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Columbus, OH --- Wendy Ross has joined the U.S. Trotting Association's Communications Department as social media and public relations coordinator and Jason Turner has been promoted to assistant editor of Hoof Beats and digital brand strategist for the USTA. In addition, James Witherite has been hired as a freelance editor for the newsroom on the USTA's website, "We are excited to add Wendy to the communications team for the skills and experience she will add to our social media and publicity efforts," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "And we're pleased to provide Jason with a larger role with our magazine as assistant editor of Hoof Beats as well as a new opportunity to assist us in shaping the USTA's digital strategy moving forward. "With these additions, we've diversified the skills of the communications department and added creativity to our team, which will allow us to do an even better job of promoting the sport of harness racing." Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, is a familiar face to harness racing fans through her work as an on-air television personality at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Northfield Park, The Meadows and The Little Brown Jug. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Ross began her career at the age of 15 as an outrider at local fairs in Ohio. She later worked in that capacity at Northfield Park and Tioga Downs and has had the opportunity to be an outrider at some of harness racing's most prestigious events including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Elitloppet in Sweden. After leaving the industry for about a year-and-a-half during 2016 and 2017, Ross recently returned to harness racing at The Meadows where she has been back in front of the camera doing live interviews in the paddock and winner's circle on the track's simulcast. Turner started his USTA career as an intern for Hoof Beats in 2006. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, he was hired as a full-time publishing assistant in 2007 and, later that year, was named as editor of Youth Beats magazine, a publication whose subscribers have grown from 40 to 1,700 under his guidance. A year later, Turner began writing and copy editing and had his first feature story published in Hoof Beats. In 2011, he was promoted to graphic designer. Also in 2011, Turner was named the recipient of the International Media Award for Best Feature Article for his "Racing and the Recession" story in the November 2009 issue of Hoof Beats. His work on the magazine has also won multiple American Horse Publications and Hervey Awards for writing and design. Witherite currently serves as the chart caller and racing analyst at Harrah's Philadelphia. Previously, he was a track announcer from 2006 to 2016 at Harrah's Philadelphia, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. He also served as morning line oddsmaker and program handicapper at The Meadowlands and makes numerous appearance as the bugler at many of harness racing's top events. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA Communications Department  

Nichols, N.Y. - Officials at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have unveiled a new-look stakes schedule for the 2017 harness racing season, with top horses converging on upstate New York to compete for over $3.7 million in purses. Top veteran Standardbreds and 3-year-old New York-sired pacers take center stage on a pair of blockbuster Sundays at Tioga Downs. The August 20 card features the $175,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for open pacers and both $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics for three-year-old pacers. One week later (August 27), distaff pacers contest the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape as a co-featured event with the $175,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Trot and the $175,000 (est.) Joie de Vie (formerly the Muscle Hill) Mares Trot, both of which move to the Southern Tier from Vernon Downs. "We have an amazing stakes lineup on back-to-back Sundays in August," said Jason Bluhm, Director of Racing at Tioga Downs. "I think our fans will enjoy seeing all the sport's top stars--all the top horses, drivers and trainers--converge on Tioga for what should be some phenomenal racing." Other stakes highlights at Tioga include a Graduate Series preliminary for 4-year-olds on the pace and on the trot, the Geers Stakes for 2- and 3-year-old pacers, the Arthur Tompkins Memorial for 2-year-old trotters, the W. N. Reynolds Stakes for 2-year-olds, and a Miss Versatility preliminary for distaff trotters. At