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Trenton, NJ --- Marcus Melander has never won a Hambletonian but the 25-year-old harness racing trainer has the essence of Hambo greatness surrounding his entire being. And while the Swede does not have a favorite in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands, he does have a Tim Tetrick-driven horse in each elimination getting pretty good odds. In the 10-horse division (race nine), Enterprise is 9/2, with only Devious Man (5/2) and What The Hill (3/1) being given better chances. Enterprise, who outgrew an immature streak after racing only once as a 2-year-old, won his first five career starts. A son of Chapter Seven out of the mare Shes Gone Again, Enterprise is a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Guess Whos Back and his family includes Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. “Enterprise raced last week and was a little short,” said Melander, who began training the horse late last summer. “He got beat by a good horse, though (fellow Hambletonian starter International Moni). I was happy with him, but he needed that race for sure. I think that race will put him forward for the Hambletonian. He was a little sick up there in Canada (when he finished fourth in the Goodtimes final on June 17) so maybe he missed a little too much, had a race less (than hoped). But I still think he will be a hundred percent.” In the nine-horse division (race eight), Long Tom is at 3/1 odds, second best on the board behind favored International Moni (5/2). The colt, who came to Melander from Europe in April 2016, was this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at the Meadowlands. “Long Tom hasn’t raced since the Stanley Dancer (July 15), but he came out of that race very good,” Melander said. “I’m very happy with him. He’s been training great. There’s nothing to complain about there.” The trainer’s optimism should be taken seriously if exposure to Hambo success stories have any bearing on the matter. Marcus’ uncle, Stefan Melander, won the 2001 Hambletonian as trainer and driver with Scarlet Knight. Marcus worked with Stefan in Sweden and after moving to the U.S. from Stockholm with his family in 2014, Marcus began working for trainer Jimmy Takter, a four-time Hambletonian winner. His family purchased the farm in New Egypt that was previously owned by the late, legendary Stanley Dancer, who shares the record for Hambletonian training victories with five. And finally, the guy in the sulky is no Hambo Day slouch. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share and drove to second-place finishes with Crazed in 2008 and Smilin Eli in 2013. In 2007 he won a single-season record 1,189 races, is a four-time U.S. Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year (most recently in 2013) and stands fifth all-time in earnings with $182 million. Melander knew of them all while growing up in Sweden, as he stayed up throughout the night to follow the results of United States harness racing while making a name for himself as a driver in Europe. At age 19, Marcus won Sweden’s equivalent to the USHWA’s Rising Star Award and had just over 100 wins before moving to America. Now, he is precariously close to realizing every Standardbred trainer’s dream in what he feels is anyone’s race. “The best horse (Walner) is not in, so it’s like a wide-open race now,” Melander said. “It’s 10 horses that can win it. It was Walner before, who was No. 1, and then numbers two to 10. All of them were as good as each other. It will be the horse with the best trip. You need to be lucky when they draw and everything like that. It’s wide open, really.” Melander feels the set-up, which requires the eliminations and the final to be contested the same day, could favor his horses. The top five finishers in each elimination reach the final. “I think that would be good for both of them because they’re both strong horses,” he said. “I think they are both a hundred percent. I’m very happy with both of them.” Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

East Rutherford, NJ --- After four decades in the harness racing business, Doug Paul and his family will see a dream come true Saturday when Bill’s Man races in the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bill’s Man will be the Pauls’ first starter in the sport’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters, the Hambletonian. If that were not enough, the Pauls also will make their first appearance in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, for 3-year-old female trotters, with Fine Tuned Lady. “We’re excited,” said Paul, whose family operates a real estate management company in Wilmington, Del. “We’re all looking forward to it. It’s everybody’s dream (to be in the Hambletonian). It’s on everyone’s wish list that ever gets into the business.” Paul’s father, Ralph, got the family started in racing and Paul continues the tradition with his mother, Rosalind. Bill’s Man is owned by the Pauls’ M And L of Delaware and Wisconsin’s Bill Wiswell. The Pauls and Wiswell have been partners on horses for several years. Wiswell is the “Bill” in Bill’s Man. The colt’s original name was Credit Volo. He was one of only two horses they bought with trainer John Butenschoen in 2015. The other was Fine Tuned Lady. “For a small stable, that’s not too bad,” Paul said. “Bill normally picks out the colts and we normally pick out the fillies. We got a Hambo contender and one in the Hambo Oaks. I told him we ought to quit after that. We’ll never do that again.” Bill’s Man (Credit Winner-Silver Springs) is 5-1 on the morning line in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations Saturday. International Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination and Devious Man is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. “I think with the right type of trip, right type of day, he’s as good as anyone in there,” Paul said about Bill’s Man, who has won two of nine races this year and earned $115,986. “I don’t think going two heats will bother him. He’s a big, strong good looking horse.” Fine Tuned Lady (Cantab Hall-Poster Princess) is 10-1 on the morning line in the Hambletonian Oaks. The filly has won three of eight races this year and earned $79,689. Ariana G is the 6-5 favorite. “Ariana G looks like she’s much the best, but other than that I think we’re competitive with the field,” Paul said. In addition, Dude’s The Man will race for the Pauls in the $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older male pacers. The Hambletonian final, Hambletonian Oaks and McKee Memorial will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 90-minute broadcast beginning at 4 p.m. Corey Callahan, who has won eight consecutive driving titles at Dover Downs, will drive Bill’s Man and Fine Tuned Lady. “We’ll be up there on Saturday, cheering them on,” Paul said. “We’ll be nervous, but a good nervous. That’s what you get into the game for, to be able to compete in these types of races.” By Tia Lanette, a senior at Rutgers University, is writing as part of the Clyde Hirt Workshop.   Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1

