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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

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing's greatest day will offer some of its best wagering opportunities on Saturday (Aug. 3) when the $1 million, 94th edition of the Hambletonian for 3-year-olds on the trot serves as the marquee event on a 16-race star-studded, stakes-laden extravaganza that gets underway at a special early post time of noon. "If you are hosting the greatest program in harness racing, it has to be the greatest program for the horseplayers as well," said Meadowlands' Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "And with a plethora of low-takeout wagers along with carryovers and the biggest pools of the year, the Meadowlands has created enormous value for the horseplayer to wager on racing's greatest stars on our biggest day." There will be six wagers on the program that could bring huge payoffs that will offer a low 15 percent takeout: 20-Cent Survivor Pick-6 (Race 1) 50-Cent Pick-5 (Races 3-7) with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 7), which has a carryover of $7,000 and will have an estimated pool of $25,000 50-Cent Pick-4 (Races 8-11) with a guaranteed pool of $100,000 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 11), which has a carryover of $53,000 and an estimated pool of $150,000 50-Cent Pick-4 (Races 13-16) with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 The two Super High-Fives will not be offered on Friday night's program. Both will be on the menu and paid out on Hambletonian Day. "The 11th race on the card is the Hambletonian Oaks," said Settlemoir. "And that $500,000 event will offer a $53,000 carryover on the Super High-Five. We will pay out more than the amount wagered to the winners if the final pool is under $400,000 given the carryover and the takeout. From a betting standpoint, that is the greatest value wager at any racetrack on Saturday and will bring added interest from racing fans around the world to wager on the Hambletonian program." In addition to the award-winning live in-house simulcast show that the Big M will send out all day long to outlets around the country and the world, the CBS Sports Network will present a live 90-minute telecast beginning at 4 p.m. with host Gary Seibel, the Communicators Hall of Famer and track announcer at Cal-Expo, and co-host Dave Brower, the lead TV personality at the Big M and author of the handicapping book "Harnessing Winners". CBSSN will televise three live races during its broadcast: $280,000 John Cashman Memorial for free-for-all trotters (4:10 p.m. post time) $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies (4:40 p.m.) $1,000,000 Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters (5:14 p.m.) For those not coming out to the track, free live streaming will be available on the Meadowlands Facebook Live page. It will also be available on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv), which is not a free service. For those who want an expert opinion on the Friday and Saturday race cards, go to playmeadowlands.com for track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's race reviews. For free past performances of the entire Hambletonian Day card, DRF Harness is your destination. You can also access live video and money back specials if you are a DRF Bets customer. Go to promos.drf.com/meadowlands2019 for the PPs. For free program pages of the 50-Cent Pick-4 that begins with Race 8 - which will include the 11th race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five - go to ustrotting.com or playmeadowlands.com. ONE LAST REMINDER: Friday's race card gets underway at 7:15 p.m. and the Hambletonian Day program on Saturday gets started at noon. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

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. 3) 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 $280,000 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $230,200 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $183,500 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $186,000 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $285,362 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $100,362 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $310,700 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Five weeks after undergoing emergency surgery for hernia repair, Southwind Ozzi blazed to victory for Brian Sears in 1:48 in Saturday's (July 27) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Bill MacKenzie, who trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Solara for Vincent Ali Jr. and Alma Iafelice, became an Adios victor in his first appearance in the stake. Southwind Ozzi blazed to victory for Brian Sears in 1:48 in the $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Chris Gooden photo. Southwind Ozzi came through his surgery well, though surgeons had to remove a testicle during the procedure. Thus, Southwind Ozzi goes into history as the first ridgling to win the Pace for the Orchids. Southwind Ozzi and Sears got away fourth, watching as Prince Of Tides and Dave Palone threw down sizzling fractions of :25.3 and :53.3. When he saw that, Sears said he was comfortable sending his charge first over. "I liked the way things were setting up," he said. "They were going so fast that they couldn't really shut it down that much. I had sent him first up before, and he didn't seem to mind it. He's a pleasure to drive. He makes my job easy." Southwind Ozzi overwhelmed Prince Of Tides and drew off to score by seven lengths while Prince Of Tides gamely held off Stag Party for place. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 606; 2. Yannick Gingras - 481; 3. David Miller - 314; 4. Dexter Dunn - 297; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 279. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 583; 2. Tony Alagna - 262; 3. Jim King Jr. - 234; 4. Marcus Melander - 179; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 169. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 132; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 107; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 97; 4. Brad Grant - 95.7; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 87.8. 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 Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

