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East Rutherford, NJ - On Saturday, August 8th as an added convenience for our wagering public due to reduced racetrack capacity, the Meadowlands Racetrack will offer a walk-up Teller window in Lot M off of Berry's Creek Road. Tellers will be available for wagering from 11 am through 5:30 pm. Bettors will be able to place wagers on our full live and simulcast offerings including: 12:00 PM Gulfstream Park 12:00 PM Saratoga 12:00 PM Meadowlands (H) 12:30 PM Pocono Downs (H) 12:45 PM The Meadows (H) 12:50 PM Monmouth Park 1:00 PM Woodbine 3:00 PM Tioga Downs (H) 3:00 PM Vernon Downs (H) 3:05 PM Arlington 4:05 PM Louisiana Downs 4:15 PM Golden Gate 5:00 PM Del Mar Programs will be available for sale along with past performances for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. For all things Hambletonian visit http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/hambletonian/ or https://www.hambletonian.com/ From the Meadowlands Media Department

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    

The 2020 Hambletonian is Saturday, August 8th.  Post time for the Hambletonian at The Meadowlands is 4:35 pm and can be viewed live at PlayMeadowlands.com CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, will present a delayed 60-minute broadcast of the $1 million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks from The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J., on Sat., Aug. 8, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. [EDT] The Hambletonian is the first and most prestigious leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network has been the broadcast home of the Hambletonian since 2012.   Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Ramona Hill (Muscle Hill)  Andrew McCarthy, Tony Alagna, Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc, In The Gym Partners  Dan Patch Award winning filly unleashed a 1:50.3 career best from post ten in the Del Miller, uncorked a :25.4 rally for the ages in to win her elimination in 1:51.2, “She’s been great,” Alagna said. “She was a very immature 2-year-old and she was still able to get the job done.  We were so happy with how she came back (in the winter) in Florida. Her first start, she raced super off the pace and two weeks ago she was sparkling and tonight she’s even better.” 2 Ready For Moni (Ready Cash) Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter, John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Conn, Herb Liverman, Bud Hatfield Rallied to win his Team Takter debut in a Dancer division in 1:51.4, cruised to a new mark of 1:51.3 in his elimination, “The way the schedule has been this year, it’s been a little difficult to find races,” Takter said.  “We didn’t want to have him over-raced going into the Hambletonian, so he had a couple nice qualifiers to kind of let him get into his own and hopefully he’ll take this race in the right way and be even sharper for next week.” 3 Back Of The Neck (Ready Cash)  Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Judith Taylor Scott Zeron looks for his third Hambo in five years, won a Reynolds division @ Big M on July 11 in 1:52 with a thunderous :26.4 rally, romped in a Dancer division in a career best equaling 1:52, second [1:51.2] to Ramona Hill in his elimination 4 Threefiftytwo (Royalty For Life) Bob McClure, Luc Blais, Determination  Last year’s Hambletonian upsetters with Forbidden Trade are back with an OSS performer who took a mark of 1:52.3 @ Mohawk on July 13, finished second [1:51.4] in his elimination 5 Amigo Volo  (Father Patrick) Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman,  Pinske Stables, David J. Miller Breeders Crown champion won a PASS division @ Pocono Downs in a career best of 1:52 on July 26, third [1:51.4] in the first Hambo elimination, Dexter Dunn was fourth from post ten last year 6 Sister Sledge (Father Patrick) Brian Sears, Ron Burke, Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi Won her first two stakes as a 3YO @ The Meadows, second [1:52.4] in PASS @ Harrah’s Philadelphia, took a mark of 1:51.2 in a Tompkins Geers division, fourth [1:52] in the second elimination 7 Hollywood Story (Muscle Hill)  Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander, Courant Inc.  Melander said he’s a green colt with only seven starts, yet getting improving, second [1:52] to Ready for Moni in a Dancer division, fifth [1:52] in his elimination  8 Rome Pays Off (Muscle Hill) Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander,  S R F Stable 2019 Breeders Crown runner up made it two-for-two this season with a solid score in the Tompkins Geers with a career best of 1:52.3 on July 25, parked fifth [1:52.1] in the second elimination 9 Capricornus (Cantab Hall) Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander, Jj Racing Stable  Melander finished second, third & fifth in last year’s Hambletonian, second in the William Wellwood Memorial at two, rebounded with a solid third from the rail [1:52] in his elimination  10 Big Oil (Father Patrick) Andy Miller, Julie Miller, Jason, Doug & Ron Allen Team Orange Crush hit the board three straight years 2016-2018, won a PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs in 1:53.2, third [1:52.3] in a Dancer division, fourth [1:52] in his eliminatio

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

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page Saturday, August 8, at the Meadowlands. The $1 million Hambletonian Trot final is the special race that contestants will be challenged to handicap and entry is free of charge. There is no purchase necessary to play. All you have to do is select the correct exacta. (first two official finishers in the race. Must submit their starting post position by number). USHWA is offering three prizes that will be given away. The prizes for this special contest are CASH Gift Cards! First place will receive a $100 gift card, second place a $75 gift card and third place a $50 gift card. And, as a special BONUS, if 500 people participate in the contest, www.3PercentDental.com will DOUBLE the cash prizes. Scott Alberg, the 2006 National Harness Handicapping Champion, who also has numerous other handicapping titles, has been a Standardbred owner in the past, and has agreed to partner with USHWA as the contests new title