The Meadowlands - The final weekend of live harness racing for the 2017 Championship Meet including Saturday's giant Hambletonian Day extravaganza kicks off on Friday night with a dozen races beginning at 7:15 p.m.   Friday's featured races are divisions of the Duenna and Townsend Ackerman, which are unofficial consolation races for the Hambletonian and Oaks.   The Hambletonian festivities get underway on Friday evening with the Hambletonian Charity Casino Night and Poker Tournament. The proceeds will benefit the Hall of Fame Museum and Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Reservations are available and recommended.   Saturday is, of course, the "Greatest Day in Harness Racing" featuring the Hambletonian on a card with $3.5 million in purses and activities galore. Post time on Saturday is noon and the gates will open at 10 a.m.   With the weather expected to cooperate, the crowd will be a large one with a Hambletonian hat giveaway and plenty of family outdoor activities in the Backyard. Outdoor seating may be reserved and reservations for indoor dining are very limited so call 201-460-4079 right away to inquire.   Of interest to the horseplayer, horizontal wager guarantees are increased on Saturday and a free program for the entire card (courtesy of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster) is available for download.   For those unable to attend, the Hambletonian and Oaks along with the Sam McKee Memorial FFA pace will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Hosts Justin Horowitz, Dave Brower and Gary Seibel will describe the action.   All pertinent information may be found on The Meadowlands or Hambletonian Society websites.    HAMBLETONIAN DAY WAGERING FORMAT AT THE MEADOWLANDS The 16-race Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands is not only billed as “the greatest day in harness racing,” but is also the greatest wagering day in the sport. The card will feature three separate Pick Four wagers, covering Races 3 – 6, Races 8 – 11, and Races 13 – 16. The first will have a $50,000 guaranteed pool, the second will have a $75,000 guaranteed pool and there will be no guarantee attached to the final sequence, which begins with the $1,000,000 Hambletonian Final. As usual, the Pick Four wagers will carry a 50¢ minimum wager with 15 percent takeout rate. A Pick Five carrying a $50,000 guaranteed pool will begin the program covering Races 1 – 5. It will also offer a 50¢ minimum wager with 15 percent takeout rate. There will also be a special Oaks-Hambletonian daily double on Races 12 and 13. 10-cent superfectas will be offered on every race with the regular win, place, show, exacta and trifecta also available every race. A total of 14 stakes races will be contested on the card with 10 of them featuring field sizes of 10 or more horses. Post time is 12:00 p.m. TVG will provide full-card coverage and offer horseplayers its popular “Money Back Special” on all 16 races. Live network coverage will air on CBS Sports Network from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Free past performances for the entire card are available for free download courtesy of Trackmaster on the Meadowlands website. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com.    

Goshen, NY - The Hambletonian Party and Poker & Casino Night Charity Event will be held Friday, August 4, at Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Proceeds will benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. If you are at the Meadowlands for the races on Friday, August 4 or in town for the Hambletonian on Saturday, August 5, join us for some fun and camaraderie and raise some funds for two charities that are important to the sport of harness racing. Tickets are $50 per person and include open bar, appetizers, dessert and $25 in casino chips. As always, there will be many fantastic raffle prizes available including autographed NY Yankees baseballs (Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Masahiro Tanaka), Metakoo drone, equestrian overnight bag, Mets/Phillies and Mets/Dodgers tickets, harness racing memorabilia, liquor baskets and wine baskets. Additional casino chips may be purchased through the night. Open bar and table games begin at 6:00 p.m. in Victory Sports Bar & Club. There are three silent auction items featuring: Private tour of NBC 4 studio at 30 Rockefeller Center led by Sports Anchor Bruce Beck Six (6) tickets to the general manager's suite for a 2017 NY Yankees game Wooden carved horse head bench Poker tournament is $125 per person with limited seats available. The chip leader will receive a three-night, four-day trip for two to Las Vegas, including round-trip airfare, first-class hotel accommodations, food/beverage allowance and show tickets. Second place is $250, third $125. The poker tournament begins at 7:15 p.m. in Victory. Tickets are available online (https://www.harnessmuseum.com/news/hambletonian-party), and will be available at the door. Contact Janet Terhune or John Mayo at the Museum at 845-294-6330 or Tammy Cailliau at Standardbred Retirement Foundation at 732-446-4422 for further information. Janet Terhune

Harness racing driver Andy Miller knows how it feels to come within a neck of winning the Hambletonian Stakes. This year, he hopes to experience victory. Miller drives Devious Man in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands. The colt, trained by Miller's wife, Julie, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second of two $100,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final. Devious Man will start his elimination from post nine in a 10-horse field. "I think the horse is really sharp and really good," Miller said. "I'm not thrilled about the draw, but hopefully we can advance from there and get to the final. Hopefully we can win [the elimination] and secure an inside spot for the final. If not, then hopefully we draw good in the final." Last year, Miller and his horse Sutton finished behind winner Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in a three-horse photo. Sutton made up nearly four lengths in the stretch, but ran out of time to catch the leaders before the wire. "I needed a couple more steps, I think," Miller said. "But I was thrilled to be third and I would have been very thrilled to win it. Hopefully this is our year." Miller and his wife are no strangers to the Hambletonian. Last year, Julie Miller had two horses in the final, with Milligan's School finishing sixth. Julie Miller has trained a total of five Hambletonian finalists. Devious Man has won four of six races this year and finished no worse than second in his remaining starts. His victories include the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 1 and the Empire Breeders Championship at Vernon Downs in a career-best 1:52.2 on June 18. The colt, owned by the Andy Miller Stable and Stroy Inc., heads to the Hambletonian off a second-place finish to Walner in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Walner, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, will miss the Hambletonian because of a minor injury. Devious Man, a son of Credit Winner out of the mare Miss Garland, has won 11 of 18 lifetime races and earned $750,200. He is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. "He lets me drive him however I want," Miller said about Devious Man. "I can leave, I can come from behind, he just has great manners. "He's just such a classy horse." International Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the first of the two eliminations. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. and will air on CBS Sports Network. The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older male pacers also will be part of the 90-minute broadcast, which begins at 4. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1 Ken Weingartner