After watching his two Hambletonian Oaks finalists on Tuesday draw posts eight and nine in the $500,000 event's 10-horse field, trainer Lucas Wallin, a 26-year-old in only his third season of racing his own stable, handled the outcome with the philosophical aplomb of a veteran. "We could be happier after the draw, but someone has to race from eight and nine, I suppose," said Wallin, who sends Queen Of Trixs (post eight) and Princess Deo (post nine) into the sport's top race for 3-year-old female trotters Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands. "There's nothing you can do. We just have to deal with it. "Both horses came out of their eliminations very good. I couldn't be happier with them. We need a little more luck and hopefully (the field) races to the half so we can get into it. There are a couple of horses in there that can mix it up a little bit. It's hard from out there, that's for sure. But anything can happen." Wallin grew up in Sweden, where he was driving ponies at the age of 8. Several years later, he began helping at his uncle Joakim Wallin's stable. In mid-2014, he was alerted to an opportunity to work for Ake Svanstedt's stable in the U.S. by childhood friend Oskar Florhed. Wallin spent two years with Svanstedt before deciding to go on his own. Since then, Wallin's stable has won 59 of 362 races and earned $789,548 in purses. Saturday's trip to the Oaks will put him on harness racing's big stage, not only within the sport but beyond. The Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian final will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network as part of a 90-minute show beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT). "It's very, very big for me," said Wallin, who is the only trainer with multiple horses in this year's Oaks. "You know you're doing something right. We're very lucky to get nice horses to work with. "It's tough to describe how big it is. A lot of trainers have done this longer than me and have never been to the Oaks, so I'm very fortunate and happy to be there. The whole team has worked so hard, so it feels very good for everyone to get in the final like this. It gives you a real boost, that's for sure." Queen Of Trixs finished third in her Oaks elimination, behind undefeated Millies Possesion and Evident Beauty. For the year, she has won two of six races and earned $57,125 for Mario Mazza's Mazza Racing Stables. One of her victories came in a preliminary round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes. She finished sixth in the final. "She got a little tough trip in the final," Wallin said. "These two last races, she's really improved. She is a really honest horse and very nice to be around. She is very small, but she's really, really fast. So, coming into this season we had big hopes for her. She always gives a hundred percent. When you look at her, she doesn't look like a top filly, nothing you would keep your eyes on. But she knows what to do." Queen Of Trixs raced barefoot in her Oaks elimination and Wallin plans to keep the shoes off Saturday. "That has been the plan for a couple of months, so we have prepared for that," Wallin said. "It should not be a problem. But now they say it is going to rain Saturday, so we'll see about the track. The track sometimes gets a little hard after the rain. But that's the plan at least now." Princess Deo is a newcomer to Wallin's barn, having spent the beginning of the season with trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. The filly has raced twice for Wallin, finishing fifth in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes and third in her Oaks elimination, which was won by When Dovescry. Princess Deo started from post 10 in the elim. "I have to thank the owners for giving me the chance to train this nice filly, they could send her to anyone," said Wallin, who trains the filly for owners Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and John Fodera. "Nifty did a really good job with her all winter. He's the one that trained her, we haven't done too much." Princess Deo is winless in six races this year, but she was second in last year's Goldsmith Maid and Kindergarten Classic Series final. "You feel right away it's a special filly," Wallin said. "She has a very big personality. She wants things in her own way, you just have to listen to her. That's what the groom has done and when we drive her, we let her be. She's the boss. But you feel when you train that she is something special. She showed it last year. "We probably got her at the right time. We haven't done too much work. We do our routines, and she likes it. It feels like she is going to be better and better for each race. She hasn't raced too much this year. I wasn't sure if this race came a little too early, but she really showed that she belongs here." Racing begins at noon Saturday at The Meadowlands. For the day's complete entries, click here. Following is the field for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1 2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5 3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2 5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2 6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1 7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1 8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1 9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1 10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ - Sixteen 3-year-old trotters entered Saturday's 94th Hambletonian Stakes at The Meadowlands, requiring two eight-horse eliminations to reduce the field to 10 for the $1 million final later that afternoon. Gimpanzee is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination and Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite in the second. The draws for the Hambletonian and companion Hambletonian Oaks, which is restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, were held Tuesday at The Meadowlands. Gimpanzee drew post No. 7 in his elimination and Greenshoe drew post No. 5. Both colts are trained by Marcus Melander. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the final. Millies Possesion, who won one of last week's two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 final. When Dovescry, the other elimination winner, is the 5-2 second choice. As elimination winners, Millies Possesion and When Dovescry drew for spots in posts one through five, with Millies Possesion getting post two and When Dovescry getting post five. The Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Greenshoe, the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, has won four of five races this year, with his only loss a second-place finish by a head to Marseille in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Greenshoe heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:50.1 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter. Marcus Melander trains Greenshoe for Anders Strom's Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Three-time Hambletonian winner Brian Sears will drive Greenshoe. Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 career starts and will try to become only the second unbeaten horse to win the Hambletonian. Deweycheatumnhowe accomplished the feat in 2008. Gimpanzee, owned by Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He also will have Sears in the sulky in his elimination. Greenshoe and Gimpanzee are two of four horses trained by the 27-year-old Melander in the Hambletonian. The others are Green Manalishi S and Gerry. Green Manalishi S, who has never finished worse than third in 14 career races, winning seven, is owned by Courant Inc. and is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. S R F Stable, which won the Hambletonian in 2017 with Perfect Spirit, owns Gerry. "With a horse like Greenshoe, when he's going to be the big favorite, of course it's going to be a little pressure," said Melander, who is making his third appearance in the Hambletonian. "But I can't do much more. I think I've prepared the horses the best I can. Now it's just up to the horses. I can't be more happy with them, how they feel at home, and how they've been racing. I'm excited, I have a good feeling. As long as they're fine, I think they will do a good race. "Like I said, I can't do much more. We need some racing luck, of course. There is so much that can go wrong in a race, you need a little bit of luck, a little bit of racing luck. Hopefully, we'll have that too." Other contenders include Don't Let'em, who with a 1:50.2 win in last week's Reynolds Memorial is the season's second-fastest 3-year-old trotter, hails from the stable of trainer Nancy Johansson. Don't Let'em, who is 4-1 in the second elimination, won last year's Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters on Hambletonian Day and is bidding to become the first Haughton champ to capture the Hambletonian since Muscle Hill in 2009. Marseille, trained by Ake Svanstedt, captured a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes in addition to winning the Beal Memorial. He is 5-1 in the second elimination. Svanstedt, who trained Perfect Spirit in 2017, is the only trainer in this year's Hambletonian to previously win the race. Swandre The Giant, who won a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial by a length over Green Manalishi S, is the 7-2 third choice in the first elimination. He is trained by Ron Burke. In the Hambletonian Oaks, Millies Possesion, unraced at age 2, will try to extend her career win streak to nine against a field of nine rivals. She won her Oaks elimination by a nose over Evident Beauty in 1:52.3. "I thought (Evident Beauty) had the momentum on her (in the stretch) but Millie dug in," said Jim Campbell, who trains the filly for owner Fashion Farms. "She's a true professional. She just knows what she's supposed to do." When Dovescry won her elimination by three lengths over Southwind Casha in 1:51.3. She has hit the board in all 12 lifetime starts, winning six. "She's amazing," said Simon Allard, who drives the filly for his brother Rene, and owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, and Lawrence Dumain. "You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she just trots so nice. You don't get the chance to drive horses like that every day. I'm so happy to be able to do this." Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Cantab Fashion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-6/1 2-Summit In Sight-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 3-Swandre The Giant-David Miller-Ron Burke-7/2 4-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 5-Mr Vicktor-Tyler Buter-Jennifer Lappe-15/1 6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom-15/1 7-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-2/1 8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1 2-Gerry-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Pilot Discretion-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-Reign Of Honor-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-20/1 5-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/5 6-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-4/1 7-Super Schissel-Scott Zeron-Per Engblom-10/1 8-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/1 Hambletonian Oaks final PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1 2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5 3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2 5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2 6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1 7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1 8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1 9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1 10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Millies Possesion looks to stay perfect in what will be her ninth lifetime start Saturday afternoon after being installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands. The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena drew post position 2 for the $500,000 event at Tuesday afternoon's post draw at the Big M. "I think it's a good spot," said trainer Jim Campbell. "I'd sooner have the two than the one. I think it's a good spot where (driver) Dexter (Dunn) can kind of see how the race shapes up and make whatever decision he sees fit." Millies Possesion upped her lifetime record to eight wins in as many starts after taking her Hambo Oaks elim last Saturday in 1:52.3, scoring by a nose over a fast-closing Evident Beauty. "(Evident Beauty) is a good filly," said Campbell. "She never gives up and keeps on going. I think it's a real tough group. The trip is going to mean everything." Evident Beauty is listed at 7-2 from post 4 with Dave Miller driving. Another big-time contender is When Dovescry (5-2, 5, Simon Allard), who crushed her foes by 3 lengths in 1:51.3 in the other Oaks elim. "Me for one, I did not see that coming," said Campbell of When Dovescry's performance. "She really came on strong at the end of last year and she was up to the task last week. It's going to be a tough race." The road for Millies Possesion was an atypical one, as the Fashion Farms-owned and bred filly was unraced at 2. "She had some soundness issues," said Campbell. "She had some issues with her hocks, so we just had to turn her out and let time heal her. We brought her back in January and the rest is history. She's been nothing short of amazing. "Anytime you have an unraced horse you don't know what to expect. I would be surprised for any unraced 2-year-old to come back and be this good. She showed us a lot training down last year, but that's all we had to go off. The way she went her first start this year (a 1:56 win in a non-winners of one at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 1), she was impressive doing it. Every race since she has stepped up to the plate and done everything we've asked of her." So does Campbell, who won the Oaks with another fabulous Fashion Farms filly, Broadway Schooner in 2009, like the role of favorite? "When you are the favorite, it means your horse has done well prior to that," said Campbell. "I really don't put a lot of thought into whether we're the favorite or not. We are in the race and prepare the horse the best way we can to have the horse the best she can be that particular day, regardless of whether you are the favorite or not." The Hambletonian Oaks is Race 11 on Saturday on a star-studded, stakes-laden 16-race program and has post time of 4:30 p.m. The first race gets underway at noon. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will host the $1,200,000 Hambletonian and its $500,000 filly companion Hambletonian Oaks on the "Greatest Day In Harness Racing" Saturday, August 3 with total purses on the card of nearly $4,000,000.   