sponsor. To enter the free contest, fans must go to Scott Alberg's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3,, where the contest will be prominently displayed. Entries will be accepted beginning Thursday afternoon, August 6. Alberg, as he has done in the past, will run the contest. Participants have until 10:00 am Saturday morning to enter the contest. All rules and regulations will be posted for the contest. Anyone who is not on Facebook can still enter the contest by sending in their selections via email to CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. Horseman and media communicator Rod Allums, Jr. has joined the USHWA/Scott Alberg contest and will host the Facebook Live Drawing to determine the contest winners at 6:45 pm Saturday at https://www.facebook.com/rod.allums. For more information check out Scott Alberg's Facebook Page, USHWA's Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or the new USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. A list of prizes winners is available anytime from either Scott Alberg's Facebook or via email at CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA    

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 --- Ramona Hill rallied from the back of the pack to defeat Back Of The Neck in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at the Meadowlands and Ready For Moni rolled to victory in the second as the stage was set for next week's $1 million harness racing final. The Hambletonian is harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. The top-five finishers from each elimination advanced to the Aug. 8 final at the Big M. Joining Ramona Hill and Back Of The Neck in the final from the first elim were, in order of finish, Amigo Volo, Big Oil, and Hollywood Story. Joining Ready For Moni from the second elim were Threefiftytwo, Capricornus, Sister Sledge, and Rome Pays Off. Ramona Hill and Sister Sledge are fillies. This was the first time multiple fillies took on the boys in the Hambletonian since Act Of Grace and Continentalvictory in 1996, and only the second time since 1983. Marcus Melander, the 2019 Trainer of the Year in the U.S., has three of the finalists: Capricornus, Hollywood Story, and Rome Pays Off. Threefiftytwo is trained by Luc Blais, who won last year's Hambletonian with Forbidden Trade. As elimination winners, Ramona Hill and Ready For Moni got to draw for posts in positions one through five. Ready For Moni, who was randomly selected first to draw, got post one and Ramona Hill got post five. Posts two through four went to Back Of The Neck, Hollywood Story, and Big Oil, respectively. Starting outside Ramona Hill in posts six through 10 will be Threefiftytwo, Capricornus, Rome Pays Off, Sister Sledge, and Amigo Volo. In the first elimination, Ramona Hill, the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly trotter, was last in the eight-horse field and forced three wide around the final turn before flying home and besting Back Of The Neck by a half-length in 1:51.2. Her last quarter was timed in :25.4.   Andy McCarthy drove Ramona Hill, the 6-5 favorite, for trainer Tony Alagna. Ramona Hill, who captured the Del Miller Memorial on July 18 in 1:50.3 at the Meadowlands, has won two of three starts this season. "She's been great," Alagna said. "She was a very immature 2-year-old and she was still able to get the job done. We were so happy with how she came back (in the winter) in Florida. Her first start, she raced super off the pace and two weeks ago she was sparkling and tonight she's even better." Alagna was patient with Ramona Hill last year, giving the filly a midseason break in a campaign that culminated with a win in the Breeders Crown from post 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I knew what we had, we just had to do the right thing," Alagna said. "We waited on her when she needed it and she paid us back." Ramona Hill is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Lock Down Lindy. She is owned by Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert LeBlanc, and In The Gym Partners. She was bred by Crawford Farms. For her career, she has won eight of 10 races and $556,865. Alagna said the decision to enter Ramona Hill in the Hambletonian rather than the all-fillies Hambletonian Oaks was made last Sunday. "I think as a group we all kind of knew what we were all thinking in the back of our minds, but we all waited to pull the trigger at the same time," Alagna said. "We were all willing to give it a shot. The big decision was the fact they don't go two heats on one day." In the second elimination, Ready For Moni took the lead at the half-mile mark and never looked back on his way to victory by three-quarters of a length over Threefiftytwo in 1:51.3.   Yannick Gingras drove Ready For Moni, the 6-5 favorite, for trainer Nancy Takter. Ready For Moni is 2-for-2 this year, winning a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:51.4 on July 18 at the Meadowlands in his seasonal debut. "The way the schedule has been this year, it's been a little difficult to find races," Takter said. "We didn't want to have him over-raced going into the Hambletonian, so he had a couple nice qualifiers to kind of let him get into his own and hopefully he'll take this race in the right way and be even sharper for next week. "There are a lot of small parts to the puzzle that need to be put together in the right spot for everything to go perfectly on Hambletonian Day," Takter added. "But with the win here we get post-position relief, so that will be a big help. But there are a lot of things that need to go right." Ready For Moni is a son of French star Ready Cash out of the mare Nothing But Moni. He is owned by John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman, and Bud Hatfield. The colt was bred by Moni Maker Stable. For his career, Ready For Moni has won six of 10 races and $374,020. He joined Takter's stable this year. "Ready For Moni was trained down in Florida with Lindy Farms through his winter training and came to me a few weeks ago, right before he was getting ready to qualify," Takter said. "So, they did all the heavy lifting with him, we've just kind of done the fine-tuning to get him a little bit sharper for the races. They did a great job with him and they get a lot of credit for how the horse is right now." