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FREEHOLD, NJ — October 2, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $40,000 Renaissance final for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts on Saturday (Sept 30). Lucky Leonard and Jordan Stratton opted for the front when the gate folded.  While a pocket sitting Melanie’s Fran stalked the leader from the two hole eventually pulling mid stretch to nose out the competition for the win in 2:01.2.  The Kevin McDermott trainee marked her forth win in six starts.  Owned by Francis Azur the Hypnotic Blue Chip filly pushed her lifetime earnings to $117,000. Courtney Stafford

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that seven students will share more than $11,000 in MSOA scholarships as they continue their educations this fall. Garrett Adams, son of John and Lisa Dunn-Adams, has been named the winner of the $5,000 MSOA Scholarship. He will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall. The $2,500 MSOA/CSC Insurance Options Scholarship has been awarded to Alyssa Cummings, daughter of Todd and Tammy Cummings. She attends Community College of Allegheny County. A $1,800 MSOA/Hypnotic Blue Chip Scholarship, via a donation of a breeding to the stallion, goes to Hallie Nesselroad, daughter of Joe and Janet Nesselroad. She attends the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The $1,000 MSOA/LCM Nutraceuticals Dr. Barry Betts Memorial Scholarhip has been split between Ryan Bush and Chelsea Fahy. Bush, the son of Steve and Kim Bush, will attend Washington & Jefferson College, while Fahy is a student at the Ohio State University's School of Veterinary Medicine. A $1,000 MSOA/Tom Ridge Scholarship, also created through the donation of breedings to the stallion, will be shared by Shannon Teed and Courtney Wrenn. Teed is a student at West Liberty State University, while Wrenn attends Indiana University. The MSOA would like to congratulate all of this year's recipients, and thank all of our partners, Tom Svrcek of CSC Insurance, Dr. Larry Smith of LCM Nutraceuticals, Fran Azur and Ted Tomson," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "Without their help, none of this would be possible, and we believe it is valuable to help these young people work toward their future. We are proud to be part of that." Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announced that applications are now being accepted for its 2014-2015 Collegiate Scholarship Program.   This year's scholarship options include the $5,000 MSOA Collegiate Scholarship, the $2,500 CSC Insurance Options Scholarship, the $1,000 Dr. Barry C Betts Memorial Scholarship (sponsored by LCM Nutraceuticals), the Hypnotic Blue Chip Scholarship (sponsored by Fran Azur) and the Tom Ridge Scholarship (sponsored by Ted Tomson).   Applicants must be a son or daughter of an owner, trainer, driver or groom who has participated in harness racing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a regular basis over the 2 years preceding the application. Said parent must be a member of the MSOA, and the applicant must be at least a senior in high school.   One application covers all of the above listed scholarships. An independent committee will review the applicants and determine the winners of each individual award.   Applications must be received on or before Friday, May 2, 2014. To apply, please visit the MSOA's website, www.themsoa.com.   by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that three breedings are being offered via auction to benefit the MSOA's Scholarship Fund.   This year, the MSOA welcomes back a familiar face and a new partner to assist with the scholarship funding effort. For the second straight season, horse owner and MSOA member Ted Tomson of Brackenridge, PA has donated two breedings to trotting stallion Tom Ridge, on the roster at Nandi Farms in New Freedom, PA for a fee of $3,500.   Tom Ridge, a World Champion son of Muscles Yankee, has a mark of 1:50.2 and banked over $886,000 in his racing career.   The MSOA is pleased to welcome Hanover Shoe Farms to the team, as the nation's leading farm has donated a breeding to Crazed, valued at $4,000.   Crazed, a million-dollar winning son of Credit Winner, is no stranger to Pennsylvania racing, as a past winner of the Colonial Trot at Harrah's Philadelphia.   "We are pleased to have the Tomson family and Hanover Shoe Farms work with our program this year," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "We have had some great partners donate breedings in recent years, including Green Acquisition Corporation, owner of Trainforthefuture, and Fran Azur, owner of Hypnotic Blue Chip. The MSOA Scholarship Fund is lucky to have had the opportunity to work with these folks and their generosity has helped to benefit a lot of young men and women."   The breedings will be listed on the website  www.ongait.com The 14-day auction opens April 1 and ends at noon on April 15, 2014.   One Crazed breeding is available to the top bidder. Two Tom Ridge breedings are being offered. The underbidder will be contacted by the MSOA and offered the second breeding at the price of their bid as soon as the auction has closed. Terms are 10% down (non-refundable), remainder due upon live foal.   For more information, call 724-228-3644 or email, msoa@themsoa.com.