Sixteen horses were entered for the Hambletonian, resulting in two divisions of the first heat with the top five finishers in the official order returning for the $1,000,000 final (post time 5:14pm) which will be featured during the live broadcast on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30pm. The entered horses appear below in alphabetical order. Cantab Fashion Dont Let'em Forbidden Trade Gerry Gimpanzee Green Manalishi S Greenshoe Marseille Mr Vicktor Osterc Pilot Discretion Reign Of Honor Soul Strong Summit In Sight Super Schissel Swandre The Giant The top Grand Circuit stakes on the undercard include; The $230,000e Sam McKee Memorial FFA Pace with a full field of twelve going the route distance of a mile and one eighth (only stake at the added distance on the day) featuring Lather Up who became the co-fastest horse in Standardbred history by virtue of his 1:46 clocking for a mile in the July 10 Graduate final. The FFA Mare Lady Liberty brings out Shartin N who has had her way with the girls all season and currently sits atop the weekly Top Ten polls among the ten distaffers entered. The $300,000e John Cashman Memorial FFA Trot fields ten top trotters with Guardian Angel AS coming in from his Spirit of Massachusetts triumph and the streaking Eurobond facing stakes caliber off his record equaling 1:50.2 last week. The $175,000 Dr. John Steele also has ten to go led by the inimitable Hannelore Hanover, at her best once again facing nine rivals.   The $300,000e Cane Pace pits NA Cup winner Captain Crunch against Bettor's Wish in their continuing rivalry among the eight entered. Its companion filly pace the $100,000e Shady Daisy has the best nine currently racing led by Stonebridge Soul.   Freshman trotting stakes the $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial for the colts and $310,700 Jim Doherty Memorial for fillies round out the Grand Circuit part of the 16 race extravaganza with post time at noon. The Hambletonian will be drawn live at 2:00pm today on The Meadowlands Facebook page. Check the complete draw later today on The Meadowlands website where you'll also find all pertinent information on the day's racing and all planned activities.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Highalator brought his usual harness racing high-speed show to the Meadowlands Saturday night, and the result was a fifth win in seven starts at the Big M in 2019, as the Jenny Bier trainee completed a four-race sweep of the Golden Receiver Series for pacers by scoring in the $60,000 final. "I haven't had an opportunity to drive a horse like him," said winning driver Ricky Still. "And since I have, we've had such good luck." Highalator was on the go early, and so was Western Joe, who had the top at the quarter in :26.2. Still moved Highalator to the point soon thereafter, clearing to the top just before the three-eighths. A :28.1 second fraction proved to be more than enough of a breather for the horse who had won all three preliminary Golden Receiver legs. The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher opened up on Western Joe to lead by 2¼ lengths at three-quarters, then powered home in :26 to stop the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48. It was 2½ lengths back to a fast-closing Sweet Rock. Western Joe held third. Highalator, who is owed by Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction, has now won half of his 20 starts this year. Lifetime, he's 31-for-66 and earned $516,197. As the 1-2 favorite, he paid $3.00 to win. "It's a dream come true to drive a horse like him," said Still. Also on the Saturday card were two eliminations for the 94th edition of the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the trot, with the first five finishers from each dash returning for the $500,000 final, which takes place on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3). The first elim saw the Jim Campbell-trained Millies Possesion stay unbeaten in eight lifetime starts. The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena sailed past early leader Sonnet Grace once they straightened away down the backside on the way to hitting the half in :56. Evident Beauty, who went parked the final three-eighths, made an explosive late charge at the leader but came up a nose short in a superb try. Queen Of Trixs (third), Asiago (fourth) and Sonnet Grace (fifth) were the others to earn a berth in the final. Millies Possesion completed the mile in 1:52.3 and returned $3.60 to win as the 4-5 public choice. Campbell will be searching for his second Oaks score, having won it with Broadway Schooner in 2009. "She's still learning the game," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "She's come a long way this season. I thought Dave (Miller, driving Evident Beauty) was going to beat me, but to my filly's credit, she stuck her head up." Millies Possesion (inside) holds on with Dexter Dunn at the controls (Lisa Photo) The second elim saw Pocono Downs invader When Dovescry crush her foes in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 for trainer Rene Allard and his brother-driver Simon. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Clear Dove was first over as Southwind Casha hit the quarter in a serious :26.4, then cleared to the top just after the three-eighths before reporting home an easy 3-length winner, scoring for the first time this year in four tries. Southwind Casha was second, with Princess Deo, Miss Trixton and Sweet Chapter finishing third through fifth, respectively, to earn spots behind the gate for the final. Cloud Nine Fashion, a Campbell trainee, finished sixth as the 8-5 public choice. When Dovescry returned $8.60 to win as the second choice in the wagering. "We raced her easy in her qualifier and first three races," said Simon Allard. "We have been shooting for the Oaks. Great work from Brandon Simpson, who works for my brother, and my brother. They told me that she's been training super on the front end. I never put her on the front end yet and we did it tonight and they were right. You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she trots so nice." A LITTLE MORE: The Nancy Johansson-trained Don't Let'em (7-2 second choice) put himself in the Hambletonian conversation by cruising past 9-5 favorite Swandre The Giant on the far turn on the way to a 5¼-length, 1:50.2 lifetime-best score in the W.N. Reynolds for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. ... One sharp player betting into the Twin Spires hub held the only ticket to last eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $7,233. ... Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony with three winners on the night. ... All-source handle totaled $2,682,910. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. ... Saturday (Aug. 3) is Hambletonian Day. Post time is noon. ... Check out the Hambletonian post position draw on the Big M's Facebook Live page Tuesday (July 30) at 2 p.m. Click here for full results of tonight's program By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Before harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter went on his record run of five consecutive Hambletonian Oaks wins, Richard "Nifty" Norman posted back-to-back victories in the sport's premier race for 3-year-old female trotters. Norman could become only the fourth trainer in history to collect three trophies if all goes well for Evident Beauty the next two weekends. "This is the race you circle on the calendar," Norman said. "These next two weeks are the weeks you want to race your horses at The Meadowlands; it's something to look forward to. "We're here, we'll just let the chips fall where they may." Evident Beauty was among 19 horses entered in the Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands. Two $50,000 eliminations will be contested Saturday (July 27) with the top-five finishers from each division returning on Aug. 3 for the $500,000 final. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five for the final. The first Oaks elimination features four of the five fastest 3-year-old filly trotters of the season: Millies Possesion (1:51.1), Seaside Bliss (1:51.4), Golden Tricks (1:52.2) and Evident Beauty (1:52.3). The remaining horse in the quintet, The Ice Dutchess (1:52), is in the second elimination. Evident Beauty has won four of five races this year and seven of 14 lifetime, missing the board only twice in her career. Her victories this season include the New Jersey Sire Stakes final and a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, which came in her most recent start on July 13, also at The Meadowlands. "Everything has gone to plan so far," said Norman, who trains the filly for owners Mel Hartman, Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, and Wayne Giles' R A W Equine Inc. "Hopefully we get to race two weeks in a row here. She seems good, she's been good all year, so we'll hope she's still good." Evident Beauty showed a new aspect to her game in the Miller, leading for much of the way in her neck triumph over Cloud Nine Fashion. It was only the second time in her career that she led a race prior to the stretch. "Obviously, that's not her forte; she's better from off a helmet," Norman said. "That's her go really. She loves to chase a horse down. But then the fact she was able to leave the race before, she showed she could race either way, so I think that's a big help. "She's a good honest horse, hardly ever makes a mistake. I wouldn't swap her for anybody." Norman won his previous Oaks finals with Bee A Magician in 2013 and Personal Style in 2012. The only trainers with more than two Hambletonian Oaks wins are Takter (eight), Jan Johnson (six), and Glen Garnsey (three). Millies Possesion, who was unraced at age 2, heads to the first elimination undefeated in seven lifetime races. She is trained by Jim Campbell, who won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks with Broadway Schooner. Another Oaks winning trainer, recent Hall of Fame inductee Joe Holloway, sends out Starita, also in the first elim. "I'm very impressed with Jim Campbell's horse," Norman said. "She's come from zero to hero. She probably looks like the best filly in the country at the moment. I like mine because she can race first over, in the front, from the back, and (Millies Possesion) is the same. She looks like she can do it any way." Millies Possesion Rounding out the first elimination are Asiago, Sonnet Grace, Queen Of Trixs, and Grimmie Hanover. "Someone good is probably going to miss out," Norman said. "It's a very strong division. It might be good for (Evident Beauty) in a way because they might race a little bit harder and that's right up her alley. You can't win from the outside (posts) if you get back. They're good horses and I'm sure they're going to be heading out of there. It could be a real tough race." The second elimination features The Ice Dutchess, who won two of last season's most lucrative stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, the Jim Doherty Memorial and Peaceful Way. She was trained by Takter, who retired at the end of last season, and is now in the stable of Nancy Johansson. In addition, the group includes 2018 Matron Stakes winner When Dovescry and open stakes winners Cloud Nine Fashion and Princess Deo. Following are the fields for the $50,000 Hambletonian Oaks eliminations. ELIMINATION ONE PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Evident Beauty - Trixton - David Miller - R. Nifty Norman 2 - Starita - Trixton - Brian Sears - Joe Holloway 3 - Seaside Bliss - Cantab Hall - Scott Zeron - Paul Kelley 4 - Asiago - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Per Engblom 5 - Sonnet Grace - Muscle Massive - David Miller - Ron Burke 6 - Queen Of Trixs - Trixton - Andy McCarthy - Lucas Wallin 7 - Grimmie Hanover - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick - Jeff Cullipher 8 - Millies Possesion - Possess The Will - Dexter Dunn - Jim Campbell 9 - Golden Tricks - Trixton - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt   ELIMINATION TWO PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Miss Trixton - Trixton - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander 2 - Sweet Chapter - Chapter Seven - Matt Kakaley - Blake MacIntosh 3 - Beautiful Sin - Muscle Hill - Dexter Dunn - Per Engblom 4 - Cloud Nine Fashion - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell 5 - When Dovescry - Muscle Hill - Simon Allard - Rene Allard 6 - Southwind Casha - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick - John Bax 7 - Personal Paradise - Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt 8 - The Ice Dutchess - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Johansson 9 - American Kronos - Donato Hanover - Andy Miller - Julie Miller 10 - Princess Deo - Trixton - Andy McCarthy - Lucas Wallin by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

The $1 million Hambletonian and the harness racing filly companion stake, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, will be raced on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 3, at the Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Meadowlands has held America's Trotting Classic for a record 38 years, the longest run of any host track. The 94th edition of the Open event will feature eliminations and final on the same afternoon. Eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, if necessary, will be raced Saturday, July 27. The 2018 Dan Patch Rising Star Award-winner, trainer Marcus Melander, also happens to have the Winter Book favorite for the Hambletonian in his stable, the freshman male Dan Patch divisional champion trotter, Gimpanzee. Gimpanzee authored a perfect 9-for-9 season for Melander and owners Courant Inc. & SRF Stable, winning the Breeders Crown and the New York Sires Stakes final on his way to $591,358 in earnings. "Gimpanzee has been training very good all winter, never missed a day of training and he has grown and filled out nicely. He's on the road to the Hambo starting in May (New York Sire Stakes) at Vernon Downs," said Melander. Melander has more than just one arrow in his Hambletonian quiver - add in Green Manalishi S, ($510,557) runner-up to stablemate Gimpanzee in the Breeders Crown and winner of the William Wellwood Memorial who closed his year with five wins and five seconds in 10 starts, and Greenshoe ($76,723), who fetched $330,000 as a yearling under the name Rifleman. Greenshoe scored his major victory in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final in an abbreviated freshman campaign. "Green Manalishi S has also been training good all winter," continued Melander. "He's probably grown and filled out even more than the rest of the group. He was a really big horse last year and I think now when he's a year older and filled out so nice over the winter it will be very exciting to see how he developed. The plan is to qualify him in the beginning of May. "Greenshoe feels like he's matured a lot