It was two years ago during a dinner in Lexington when harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci and driver Scott Zeron first discussed the idea of Zeron wearing the Antonacci family's Lindy Farms colors sometime in the future. Antonacci and Zeron both thought it would be a fun idea with the right horse at the right time. International Moni proved to be the right horse. The Hambletonian Stakes trail proved to be the right time. And on Saturday, Zeron will put aside his own blue, white and red colors for the black, blue and white of Lindy Farms and sit behind International Moni in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations as the 5-2 morning-line favorite at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. "A lot of times it doesn't work out this way," Antonacci said with a laugh, "but so far it's been OK." International Moni, who is undefeated in three races this year, is a son of French stallion Love You out of the two-time Horse of the Year Award-winning mare Moni Maker. Moni Maker was a star for the Antonacci family and owned by the Moni Maker Stable until her passing in 2014. International Moni is also owned by the Moni Maker Stable, which bred the colt. The Moni Maker Stable includes Antonacci's father, also Frank, Gerald Antonacci, and David Reid. The Antonacci family and/or its Lindy Racing have been involved in the ownership of five Hambletonian winners: Lindy's Pride (1969), Speedy Crown (1971), Probe (1989), Harmonious (1990) and Victory Dream (1994). "This horse means so much to them, he's such a global horse," Zeron said about International Moni. "We both agreed (wearing the Lindy colors) would be something cool. It was never an issue. I don't mind representing them. I'm racing for them and they've been so good to me over the years. I love driving for them and this means a lot to them." Said Antonacci, "This is a collaboration. Scott has been a great sport about it and is willing to try new things. This is a fun endeavor that I think is one worth talking about as a sport and put out there as an option for owners. Not everybody has to do it, but it should be something that's on the table for people, especially with their very good horses." Harness racing drivers typically wear their own colors, unlike Thoroughbred jockeys who wear the colors of each horse's owner. The Lindy colors worn by Zeron are similar to jockey silks in that they are skin tight rather than the looser fitting colors worn regularly by drivers. "(Antonacci) said our racing colors are like parachutes, and they are kind of baggy," Zeron said. "He's looking for every inch he can get on that racetrack. He said, if this will give us one extra inch, it's worth it." Of course, the first time Zeron wore the Lindy colors with International Moni, the colt won his elimination for the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk by a neck after charging through the stretch to overcome a six-length deficit. "That was irony," Zeron said with a laugh. International Moni won the Goodtimes Stakes final on June 17, but suffered a bout of colic in early July that forced him to miss the Stanley Dancer Memorial, expected to be the colt's final Hambletonian prep, at the Meadowlands on July 15. He bounced back with a career-best 1:52 win July 22 in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands. He will start his Hambletonian elimination from post five. "It's nice to be in the middle of the pack," Antonacci said. "I think we're in a good spot. He's a really handy horse, so whatever Scott is going to want to do he's going to be able to do from there, which is nice. "He's just a really, really good horse, hopefully on his way to being a great horse. The great ones, and the very good ones, they overcome adversity. He did that. I think that bodes well for his future." Zeron won last year's Hambletonian, and eventually the Trotting Triple Crown, with Marion Marauder. He is attempting to become the first driver to win the Hambletonian in consecutive years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Antonacci also sends out Shake It Off Lindy, in the second Hambletonian elimination. Shake It Off Lindy and driver Brett Miller will start from post four and are 20-1 on the morning line. "He's just an honest, good horse," Antonacci said. "He's never really gotten a spot where he's gotten a trip. I think he's the type of horse that if he trips out he could grab a big piece. Hopefully we make the final and get a good trip worked out and maybe surprise people or pick up a bunch of pieces." The Hambletonian format calls for eliminations to be contested the same day as the final. A total of 19 horses entered this year's event, requiring two $100,000 eliminations from which the top five finishers in each division advance to the final. Elimination winners draw for inside posts 1-5 and all other finalists will then be placed in an open draw. The winner of the $1 million final is the Hambletonian champion. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   Ken Weingartner

The Meadowlands - Saturday, August 5 is Hambletonian Day, the Greatest Day in Harness Racing with the marquee event featured on a stakes laden card with total purses in excess of $3.5 million on the day.   The 92nd Hambletonian, first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, drew nineteen entrants, split into a pair of $100,000 first heats with the top five from each returning later that afternoon for a $1 million purse and the most important trophy in the sport.   What The Hill and Devious Man are the logical favorites in the first division of heat number one, both have impressive accomplishments at ages two and three.   Hambletonian Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke-3/1 2-Seven And Seven-David Miller-Tom Durand-8/1 3-Sortie-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-10/1 4-Shake It Off Lindy-Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-20/1 5-Dover Dan-Brian Sears-John Butenschoen-8/1 6-Enterprise-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-9/2 7-Southwind Cobra-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Achille Duharas-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-20/1 9-Devious Man-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2 10-Perfect Spirit-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-12/1   Division two of the first heat will test International Moni to win Trotting's Greatest Race to honor his legendary dam Moni Maker. By the French sire Love You, International Moni is the most successful foal to date from the great mare and also carries the long Hambletonian legacy of the Antonacci family who bred and own the colt in partnership with David Reid as Moni Maker Stable. He'll start from post position five for driver Scott Zeron who looks to remain Hambo perfect in his young career.   Hambletonian Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Woody-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 2-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-5/1 3-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 4-Giveitgasandgo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 5-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-5/2 6-Stealth Hanover-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-30/1 7-Victor Gio IT-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Long Tom-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-3/1 9-Jake-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-8/1   There was some consideration of top filly Ariana G being entered in the main event against colts but her connections chose to stay with the girls and she will be a prohibitive favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Her full sister All The Time won this race last year for the very same connections, owner/breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, trainer Jimmy Takter looking for four in a row and seven wins overall in the Oaks and driver Yannick Gingras.   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Avanti-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 2-Dream Together-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-8/1 3-Caviart Wonder-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-20/1 4-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/5 5-Magic Presto-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-5/1 6-Fine Tuned Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Feed Your Head-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Sunshine Delight-Brett Miller-Staffan Lind-20/1 9-Overdraft Volo-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 10-Dream Baby Dream-Rod Allen-Rod Allen-15/1   The rest of the day's stakes were being assembled as this is written. Entries will be posted on the web when available.   The $295,000e Cane Pace, first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown, is also raced on the Hambo Day card and drew a dozen entrants. The Cane pits Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville against rival Downbytheseaside who was a supplemental entry into the race at a cost of $35,000. It's a war when these two throw down and they'll be going the route distance of a mile and an eighth on Saturday.   The $100,000e Shady Daisy drew just six sophomore pacing fillies with both winners of last week's Adioo Volo supplementing to this race. Blazin Britches was a short priced winner in an impressive 1:50.1 while Ella Christina won as a longshot in her first start for trainer Nick Surick.   The older pacers are represented in the $225,000e Sam McKee Memorial and $200,000e Lady Liberty.   The McKee has drawn the top older horses and geldings like WR Haughton winner Mach It So and speed merchant Mel Mara set to battle over a mile and an eighth while the red-hot Nike Franco N comes on the heels of a 1:48 follow up to her Golden Girls score last month.   Twelve trotters will square off in the $303,000 John Cashman Memorial, again at the extra distance due to the bulk of the field. They're all here, Flanagan Memory is set to defend his title, Marion Marauder takes on older foes for the first time, JL Cruze won the inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts last week, Obrigado and Resolve are always in the hunt and Crazy Wow is the best he's ever been.   The $200,000e Dr. John Steel Memorial features Hannelore Hanover who holds the title as the best mare in trotting until somebody take's it from her. Eight accomplished female opponents will endeavor to do just that.   Finally the freshman trotters will have their first major test of the season with ten colts going for $360,000 in the Peter Haughton Memorial and ten fillies to race for $330,800 in the Jim Doherty Memorial.   The day is filled with a hat giveaway, fun activities for the kids, live entertainment good food and good times.   Hambletonian Day is the culmination of The Meadowlands "Championship Meet" and the 16 race card starts at noon.   Admission is $5 and the gates open at 10 a.m.   The Meadowlands - The draw for the Lady Liberty stake at The Meadowlands has been postponed due to litigation brought by the connections of one of the nominees. It will be drawn and made public as soon as that matter is resolved.   Nick Salvi  