OK…we had three out of seven last week and no exotic hits for a losing weekend. Now we need to get back into the plus column with some long shots. Weather could be a big factor so make sure to take that into account before wagering. This weekend we have seven races spanning the East with two at Woodbine, two at Yonkers and one each at new Miami Valley Raceway, one at the Meadowlands and one at Pompano Park. Good luck! $28,000  F&M NW/28,000 Pace Woodbine 4th race Saturday – Tough to go against a horse that is on a roll. Barockey has two straight wins and wired the field last week in this same class. Can repeat again either from off or on the pace. Use Eat Me Up and Rus N Tug in exotic plays. $33,000 Open Handicap Pace Yonkers Raceway 6th race Saturday – Super competitive field and the repeat winners all have the outside post so I am eliminating them as they never seem to do well from the outside. Going with Lumberjack Willie. Draws good inside post and can either try and wire the field or I think he can work out great live cover to score from. Use Dallenbach Hanover and Fat mans Alley in exotics. $30,000 FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 6th race Saturday  - He may be the youngest horse in the field but I think Emeritus Maximus is also the best. Recently purchased for $240,000, he qualified well for new connections and won first start last week by six open lengths. Will be tested but looks like he will improve with each start. Use East Again and Hypnotic Blue Chip in exotic plays. $28,000 NW/$28,000 Pace Woodbine 7th race Saturday – Alsace Hanover dropped and popped last week against much less. May be jumping back up again but sometimes a win like last week will braven a horse up and with the rail this one is in a great spot to score again. Use Wazzup Wazzup and Top Gear in exotic plays. $20,000  WO/$25,000 Pace Yonkers Raceway 8th race Saturday – With three wins in last four starts, Atta Boy Dan may be moving up in class again but will be tough to beat. Has been super strong on the front end and in perfect spot to take another. Use Here We Go Again and Electrofire in exotic plays. $10,000 Open Pace Pompano Park 9th race Saturday – Every once in a while Northern Companion does put a clunker in and I am pretty sure that was week. Pompano favorite draws well and should be in the hunt against this field. Will be winging in late to victory lane. Use Lyons Johnny and Electric Lad in exotics. $10,000 Open Pace Miami Valley Raceway 10th race Saturday – Brand new track in Lebanon, Ohio debuts and it looks like trainer Ron Burke wants to win the tracks first feature pace. Visible Gold is well rested, has started off 2014 season unbeaten in two starts at the Meadows and should be able to handle this field coming from either on or off the pace. Use man he Can Skoot and War Dancer in exotics.

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 1, 2014--Money Twitch A (Eric Carlson) kept the form spree going Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway $33,000 Open Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 4, Money Twitch A saw both Muscle Beachboy (Eric Goodell) and Dallenbach Hanover (Larry Stalbaum) take early shots. When they settled, it was 1-2 favorite Hypnotic Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett)--who won the draw--quarter-moving from third. "Hypnotic", unseen here since December of 2012, made the lead after a cheap, 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a :56.3 intermission, invading Dovuto Hanover (Ron Pierce) edged from fourth, but he was essentially pacing in place. Meanwhile, Hypnotic Blue Chip seemed in control at the 1:24.3 three-quarters. The people's choice owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane...before the wheels (figuratively) fell off the sulky. Dovuto Hanover found a new life, helping the cause of a second-up Money Twitch A and a third-over Fat Man's Alley (Matt Kakaley). They fanned out wide and wider, with Money Twitch A schnozzing Fat Man's Alley in 1:53. Third went to Dovuto Hanover, with a tiring Hypnotic Blue Chip and Lumberjack Willie (Jordan Stratton) settling for the minor spoils. For Money Twitch A, a 9-year-old Down Under Life Sign gelding owned by William Emmons and trained by Heidi Rohr, he returned $18 (fourth choice) for his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65, with the triple returning $302.50. The feature race was about the only thing Pierce did not win, since he left with six victories on the dozen-race card (eight in his rare, two-night Westchester stay). Saturday's 12-race handle was $1,105,830, a second consecutive seven-figure night and third of 2014. By Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway  