during the winter months, he's an incredibly fast horse, definitely the fastest one of my 3-year olds, but he needs to behave himself better at the track this year. He will qualify in late April and his first race for the season will be in New Jersey Sire Stakes." Demon Onthe Hill ($144,542) and Gerry ($67,147) also train in the Melander barn, completing an impressive starting lineup for the 27-year-old native of Sweden. "Demon Onthe Hill - he's a nice little horse that always does his best. He did great in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes last year and then had some bad racing luck down in Lexington. He's been training good and he definitely has the potential to be in the Hambletonian. Gerry, he's a really nice horse, he started out his 2-year-old season very good but then ran in to some problem later in the season. He's been training well all winter and I'm very excited how he developed over the winter." Other highly anticipated eligibles include Swandre The Giant, an Indiana-bred son of Swan For All-Adagio who changed hands for a reported seven-digit sum last year after racking up seven straight wins in state-bred company. Horse agent Ernie Martinez, who put the deal together for current owners Diamond Creek racing, J&T Silva Stables and Howard Taylor, reports that the colt is training down in the Florida division of the Ron Burke stable. "I don't like to throw money around," said Martinez. "But this colt impressed me so much. Maybe we asked him to do too much too soon last year but we turned him out in Kentucky and Burke loves the way he is training down." Peter Haughton winner Don't Let'Em, Valley Victory winner Southwind Avenger, and O'Brien Award winner Forbidden Trade are all listed among the eligible horses. There are no supplemental entries permitted in the Hambletonian and Oaks, nor are participants in those events or the Hambletonian Maturity (July 18), permitted the use of Lasix or Butazolidin. The Hambletonian is the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, followed by the Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 31, and the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Hambletonian is also the longest-running live broadcast in harness racing. The Aug. 3 event will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). The Hambletonian Trail commences Saturday, May 4, with the Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk at Freehold Raceway. Eligibles for all Hambletonian-serviced stakes can be found at www.hambletonian.com Moira Fanning

Cranbury, NJ... The first payment deadline for eligibility to 136 harness racing stake events, headlined by the $1.5 million Hambletonian and the $6 million Breeders Crown series is just around the corner. The 94th Hambletonian will raced at The Meadowlands on Saturday, August 3 with same-day elimination heats. The $500,000 Oaks has eliminations the week before on July 27. The Breeders Crown returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2019, with 2-year-old elims scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18 and finals on Friday, Oct. 25. Three-year-old and open events will race eliminations, if necessary, on Saturday, Oct. 19 and finals on Saturday, Oct. 26. Since February 15 falls on a Friday, followed by a federal holiday (Monday, Feb. 18 President's Day with no mail delivery) payments for all Hambletonian-Society serviced Stakes will be accepted if postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 19. In 2019, The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and Clara Barton Distaff Pace will be raced at Plainridge Park Casino on Sunday, July 28th. Both of these races were cancelled in 2018, but are back with us in 2019. There is a new series at Hoosier Park the Society will handle called The Star Destroyer Series. This series is for 3-Year-Old Colt and Filly Pacers and Trotters and will be raced in late June of this year. The conditions are similar to the Pegasus Series and can be found on the race page at https://www.hambletonian.com/star-destroyer-series.html. There are scheduled payment changes to the following races: Caesar's Trotting Classic, Dan Patch, Dayton Derby Pace & Trot, Jenna's Beach Boy and the Miami Valley Distaff Pace & Trot. Please check over the payment forms and payment schedules on the condition sheets for these races as they all have different payment schedules than in 2018. The conditions for each race can be found on the specific race page. The Hambletonian Society services 136 of harness racing's richest and most prestigious events and provides one-stop shopping for your staking needs. Our website, Hambletonian.com, contains all the tools and information necessary to stake your horse yourself. Payment forms are always available on our website at https://www.hambletonian.com/payment-forms.html Race conditions, payment forms and much more information is now available online. For more information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211. The following races are serviced by The Hambletonian Society: Adios/Adioo Volo Arden Downs Art Rooney/Lismore Breeders Crown Cane Pace/Shady Daisy Carl Erskine Centaur Trotting Classic Circle City Series 3-Year-Olds Clara Barton Distaff Pace (New) Courageous Lady Filly Pace Currier & Ives Stakes Dan Patch Open Pace Dayton Pace & Trot Derby Dexter Cup/Lady Suffolk The Elevation Fox Stakes Hambletonian/Oaks Hambletonian Maturity Hoosier Stake Horseman Stake Hoosier Park Pacing Derby Jenna's Beach Boy 3CP Kentuckiana Stallion Mgmt T/P Keystone Classics Landmark Early Closer Liberty Bell T/P Madison County 2-Year-Olds Matron Stakes Messenger Stakes/Lady Maud Miami Valley Distaff Trot & Pace Monument Circle Pegasus Series 3-Year-Old Trot/Pace Progress Pace W.N. Reynolds Memorial E.C. John Simpson Memorial E.C. Spirit of Massachusetts Trot The Star Destroyer Series The U.S.S. Indianapolis Mem. The Crossroads of America Tompkins-Geers Early Closer Ralph Wilfong/The Horseman Yonkers Trot/Hudson Filly Trot by Moira Fanning, for the Hambletonian Society  

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. 4) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.2 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 $286,650 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $260,100 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $197,400 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $154,800 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $281,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $96,600 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $422,350 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $357,450 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Victimized by brutal trips in his last two starts, Dorsoduro Hanover finally got the journey he needed and pounced on the opportunity to win Saturday's (July 28) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows. American History, who won an elimination of the 52nd edition of the Adios, raced well first over to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Hitman Hill, the other elimination winner, could not improve position in the Lightning Lane and settled for show. Dorsoduro Hanover won Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows. Dorsoduro