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ - The FanDuel SportsBook at the Meadowlands Racetrack is rolling out some interesting and entertaining Hambo-related prop bets for the Hambletonian Eliminations (races 6 & 8) tomorrow Saturday, August 1. Some intriguing bets include: The two fillies, Ramona Hill & Sister Sledge both advance to the final (-105) Scott Zeron to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in both Race 6 & 8 (+220) "Chalk It Down" - Sister Sledge or Ready for Moni to Win Race 8 (-150) The complete list of prop bets are below: Winning Distance of Race 6 Bet # Market American Fractional 8501 Under 1 Length +110 11/10 8502 Exactly 1 Length +650 13/2 8503 Over 1 Length +110 11/10         Winning Distance of Race 8 Bet # Market American Fractional 8504 Under 1 Length +120 6/5 8505 Exactly 1 Length +700 7/1 8506 Over 1 Length +100 1/1         Scott Zeron to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in both Race 6 & 8 Bet # Market American Fractional 8507 Yes +220 11/5                                                                      Race 6 Head to Head Prop Bet # Market American Fractional 8508 Ramona Hill -125 4/5 8509 Beads +110 11/10                                                             *Wager void if neither start*                                            Chalk It Down – Sister Sledge or Ready for Moni to win Race 8 Bet # Market American Fractional 8510 Yes -150 2/3         Bet # Market American Fractional 8511 Sister Sledge -175 4/7 8512 Ready For Moni +150 3/2 Ramona Hill & Sister Sledge both to advance to the Final? Bet # Market American Fractional 8513 Yes -105 20/21         Which Hambletonian Elimination Race (6 or 8) will be run in the faster time? Bet # Market American Fractional 8514 Hambletonian Elimination Heat 1 -200 1/2 8515 Hambletonian Elimination Heat 2 +180 9/5 You may wager right at the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack if you attend the track tomorrow or open an account online if you are within the confines of the state of New Jersey. Info on the 95th Hambletonian can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/hambletonian/  and https://www.hambletonian.com/ Info on the FanDuel SportsBook at the Meadowlands Racetrack can be found at https://playmeadowlands.com/dining/victorysportsbar.html From the Meadowlands Media Department  

Rank  Horse  Driver, Trainer, Owner  Ken Warkentin’s Comments    1  Ready For Moni  (Ready Cash)   Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter, John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Conn, Herb Liverman, Bud Hatfield   KYSS champion now with Team Takter rallied to win his 3YO debut in a Dancer division in career best of 1:51.4, post eight in the second elimination, “On paper, it looks like we are in the easier of the two eliminations,” said Takter.  “I think the eight is a good spot.  I would have preferred one or two more starts, but all of our horses have a good foundation.”    2  Back Of The Neck  (Ready Cash)  Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Judith Taylor  Won a Reynolds division @ Big M on July 11 in 1:52 with a thunderous :26.4 rally, romped in a Dancer division in a career best equaling 1:52, post one in the first elimination, “His best effort was on the front end in his first start,” said Zeron.  To have come home in :26.1 and get picked off at the last second, that was a great effort.  I avoided the front end going forward because I wanted to teach him to do other things.  Post one gives me options.”   3  Ramona Hill  (Muscle Hill )  Andrew McCarthy, Tony Alagna, Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc, In The Gym Partners   Filly Dan Patch Award & Breeders Crown winner finished third [1:51] from post nine in her 3YO debut, unleashed a 1:50.3 career best from post ten in the Del Miller, post seven in the first elimination    4  Third Shift  (Chapter Seven)  Ake Svanstedt, Mellby Gard, Inc., Ake Svanstedt   Won a NYSS division @ Vernon Downs in 1:54.2, took an EBC division @ Vernon Downs in 1:52.4, aggressive runner up [1:52.2] from post seven in a Dancer division, post two in the first elimination     5  Sister Sledge  (Father Patrick)  Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi    Won her first two stakes as a 3YO @ The Meadows, second [1:52.4] in PASS @ Harrah’s Philadelphia, took a mark of 1:51.2 in a Tompkins Geers division, post two in the second elimination & goes off Lasix    6  Amigo Volo   (Father Patrick)     Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman, Pinske Stables, David J. Miller  Breeders Crown champion romped in a PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs in 1:54, faded to fourth [1:52.3] in a Dancer division, rebounded winning a PASS division @ Pocono Downs in a career best of 1:52 on July 26, post three in the first elimination    7  Rome Pays Off  (Muscle Hill)   Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander,   S R F Stable     2019 Breeders Crown runner up made it two-for-two this season with a solid score in the Tompkins Geers with a career best of 1:52.3 on July 25, post four in the second elimination    8  Beads  (Archangel)  Jimmy Takter, Per Engblom, Renee Spahr   Broke in his first two 3YO starts, then Jimmy Takter took the lines for a 1:52.2 qualifier win, just missed in his 3YO debut in 1:51.2, third [1:52] in a Dancer division, post eight in the first elimination    9  Big Oil  (Father Patrick)  Andy & Julie Miller, Jason, Doug & Ron Allen   Wire-to-wire in 1:55 in his 3YO debut @ Harrah’s Philadelphia, won a PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs in 1:53.2, third [1:52.3] in a Dancer division, post four in the first elimination    10  Jula Trix Treasure  (Trixton)  Ake Svanstedt, Jula Racing Inc.  Won a NJSS division in 1:54, a close second [1:53.4] in that final, rallied for a new mark of 1:51.2 in the Reynolds, post three in the second elimination             