OK…we lost all the ground we made up last week with just one decent winner and a cold exacta. Now we need to get back into the plus column with some long shots. Weather could be a big factor so make sure to take that into account before wagering. This weekend we have seven races spanning the East with three at Woodbine, three at Yonkers and one at Pompano. No Meadowlands until after the Super Bowl. Good luck! $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 2nd race Saturday – Very hard to go against success and that is what Apprentice Hanover has been having as of late with five straight wins for trainer Ben Wallace. Late closing kick has been awesome and with inside post position he should be primed for another victory. Use Mystician and Lucky Terror in exotic plays. $10,000 Open Handicap Pace Pompano Park 3rd race Saturday – How can you look at anyone else in this race? Prairie Jaguar is going for his seventh straight victory at Pompano. No one can stop him from the front end or from behind. Perhaps it’s time to send him someplace else and race for big money. Takes another one in here. Use Northern Companion and Who’s Your Maddy in exotic play. $20,000 Trot NW/3 PM Fillies and Mares Woodbine 3rd race Saturday  - There are five return winners in this field. I’m going with Justasmalltowngirl who despite starting from post eight has been 1st, 2nd or 3rd in her last seven starts. She has the gate speed to get out and find live cover or can also cut the mile. Could be a decent price tonight. Use Rockin With Dewey and Quit Smoking Now in exotic plays. $33,000 Open Pace Yonkers Raceway 6th race Saturday – Hypnotic Blue Chip has not drawn the rail in months yet has won three of his last five starts and rarely finishes out of the money. Has won in this class before and with best post position in quite some time I think he will be very game in here. Use Money Twitch A and Muscle Beachboy in exotic plays. $20,000  Pace NW/$25,000 Last 6 Starts Yonkers Raceway 7th race Saturday – There are just two returns winners in this field and they both have a shot at winning. I am going with McErlean from post five. With a weeks rest under his belt he should be ready to return to action and in his last two wins he shows he can do it either from on or off the pace. Use Panongahela and Roll On in exotic play. $24,000 Pace W/O $25,000 last 6 starts Yonkers Raceway 8th race Saturday – Post position mean everything on a half mile track and last week this horse had post seven and could not hit the board. Tonight Real Special, after a week off, draws decently and should be able to return to his winning ways. Use Life Up Front and Flem N Em N in exotic plays. $22,000 Pace NW/15,000 last 5 starts Woodbine 11th race Saturday – Alexas Jackpot draws the rail in a seven-horse field and has not seen this good an inside post in months. He is the lone return winner in the field and going for his third straight win. Likes coming from behind and just needs to get some live cover. Use Wazzup Wazzup and Bold Decision in exotic plays.

Billed as a matchup between the razor sharp Sweet Justice and the classy Daylon Magician, Friday's Open Trot at The Meadowlands seemed to be a 2-horse race on paper, but in the end, it was anything but. Sweet Justice broke stride right at the start, seemingly leaving the race to Daylon Magician who asserted an early lead. Setting fractions of 26.4, 55.2 and 1:23.4, Daylon Magician driven by Dave Miller turned for home seemingly on cruise control. But World Cup was guided off the pylons by Joe Bongiorno and made his move with three-sixteenths of a mile to go and what a move it was as he wore down Daylon Magician sprinting home in 27.4 to get up by a nose at 17-1. World Cup is owned by Carly Roman and trained by Brad Irvine. It was that upset that sparked a lone winning ticket in