East Rutherford, NJ --- International Moni and Devious Man on Tuesday were made morning-line favorites for their respective eliminations in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Hambletonian format calls for eliminations to be contested the same day as the final. A total of 19 horses entered this year's event, requiring two $100,000 eliminations from which the top five finishers in each division advance to the final. Elimination winners draw for inside posts 1-5 and all other finalists will then be placed in an open draw. The winner of the $1 million final is the Hambletonian champion. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. International Moni, who drew post five in the nine-horse elimination and is the 5-2 favorite, is undefeated in three races this year. He won the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack on June 17, but suffered a bout of colic in early July that forced him to miss the Stanley Dancer Memorial, expected to be the colt's final Hambletonian prep, at the Meadowlands on July 15. He bounced back with a career-best 1:52 win July 22 in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands. "I don't think he could be heading into the race any better," said International Moni's driver Scott Zeron. "His whole year has been beautiful. I know they ran into the time where he was colicky and that put a bump in the road, but to me it didn't really. We were able to get a really nice start into him. With a week off and now heading into the Hambo, to me it's setting up perfectly." Zeron won last year's Hambletonian, and eventually the Trotting Triple Crown, with Marion Marauder. He is attempting to become the first driver to win the Hambletonian in consecutive years since John Campbell in 1987-88. International Moni, a son of French stallion Love You out of the two-time Horse of the Year Award-winning mare Moni Maker, is owned by breeder Moni Maker Stable. The colt, trained by 33-year-old Frank Antonacci, has won four of 15 career races and earned $264,452. Antonacci trains International Moni for an ownership group that includes his father, also Frank, Gerald Antonacci, and David Reid. The Antonacci family and/or its Lindy Racing have been involved in the ownership of five Hambletonian winners: Lindy's Pride (1969), Speedy Crown (1971), Probe (1989), Harmonious (1990) and Victory Dream (1994). Devious Man, from the wife-and-husband team of trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller, has won four of six races this year and finished no worse than second in his remaining starts. He drew post nine in the 10-horse elimination and is the 5-2 favorite. His victories include the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 1 and the Empire Breeders Championship at Vernon Downs in a career-best 1:52.2 on June 18. The colt, owned by the Andy Miller Stable and Stroy Inc., heads to the Hambletonian off a second-place finish to Walner in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Walner, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, will miss the Hambletonian because of a minor injury. Devious Man, a son of Credit Winner out of the mare Miss Garland, has won 11 of 18 lifetime races and earned $750,200. He is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. "We were really pleased with him in the Dancer," Julie Miller said. "He trotted in 1:51 and Andy said he was really good, so I think that's a nice race to go off of going into the Hambo. We trained him Saturday and he trained really good. I have a lot of confidence in him and just hope he does well." What The Hill drew post one in the elimination with Devious Man and is the 3-1 second choice. He is from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, who has finished second in the past two Hambletonians. What The Hill has won four of six races this year and heads to the Hambletonian off a career-best 1:52.1 win in the Reynolds Memorial last weekend at the Meadowlands. For his career, What The Hill has won seven of 20 races and earned $417,236. His wins include the 2016 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters on last year's Hambletonian Day. The most recent Haughton winner to return and win the Hambletonian was Muscle Hill in 2009. What The Hill, a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare K T Cha Cha, is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. David Miller is the driver. The colt is one of three entries from the Burke Stable, with Southwind Cobra and Southwind Woody. "What The Hill is a legitimate contender," Burke said. "He's going to be able to race either way (from the front or behind) and puts himself in play and tends to always finish right on the wire with everybody else. I think two heats is an advantage for him. He's a big, strong horse. If anything, he'll go better the second heat than the first. So that doesn't bother me at all." Ariana G is the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters. Ariana G won her Oaks elimination last weekend by two lengths over Dream Together in 1:51.3 and will start the final from post four. She has won five of six starts this year and 14 of 17 lifetime for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. Takter and Gingras have teamed to win the past three editions of the Oaks. Takter shares the record for training wins, six, with Jan Johnson. Last year, Takter and Gingras won the Oaks with All The Time, who is Ariana G's full sister. Full sisters have never won the Oaks in the event's 46-year history. Ariana G, a daughter of 2009 Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill out of the mare Cantab It All, is owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Magic Presto, who won the other Oaks elimination, drew post five and is the 5-1 second choice. Fans can follow the action at www.Hambletonian.com, www.meadowlandsracetrack.com and on Twitter at #Hambo17. Hambletonian Elimination (10-horse division) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke-3/1 2-Seven And Seven-David Miller-Tom Durand-8/1 3-Sortie-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-10/1 4-Shake It Off Lindy-Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-20/1 5-Dover Dan-Brian Sears-John Butenschoen-8/1 6-Enterprise-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-9/2 7-Southwind Cobra-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Achille Duharas-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-20/1 9-Devious Man-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2 10-Perfect Spirit-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-12/1   Hambletonian Elimination (9-horse division) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Woody-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 2-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-5/1 3-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 4-Giveitgasandgo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 5-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-5/2 6-Stealth Hanover-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-30/1 7-Victor Gio IT-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Long Tom-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-3/1 9-Jake-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-8/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Avanti-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 2-Dream Together-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-8/1 3-Caviart Wonder-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-20/1 4-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/5 5-Magic Presto-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-5/1 6-Fine Tuned Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Feed Your Head-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Sunshine Delight-Brett Miller-Staffan Lind-20/1 9-Overdraft Volo-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 10-Dream Baby Dream-Rod Allen-Rod Allen-15/1 Ken Weingartner