Vernon Downs, the marquee event remains the Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, but it has been moved from its late July position to two weeks after the Hambletonian, where it will now take place on Friday, August 18. The main event for top colts and geldings carries a $370,000 (est.) purse, while top fillies vie for $150,000 (est.). "We thought it was the perfect opportunity to move into this spot when Pocono decided not to race the Colonial in 2017," remarked Vernon Downs Director of Racing Scott Warren. "We are hopeful we'll be able to attract the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks winners." New York-sired 3-year-old trotters will compete in the $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics on Sunday, June 18, and the sport's finest 2-year-olds will compete for an estimated $600,000 as the Kindergarten Classic finals return to the Miracle Mile on Friday, November 3. Full 2017 schedules will be available in mid-winter, pending approval by the New York State Gaming Commission. Further stakes information is available at by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, N.J. -- In the words of racecaller Ken Warkentin as City Hall ($5.00) entered the harness racing winner's enclosure on New Year's Eve, "You can't stop him; you can only hope to contain him." Any way you look at it, there was no fighting City Hall in Saturday's (Dec. 31) featured $35,000 Auld Lang Syne Invitational at The Meadowlands, as he stalked a hot pace from second-over before vaulting clear to a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:49.3. Brett Miller floated the 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding into mid-division in the initial stages as Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn, Jr.) sprinted clear to control early splits of :26 and :54.3 over fast going. Approaching race's midpoint, City Hall angled second-over behind the live cover of 33-time winner Clear Vision (Joe Bongiorno) and worked closer through the far turn before pointing three-wide off the far turn. City Hall vaulted to the fore at the eighth pole and drew off smartly as Doctor Butch and Clear Vision dueled into defeat. Lucan Hanover (Vinny Ginsburg) rallied into second at 20-1 from third-over spotting, while 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach (Drew Monti) sustained a strong stand-side rally to narrowly claim third over his stablemate. The win was City Hall's fifth in a row after he used a :26 last quarter to evade top-level conditioned pacers in his last appearance on December 16. Amber Buter trains the now 33-time winner for Gene Oldford Farms and Tyler Buter. New Year's Eve Pick 5 pays $41k Despite a 17-1 shot in So Take That being the longest-price winner in the sequence and a pair of favorites living up to their billing, the evening's 50¢ Pick 5 returned $41,671.75 on the 3-6-10-8-4 combination, over 53 times the corresponding win parlay. Thisguysarockstar (5-1, Greg Merton), So Take That (17-1, Corey Callahan), Pickwick (4-5, Brett Miller), Dash of Danger (2-1, Merton), and Alberto Contador N (6-5, Marohn) proved victorious in the sequence. Players combined to wager $2,473,933 on the 13-race card. The 2017 season at the Big M kicks off Friday, January 6; post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. - Windsun Glory ($4.00) and Crosbys Clam Bake ($5.80) controlled the terms in their respective featured harness racing events and held all comers at bay to score repeat wins on Friday (December 30) evening at The Meadowlands. In the $18,000 featured distaff pace, carded as race six, Windsun Glory lived up to even-money billing and captured her ninth career win, also her third in four starts. After she was looped off the gate by Inittowinafortune (Corey Callahan), Joe Bongiorno pressed the 3-year-old Mach Three filly to the fore to clear at the completion of a :27.2 first quarter mile. Despite first-over pressure from Delightful Dragon (Marcus Miller) through the middle splits of :55.3 and 1:24, Windsun Glory would not relinquish control, edging clear off the far turn and maintaining 1-1/2 lengths of clearance while driven out to a 1:53 triumph. Delightful Dragon maintained second narrowly from Truth and Liberty (Kyle DiBenedetto), who sustained belated gains after angling off fourth-over cover. Ron Burke trains Windsun Glory for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, the J & T Silva Stables, and Larry Karr. The seventh-race top-level conditioned trot, also carrying a purse of $18,000, saw Crosbys Clam Bake make every yard a winning one, coasting through splits of :28 and :57 before parrying a stern first-over challenge from Classical