the Pick-5 which returned $30,052.60 for the $.50 cent minimum play. The Pick 5 wasn't the only pool with one winning ticket as Mike Simons repeat upset victory with Twin B Spike Man at 31-1 in the tenth race B-1/B-2 Handicap Trot ensured one winning ticket in the Late Pick 4, which returned $64,811.80. Perfect Alliance was noteworthy impressive winner in her return to the races, romping to a 7-length score in a lifetime best 1:53.3 as she gears up for the Charles Singer Memorial Series. Driver Yannick Gingras stole the driving show tonight, winning five races extending his lead in the drivers standing to 14 wins in front of Dave Miller. It was another big night for the on-track handle, as it yielded a 14-percent increase over the same race day in 2013, while the total handle of $3,120,181 was a five percent increase as well. Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time of 7:15 P.M. The program features a Free For All Handicap Trot, featuring Hypnotic Blue Chip, Bettor's Edge and the razor sharp Dovuto Hanover. Darin Zoccali      

OK…was snake bit once again plus Woodbine canceled. Only had one $4.60 winner in six races. So now we are starting off 2014 at minus -$15.00. Weather could be a big factor so make sure to take that into account before wagering. This weekend we have seven races spanning the East with three at Woodbine, two at Yonkers, and one each at the Meadowlands and Pompano. Good luck! $20,000 NW 3 Trot Woodbine 1st race Saturday – Almost every starter in this field has missed racing for a month due to the weather. So they are all on equal ground. West Side Story hails from Per Henriksen Stable and has been on a roll with three straight wins. Is a strong closer and only needs some live cover to insure another victory. Use Standing My Ground and Five Towns in exotic plays. $30,000 A-2/FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 2nd race Saturday – After cutting the mile at Yonkers in their Open and coming up short but a decent second place, Bettor’s Edge returns to the Meadowlands for Burke Stable and goes on lasix for the first time. Has been very sharp at both tracks, winning two back at Meadowlands in 1:49.1 and lasix can only help so this is the horse to beat in here. Use Hypnotic Blue Chip and Arockin Hanover in exotic plays. $20,000 NW 3 Trot Woodbine 5th race Saturday  - It may have been two months since this one raced last due to bad weather but based off her prior form Samira Hanover should be the one to beat. She shows winning from both on and off the pace last year at age 3 and should be seasoned enough to handle going against some male rivals in here. Use Magic Will Work and Flight Of The Kiwi in exotic plays. $33,000 Open Handicap Pace Yonkers 6th race Saturday – Pretty much a possible wide-open race but Sapphire City gets the call. Despite poor showing from post seven last week this one always races well from inside position. Has gate speed to wire the field or can quarter move to take command. Use Dallenbach Hanover and Escape The News in exotic plays. $22,000 NW/$32,000 Pace Yonkers 8th race Saturday – One of only two return winners in this field (the other has post 8) I am going with Money Twitch A. Last two starts from off the pace shows he can handle a first-over trip if need be or use live cover to score from. Inside post position will help him stay close enough to the action to make it three-straight wins. Use Here We Go Again and Uncle Goodfellow in exotic plays. $10,000 Open Pace Pompano Park 9th race Saturday – Just can’t go against Prairie Jaguar, especially in a short field. He has been super with five straight wins and he has rewarded me well in the past. He has already beaten most everyone else in this field and should have it easy getting to the front and dictating the fractions. Use Northern Companion and newcomer Eastend Eddie in exotic plays. $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 11th race Saturday – Everyone in the field has missed time due to weather but Apprentice Hanover has been so sharp in his four straight wins. The team of trainer Ben Wallace and driver Jody Jamieson have been perfect on this horse and he could be developing into one of the better four-year-olds for 2014. Use Modern Legend and Frankie Dragon in exotic plays.