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ... Nineteen harness racing 3-year-old trotters entered today for the $1,000,000 Hambletonian, to be raced Saturday, Aug. 5 at The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Though the connections of sophomore filly Ariana G had considered racing against the colts, they eventually opted to remain in the $500,000 distaff division of the Hambletonian. The following trotters, in alphabetical order, will draw into two $100,000 eliminations later today. HORSE TRAINER ACHILLE DUHARAS Takter, Jimmy BILL'S MAN Butenschoen, John DEVIOUS MAN Miller, Julie DOVER DAN Butenschoen, John ENTERPRISE Melander, Marcus GIVEITGASANDGO Butenschoen, John GUARDIAN ANGEL AS Lorentzon, Anette INTERNATIONAL MONI Antonacci, Frank JAKE Blais, Luc LONG TOM Melander, Marcus PERFECT SPIRIT Svanstedt, Ake SEVEN AND SEVEN Durand, Thomas SHAKE IT OFF LINDY Antonacci, Frank SORTIE Daley, Noel SOUTHWIND COBRA Burke, Ron SOUTHWIND WOODY Burke, Ron STEALTH HANOVER Del Cid, Francisco VICTOR GIO IT Takter, Jimmy WHAT THE HILL Burke, Ron After the elimination heats on Saturday, the top five finishers in each elim will advance to the final heat, with a post time of 5:11 [EDT]. Elimination winners draw for inside posts 1-5 and all other finalists will then be placed in an open draw. The winner of the final is the winner. The post positions and morning line odds will be drawn for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands during a live post position draw today, Tuesday, August 1 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be streamed exclusively on the Meadowlands Racetrack Facebook page and YouTube channel. Fans should be sure to “Like” the Facebook page or “subscribe” to the YouTube channel in order to view the stream. WFAN and SNY sports talk personality Marc Malusis will serve as the celebrity drawmaster. Post positions and morning line odds will also be revealed for the John Cashman Memorial and the Cane Pace during the broadcast. The $225,000 Sam McKee Memorial, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. [EDT] on Aug. 5. Hambletonian Day is closing day with a post time of 12:00 noon, and the zenith of the Championship Meet. Fans can follow the action at Hambletonian.com, meadowlandsracetrack.com and on Twitter at #Hambo17. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com or www.hambletonian.com.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 28, 2017) - The post positions and harness racing morning line odds will be revealed for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands during a live post position draw on Tuesday, August 1 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be streamed exclusively on the Meadowlands Racetrack Facebook page and YouTube channel. Fans should be sure to "Like" the Facebook page or "subscribe" to the YouTube channel in order to view the stream. WFAN and SNY sports talk personality Marc Malusis will serve as the celebrity drawmaster. Post positions and morning line odds will also be revealed for the John Cashman Memorial and the Cane Pace during the broadcast. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com or www.hambletonian.com. Justin Horowitz

Dan Patch Award winner Walner will not race in the upcoming Hambletonian Stakes because of a minor injury, harness racing trainer Linda Toscano said Thursday, five days before entries are due for the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Toscano said the injury was not career threatening, but there was no timetable for Walner's return. Walner was unbeaten in two races this year. In his most recent start, Walner won a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial in a stakes-record 1:50.2 at the Meadowlands on July 15. The victory pushed his win streak to seven races dating back to September, with all of the wins by a minimum of three lengths. For his career, the colt has won nine of 10 starts and earned $567,652 for owner Ken Jacobs. Tim Tetrick has driven Walner in all his races. "We have to do what is best for the horse," Toscano said. "He's special. I can't do anything that might hurt him. I can't take a chance. We talked about it and collectively made the decision. It is what it is." Entries for the Hambletonian (Open) are due by 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Meadowlands Race Office (877-782-2537 or Canada 201-460-4000.) The post position draw for the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks will be DIGITAL STREAMING ONLY at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, on the Meadowlands Facebook page and YouTube channel. Ken Weingartner