Annie (Marcus Miller) through the last five-sixteenths of the mile. Jim Marohn, Jr. urged the 6-year-old Kadabra gelding to edge away in the final sixteenth to secure a 1:55.3 victory by 2-1/4 lengths. Waiting On a Woman (Vinny Ginsburg) protected second from his pocket trip, and Classical Annie held third after leveling off. Second favorite Kelsey's Keepsake lost all chance after breaking stride on approach to the first turn. Crosbys Clam Bake earned his 31st career win for trainer Andy Federico and owners Randy Bendis, Jack Piatt, II, and Tom Pollack. Total handle for the 12-race card was $2,955,888. A 13-race New Year's Eve program closes out 2016 at The Meadowlands; post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media

East Rutherford, N.J. - A full field of ten harness racing pacers--three of them millionaires--will contest the $35,000 Auld Lang Syne Invitational on New Year's Eve (Sat., Dec. 31) at The Meadowlands. Trainer Ron Burke's pair of Limelight Beach and Clear Vision have been installed as the 5-2 favored entry on the morning line. Limelight Beach, the 2014 Little Brown Jug winner, earned top-level wins at both Saratoga and Dover in recent weeks while most recently just missing Mach It So in an Open at Yonkers. Drew Monti, who just scored his first Meadowlands driving win on Thursday night, assumes the driving assignment on the 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding. His entrymate Clear Vision boasts over $2.5 million in career earnings, and he returns to East Rutherford after capturing the first race of the fall-winter meet in gritty first-over fashion. The 10-year-old Western Hanover gelding seeks his fourth win of the year, and Joe Bongiorno will be at the lines. Among those looking to topple the Burke duo are the rapidly-rising City Hall (Brett Miller, 6-1), who reeled off four straight Big M wins while climbing the class ladder; millionaire Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn, Jr., 8-1), who rises markedly off a 1:50.1 score; Lucan Hanover (Vinny Ginsburg, 7-2), a winner of two Levy preliminaries in March and 27 races in his career; and National Seelster (John Campbell, 8-1), who prevailed in a hard-fought 1:50.3 mile after leaving from post 10 in his last. In the sub-featured $15,000 top-level conditioned/optional claiming pace, Betty Tauber's Elrama N seeks a fourth straight win and second straight at the level after sustaining a first-over push to the fore and parrying El Bloombito's late charge to prevail in 1:51.4 last week. The Michael Russo trainee remains at the level via the optional $50,000 tag, and Corey Callahan is back aboard the 5-2 morning line favorite. Fans on-track can pad their bankrolls in the Win Your Share of $2,016 giveaway, and enjoy a special buffet dinner in Pink, complete with a champagne toast and fireworks display to ring in the new year. Horsemen are invited to a New Year's Eve party in the skyboxes, courtesy Allerage Farms. Post time for the first of 13 races is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. - Batavia Downs driving champion Drew Monti notched his first ever driving victory at The Meadowlands, teaming up with harness racing owner-trainer Rick Dane's I Found My Beach ($10.80) in Thursday (December 29) evening's ninth event, a $6,500 first-level conditioned pace. The 22-year-old Canisius College alumnus put the 7-year-old Mach Three gelding into play immediately, clearing on the first turn but yielding to Sapient Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) at the completion of a :27.1 first quarter. I Found My Beach enjoyed clear sailing from the pocket through the middle half before angling off the pegs to challenge with five-sixteenths to go. After wearing down Sapient Hanover and taking charge at the eighth pole, I Found My Beach was called upon for everything he had left to parry a late challenge from Twincreeks Jesse (Tyler Smith), prevailing by a head in 1:55.1 over good going. Yankee Favorite (Brett Miller) rallied belatedly to claim third as the 8-5 favorite. For I Found My Beach, the win was his third of the year and the 23rd of his career. Brett Miller was the only driver to score multiple wins on the 10-race card, teaming up with a pair of odds-on favorites. Miller captured the second race with Heidi Rohr trainee Sportsmuffler ($3.40, 1:55.1), as well as the finale with Tom Shay trainee Mr Bubbles N ($3.60, 1:54.3). Live racing returns to the Big M on Friday (December 30), with the first of 12 races due off at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time. Friday's last-race 20¢ Jackpot High Five will boast a carryover of $13,245.02. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Another step up, another convincing win. Betty Tauber's Elrama N ($3.20) rose to the occasion in Friday (December 23) evening's harness racing featured $15,500 top-level conditioned pace at The Meadowlands, using a strong first-over push through the far turn to reel off his third win in a row.   Brett Miller was unhurried early on with the 7-year-old Elsu gelding, settling in fourth as Alberto Contador N (Jim Marohn, Jr.) and Rufo (Drew Monti) alternated on the lead through early splits of :27.2 and :55.4. At race's midpoint, Elrama N began his first-over ascent, charging boldly after Rufo, forcing a :28.3 third quarter, and pushing to the fore at head-stretch. After putting away Rufo, Elrama N edged clear of a brief bid from the second-over Windsun Stetson (Joe Bongiorno) and ultimately held sway by three-quarters of a length for a 1:51.4 score. El Bloombito (John Campbell) rallied down the grandstand side off third-over cover to narrowly take second over Alberto Contador N, who held third from his pocket trip.   Michael Russo trains Elrama N, now a 23-time winner. For Miller, the driving win was one of five on the program.   The early 20¢ Jackpot High Five was captured again in the night's fifth race, as 130-1 shot Miramontman (Steve Smith) sustained late gains to take fourth behind the favored trio of Toatsmygoats ($10.60, Andy Miller), Pansformative (2-1, Bongiorno), and Hugh Hefner N (2-1, Marohn) to spur a $5,834.08 score. UF Larry Alltheway (9-1, Tyler Smith) rounded out the 8-7-2-10-9 combination. The late Jackpot High Five will see $10,891.52 carry over to Thursday's card.   Total handle for the 13-race program was $2,868,800.   Live racing returns to the Big M with a 10-race card on Thursday (December 29), and programs on Friday (December 30) and Saturday (December 31) evenings to round out the 2016 season. Post time each night is 7:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. - A sustained three-wide push of the far turn propelled Truth and Liberty ($15.60) to victory in Thursday (December 22) evening's featured $15,000 distaff pace at The Meadowlands, while Tony Ciuffetelli took top honors in the GSY Series final for harness racing amateur drivers on a night which proved to be a longshot player's paradise. Truth and Liberty settled in mid-division on the first turn, well behind That Woman Hanover (Jim Marohn, Jr.) and Ideal Nuggets (Joe Bongiorno), who would duel through a :54.4 first half mile. As That Woman Hanover labored on the far turn after repelling a first-over challenge from Ideal Nuggets, Andy Miller moved the 4-year-old Total Truth mare first-over with three-eighths to go, and was carried three-wide around Caviart Shelly (John Campbell) amid her push to an upper-stretch lead. Truth and Liberty edged clear in the final sixteenth, and held clear of the late-rallying UF Dragon's Queen (Tyler Smith) by just over a length in 1:53.2 as the pace folded. Better Said (Vinny Ginsburg) just reached third over odds-on favorite Sheeza Shark N (Brett Miller). Bob Lounsbury trains 14-time winner Truth and Liberty for owner Tracy Moss. For Miller, the featured win capped a natural hat trick. In the $12,500 final of the fall-winter GSY Series for amateur drivers, Tony Ciuffetelli and Avivas Winner ($24.20) made every yard a winning one, successfully bottoming out the field for a 1:59.2 score over fast going. The 5-year-old Credit Winner gelding outsprinted Count Speed (Bob Hechkoff) into the first turn and immediately gained separation on the field through sectionals of :28.1, :56.2, and 1:26, at one point drawing clear to a 10-length lead. Despite Count Speed being unable to close any ground in upper stretch, Avivas Winner was fully extended off the far turn to hold sway of a sustained late charge from Ellen's Streak (Dr. John Kokinos), who angled out to claim second off the far turn and closed ground steadily to ultimately reach within a length and a quarter. Dream Rocker (Hannah Miller) was a staying third, just holding off a mild stand-side rally from Feisty Love (David Glasser). The GSY final was the first leg of the night's 50¢ Pick 5, which attracted $212,276 in new money in great part to a $25,874 carryover. As four of five favorites in the sequence were vanquished--two of those defeated public choices being sent off at odds-on, the dividend ballooned to $17,908.35 for the successful 6/2/7/9/3 combination. Additionally, the fifth-race 20¢ Jackpot Super High Five was taken down for $4,676.44 after Carobbean Pacetry ($40.60) and Andy Miller successfully evaded odds-on choice Not Before Eight (John Campbell) to key the 3-2-9-8-6 combination. Miller came back immediately to team up with Sumatra ($4.00) in the sixth and round out an early Pick 4 sequence which returned $9,900.70 on a dollar ticket before continuing to capture the feature. Total handle for the 12-race card was $2,190,429. A Jackpot High Five carryover of $8,321.98 will await players in Friday's closing race. Racing continues at The Meadowlands with a 13-race card on Friday (December 23) evening; post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. - A top-level conditioned pace headlines Friday (December 23) evening's 13-race harness racing card at The Meadowlands, and players will note a couple youthful additions to the Big M driver colony. The night's sixth race takes top billing, as nine upper-level pacers square off for a $15,500 purse in the closing leg of the early Pick 4. Betty Tauber's Elrama N seeks a third consecutive win after circling off cover to a 1:50.3 score over fourth-level rivals on a chilly December 16 evening. As Corey Callahan will be absent for the Friday card, trainer Michael Russo secured Brett Miller--a winner of eight races last Friday--to handle the driving duties of the 22-time winner. Elrama N, one of two horses in the field to be entered for the optional $50,000 claiming price, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite from post 3. Among the eight with whom Elrama N will contend are Ron Burke trainee Rufo, who has been first or second in four of his last five races in Pennsylvania, and Alberto Contador N, who arrives from Yonkers following a pair of strong closing bids. Rufo, a pillar-to-post winner at Pocono two back, figures well to be the pacesetter in this group after likewise nearly controlling the terms in a similar event at Harrah's Philadelphia more recently. Joe Bongiorno drives the 7-2 second choice from post 4. Alberto Contador N could well be a factor from off the pace, noting his near miss at Yonkers in his last effort. Jim Marohn, Jr. drives the Darran Cassar trainee from post 6. In terms of new additions to the driver colony, Tyler Smith will look to build momentum after his driving double last Thursday. The top-five Hoosier Park driver will drive in 12 of the night's 13 races, including five starters at 6-1 or lower in the morning line. Smith will have company this week as Drew Monti arrives after capturing the Batavia Downs driving title. The 22-year-old Canisius College alumnus is slated to drive in seven races on the Friday program. As usual, $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools await players on- and off-track alike throughout the Friday card. Post time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

City Hall ($5.80) used another powerful stretch kick to crush his eight foes in Friday (December 16) evening's co-featured $18,000 top-level pacing event at The Meadowlands, winning his fourth consecutive race and giving driver Brett Miller one of eight wins on the 13-race harness racing card. Miller floated into midfield with the 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding, settling well behind Matrix of Luck (Joe Bongiorno) and Bullet Bob (Corey Callahan), who alternated on the lead through early fractions of :27.2 and :56. With just over half the mile remaining, City Hall latched onto live second-over cover from Screaman Seaman A (Marcus Miller) and worked into contention on the far turn before pushing three-wide off the corner and vaulting clear at once. Ultimately City Hall would use a :26 final kick to put 4-3/4 lengths on the field for a 1:50.1 score. Bullet Bob held second despite heavy pressure through the far turn, while El Bloombito (John Campbell) saved third out of traffic. Amber Buter trains City Hall for Gene Oldford Farms, LLC and Tyler Buter. Miller's eight driving wins on the card gives him a share of the all-time record for wins on a single card at The Meadowlands, equaling Hall of Fame driver Michel Lachance's eight-win performance in 1995. Rubber Duck the one in trotting feature In the co-featured $18,000 top-level conditioned trot, Toronto invader Rubber Duck ($4.80) made his Big M debut a winning one, continuing his ascent after losing cover on the far turn before drawing clear to a 3-1/2 length win over I C Caviar (Brett Miller) and Buddy Hally (Corey Callahan) in a rapid 1:52.3 effort. Joe Bongiorno drove the 4-year-old Muscle Mass entire for owners Blair and Erna Corbeil and new trainer Richard Johnson. Total handle for the 13-race program was $2,466,612. Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Thursday (December 22) evening, with a $25,874.24 carryover buoying the Pick 5 sequence which spans the first five races of the program. First post is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands  