On a very rainy night in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the bettors came out in force. The Total Handle of $3,559,673 was a 23-percent increase over the $2,890,130 wagered on the same Saturday in 2013. In addition, on-track handle showed slight gains despite the rain-soaked evening. On the racetrack, Corey Callahan continued his meteoric rise with four more wins, pulling him within one win of Dave Miller who is second in the driver standings. Most notably, Callahan guided Berkshire Bear to an eight length romp in a 1:52.1 performance. Berkshire Bear is trained by Doug Lewis for J&M Racing. The Free For All Handicap went to the ageless Hypnotic Blue Chip, who changed tactics tonight, going right down the road to a wire to wire performance in 1:51. The win was one of two on the program for John Campbell. Hypnotic Blue Chip is trained by Kevin Mc Dermott for owner Francis Azur. Dovuto Hanover did it again, going first over and holding all challengers at bay in a B-1 pacing event, winning in 1:51.1 for Ron Pierce. Dovuto Hanover is trained by Darran Cassar for Martin Scharf. Hurrikane Kingcole was fourth in his return. Racing returns on Thursday, featuring the second round of the Super Bowl, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Head to playmeadowlands.com for more information. Rachel Ryan  

Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we have decided to run a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. These PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them. (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and for Down Under the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  Two days ago we looked at American Ideal and today we review Art Major - Enjoy the read. ART MAJOR BREEDING - By the legendary super sire, Artsplace, he is from the prolific producing Nihalator mare in Perfect Profile who produced 13 foals for 11 winners of over $5 million in stakes.. As well as Art Major she has produced the full brother Perfect Art whose 716 foals have won over $13,653,246 in Australia and Western Edition (by Western Hanover) who stood in Queensland and has 115 three-year-olds and older who have won $665,848 to date in Australia. Art Major was sold as a yearling as Lot 55 at the Tattersalls Sale in Kentucky in 2000. RACE RECORD - Racing from two to four years, he started 49 times for a fantastic record of 32 wins and 9 placings for a massive $3,273,217 in stakes with a 1:48.4m record. Artsplace richest son. His durability is obvious when you consider that he won his last three starts on the racetrack and those wins were in the $824,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, the $729,730 Breeders Crown and the $350,000 US Pacing Championship.   AMERICAN STUD RECORD - He has had seven crops to race so far and what an impact they have made. His first crop is arguably his best producing such stars as Art Official, his richest son at $2,085,185 and his fastest son at p3,1:47, Santanna Blue Chip $1,641,643 p2,1:51.3, Artimittateslife $997,901 p3,1:51.3 and Riggins $931,587 p5,1:48.4. All up seven have won over $500,000 and the average earnings per starter is a massive $132,000. His second crop contained Hypnotic Blue Chip $1,766,053 p4,1:47.2 and Major In Art who only raced as a two-year-old winning $896,060 and taking a time of 1:50.2  while his third crop was highlighted by He's Gorgeous $743,844 p5,1:48.3. His fourth crop contained such stars as Feel Like A Fool $965,633 with a two-year-old record of 1:49.4 and Swinging Beauty $841,245 p4,1:49.4. His fifth crop was led by the very good Handsoffmycookies $1,228,873 p4,1:51,4f and while the sixth crop was down on seasonal champions it did produce three $600,000 winners including the speedy Fool Me Once $639,989 p3,1:48.1s. His seventh and latest crop is headed by the brilliant two-year-old filly in Precocious Beauty $462,912 1:50.1.   US statistics   Eligible to race - 802         Winners - 536         $1,000,000+ 4           Sub 1:50 - 26         Average earning per starter - $100,219   Average earnings per eligible horse - $82,349   Total earnings to date - $66,044,151   AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Looks very much like his North American stud record. He has left a super 398 winners to date including such stars as Sushi Sushi $1,103,327, For A Reason $724,333, Lady Euthenia $461,285 and Louvre $402,665. Consistently at or near the top of the two and three year old sires list and with 38 $100,000 winners to date ,he produces depth to back the stars.   