On Saturday,harness racing trainer Julie Miller will experience her Hambletonian present. One night earlier, maybe she will get a glimpse at her Hambletonian future. Miller sends out Big Oil in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian eliminations at The Meadowlands. The top-five finishers from each elim advance to the $1 million final for 3-year-old trotters Aug. 8 at The Big M. On Friday, she will watch Venerate in the lone $20,000 elimination of the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. The top-seven finishers will join bye recipients Locatelli, Spy Booth, and Type A in the final, also Aug. 8. Big Oil is 10-1 on the morning line in his Hambletonian elimination. Andy Miller will drive the colt, who starts from post four. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 favorite, followed by Amigo Volo at 7-2, Beads at 9-2, and Dan Patch Award winning filly Ramona Hill at 5-1. Ready For Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. "I'm proud just to be in the race, first of all," Miller said. "I think that's a really deep group. I think it's the tougher (elimination) but it's going to be even tougher next week, so we might as well get it figured out this Saturday. I just hope we have a little luck. Actually, a lot of luck." Big Oil, a son of Father Patrick out of former Miller standout and world-record-setter Cee Bee Yes, won two of eight races last year and hit the board a total of six times. He finished in a dead-heat for win with Real Cool Sam in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile in 1:52.1, a clocking that was the second fastest of the year for a 2-year-old male trotter. This season, Big Oil opened with wins in a conditioned race and division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars before finishing third behind Back Of The Neck and Third Shift in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. "I've been trying to manage him and get ready for this race," Miller said. "I just hope I've got my I's dotted and my T's crossed. I think he's special, but of course because he's mine, I think that way. I just hope I've got him the best he can be and he can leave it all on the racetrack. "When Andy gets behind him and they start to go, he gives 110 percent. He's handy, it's not like he's got to be raced from behind or he's got to be up front or he's got to have this or that. He has a good relationship with Andy and when Andy asks, he's going to deliver." Big Oil, a homebred owned by Jason Allen, Doug Allen, and Ron Allen, also owns a big personality. "No matter what is going on, he never loses his zest for life," Miller said. "He has this whinny where he doesn't open his mouth, it's like an internal one; it's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. He's got such a personality. Anybody that comes in the barn, everybody knows him. He makes sure his presence is felt. He's just a fun horse in that respect." Prior to last year, Miller posted three consecutive top-three finishes in Hambletonian finals. In 2018, Met's Hall finished second to Atlanta. In 2017, Devious Man was third-placed-second and a year earlier Sutton was a fast-closing third, beaten only a neck, in the race won by Marion Marauder. As for the Haughton elim, Venerate won his only start this year, a 1:55.1 triumph in a conditioned race at The Meadowlands on July 17. The colt is 7-2 on the morning line, second choice behind 3-1 Caruso from Hall of Famer Joe Holloway's stable. "He's just been a pleasure," Miller said. "He doesn't realize what he's doing yet and it's fun to see his development. He's a big good-looking colt. People always ask me, 'Who is that?' He's eye-catching on the track." Venerate is a son of standout French sire Love You out of Peaceful Kemp. He sold for $90,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. He is owned by Pinske Stables and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Carter Pinske had the colt in Florida for the winter before sending him north to Miller's stable in New Jersey. "We went down a couple times to train with Carter and we were really impressed with him," Miller said. "As luck would have it, he is Kentucky sired, which starts (its sire stakes series) after this race, so we really just babied him along. I was happy with his race, for him to get stretched out a little to see what we've got. I think he deserves a chance in (the Haughton)." In addition to the Haughton elimination on Friday, there are two $20,000 elims of the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters. Insta Glam, 2-for-2 on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit for trainer Nancy Takter, is the 7-5 favorite in the first; New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Altar, from trainer Per Engblom's stable, is the 8-5 choice in the second. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Friday and Saturday at The Meadowlands. For Friday's complete entries, click here. For Saturday, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Ake Svanstedt believes Back Of The Neck has got it all, which is everything a harness racing horse needs in the Hambletonian. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at The Meadowlands. The colt is a nose from being unbeaten in three races this season and will start from post one with Scott Zeron in the sulky for trainer Svanstedt. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final Aug. 8 at the Big M. Elim winners draw for post one through five for the final. The Hambletonian is racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt will send out a total of four horses in the eliminations, with Third Shift joining Back Of The Neck in the first, followed by Jula Trix Treasure and Moon Bridge in the second. First post is at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) and the Hambletonian eliminations are races six and eight on the 13-race card. Back Of The Neck, trained by Marcus Melander in 2019, won three of nine races last year, including a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial and an elimination of the Willliam Wellwood Memorial. He finished third in the Wellwood final. This year, the colt was second in a 3-year-old open before winning divisions of the Reynolds and Stanley Dancer Memorial, both in 1:52. All three starts were at The Meadowlands. "He has won with power left every time," Svanstedt said. "He feels good and he trains good. I think he's in good condition. "He is a strong horse. He has a big engine and is good gaited. I think he has a good head also. I think he has everything. But for a horse to have a chance to win the Hambletonian, they must have everything. They must have the power, they must have the speed, and they must have the heart. They must want to win." Back Of The Neck raced