Cheryl Costello's homebred Icommandmyspirit ($4.60) lived up to favored billing in Thursday (December 15) evening's $13,500 featured distaff pace at The Meadowlands, using a first-over push to put away pacesetter Bullville Maggie and hold clear of the chasing Nerida Franco N en route to a 1:53.2 harness racing score on a chilly December night. Jim Marohn, Jr. floated the 6-year-old daughter of Dragon Again forward into a contested pace and settled in fourth as Bullville Maggie (Andy Miller) strode clear through a :27.3 first quarter mile. As Bullville Maggie completed a :56 half mile, Icommandmyspirit began first-over gains, steadily gaining to press the pace at the midpoint of the far turn before dueling into the lead just above the eighth pole. Icommandmyspirit had little trouble putting away Bullville Maggie, and would edge clear of the field while driven out. Nerida Franco N (Steve Smith) followed live cover into second, some 1-1/4 lengths in arrears. Better Said (Vinny Ginsburg) hooked out of traffic in upper stretch and rallied to third, while UF Dragon's Queen (Tyler Smith) was able to escape the pocket in mid-stretch to save fourth. John Bavosi trains Icommandmyspirit, now a 30-time winner. Crosbys Clam Bake victorious in return effort In the night's sub-featured $13,000 trot, Crosbys Clam Bake ($5.80) proved victorious after a blast forward from post 9, vaulting clear from the pocket in upper stretch to post a 3-1/2 length win over Jacks to Open in 1:55.1 and giving Marohn a sweep of the night's feature events. The 6-year-old Kadabra gelding worked to clear two others through the first five-sixteenths of the mile, but would yield to the pocket behind Promise Delivered (John Campbell) before re-emerging up the pegs at the top of the stretch. Crosbys Clam Bake burst through to take the lead again in the last eighth, drawing off at will over the first-over Jacks to Open (Marcus Miller) and the re-emerging Flying Isa N (Andy Miller). Andy Federico trains Crosbys Clam Bake for the partnership of Randy Bendis, Jack Piatt, II, and Tom Pollack. A 13-race card is on tap for Friday, with a pair of $18,000 top-level events sharing center stage. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. James Witherite, Meadowlands   Attached: Icommandmyspirit and Jim Marohn, Jr. take Thursday's featured distaff pace at The Meadowlands. Lisa Photo.

A pair of wide-open $18,000 top level conditioned events--a fourth-race trot and a seventh-race pace--share the harness racing spotlight on Friday (December 16) evening's 13-race program at The Meadowlands. In the night's trotting feature, the Burke Racing Stable's Classical Annie is among those likely to lead the charge after her near miss of Muscle Diamond in last week's top trotting event. Classical Annie, a 4-year-old Andover Hall mare, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the full field of 10, and Jim Marohn, Jr. will once again handle the driving assignment for trainer Ron Burke from post seven. Toronto invader Rubber Duck also figures strongly, following a consistent stretch of minor success from off the pace in Woodbine and Mohawk Preferred events. Joe Bongiorno will drive the 4-year-old Muscle Mass entire from post four on debut for trainer Richard Johnson, who has been winning at a 26% strike rate over the fall meeting. A pair of rising winners also line up in the top trot of the week: Buddy Hally (Corey Callahan, post three) after his 1:52.3 effort over fourth-level foes, and I C Caviar (Brett Miller, post six) following a 1:53.3 score also in fourth-level company. Seven of the ten horses in Friday's pacing feature are in search of back-to-back wins, including Bullet Bob, who held grittily for a 1:51 score at this level two weeks ago. The 7-year-old Tell All gelding has been installed the 3-1 morning line favorite by virtue of that triumph, and Corey Callahan once again will drive the 33-time winner for Mark Harder from post seven. The outside pair of Mr Hasani N (Greg Merton, post nine) and All Week (Eric Carlson, post 10) likewise seek consecutive scores at the class--Mr Hasani N having collared Bullet Bob from the pocket in 1:50.3 three weeks ago, and All Week invading from Harrah's Philadelphia after just reaching. Horseplayers are reminded that The Meadowlands is dark on Saturday (December 17) due to football at MetLife Stadium, and that next week offers a similar racing schedule of Thursday (December 22) and Friday (December 23). First post remains 7:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