Australian statistics   Foals 3yr old and older - 658           Winners - 398   % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 60%   $100,000 plus - 38    $1,000,000 plus - 1         Average earnings per starter - $34,876   Average earnings per eligible horse - $28,515   Total earnings to date - $18,763,192         NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - Has so far left 96 winners in New Zealand but his record does not appear to be as strong as it is in Australia or North America. The probable reason is that he only bred 35 foals in New Zealand in his initial three crops that are 5yr olds, 6yr olds and 7yr olds. Out of that small group he left the very good 2 & 3yr old Major Mark that won $574,109 before he was exported to Australia. Art Major's first serious crop are now 4yr olds and there are 95 foals and already this crop has produced 52 individual winners including the good mare Onlyforyou $292,874 and Glenferrie Shuffle $248,870 (Australia). He has 98 foals in his 3yr old crop for 28 winners to date including the brilliant Isaiah $375,861, Sky Major $241,623 and Angelina Jolie $101,000. His 3yr old fillies finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in a Sire Stakes race yesterday at Alexandra Park in Auckland.   New Zealand statistics   3yr old and older - 229   Starters - 121   Winners -  96   % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 42%   $100,000 plus - 6   $1,000,000 plus - 0   Average earnings per starter - $26,363   Average earnings per eligible horse - $13,930   Total earnings to date - $3,189,983   POSITIVES - Has a fantastic record in both North America ($66,044,151 to date) and Australia ($18,750,000 to date) and is starting to gain a good record in New Zealand. Consistency is the key with his stud record with no drop off in the high standard he has set from day one. They come to hand quickly and have a great record at two and three.   NEGATIVES - In Australia and New Zealand they have a reputation for been world beaters one week and just nice horses the next. At times they are prone to disappoint after promising so much.    As of yet they have not made the transition from age group racing to the Grand Circuit in any great numbers with only Sushi Sushi, For A Reason and Major Mark making more than $500,000 in stakes to date and that is from a total of 887 foals 3yrs old and older.    OVERVIEW - His record overall is outstanding. His sons such as Art Official, Santanna Blue Chip and Major In Art are starting to establish themselves as sires and his daughters are doing the same in the brood mare paddock. All in all, a fantastic sire who leaves top 2yr olds and top 3yr olds and will continue to exert a major influence over the breed for years to come.    OVERALL RATING - 8/10   JC   A Sire review - American Ideal

Last week we ended the 2013 season on a winning note with four of seven winners and a profit of $10.40  (based on a $2 win bet each race). So now we are starting off 2014 on a clean slate. Weather is going to be a big factor at the Meadowlands as it will be pretty cold with head winds that must be taken into account. This weekend we have six races spanning the East Coast with four at the Meadowlands in the cold and two at Pompano Park in the warm weather. Good luck! $20,000 B1/A2 Handicap Pace Meadowlands 1st race Saturday – While weather may not be ideal for racing on the front end, Cowboy Terrier was decent in his last start and held for a game second place finish. Gets in with a field of closers so he may just be able to hold on to the lead in here.  Three starts back he shows ability to wire the field in adverse weather. $30,000 A1/FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 6th race Saturday – Last week Arockin Hanover scored big for us at 6-1. Goes from Campbell to youngster Joe Bongiorno but I don’t mind the driver switch. Bongiorno can drive and this guy is red hot, having won five of last seven starts and can grind it out if necessary. Campbell moved to Hypnotic Blue Chip but I think Arockin Hanover can win again. $17,500 N/W - $50,000 Claiming Pace Meadowlands 7th race Saturday  - This will be a very hotly contested race with more than half the field showing the ability to win. I am going with Big Game Hunter who despite poor showing last out is dropping in class and should be able to return to winning ways for Miller Stable. $20,000  B1-A2 Handicap Pace Meadowlands 11th race Saturday – Going to take a long shot in this race. Yo Cheyenne Rocky is sort of a yo-yo horse for trainer Robbie Siegelman and this is the week that he should be able to rebound with a strong effort like he did three starts back. Not a super tough field and he gets Ron Pierce back in the sulky who won with him three starts back. $10,000 Open Handicap Pace Pompano Park 6th race Saturday  – Very tough to even think of going against Prairie Jaguar. He went undefeated at Pompano in the month of December including a lifetime mark in his last start of 1:49 for Mike Deters Stable. May have to start from the outside in post eight but he has shown the ability to win from that far out before. $10,000 F&M Open Pace Pompano Park 6th  race SUNDAY – Strong group of mares will be battling it out in here. I am going with De Vins Girl from post four for trainer Luca Derrico. Stable is hot and two starts back this mare was able to take a lifetime mark of 1:51.4. Any repeat of that effort for driver Rick Plano will see them back in the winner’s circle again.