on the lead in his first start in 2020, but from off the pace in his most recent outings, winning with strong stretch drives. "Scott said he was grabby the first time, but the last two races he hasn't been grabby," Svanstedt said. "It was no problem to back off. He is very nice to drive and he can come home very fast." Zeron is already a two-time winner of the Hambletonian at the age of 31. He won in 2018 with Atlanta and in 2016 with Marion Marauder, who went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity). Back Of The Neck is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and breeder Order By Stable. The colt is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Big Barb. Ready Cash also sired the favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination, Ready For Moni. Third Shift heads to his Hambletonian elim off a second-place finish behind Back Of The Neck in the Dancer. In his other two starts this season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes and a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Last year, the son of Chapter Seven-Overnight Command won three of eight races, including the New York Sire Stakes championship. He will start from post two in his Hambletonian elim, with Svanstedt driving. "I think Back Of The Neck is a better horse, but Third Shift is not so bad," said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. "I raced him (on the lead) last time, drove him tough, because I wanted to stretch him out before the Hambo. I think he can do better." Svanstedt also will drive Jula Trix Treasure in the second Hambletonian elimination. Jula Trix Treasure, by 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Victory Treasure, won a division of the Reynolds on July 11 in 1:51.2, which is tied for the second-fastest victory time by any of the 17 horses entered in the Hambletonian. For his career, he has won four of 10 races for owner Jula Racing. He enters his Hambletonian elim off a fifth-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes last week. He will start from post three and is 6-1 on the morning line. "The last race he wasn't a hundred percent gaited and lost ground in the last turn," Svanstedt said. "We're going to do some small changes to try to make his gait better. He's always been strong and comes home good. He's a fighter." Moon Bridge, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky, has a win and a second in three starts this year. His triumph came in his most recent race, July 17, by 12-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2. The Hambletonian elim will be his first Grand Circuit race of the season. Last year, he won two of eight races, including the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. Moon Bridge, a son of E L Titan-Classic Belle, will start Saturday from post nine and is 20-1. He is owned by Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. "He's good gaited and he always does the job," said Svanstedt, who won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit as the result of What The Hill's disqualification for interference. "I think he's as good as he can be. We'll see how far he can go." Eliminations for the Aug. 8 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters were unnecessary, but eight Oaks finalists will be in action in an open for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also in action will be Meadowlands Pace champ Tall Dark Stranger in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here.  Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

East Rutherford, NJ - Ready For Moni takes the top harness racing spot in Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian Week 9 going into Saturday’s eliminations.  The two filly contenders, Ramona Hill and Sister Sledge also make the list at #3 and #5 respectively.   Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Ready For Moni (Ready Cash) Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter, John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Conn, Herb Liverman, Bud Hatfield KYSS champion now with Team Takter rallied to win his 3YO debut in a Dancer division in career best of 1:51.4, post eight in the second elimination, “On paper, it looks like we are in the easier of the two eliminations,” said Takter.  “I think the eight is a good spot.  I would have preferred one or two more starts, but all of our horses have a good foundation.” 2 Back Of The Neck (Ready Cash) Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Judith Taylor Won a Reynolds division @ Big M on July 11 in 1:52 with a thunderous :26.4 rally, romped in a Dancer division in a career best equaling 1:52, post one in the first elimination, “His best effort was on the front end in his first start,” said Zeron.  To have come home in :26.1 and get picked off at the last second, that was a great effort.  I avoided the front end going forward because I wanted to teach him to do other things.  Post one gives me options.” 3 Ramona Hill (Muscle Hill ) Andrew McCarthy, Tony Alagna, Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc, In The Gym Partners Filly Dan Patch Award & Breeders Crown winner finished third [1:51] from post nine in her 3YO debut, unleashed a 1:50.3 career best from post ten in the Del Miller, post seven in the first elimination 4 Third Shift (Chapter Seven) Ake Svanstedt, Mellby Gard, Inc., Ake Svanstedt Won a NYSS division @ Vernon Downs in 1:54.2, took an EBC division @ Vernon Downs in 1:52.4, aggressive runner up [1:52.2] from post seven in a Dancer division, post two in the first elimination 5 Sister Sledge (Father Patrick) Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi Won her 3YO in 1:51.1, cruised in a NYSS @ Tioga Downs in 1:54.2, romped in the EBC @ Vernon Downs in 1:53.4, third [1:51.1] with a tough trip in the Del Miller, won a Tompkins Geers division in a career best of 1:51.2, post two in the second elimination 6 Amigo Volo (Father Patrick)   Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman, Pinske Stables, David J. Miller Breeders Crown champion romped in a PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs in 1:54, faded to fourth [1:52.3] in a Dancer division, rebounded winning a PASS division @ Pocono Downs in a career best of 1:52 on July 26, post three in the first elimination 7 Rome Pays Off (Muscle