A year on the sidelines failed to deter Muscle Diamond ($6.40), who advanced with live cover before striking the front in mid-stretch and holding sway in the evening's $18,000 top-level harness racing conditioned trot at The Meadowlands. John Campbell settled the 4-year-old Muscle Hill entire in mid-division as early pacesetter Aldebaran Eagle (Andy Miller) controlled early splits of :27.4 and :56.1 before sliding second-over behind Rock of Cashel (Corey Callahan) on the far turn. Muscle Diamond was towed into second through a :28.3 third quarter, advanced on his own accord to put away Rock of Cashel in mid-stretch, but he wasn't home free yet. A pair of late challengers emerged--Kelsey's Keepsake (Joe Bongiorno) from third-over and Classical Annie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) up the pegs from the pocket--yet Muscle Diamond kept them a neck and a half-length at bay respectively, prevailing in 1:53. Trainer Brett Bittle co-owns 7-time winner Muscle Diamond with Charles Keller, III, Charles Keller, IV, and E. Daniel Bittle. David Miller led all drivers with three wins on the 13-race program, while Brett Miller tallied another two after his Friday grand slam. Total betting turnover for the evening was $2,527,155. Carryovers yielded a large Pick 4 pool and a hefty payday for one player in Saturday (December 10) evening's Jackpot High 5 at The Meadowlands. The night's featured seventh race began a Late Pick 4 sequence that boasted a carryover of over $39,000, and players responded with $236,988 in new money. Similarly, a carryover of $57,161 and double-digit horses sweeping the top three positions prompted a $68,028.42 dividend in the closing race 20¢ Jackpot High 5 at The Big M. To Beach His Own ($29.20) keyed the 4-6-3-5-8 combination, which was held by a single player through the Oregon simulcast hub. Players and horsemen alike are advised that next week's racing schedule at The Meadowlands consists of live cards on Thursday (December 15) and Friday (December 16), with Saturday a dark day. Post time both evenings is 7:15 p.m. Eastern.  MEADOWLANDS JACKPOT SUPER HIGH FIVE HIT FOR $68,028.42 One lucky horseplayer will have plenty of extra dough for the holiday shopping season after taking down the Jackpot Super High Five wager at the Meadowlands for $68,028.42 The winning ticket was purchased through the Oregon Hub. The 20-cent wager requires a horseplayer to correctly select the top five finishers in order. The jackpot amount pays out only if there is a single winning ticket. Saturday’s winning wager featured a carryover of $57,161. The carryover has continued to build since September as no one had successfully taken down the jackpot. The winning sequence of 4-6-3-5-8 was led by 13-to-1 long shot To Beach His Own followed by 50/1 Twincreeks Jack, 65/1 Last Best Chance,  1/5 favorite Stimulus Plan, and 37/1 Makeoutlikeapandit. This is the second time in the past two weekends that one of the track’s two Jackpot Super High Fives have paid out the jackpot. The fifth race jackpot was paid out for $20,020 last weekend. For more information, visit by James Witherite, Meadowlands

Buddy Hally ($33.20) unleashed a vicious first-over push through the last three-eighths of a mile in Friday (December 9) evening's co-featured $13,000 fourth-level trotting event at The Meadowlands, putting away Opulent Yankee with ease and evading 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share for a 1:52.3 harness racing triumph. The 6-year-old Angus Hall gelding floated forward in the initial stages, securing a clear tracking spot behind the top pair of Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) and Waiting On a Woman (Joe Bongiorno) through initial splits of :27.2 and :56.2. With seven-sixteenths to go and a gradually advancing Market Share (Tim Tetrick) improving into the mid-division, Corey Callahan angled Buddy Hally first-over, and they accelerated to press immediately, dueling into a joint lead with Opulent Yankee a quarter from home. Buddy Hally edged clear upon cornering for home, easily powering past Opulent Yankee and holding clear of the chasing Market Share with similar facility, only receiving a few taps of the whip to stay on task for a two-length win. Fashion Creditor (Brett Miller) rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third, another 2-1/4 lengths detached. Dylan Davis trains Buddy Hally--now a 16-time winner--for Howard Taylor and NR Holdings, LLC. In the evening's other fourth-level trotting event, I C Caviar ($14.40) used similar tactics en route to a 1:53.3 score, angling first-over from just off the front flight up the far side and wearing down 3-2 favorite Wing Flash (Andy Miller) before edging away to evade the second-over Promise Delivered (David Miller) by 2-1/2 lengths. Brett Miller, who led all drivers with four wins on the evening's 