Last week we only lost two of our six choices due to tracks cancelling because of snow storms. Still lost the remaining four races. We lost $8.00 (based on a $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$33.60 going into this final weekend of 2013. Weather looks pretty good this weekend as does my picks. After this weekend we will start fresh and try and keep us in the plus column for the season. This weekend we have seven races spanning North America with two at Woodbine, three at the Meadowlands and two at Pompano Park. Good luck! $28,000 Winners Over Trot Woodbine 2nd race Saturday - Most of this field missed a week due to snow storm so they should be well rested and ready for action. Take My Picture won his last start in the snow at Woodbine with an impressive 1:55.3 clocking. Handicapped with the outside post once again but he is sure footed and can overcome the outside post and as aptly named, gets his picture taken again! $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 10th race Saturday - Well matched field gets tougher each week. Taking a shot in here that Casimir Jitterburg, after a decent rest, strong qualifiers and first race back, will be ready to cut loose for James MacDonald and surprise this field. I think he has been "babied" enough from layoff to put in a big effort. $20,000 3YO Handicap Pace Meadowlands 6th race Saturday - Burke and Gingras are an awesome combo even from the far outside in post eight. Sweet Talkin Satin was very strong from post ten last week in his Meadowlands debut with a game second place finish. Shows the early speed to overcome outside post and get in good position to strike from in here. $20,000 B1-A2 Handicap Pace Meadowlands 7th race Saturday - You can make a strong case for nearly every horse in this field to have a shot at winning. I am going with Hypnotic Blue Chip from post seven. Was a strong winner from outside post last week for driver John Campbell and very fresh having only made four starts this year for Kevin McDermott Stable. Has Campbell back in the bike and seems to pick up speed in every start. $30,000 A1/FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 11th race Saturday - With four wins in last six starts it is hard for me not to go with Arockin Hanover. First time John Campbell last week and despite being parked first-over was game enough to win in a photo in 1:50. Facing a few bearcats in here but I think after last two starts at Meadowlands that they can continue to improve. $10,000 Open Pace Pompano Park 3rd race Saturday - Of course the horse to beat in here is Northern Companion based on his last two scores in this class. But I have set my sights on Prairie Jaguar from post five. He has returned from brief layoff in fine fashion with three straight wins and shows he can win from on or off the pace. I think he can handle the hike in class and don't be surprised if he just wires the field. $8,500 Open II Pace Pompano Park 6th race Saturday - Taking a shot in here that a former $10,000 claimer can make the transition to the Open II at Pompano and handle the jump in class. Cereal Lover was claimed two starts back by trainer/driver John Macdonald and won last week on the front end for new barn in 1:51.3. Before that the horse showed not a lick of early speed and I think he will continue to improve and can pay a big price in here.  

East Rutherford, NJ - While we are many months away from the warm spring and summer months and the marquis Championship Meet at the Meadowlands, the unseasonably mild conditions provided a hint of summer on the track. In what was the fastest mile witnessed so far at the new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Validus Deo opened eyes going a huge first over trip and stopping the teletimer in an extremely sharp 1:48.4 in the 3 Year Old B-1/A-2 Handicap Pace. Corey Callahan drove the winner for owners Bamond Racing LLC and trainer P.J. Fraley. Sweet Talkin Satin did a lot of the work on the front end, getting to the half in 53.4 while ensuring a rapid clip. He held his ground well, finishing a game second. Perhaps even more impressive was the effort of Dovuto Hanover who overcame a break at the start and made up 15 lengths to finish a fast closing third, pacing the mile in 1:49.1 with a final quarter in 26 seconds flat. Hypnotic Blue Chip also paced a sub-1:50 mile on Saturday, winning the 7th race B-1 Pace in 1:49.3. It was one of three wins on the night for John Campbell. Corey Callahan, Yannick Gingras, Jeff Dauplaise and Joe Bongiorno all scored driving doubles on the card. Once again, all three guaranteed pools returned massive dividends. Of the Early Pick 4, Late Pick 4 and Pick 5, none returned less than $1,807.60 and the Late Pick 4, a sequence that saw winners that paid $8.80, $22.40, $6.20 and $12.60 returned a monstrous $10,407. A four-race parlay of those same prices would have returned just over $1,660, reinforcing the value of the Late Pick 4 wager at The Meadowlands as the best bet in harness racing. As the month of December rolls along, total handle at the Meadowlands continues to climb. The $2,885,432 wagered on the 13-race program was the most of the month and was a 23-percent increase from the last time the Meadowlands raced on this Saturday in 2010. Racing returns on Friday December 27th with first post time at 7:15 P.M. The Meadowlands management and staff would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Rachel Ryan  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce yet another new partner in its harness racing Collegiate Scholarship Program, and update an earlier announcement regarding breedings to Hypnotic Blue Chip.

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