Hanover gave The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke, perennially the sport's leading conditioner, his first blanket of Adios orchids as the head of his stable, although he was assistant for his father, Mickey, when their horse, May June Character, won the 2007 Adios. A Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding who cost $100,000 as a yearling, Dorsoduro Hanover was roughed up from post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace final and again in his Adios elimination but still managed to finish second each time. It seemed likely that he was only a good trip away from a signature victory and Matt Kakaley provided it for him giving him a :28.3 second-panel refresher after a :26.3 opening-quarter burst to the lead. American History took up the chase before the half and pursued the winner gamely but was all out late to preserve his place finish. Once Dorsoduro Hanover crossed the wire, a jubilant Burke and members of his staff sprinted from the paddock to the winner's circle, eschewing the golf cart that customarily provides transport. Burke, however, indicated the wins in 2007 and 2018 were equally important to him. "We have a big crew, and to me, that's what it's about: doing it together," Burke said. "We probably spent about $10 million chasing this, and we finally got one. It's a great feeling to enjoy it with our staff and our core group." In that core group are the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover, who now has earned $575,603 for them: Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnell & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi and Wingfield Five. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 569; 2. Yannick Gingras - 568.5; 3. David Miller - 272.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 268; 5. Corey Callahan - 228.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 595.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 339; 3. Tony Alagna - 216; 4. John Butenschoen - 172; 5. Jim King Jr. - 171. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 133.5; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 128.5; 3. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 4. Fashion Farms - 102; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 85. 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 Stakes highlighting 10 stakes; and at Tioga Downs with the Crawford Farm and Joie De Vie for older trotters and Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

East Rutherford, NJ --- Eighteen 3-year-old trotters entered Saturday's 93rd Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, requiring two eliminations to trim the field to 10 for the $1 million final later that afternoon. Wolfgang is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first elimination and Six Pack is the 2-1 favorite in the second. Atlanta, the lone filly taking on the boys, is the 3-1 second choice in the first elimination. The draws for the Hambletonian and companion Hambletonian Oaks, which is restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, were held Tuesday at the Meadowlands. Wolfgang drew post No. 5 in his elimination and Six Pack drew post No. 9. Atlanta will start from post No. 7. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the final. Manchego, who won one of last Saturday's two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 final. Phaetosive, the other elimination winner, is the 3-1 second choice. As elimination winners, Manchego and Phaetosive drew for spots in posts one through five, with Manchego getting post four and Phaetosive getting post five. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Atlanta is attempting to become the first filly to win the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory in 1996. In the previous 92 years, 161 fillies entered the race, with 13 winning the sport's most prestigious event for 3-year-old trotters. Atlanta is the 22nd filly to enter the race since the start of the Hambletonian Oaks in 1971. The two most recent fillies to enter the Hambletonian, Pampered Princess in 2007 and Mission Brief in 2015, both won eliminations. Pampered Princess was seventh-placed-sixth in her final, won by Donato Hanover, and Mission Brief finished second to Pinkman in her final. Atlanta is undefeated in five races this year. She trotted the fastest mile in the history of Vernon Downs, 1:50.3, in winning the Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old filly trotters on May 28 and heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:53.4 victory at Vernon Downs in a July 19 division of the New York Sire Stakes. For her career, Atlanta has won nine of 15 races and $301,645. "I have a horse that I think can win the Hambletonian, that's exciting in itself, just having a player," said Scott Zeron, who will drive Atlanta for his father, trainer Rick Zeron. "(The draw) was fine by me. My dad wanted to be in the first heat, so we got lucky with that. We drew the seven; it's not the rail, but it's not too bad. I don't mind it. We'll make it work. It will give me the option to kind of look over and see what everyone is doing. We'll play it by ear." Rick Zeron co-owns Atlanta, by Chapter Seven out of Hemi Blue Chip, with Michelle and Al Crawford's Crawford Farms, William Holland's Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, and Brad Grant. Scott Zeron captured the 2016 Hambletonian with eventual Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder. "For me, this is a different scenario, having the family horse," Zeron said. "I was in Florida all winter long with all the horses, so this one feels a little different having my father involved and being more involved with the barn. (Atlanta) is a super horse and I really hope she can deliver. I have no regrets about the decision." Zeron's win with Marion Marauder was for trainer Paula Wellwood, who will send out Southwind Chrome in Saturday's second Hambletonian elimination. Zeron is listed to drive that horse as well. "I have two competitive horses," Zeron said. "One is 3-1 and the other is 5-1. That's nice." Wolfgang is undefeated in three races this year, with his victories including the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He has won six of 13 lifetime starts and $516,690 for Charles Goodwin's Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Bud Hatfield's Hatfield Stables, and Art Zubrod's and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm. Four-time Hambletonian winner Jimmy Takter trains Wolfgang, who is one of four horses Takter is sending into the race. The others are You Know You Do, Tactical Landing, and Zephyr Kronos. With a win, Takter would tie Billy Haughton, Stanley Dancer, and Ben White for the most victories in Hambletonian history. Yannick Gingras drives Wolfgang. "He's very good," Takter said. "I trained him a (1):56 mile here last Friday with a good last half and he felt awesome. You try to peak them as best you can. He's been very good every start. He's so professional. He's most likely the most reliable horse I have in the Hambletonian this year." Six Pack is the fastest 3-year-old male trotter in history thanks to his 1:50 win