must be postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 18. February is the gateway payment for most 3-year-old and older stakes and closers as well as initial 2-year-old payments for Breeders Crown and Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes. This includes two legs of the Trotting Triple Crown, the $1.2 Million Hambletonian (with eliminations held the week prior) & $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks, as well as the MGM Yonkers Trot. All 2-Year-Old Breeders Crown are estimated at $600,000. The Breeders Crown sophomore events will be raced for $500,000 as will the Breeders Crown Trot & Pace. Mare Open events are bumped to $300,000 for the second consecutive year. All 12 Breeders Crown races are hosted by Harrah's Hoosier Park on Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, October 31. Race conditions, payment forms and much more information is available online at www.hambletonian.com. For additional information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211. by Moira Fanning, for the Hambletonian Society  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is proud to announce its 2020 stakes schedule which will total approximately $14 million over the course of the 92 program meet.   The Meadowlands Standardbred meet will have a different look in 2020 due to Monmouth Park exercising their legislated right to race Thoroughbreds on the main track from October 2 through November 21, thus eliminating the possibility for the customary Fall harness meet.   Live Harness Racing will begin January 2 and race primarily on Fridays and Saturdays with an occasional Thursday thrown in through September 19; then pick back up on November 27 racing three days per week through year's end.   Hambletonian Day will once again headline the Championship Meet with more than $3 million in stakes purses offered on Saturday, August 8. The $1 million Hambletonian will return to the elimination format with the finest 3-year-old trotters competing for ten final berths on August 1 to return for Harness Racing's most sought after prize the next week.   The Hambletonian Oaks will follow the same course and lead the customary cast of supporting stakes that include the $300,000 Cashman FFA trot, $225,000 McKee FFA pace, $175,000 Steele FFA mare trot, $200,000 Lady Liberty FFA mare pace and the Haughton & Doherty Memorial stakes for freshman colt and filly trotters.   The $700,000e Meadowlands Pace will lead a parade of top stakes on Pace night Saturday, July 18 the includes the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity, $400,000 WR Haughton FFA and $200,000 Golden Girls for pacing mares.   The TVG Championship Stakes and Fall Freshman Final Four are slated to open the winter meet on Saturday, November 28 headlining a $3 million card.   The longer than usual summer meet presents an opportunity to delay the start of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for 2-year-olds to mid-July with the finals on August 21. The later start to the NJSS races offer three more weeks to prepare for the enriched NJ program, a welcome benefit to both the horses and the horsemen that manage them. Those dates have recently been adjusted to race the finals two weeks earlier than originally planned in an effort to accommodate those horses that qualify to race in the Kentucky dual-eligibility program.   While on the topic of 2-year-olds, The Meadowlands schedule provides a racing opportunity for the freshman crop every week from July 3 through September 18. The Tompkins-Geers and Reynolds stakes, previously raced at Tioga Downs, have been brought to The Meadowlands with the 2-year-old divisions of those stakes blended in with the Kindergarten and NJSS to reach that goal.   The 3-year-old Tompkins-Geers trotting and pacing divisions and Reynolds trotting stakes are all at The Meadowlands and have been placed where they best provide preps for some of our major stakes.   The Graduate Series returns in the customary time frame to provide transitional races for 4-year-old pacers and trotters before they must face the top older stakes horses. The $250,000 finals will again be a part of the Meadowlands Pace elimination night card on July 11.   The Miss Versatility will offer five legs to trotting mares beginning on May 28 at Woodbine Mohawk Park then race at The Meadowlands four times before the $100,000 finals at The Little Brown Jug.   All stakes information will be available on The Meadowlands website in early January.   by Nick Salvi, for The Meadowlands        

Cranbury, NJ.....The milestone 95th Hambletonian will be raced on Saturday, August 8 at The New Meadowlands in Rutherford, NJ. Though traditionally scheduled on the first Saturday in August, every six years the event moves to the second Saturday, as is the case in 2020. The Meadowlands has been the longest-running host track of America's Classic Trotting event, having staged the race for the last 38 years since the Society voted to relocate from the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois in 1981. The partners recently extended their contract to host the Hambletonian through 2023. The $1.2 million event will revert to elimination heats raced the week before on Saturday, August 1, along with the eliminations for the distaff companion event, the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks. The race is simulcast internationally and attracts record wagering handle and attendance at the north Jersey track. The Hambletonian has undergone multiple format changes and been raced at six host tracks since 1926. The Hambletonian is the first leg of the trotting Triple Crown, followed by the Yonkers Trot in Yonkers, NY and the Kentucky Futurity in Lexington, KY. It is currently the only harness racing broadcast on network TV, and has been for more than 30 years. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity, for eligible 4-year-old trotters, will be raced on Saturday, July 18, the night of the Meadowlands Pace. For more information contact Moira Fanning at the Hambletonian Society (609-371-2211) or Rachel Ryan at the Meadowlands Racetrack (201-842-5015). From the Hambletonian Society