Hill) Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander, S R F Stable   2019 Breeders Crown runner up made it two-for-two this season with a solid score in the Tompkins Geers with a career best of 1:52.3 on July 25, post four in the second elimination 8 Beads (Archangel) Jimmy Takter, Per Engblom, Renee Spahr Broke in his first two 3YO starts, then Jimmy Takter took the lines for a 1:52.2 qualifier win, just missed in his 3YO debut in 1:51.2, third [1:52] in a Dancer division, post eight in the first elimination 9 Big Oil (Father Patrick) Andy & Julie Miller, Jason, Doug & Ron Allen Wire-to-wire in 1:55 in his 3YO debut @ Harrah’s Philadelphia, won a PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs in 1:53.2, third [1:52.3] in a Dancer division, post four in the first elimination 10 Jula Trix Treasure (Trixton) Ake Svanstedt, Jula Racing Inc. Won a NJSS division in 1:54, a close second [1:53.4] in that final, rallied for a new mark of 1:51.2 in the Reynolds, post three in the second elimination   KEY PREP RACES Hambletonian Eligibles in Caps Date Stakes Site Winner Driver Trainer 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time June 19 NJSS M JULA TRIX TREASURE Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Play Trix On Me Barley 1:54 June 21 NYSS TD HYPNOTIC AM Brian Sears Marcus Melander REBA BLUE CHIP Munster 1:54.2 June 24 NYSS V THIRD SHIFT Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Take The Credit Ballcapsnbluejeans 1:54.2 June 24 NYSS V BERKERY J Scott Zeron George Ducharme Chaptiana Barn Holden 1:54.2 June 26 NJSS M Play Trix On Me Scott Zeron Linda Toscano Barley JULA TRIX TREASURE 1:53.2 June 27 $25,000 M SORELLA Yannick Gingras Nancy Takter BACK OF THE NECK SYNERGY 1:51.2 July 3 NJSS Final M Play Trix On Me Scott Zeron Linda Toscano JULA TRIX TREASURE AP Hall Of Trix 1:53.3 July 4 E. Breeders Classic V HYPNOTIC AM Brian Sears Marcus Melander LOVE A GOOD STORY NO MAS DRAMA 1:53.4 July 4 E. Breeders Classic V THIRD SHIFT Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Ballcapsnbluejeans Sir Cromwell 1:52.4 July 4 E. Breeders Classic V HOBBS Jason Bartlett Jim Campbell Take The Credit Barn Holden 1:53.3 July 11 Reynolds M JULA TRIX TREASURE Yannick Gingras Ake Svanstedt BEADS EL Ideal 1:51.2 July 11 Reynolds M SORELLA Yannick Gingras Nancy Takter PANEM RAMONA HILL 1:50.2 July 11 Reynolds M BACK OF THE NECK Scott Zeron Ake Svanstedt Play Trix On Me MAESTERAEMON 1:52 July 11 PA Allstars PD AMIGO VOLO George Napolitano, Jr. Nifty Norman SWISS HOUSE ON FIRE Hell Patrol 1:54 July 11 PA Allstars PD BIG OIL Andrew McCarthy Julie Miller CHESTNUT HILL STEEL SCHOONER 1:53.2 July 18 Stanley Dancer M BACK OF THE NECK Scott Zeron Ake Svanstedt THIRD SHIFT BIG OIL 1:52 July 18 Stanley Dancer M READY FOR MONI Yannick Gingras Nancy Takter HOLLYWOOD STORY BEADS 1:51.4 July 18 Del Miller M RAMONA HILL Andrew McCarthy Tony Alagna PANEM HYPNOTIC AM 1:50.3 July 25 Tompkins Geers M ROME PAYS OFF Mattias Melander Marcus Melander Play Trix On Me JULA TRIX TREASURE 1:52.3 July 25 Tompkins Geers M SISTER SLEDGE Yannick Gingras Ron Burke MS SAVANNAH BELLE Dubai Princess 1:51.2 Aug. 1 Hambo Elim M             Aug. 1 Hambo Elim M                

Sister Sledge might not have attracted overwhelming attention heading into this year's Hambletonian, but as one of two harness racing fillies in Saturday's (Aug. 1) eliminations at The Meadowlands, she should find plenty of eyes on her now. The Ron Burke-trained Sister Sledge has won three of four races this season and 11 of 16 lifetime. She has hit the board in every start, finishing worse than second only once, on her way to $622,058 in purses. Sister Sledge finished second to Ramona Hill in Dan Patch Award voting for best 2-year-old female trotter of 2019. Ramona Hill also was entered in the Hambletonian, which is the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. This is the first time multiple fillies will take on the boys in the Hambletonian since Act Of Grace and Continentalvictory in 1996, and only the second time since 1983. Continentalvictory won the 1996 Hambletonian and was the last filly winner until Atlanta in 2018. Sister Sledge is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in the second of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian eliminations. She will start from post two in a nine-horse field. Ready For Moni, trained by Nancy Takter, is the 5-2 favorite after winning his only start of the season, a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 18, in 1:51.4. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands. "We're in a very good spot," Burke said. "(Post two) gives her options. It's going to be tough, but I at least like where we're starting." Burke decided Tuesday morning to put Sister Sledge up against the boys in the Hambletonian, rather than entering the fillies-only Hambletonian Oaks, but it was something he had been considering all year. "I don't think the Hambo is any tougher than the Oaks," Burke said. "I think if you graded the races out, they would be equal. If anything, I thought the fillies were a tad tougher. So even if you say they're even, one race goes for $1 million and the other goes for ($600,000). It doesn't take a lot of brain work to realize that if I can race for a million in basically the same class, I'm going to go for the million. "I think there are a lot of very nice horses (in the Hambletonian) but I don't think anyone is tons better than the others. So, I'll take my shot. It wasn't like you were going to go to the Oaks and just go a training mile around there. They're going to go too. Hopefully, we get past the elimination. I like the decision I made. Even if it doesn't work out, in my mind, I put time into it and thought it out and I had reasons for what I did." Another factor was the return to Hambletonian eliminations being contested the week prior to the final, rather than the single-day format for elims and final in recent years. "If there had been two heats, it would have been a different decision," Burke said. In the build up to this year's Hambletonian, several fillies were mentioned as possible contenders to challenge the boys, with Ramona Hill, Sorella, Hypnotic AM, and Panem among that group. Sister Sledge was not. "I don't know where she fell out of favor," Burke said. "To me, she was the best filly last year; you could