12-race program, drove the 5-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding for trainer Joe Hanney. $39k Pick 4 carryover to Saturday Double-digit upsets from Blush Hanover (31-1) and Jacks to Open (25-1) stymied players in the evening's Late Pick 4 sequence which saw no favorites prevail. As a result, Saturday (December 10) evening's card will feature a Late Pick 4 carryover of $39,173.27, with the sequence beginning in race seven. The closing-race 20¢ Jackpot High Five sports a hefty carryover as well, now standing at $57,161.17. Players combined to wager $2,167,514 on the Friday card. Post time for the first of 13 Saturday events is set for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

Breeders Crown placed Muscle Diamond returns to harness racing action for the first time in 13 months on Saturday (December 10) evening, where the 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill will face eight others in the night's $18,000 featured trotting event at The Meadowlands, carded as the night's seventh of 13 races. The 6-time winner resurfaces after a stakes-laden sophomore campaign, which culminated in a third-place finish in the $500,000 Breeders Crown and a fourth-place effort in the $204,000 American National, both behind The Bank. Regular driver John Campbell is back aboard the Brett Bittle trainee after a sharp qualifier on November 18. Muscle Diamond, installed the 5-1 third choice in the morning line, will begin from post 4. Another contender making a return appearance in the field is Danish Durango, the 9-2 early second choice. The 4-year-old Andover Hall entire was last seen in August, when he posted a 1:52.1 mile to just miss Its Huw You Know in a similar event. David Miller is back in the bike behind the 12-time winner for trainer Kevin McDermott. A pair of stakes-proven distaffers in Classical Annie and Kelsey's Keepsake figure to be prominent in the highly competitive feature as well. Classical Annie, a 4-year-old daughter of Andover Hall, was narrowly outdone by B Yoyo in last week's top trotting event after a fourth-place finish behind Hannelore Hanover in the $200,000 TVG Final in November. Jim Marohn, Jr. steps in to handle the driving assignment of the 3-1 morning line favorite for Ron Burke. Kelsey's Keepsake returns from Yonkers after staying on for fourth in a Preferred event over a mile and a quarter last week. Like Classical Annie, the Yankee Glide mare worked forward belatedly in the TVG, gaining from last to save fifth. Joe Bongiorno retains the drive for trainer Richard Johnson. A pair of $13,000 fourth-level pacing events, carded as races four and six, serve as supporting events on the card and also comprise half of the night's early Pick 4 sequence. A combined $105,000 in guaranteed pools await players in the 50¢ Pick 5 and a pair of Pick 4 wagers spread across the program. First post is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

Ast Rutherford, N.J. - Fox Hollow Farm's Bullet Bob ($21.40) dug deep to withstand a barrage of late pressure and prevail over a powerful odds-on entry of Dream Out Loud N and In the Arsenal in Saturday (December 3) night's harness racing featured $17,500 top-level pacing event at The Meadowlands. Corey Callahan wasted no time with the red-hot 7-year-old Tell All gelding, sprinting to the fore just upon entering the first turn. The pair controlled solid early sectionals of :27.4 and :54.4 before facing a first-over challenge from Dream Out Loud N (David Miller) in the final five-sixteenths of the mile. Bullet Bob dug in at once, not only working to stave off Dream Out Loud N for the length of the home straight, but also a late bid from the second-over In the Arsenal (Brett Miller), who fanned off cover upon cornering for home. Ultimately, Bullet Bob prevailed by half a length in 1:51 for his second win of the meeting and the 33rd of his career. Dream Out Loud N and In the Arsenal took second and third respectively, while the late-emerging Ashley's Husband (Vinny Ginsburg) made a belated stand-side push to claim fourth. Mark Harder trains Bullet Bob, whose 1:51 mile earned him a new seasonal mark. Full fields and healthy dividends spurred a strong total handle for Saturday night's 13-race card, as players combined to wager $2,924,959. Noteworthy dividends included the $20,020.22 takedown of the 20¢ Jackpot Super High Five in the night's fifth race, and a $9,539.35 Pick 5 payoff over a sequence which saw four of five favorites vanquished to begin the program. Live racing returns to the Big M on Friday (December 9) evening; post time is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

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