in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. He has won five of six races this year, with his lone setback a second-place finish to Crystal Fashion in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. For his career, Six Pack has won nine of 14 races and $557,840. Ake Svanstedt trains and drives Six Pack. Svanstedt won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit, who was elevated from second to first when What The Hill was disqualified for interference in the stretch. Six Pack, by Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady, is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Tomas Olofsson's Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. "He has raced better and better for every race this year," Svanstedt said. "He is going up the whole time. He's an all-around horse. He's nice to handle and nice gaited and can leave fast. I think he can go faster (than 1:50). He was not tired the last time. He was just lazy, so I must push him." Another highly regarded contender is Crystal Fashion, who is 7-2 in the first elimination. He has won five of eight races this year and finished second in the remaining three. For his career, the son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow has won nine of 20 races and $523,252. He is trained by Jim Campbell, who won the 1995 Hambletonian with Tagliabue, for owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms. Siegel was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1, the day after Crystal Fashion's win in the Beal. In the Hambletonian Oaks, Takter and Gingras team up with favorite Manchego as they attempt to win the race for the fifth consecutive year. Takter holds the record for Oaks wins with seven. Manchego has won 16 of 18 career races and $986,170 for owners Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Phaetosive, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, has won seven of 11 career races and $377,358. Smedshammer trained 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and was the trainer and driver of 2004 Hambletonian winner Windsong's Legacy. Phaetosive is owned by Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations and the Hambletonian Oaks final. Hambletonian Elimination 1 PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Andy Miller-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination 2 PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-David Miller-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 Hambletonian Oaks Final PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-4/1 2-What A Knockout-David Miller-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 4-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 5-Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-3/1 6-Hey Blondie-Andy McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester-6/1 7-Live Laugh Love-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-8/1 8-Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-10/1 9-Blonde Magic-Tom Durand-Tom Durand-20/1 10-Nixie Volo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Tom Durand does not drive his horses in all their races, but the trainer was behind Blonde Magic this past Saturday in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination at The Meadowlands. And it was for a special reason. Blonde Magic is owned by Durand's wife June, who celebrated her birthday two days earlier. Her birthday wish was for Tom to drive her horse in the Oaks. Blonde Magic, with Durand in the sulky, finished fourth in her elimination and advanced to Saturday's $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final for 3-year-old female trotters at the Big M. "She said the greatest birthday present you could give me would be to drive my horse," Durand said, adding with a laugh, "I thought, I could get off that easy. I don't have to go to the jewelry store or anything like that." Said June, "I wanted him to drive because he knows the horse best. I'm just glad she's got an opportunity to be in here. I never over-expect anything." The Hambletonian Oaks is part of a stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands on Saturday, highlighted by the 93rd edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters. The Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). The draws for both races are Tuesday at 2 p.m. and will be shown live on the Meadowlands Facebook page and YouTube channel. Rick Zeron, trainer of the 3-year-old filly trotter Atlanta who is taking on the boys in the Hambletonian, will be a guest on the broadcast. Durand trained 2011 Hambletonian runner-up Whiskey Tax. Among his other top horses was two-time O'Brien Award-winning female trotter Casual Breeze. Blonde Magic has won three of six races this year and finished second twice. All of her starts this season prior to the Oaks elimination were in conditioned races at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She was driven three times by Sylvain Filion. "You have to test the water somewhere," Durand said about moving up in class in the Oaks. "It's like maybe two steps up. Maybe three steps up, I don't know." In her Oaks elimination, Blonde Magic was seventh after three-quarters of a mile, but came home in :26.3 to finish among the top five and reach the final. No horse came home faster in the division, which was won by Phaetosive in 1:51. Blonde Magic was 6-1/2 lengths back. Blonde Magic is a daughter of Muscle Massive out of Ally Oop. June bred and raced Ally Oop, who won five races and earned $75,232 before becoming a broodmare. Her first foal was Seven And Seven, who won the 2016 William Wellwood Memorial and competed in the 2017 Hambletonian, where he finished eighth in his elimination and failed to advance to the final. "She wasn't a world beater, maybe like a (1):55 trotter, but she was very honest and very likable," Durand said about Ally Oop. "She had a great personality. She throws that into her foals. Her first one was Seven And Seven and I raced him down here last year. Unfortunately we didn't do too well in the Hambletonian, but he was a nice, honest horse too." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    Blonde Magic was winless in five races last year, but finished second in a division of the Champlain Stakes. She was shut down in September after going off stride and finishing 10th in the Peaceful Way.   "She was just a little immature last year and had trouble putting it all together at the end of a hard mile," Durand said. "It was just kind of pushing her past her limit and her getting tired. There was nothing really wrong with her. She's kind of grown into herself. She was a little underdeveloped and wasn't ready to do it. That's why she didn't have many starts.   "She filled out a lot. She probably weighs 200 pounds more than she did last year. She's got a great attitude. She can be quite a handful at times so we've been really careful to race her very easy off the gate, not get her too mentally charged up.   "But she's solid this year. We're lucky she put it all together."   A great gift, for sure.   Ken Weingartner   Media Relations Manager   U.S. Trotting Association   www.ustrotting.com   @harnessracenews   @HarnessKenW      

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