All 3-year-old trotters not eligible to the 2019 Hambletonian or Oaks have the option to supplement to the 2020 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-olds, with a supplemental payment of $2,000 on Nov. 15. The $400,000E Hambletonian Maturity is raced at The Meadowlands at a distance of a mile and an eighth and all starters receive money. It is typically the richest 4-year-old Trot offered. There is an additional supplemental window of $5,000 on February 15, 2020. Eligible trotters to the Oaks or Hambletonian in 2019 make a sustaining payment of $2,000 (fillies pay $1,500) on February 15, 2020 to start, as do supplemental entrants. The Hambletonian Maturity of 2020 will be the seventh edition of the race created by the Hambletonian Society and The Meadowlands to provide a racing opportunity for four-year-old trotters. All supplemental nomination fees are made payable to the Hambletonian Society Inc. and are added to the amount of the purse of the specific race. For more information go to https://www.hambletonian.com/formsinfo or call David Janes at 609-371-2211. From the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ -- Kapildeo Singh came to the Meadowlands as a kid, never imagining he might someday win one of the sport's top events. But he got to experience that feeling Saturday (Aug. 3) as When Dovescry, co-owned by Singh, captured the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters at the Big M.   When Dovescry, driven by Simon Allard, won the Hambletonian Oaks by two lengths over previously unbeaten Millies Possesion in 1:50.2. Asiago finished third.   "To be here as one of the owners, it's just amazing," said Singh, a 48-year-old Yorktown Heights, N.Y., resident who owns When Dovescry with the Bruce Soulsby-led Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin and Lawrence Dumain. "It's just awesome. I came here as a kid, 10 years old as a fan. We were reading the program and I learned about the breeding of horses. It's a great game. I love it. This is the icing on the cake. To win the Hambo Oaks, it's the best feeling."   When Dovescry got away second behind 55-1 shot Southwind Casha, who went to the front in a :26.4 opening quarter mile. Allard guided When Dovescry to the front on the backstretch, hitting the half in :54.4, and then faced a first-over challenge from Millies Possesion as they reached three-quarters in 1:23.   Millies Possesion was unable to get to When Dovescry as Allard, clutching the last whip ever used by his late idol Herve Filion, crossed the finish line in front.   "It still had power for one more race," Allard said about the whip, which he was given for the one-time use by Filion's son Brandon. "When I stepped on the gas coming out of the last turn, I said, 'I've still got something.' That's really good."   Allard, who drove When Dovescry for his brother, trainer Rene Allard, said the Oaks triumph meant "everything."   "This is the best place for big races, with a big crowd, and that's what harness racing is supposed to be," Allard said. "It's just such a great feeling. Sometimes you win big races at other tracks where the crowd is not so big but here it is packed today. It's the best drivers and the best horses in the country, it's just everything.   "It makes me think when we started with a $500 horse. (When Dovescry) was a $200,000 yearling, that's the most expensive yearling we ever bought. We got lucky, she made it, and she is what she was supposed to be.   "It's very emotional today."   When Dovescry, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cedar Dove, has won seven of 13 career races and earned $576,250. Her Oaks victory was her second in five races this season and followed a 1:51.3 score in her elimination last week.   "We babied her all year, ran her in some condition races, avoided some competition," Singh said. "We just let her out last week and Rene said she was awesome this week, had the best week of training. We knew we had the best horse this week. I just thank God for this day."   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Three New York-bred trotters look to solidify their names in harness racing history this weekend in the 94th Hambletonian and 49th Hambletonian Oaks. Gimpanzee, a morning-line favorite, and Mr Vicktor will meet in the first elimination heat, looking to secure their place in the $1 million final later in the card Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack. Sweet Chapter has drawn the seventh post in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final. New York Sire Stakes champion Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) is looking to defend a perfect 12-for-12 lifetime record. His three wins so far this year include the Empire Breeders Class and two wins in the NYSS. As a freshman, Gimpanzee received the 2018 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter from the U.S. Harness Writers Association and set a Yonkers track record of 1:56.3 at the NYSS Night of Champions 1:56.3. Gimpanzee is owned by SRF Stable (Lennart Agren), which also won the Hambletonian in 2017 with Perfect Spirit and Courant Inc. He is trained by Marcus Melander and driven by Hall of Famer Brian Sears. Mr Vicktor (RC Royalty - Hawaiian Vicky) will look to get one (or two) over on Gimpanzee, who he has lost to twice this season, in the Empire Breeders Classic and in a leg of the NYSS in July. The second-place finish was Mr Vicktor's only defeat in five NYSS races this season which sees him sitting at the top of the points board with three legs to go. Mr Vicktor's owners include former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and assistant equipment manager Joe Lee. He is trained by Jennifer Lappe and driven by Tyler Buter. Buter drove Money Shot Hanover to victory in the 2018 NYSS Final for 2YO Filly Pacers. A victory in the final for either would make them the second New York-bred in two years to capture the Hambletonian. Atlanta took the honor last year in 1:50.4, becoming the first filly since 1996 to do so. Sweet Chapter (Chapter Seven-Mom's Sweetie Pie) is representing New York-breds in the Hambletonian Oaks, finishing fifth in her elimination heat to take the final qualifying spot. She took last year's NYSS Consolation Final and is currently in position to qualify for the Night of Champions. A third-place finish in the Empire Breeders Classic Final is also on her list of highlights this season. Sweet Chapter is owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh and Mortgage Boys Stable. Trainer Blake MacIntosh and driver Matt Kakaley both make their Hambletonian Oaks debuts. From the New York Sire Stakes

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