The Meadowlands - The trail to the August 5 Hambletonian continues on Saturday with the Arthur Tompkins Memorial Grand Circuit stakes for harness racing  sophomore square-gaiters at The Meadowlands.   Ladies first in race four where a field of seven shall go forth in quest of the big share of the $49,870 purse. Overdraft Volo (PP #7) is a logical choice and the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Yankee Glide filly has been a model of consistency for the husband and wife team of Julie (trainer) and Andy (driver) Miller with six wins among a dozen board placings over her fourteen start career.   This season Overdraft Volo is near the top of her class, having won three of four starts including her division of last week's Del Miller Memorial, an important Hambletonian Oaks prep. Owners Pinske Stable and Kentuckiana Farms would like to have a barn full just like her, a $50,000 yearling with career earnings of $268,737 and a bright future.   Ten colts will battle for $59,370 in the seventh race with an eye on the $1 million Hambletonian, now a mere fortnight hence. With the division leaders taking a week off, we are left with a really competitive group of horses who are on the bubble for the Hambo. Two talented sons of Andover Hall, Dover Dan and Perfect Spirit, are such colts.   Dover Dan is a star on the PA Sires Stakes circuit whose resume includes a Grand Circuit win last fall at The Red Mile and a few tries against the best this season with limited success. He'll have to turn it up a notch for trainer John Butenschoen to get to the promised land. Vic Kirby will drive Dover Dan (PP #4) for the first time on Saturday for owners Wiswall, Goehlen and Shick.   Perfect Spirit has matured into a nice horse for Ake Svanstedt with a surprise win in the Earl Beal Memorial eliminations and a solid fourth in the final against the top colts. He's had a few weeks freshening and has a good starting point, leaving from post three for Svanstedt in the Tompkins. Lennart Agren's SRF Stable owns Perfect Spirit.   Aside from the stakes there are Open races for both three-year-old colts and fillies on the card where connections are hoping to separate the prospects from the suspects.   Corntastic weekend continues while the Roosevelt Raceway Reunion brings back the stars of yesteryear to entertain fans who remember New York racing of a generation ago. The late Herve Filion will also be memorialized on Saturday.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi      

As harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci says, the best way to make plans for horses is to plan to make new plans on a regular basis. George Ducharme would agree. Both trainers had plans in place for Hambletonian hopefuls in their stables only to see those plans require unexpected alterations. Antonacci's stakes-winning International Moni suffered a bout of colic and was scratched from a July 8 prep for last weekend's Stanley Dancer Memorial, which he also missed as a result of the health scare. Ducharme, on the other hand, got his hopeful --- Muscles Jared --- to the Dancer only to watch the gelding go off stride prior to the start and never get back to proper form. Ducharme had hoped to use the Dancer as a gauge whether to enter the horse in the Hambletonian. International Moni and Muscles Jared will be back in action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack, competing in a $15,000 trot for 3-year-olds. Seven of the eight horses in the race are eligible to the Hambletonian: International Moni, Muscles Jared, Thisguyisonfire, Giveitgasandgo, Sir John F, Di Oggi, and Enterprise. The $1 million Hambletonian, the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. International Moni, who is 2-for-2 this year and won the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk on June 17, qualified last weekend in 1:53.3 at the Meadowlands. The colt is a son of French sire Love You out of two-time Horse of the Year Moni Maker. He was bred by the Moni Maker Stable, which retains ownership. "Knock on wood, crossed fingers, whatever you want to say, he's doing very well," Antonacci said. "He was going into that qualifier with no work of any real substance since the Goodtimes. I was very happy with how he performed that day. It seems like he recovered fully." International Moni's bout of colic passed without the need for surgery. "Fortunately we didn't have to intervene and everything rectified itself," Antonacci said. "It was one of those oddball, unexplainable kinds of incidents. For him to recover the way he did and a week later go out there and qualify the way he did I think is indicative of what a good horse he really is." So is the way International Moni raced in his Goodtimes elimination and the final. In the elim, the colt came from eight-lengths back at three-quarters to win by a neck in 1:54. In the final, he rallied from fifth at the half to win in 1:52.4. "Horses don't come from last and swoop the field to win anywhere, let alone at Mohawk," Antonacci said, referring to the elimination. "He's just a really, really good horse." The "plan" for International Moni is to race Saturday and then get a week off before the Hambletonian. "That would be the most logical plan at this point, but like I've said, plans change every day," Antonacci said. "There's no such thing as plans with live animals. You make plans and then you adjust every day." Muscles Jared won multiple state-restricted stakes last year including the Massachusetts Sire Stakes championship. This year he suffered a setback because of sickness after returning north from winter training in Florida. He was edged out for a spot in the final of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and finished second by a nose in the consolation on July 1. Ducharme was at loss to explain Muscle Jared's performance in the Dancer. "I wish I had an explanation, but I don't," Ducharme said. "He's never done that before. I guess we'll just say he had one of those nights. That's why we put him right back in (to race)." Muscles Jared is owned by Al Ross, who bred 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life and was among the horse's owners. Ducharme trained Royalty For Life. Ducharme said Muscles Jared's Hambletonian future rested in his performance Saturday. The son of Muscle Massive-Tetiana has won six of 17 races, finished second on five occasions, and earned $191,765 in his career. "He's going to have to trot and show us something," Ducharme said. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters, which also features a number of Hambletonian-eligible horses. They are Wutan, Perfect Spirit, Dover Dan, Southwind Cobra, Southwind Woody, Earl Variera, Fly On, Southwind Hydro, and Catch The Game. ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 6 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Lord Cromwell - Gustavo Fring - Southwind Cobra May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Long Tom - Yes Mickey - Deacon Tony May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - What The Hill - Southwind Cobra - New Jersey Viking May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Sortie - Giveitgasandgo - High Glider May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Andy M - Gustavo Fring - Stealth Hanover May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Common Parlance - Brown Bear - Brand New Key May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Stick With Me Kid - Bill's Man - Top Flight Angel May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Devious Man - Lord Cromwell - Aces And Eights May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Enterprise - Swell Chap - Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Long Tom - King On The Hill - What The Hill June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Fraser Ridge - Meme Hanover - Muay Hanover June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Moonshiner Hanover - Giveitgasandgo - Lars Perry June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Sortie - Dover Dan - Always A Good Time June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - International Moni - Guardian Angel As - Jake June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - Enterprise - AWOL Hanover - Shake It Off Lindy June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Bill's Man - Such An Angel - Stick With Me Kid June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Devious Man - Swell Chap - Lord Cromwell June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Rubio - Muscles Jared - Di Oggi June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Dover Dan - Moonshiner Hanover - Sir John F June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Giveitgasandgo - President Lindy - Andy M June 17 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - International Moni - Mass Production - Seven And Seven June 18 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Devious Man - Bill's Man - Stick With Me Kid June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Long Tom - Sortie - Lucky Matter June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Perfect Spirit - Devious Man - Dover Dan June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Ariana G* - Bill's Man - Moonshiner Hanover July 1 - Pocono - Earl Beal Jr. Memorial - Devious Man - Long Tom - Ariana G* July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Two AM - Moonshiner Hanover - Di Oggi July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Dover Dan - Andy M - Shake It Off Lindy July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Giveitgasandgo - Explosive Ridge - Common Parlance July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Thisguyisonfire - Sir John F - Ataboy Hanover July 15 - Meadowlands - Stanley Dancer Memorial - Walner - Devious Man - Bill's Man July 15 - Meadowlands - Stanley Dancer Memorial - Long Tom - What The Hill - Meteoric July 22 - Meadowlands - Tompkins-Geers - July 29 - Meadowlands - Reynolds - Aug. 5 - Meadowlands - Hambletonian - Hambletonian eligible in bold *Filly; also eligible to Hambletonian Oaks Ken Weingartner