rate her or Ramona Hill. This year, everyone is talking about different horses. We beat all them last year and all we've done basically this year is win. If you look at her lines, she's consistently good. Even when she's been beat, there have been excuses. I think she's classy. I think she deserves the shot." Sister Sledge, a daughter of Father Patrick out of Behindclosedoors, won her first two races this season at The Meadows, both Grand Circuit stakes, by a total of 10 lengths. She finished second by a quarter-length in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia before winning a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:51.2 at The Meadowlands last weekend. "We've gone where her races are," said Burke, who trains the filly for Burke Racing, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. "She's a Pennsylvania-bred, I'm not going to race her at The Meadowlands every start. I've got to make money with her. The money was in Pa., knowing I would come (to The Meadowlands) the week before the Hambo. "She's been great. Maybe she didn't get around Philly great, but she was great at The Meadows and, to me, she has every right to improve off that (last start). She's only been (at The Meadowlands) one week and she needed to stretch. I think you'll see her be better." Among the 17 Hambletonian entrants, Sister Sledge's 1:51.2 mile is tied for second fastest this year. Ramona Hill holds the fastest win time in the group, 1:50.3. Ramona Hill is 5-1 in the first Hambletonian elimination, starting from post seven in the eight-horse field with Andy McCarthy driving for trainer Tony Alagna. Back Of The Neck, trained by Ake Svanstedt, is the 2-1 favorite. Amigo Volo, last season's male 2-year-old Breeders Crown champion, is 7-2 and Beads is 9-2. Last year, Ramona Hill won six of seven races, capped by her victory from post 10 in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She has raced twice this year, finishing third in her debut before winning the Del Miller Memorial with her 1:50.3 score from post 10 on July 18 at The Meadowlands. "I have a lot of confidence in Ramona Hill; she'll get me where I need to go," McCarthy said. "When you have a horse that you know whatever happens, I know I'm going to leave fast enough to either make the front or get close and we can figure it out after that, it does make you feel better no matter what the draw is. "Pulling up after that mile (in the Del Miller), and it doesn't happen very often, but I actually got goosebumps. Hats off to the horse. I've just got so much respect for her. She's just a game, tough horse, and will do whatever you ask her to do. And she enjoys it." Ramona Hill, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Lock Down Lindy, is owned by Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert LeBlanc, and In The Gym Partners. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The Hambletonian eliminations are races six and eight on the 13-race card. Eliminations for the Aug. 8 Hambletonian Oaks were unnecessary, but eight Oaks finalists will be in action in an open for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also in action will be Meadowlands Pace champ Tall Dark Stranger in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Harness Racing This Week: Delvin Miller Adios, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Hambletonian, Peter Haughton Memorial and Jim Doherty Memorial eliminations, Tompkins-Geers and Miss Versatility, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action begins this Wednesday (July 29) at The Meadows with two divisions in the $38,244 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $37,644 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Aug. 1) card at The Meadows features the $375,000 Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old male pacers and also includes the $107,320 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $59,688 Arden Downs for freshman colt and gelding pacers, and the $35,690 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit racing at The Meadowlands begins on Friday (July 31) with two $20,000 eliminations in the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday (Aug. 1), The Meadowlands will contest a pair of $50,000 Hambletonian eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters, plus the $84,800 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $53,100 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $40,000 fourth leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Manchego put on a display of devastating speed in a gate-to-wire victory in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) and set a new world record for older trotting mares over a five-eighths-mile track when she tripped the timer in 1:49.3. Manchego broke her own world record of 1:50.1 set at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 2019. The time also smashed the all-age track trotting record at Plainridge Park, besting the 1:51.2 set by JL Cruze in the 2017 Spirit Trot. Manchego proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Tom Melanson photo. Dexter Dunn had Manchego revved up off the gate and shot right for the lead with Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) dropping in the pocket from post seven as the race passed the quarter in a blistering :25.2. The field remained in single file as Manchego marched to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21 with Atlanta in deliberate pursuit. As the pair trotted away from the field around the last turn, Gingras pulled Atlanta off the pylons to take her best shot at the leader. But as soon as she pulled, Manchego accelerated, opened up two lengths and proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Atlanta held on for second and Run Director (David Miller) closed fast to finish third. It was the 31st career win for Manchego ($3.00) and pushed her lifetime earnings to $2,342,705. The 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic is owned by Black Horse Racing and is trained by Nancy Takter. One race earlier in the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace, Shartin N made herself right at home again at Plainridge as she broke the all-age track record of 1:49.1 that she set just last year. Tim Tetrick put Shartin N on the point immediately as Kissin In The Sand (Gingras) left from post four and followed closely with the two-hole trip. After the quick :26.2 quarter and with no pressure at all, Tetrick backed down the second panel to :28.1 and the race seemed well in control for him at that point. By the five-eighths, Gingras pulled Kissin In The Sand and tried to draw alongside Shartin N, but never got closer than a length around the far turn. Tetrick eased the lines a bit and gave Shartin N her head and the mare swelled up down the lane, opening up 2-1/4 lengths in a :27 last panel and won in 1:48.1. Stablemate Soho Burning Love A (Jordan Stratton) rallied late to finish second and 38-1 shot Philly Hanover (Dexter Dunn) completed the board. This was the 44th career victory for Shartin N ($2.60) who has now earned $2,244,946 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick. The 7-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin is trained by Jim King Jr. Complete recaps of 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 - 217; 2. Brian Sears - 152; 3. Dexter Dunn - 117; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 110; 5. Tim Tetrick - 102. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 229; 2. Nancy Takter - 150; 3. Marcus Melander - 124; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 109; 5. Tony Alagna - 77. Owners: 1. S R F Stable - 55; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 46.9; 3. Courant Inc. - 45; 4. Brad Grant - 41.1; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 40.9. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The track will host 10 Grand Circuit events, led by the $1 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, and the $300,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With each having recorded a sharp score in their respective divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Back Of The Neck and Ready For Moni have been installed as the morning-line favorites in their respective Hambletonian eliminations, which take place Saturday (August 1) night at The Meadowlands. The Hambo Final is August 8. In the first of two $50,000 elims, Back Of The Neck is listed at 2-1 from post one for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Ake Svanstedt. After missing a nose in his seasonal debut on June 27 to Sorella - one of The Hambletonian Oaks favorites - the son of Ready Cash-Big Barb has reeled off two straight wins from off the pace in impressive fashion, scoring in the July 11 Reynolds in a lifetime-best 1:52 before his Dancer win on July 18, also in 1:52. "No, he is not one dimensional," said Zeron after being asked if his horses' best game is coming from behind. "His best effort was on the front end in his first start. To have come home in :26.1 and get picked off at the last second, that was a great effort. "I avoided the front end going forward because I wanted to teach him to do other things. [Having drawn post 1] Gives me options. I definitely don't have one trip in mind. I avoided the front in his last two on purpose, but we will play it by ear. I'm happy with the post position." Ready For Moni will start at 5-2 on the big board from post 8 in the second elim as Nancy Takter and Yannick Gingras look to become the first trainer-driver team to sweep The Meadowlands Pace and The Hambletonian in the same year. The son of Ready Cash-Nothing But Moni went a perfect cover trip in his only outing of 2020 when he won his Dancer split in a lifetime-best 1:51.4 after kicking home in :27.1. So, what about the outside post position? "I'm a little indifferent about it," said Takter. "On paper, it looks like we are in the easier of the two eliminations. I think we are in good shape. I think the eight is a good spot." Takter is not concerned about Ready For Moni having only had one outing this season. "It's just the way his schedule played out," said Takter. "I would have preferred one or two more starts but all of our horses have a good foundation. I think it's a myth that these horses need a lot of races. They go so fast. I think [having too few starts] is better than having too many." For the complete post-position draw of both Hambletonian eliminations, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/hambletonian-eliminations-set/ HAMBLETONIAN – 1st ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt), 2-1 2. Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 8-1 3. Amigo Volo (Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman), 7-2 4. Big Oil (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), 10-1 5. Maesteraemon (Brian Sears, Marcus Melander), 12-1 6. Hollywood Story (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 10-1 7. Ramona Hill (Andy McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 5-1 8. Beads (Jimmy Takter, Per Engblom), 9-2 HAMBLETONIAN – 2nd ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Capricornus (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 2. Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), 3-1 3. Jula Trix Treasure (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 6-1 4. Rome Pays Off (Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander), 9-2 5. Threefiftytwo (Scott Zeron, Luc Blais), 8-1 6. Chestnut Hill (David Miller, Nifty Norman), 6-1 7. Sky Castles (Corey Callahan, Andrew Harris), 20-1 8. Ready For Moni (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 5-2 9. Moon Bridge (Andy Miller, Ake Svanstedt), 20-1 FABULOUS FILLIES: Attempting to become the next filly to win the Hambletonian (Atlanta was the last in 2018) are Ramona Hill (5-1 in the first elim) and Sister Sledge (3-1 in elim two). OAKS A SINGULAR EVENT: The $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks saw 12 horses enter, meaning that event for 3-year-old fillies on the trot will not need eliminations and will be one dash for the cash on Saturday, August 8. To view the complete list of horses entered, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ENTERED-2020-Hambo.pdf POST DRAWS LIVE: The post-position draws for both The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will take place during Saturday night's program at The Meadowlands and will be broadcast on the track's in-house simulcast feed live. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

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  

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