Walner is ready to start on an abbreviated road to the Hambletonian. The returning Dan Patch Award winning trotter makes his delayed 2017 debut Saturday in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands, where he and regular harness racing driver Tim Tetrick will face seven rivals. Walner won seven of eight races last year and finished the season with a five-race victory streak that included triumphs in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, Kindergarten Classic Series championship, and a division of the International Stallion Stakes in a world-record 1:51.3. His return to action this year was hampered by a now-resolved issue with genital discomfort. He qualified twice last month, winning in 1:51.2 in the rain on June 17 and winning in 1:53 on June 24. His time of 1:51.2 is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old male trotter and second to only filly Ariana G's 1:51.1 clocking on June 2 in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands. Following Saturday's race, Walner's schedule has the colt heading to the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters on July 15 at the Meadowlands and then the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters on Aug. 5 at the Big M. "He needs the race," said trainer Linda Toscano, adding with a laugh, "I thought at first he might have too many starts going to the Hambo and now I'm worried there may be not enough. "I remember being told a long time ago, man plans and God laughs." Toscano contemplated sending Walner to the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, which was won by Devious Man last weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but did not want to push her colt into a difficult spot right off the bat. Walner's seven foes Saturday are two 5-year-old females, three 4-year-old males, one 3-year-old colt and one 3-year-old filly. The colt, Fly On, is also eligible to the Hambletonian while the filly, Ice Attraction, is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks. "I did not want to go to the Beal because I thought it was asking a lot of him because those horses have been seasoned at this point," Toscano said. "I don't like racing him against aged horses, but so be it." Walner is a son of stallion Chapter Seven, the 2012 Horse of the Year, out of the O'Brien Award winning mare Random Destiny. He is owned by Ken Jacobs. "He has a real good foundation under him," Toscano said. "He seems to have been well in hand every time he goes. It's not the same as racing, so we'll get a much better read on how fit he is on Saturday night." Ken Weingartner  

Harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci is excited about hitting the Hambletonian trail with two horses this weekend, but he figures he won't be alone in feeling enthused. "There are a lot of good horses out there," said Antonacci, the trainer of International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy in Friday's eliminations of the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack. "Everybody only talked about (returning Dan Patch Award winner) Walner, but there are a lot of nice horses. This is a nice field. "It'll be a fun year to be a racing fan." The Goodtimes attracted 17 horses, which were split into two divisions. Last year's Wellwood Memorial winner, Seven And Seven, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division and lightly raced but undefeated Enterprise is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each division will return June 17 for the C$251,000 final. Ten horses in the Goodtimes are eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, which is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian hopefuls in the first elimination are Jake, Snowstorm Hanover, Seven And Seven, Guardian Angel As, Southwind Woody, and International Moni. In the second they are Shake It Off Lindy, Enterprise, AWOL Hanover, and Southwind Cobra. Friday's card also includes two eliminations of the Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Returning Dan Patch Award winner Hannelore Hanover is the 1-2 morning line favorite in the first division followed by Emoticon Hanover at 4-1. The second group finds Broadway Donna at 8-5, Caprice Hill at 9-5 and Charmed Life at 2-1. The top five finishers advance to the C$253,000 Armbro Flight final June 17. The June 17 card at Mohawk also will feature finals of the Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, and Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Eliminations for those events are Saturday. Antonacci's International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy were stakes-winners last season. International Moni won a division of the International Stallion Stakes in 1:53.1 at Lexington's Red Mile and Shake It Off Lindy captured a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:55 over the same track. International Moni's win time was tied for fourth best by a 2-year-old trotter while Shake It Off Lindy's was tied for 21st. International Moni won one of 12 races last year, but earned a check 11 times on his way to $154,387. He finished second in the Valley Victory Stakes and was third in the Wellwood. The colt is a son of successful French stallion Love You out of two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Moni Maker, who was a star for the Antonacci family and owned by its Moni Maker Stable until her passing in 2014. "He was a very good horse last year and he's an even bigger, stronger, better version of that," Antonacci said about International Moni, who remains with the Moni Maker Stable, an amalgamation of members of the Antonacci family and David Reid. "He's come back very good. We're looking forward to a really good year with him." Moni Maker, trained much of her career by Jimmy Takter, was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and Trotter of the Year in 2000. She was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Love You is the sire of 2013 Elitlopp winner Nahar. "(International Moni) is by far Moni Maker's best offspring; I think that's exciting to see. I think he poses one of the most interesting breeding and racing prospects we've seen in a long time. The horse is really 20 years in the making. He's all class. He never had a bad race last year and gives you everything he's got every time he's out there. He's a gentleman. He's a professional. He's just an absolute pleasure." Shake It Off Lindy is a son of stallion Crazed out of the Love You-sired mare Nashville Lindy. Crazed was co-owned by the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing Stable and trained by Antonacci. A multiple-stakes-winner, he finished second to Deweycheatumnhowe in the 2008 Hambletonian. Last year, Shake It Off Lindy won two of nine races and earned $53,976. "He reminds me a tremendous amount of his dad," Antonacci said about Shake It Off Lindy, bred and owned by the Antonaccis' K R Breeding LLC. "He's got incredible quick speed. For a sixteenth of a mile he could skip off faster than most pacers. That's an exciting burst of speed he's got. He's got a lot of upside." International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy both enter the Goodtimes off two qualifiers. In their most recent efforts, Shake It Off Lindy finished second by a head to older Dan Patch Award winner Obrigado in 1:54.1 while International Moni was fourth. "They both qualified twice and both qualified really well," Antonacci said. "It's hard to game plan for these kinds of races this early in the year. You just have your horses ready to go and let the races come to them and don't force it. I think our horses, based on last year's performances and how they've qualified and trained going into the race, are good for this time of year. "It's just hard to tell where everybody else is on their readiness scale. The only horses we can control are the ones in our shed row. They shipped up and should be there in good order. As long as they're healthy we're ready." Post time is 7:30 for Friday's first race. Below are the fields for the Armbro Flight and Goodtimes eliminations. Armbro Flight - Elimination 1 (Race 3) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Hannelore Hanover - Swan For All -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-1/2 2. Emoticon Hanover - Kadabra - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-4/1 3. Non Stick - Lucky Chucky - Brett Miller-Ake Svanstedt-20/1 4. Oho Diamond - Ken Warkentin - Chris Christoforou-Renaldo Morales III-15/1 5. Ready Any Time - Kadabra - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-20/1 6. Kestrel - Triumphant Caviar - Scott Zeron-Chris Beaver-6/1 7. Renegade Magic - Kadabra - Trevor Henry-Jeffrey Thomson-5/1   Armbro Flight - Elimination 2 (Race 6) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Broadway Donna - Donato Hanover -David Miller-Jim Campbell-8/5 2. Caprice Hill - Kadabra - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-9/5 3. Lady Ping - Muscle Mass - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1 4. Flowers N Songs - Deweycheatumnhowe - Randy Waples-Paul Reid-12/1 5. Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Louis Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-2/1 6. Pink Pistol - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Peter Shody-20/1 7. Majestic Presence - Majestic Son - Chris Christoforou-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1   Goodtimes - Elimination 1 (Race 5) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Ice Hockey Hanover - Donato Hanover - Paul MacDonell-Mike Keeling-12/1 2. Jake - Muscle Hill - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-3/1 3. Snowstorm Hanover - Muscle Massive - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1 4. Seven And Seven - Chapter Seven - David Miller-Tom Durand-5/2 5. Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-6/1 6. Scene A Magician - Daylon Magician - Jack Moiseyev-Jennifer Pinkerton-10/1 7. Southwind Woody - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-12/1 8. Dunbar Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Jody Jamieson-Carl Jamieson-8/1 9. International Moni - Love You - Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-8/1   Goodtimes - Elimination 2 (Race 8) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Shake It Off Lindy - Crazed - Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-6/1 2. Manssive - Muscle Mass - Jody Jamieson-Howard Okusko Jr.-15/1 3. Mass Production - Muscle Mass - Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron-4/1 4. Resita - Manofmannymissions - Randy Waples-Per Henriksen-15/1 5. Enterprise - Chapter Seven - Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 6. AWOL Hanover - Donato Hanover - James MacDonald-Luc Blais-7/2 7. Dancer Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Sylvain Filion-Paul Reid-3/1 8. Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 Ken Weingartner

It will be a busy weekend for Hambletonian-eligible horses, with a total of 31 in harness racing action at three different North American racetracks. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Ten horses in Friday's Goodtimes Stakes Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack are eligible to Hambletonian. The Hambletonian hopefuls in the first elimination are Jake, Snowstorm Hanover, Seven And Seven, Guardian Angel As, Southwind Woody, and International Moni. In the second they are Shake It Off Lindy, Enterprise, AWOL Hanover, and Southwind Cobra. Seven horses in Friday's eliminations of Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs are eligible. They are Bill's Man, Money Macintosh, Top Flight Angel, Such An Angel, and Another Chapter in the first division and Devious Man and Shivered in the second. Bill's Man is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the first group while Devious Man is the 9-5 choice in the second. On Saturday, three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters will be contested at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with a total of 14 Hambletonian eligibles going behind the starting gate. They are Sortie, Di Oggi, Muscles Jared, Lucky Matter, and Rubio in the first; Thisguyisonfire, Dover Dan, Moonshiner Hanover, Meme Hanover, and Sir John F in the second; and President Lindy, Perfect Spirit, Giveitgasandgo, and Don Dream in the third. Sortie (2-1) and President Lindy (5-2) are the morning line favorites in their divisions. Dover Dan is the 7-2 third choice in the remaining division, behind Meteoric (5-2) and Common Parlance (3-1). ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 6 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Lord Cromwell - Gustavo Fring - Southwind Cobra May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Long Tom - Yes Mickey - Deacon Tony May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - What The Hill - Southwind Cobra - New Jersey Viking May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Sortie - Giveitgasandgo - High Glider May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Andy M - Gustavo Fring - Stealth Hanover May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Common Parlance - Brown Bear - Brand New Key May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Stick With Me Kid - Bill's Man - Top Flight Angel May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Devious Man - Lord Cromwell - Aces And Eights May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Enterprise - Swell Chap - Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Long Tom - King On The Hill - What The Hill June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Fraser Ridge - Meme Hanover - Muay Hanover June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Moonshiner Hanover - Giveitgasandgo - Lars Perry June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Sortie - Dover Dan - Always A Good Time Ken Weingartner

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