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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (December 16, 2014) - This holiday season will be a little brighter for hundreds of area children thanks to a massive donation to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program by Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Hundreds of toys were collected during the past three weeks by the employees and customers at the Meadowlands. The Meadowlands has participated in the Toys for Tots program for more than a decade. "I am so proud of all of our employees and guests that made donations this year," said Jason M. Settlemoir, GM/CEO of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment. "You can't help but smile when you think about all of the children who will have a special holiday season that otherwise might not have received any gifts." Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment hosts live harness racing Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7:15 p.m. General admission and parking is free. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held its 56th Annual Awards Banquet for the third consecutive year in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 16. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. During the evening awards were presented to the deserving recipients and when they were all given out, banquet emcee John Manzi was the recipient of a friendly roast. The Harness Writers presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Ted Gewertz. He is, and has been, a prominent owner who has been part of many champions, including Deweycheatumnhowe, Giant Victory, Windsong Legacy, Somwherovrarainbow and Shebestingin,to name a few. His great love for the sport is unparalleled as is his desire to win. Ted is among the few who puts his money where their mouth is. Also honored was Ken Weingartner, who became the sixth recipient of the Phil Pines Award. No one writes more copy about harness racing than Weingartner. "I would guess I've written in the neighborhood of 3000 stories prior to joining the USTA and HRC," he says. A former Sportswriter Ken also has been a multiple newspaper award winner spanning news, sports, and editorial writing. For all that he has done for the Standardbred sport at the Little Brown Jug, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and now at the new Meadowlands, Jason Settlemoir was the recipient of the chapter's Good Guy Award. A man of multiple talents it seems that there's nothing that Settlemoir can't do, except maybe winning the Mighty M's Battle of the Brain Trusts. And even that's probably going to happen for Jason in the near future. George Casale was the unanimous choice for the 31st annual Amy Bull Crist Award for his dedicated service at Historic Track. George is the vice president of the Board of Directors at Goshen's half mile oval and also serves as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is also a U.S.T.A certified judge and George serves in the stand making sure there are no infractions of the rules during each race. An Award of Appreciation was given to Monticello Raceway's and Historic Track's award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz. She won the George Smallsreed Photography Award from the United States Trotting Association a few years ago and there's hardly a racing day that goes by that Geri hasn't come up with an unique photo to go along with her spot- on race finishes and winners circle photographs. This year's Excelsior Award for deeds done to promote racing in New York State went to Albert and Michelle's Crawford Farms. And few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms in Durhamsville, NY. Unfortunately illness kept Michelle and Albert from attending the award presentation although National USHWA president and longtime chapter member, Chris Tully accepted it in their behalf. The Rising Star Award went to 25-year-old Jason Ryan who has shown the local scribes that he has a great talent for driving a harness horse. He started the year at Monticello than went to Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota where he finished as the leading driver with 90 wins in their short season. He has since continued his winning ways upon returning to the Mighty M The Caretaker of the Year Award went to one of hardest working gals on the backstretch, Nicole Devaux from the Keith Haase Stable Horse of the Year honors went to the Ed Hall-owned, Jimmy Marohn, Jr.-driven, Danny Gill-trained, Rose Run Nash. His 19 seasonal victories still ranks him tops in races won by a trotter in North America this year. Poppy Sydney Ridge was named the 3-year-old colt trotter of the year while KJ Brenda garnered the 3-year-old trotting filly award. Rose Run Nash was also the older trotting horse of the year award while Linda B won the older trotting mare award.. The older pacing horse award went to 17-time winner Vincent Fra while 20-time winner Diamond Tiara took home the older pacing mare award Since the majority of the races this year were claiming races pacing awards went to Reflection Of Blue, Rusty's Flying, an Mr. Tommy Fra. Claiming trotter awards were garnered by Bertos Angel and Menard Hanover. Upon the completion of the awards ceremonies Bob "Hollywood" Heyden moderated a panel consisting of Chris Tully, Moira Fanning, George Casale and Dr. Herb Burns who were the evening "roasters". They conjured their best comedic lines and each "beat-up" banquet emcee John Manzi. However Manzi got the microphone last and zinged his "roasters" as all seemed to enjoy the night especially when all 180 in attendance left the banquet hall chuckling. From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA

Jason Settlemoir will be honored at the upcoming Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA on November 16. A man who wears and has worn many hats in the harness racing industry will be the recipient of the chapter's Good Guy Award. At age 37 Settlemoir is already accomplished but his star continues to rise and it seems that there is nothing in the Standardbred sport that he can't do. His list of accomplishments is amazing. However, much of his fortune was dictated by fate. First his association with trainer/driver Terry Holton and then later with a meeting with Dave Stoltz. When Jason was a youngster in Newark, Ohio he found out that Terry Holton moved and was on his paper route and it was his association with Holton that helped direct Settlemoir's future. "When Terry found out I was interested in harness racing he took me under his wing. He was like a dad to me and took me with him when he raced around the fairs and raceways and taught me all about racing. Terry had wanted me to be a catch-driver but I refused to clean stalls," Settlemoir remembered. "When we traveled I'd practice calling races in the car and I enjoyed it. So instead Terry helped me to call races at some of the fairs. I got to call my first race at the Hartford (Ohio) Independent Fair." But vivid in his memory is the time Terry helped him to get me the announcer's job at the West Virginia State Fair. "I was only 13 years old at the time so I had to get my mother and grandmother to drive me there, " he laughed. Settlemoir graduated high school in 1995 then matriculated at Ohio State University and then at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. In 1995 he went to work at Scioto Downs for Bob Steele and Jerry Kalb and he was there for nearly 10 years where there wasn't anything there that he didn't do, or learn to do. "I was the simulcast program manager, worked in the money room, worked in admissions and programs, assistant race secretary, track announcer, you name it I did it," Settlemoir said. Two mottos that Settlemoir said he learned and lives by are; "I will never ask someone to do something that I wouldn't do or have not done and the other is 'an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of gold'. In 2005 he worked for a while at the USTA as director of advertising and it was there that he had a conversation with a customer he met at Scioto Downs Dave Stoltz; a meeting that would forever change Settlemoir's life. "Dave asked me how would I like to work for a good friend of his who had two race tracks in New York. He gave me his number and told me to call him. I did. It was Jeff Gural and he asked me if I'd like to join his organization. Unfortunately it was at a time when I had many personal problems; my granddad had recently passed away and Terry Holton had advanced pancreatic cancer, I thanked Mr Gural and told him at this time I can't." However it wasn't too long after that initial phone call that Settlemoir again heard from Gural. This time Gural called him and this time they connected. "I asked Mr. Gural about a contract and he told me he doesn't do contracts. He told me to shake his hand and we'll have an agreement," Settlemoir explained. "I guess you could say I'm a pretty lucky guy that I got an opportunity to work for him. He's a man of his word." Initially Jason was heavily involved with both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs but when Gural and his company started the New Meadowlands Settlemoir had more on his plate. And he responded to his new duties magnificently. In 2006 he was awarded the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for his work in opening up Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and was inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's Hall of Fame in 2011. Settlemoir is also simulcast director for the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio as well as the second announcer at the legendary racetrack. He is vice president of Harness Tracks of America; and past president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and sits on the board of directors for the United States Trotting Association, and in September of this year Settlemoir was elected to the prestigious Little Brown Jug Society. He is also active in the sport as a Standardbred owner and he was appointed to the Board of Directors for American Racing and Entertainment in September 2011. Also in 2011, he received the Tioga County United Way Appreciation Award. Jason sat on the board of directors for the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Tier Red Cross and the Tioga County United Way, where he was chair for the annual campaign drive before making his move east. Currently he is the CEO/GM of New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW at Bayonne, N.J., and is vice president of racing, simulcast and sponsorship for American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs). He and his wife, Lori, reside in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, with their sons Jeffrey and Travis. Born in the Buckeye State, Settlemoir is an avid fan of Ohio State sports and Cleveland Browns football. He likes spending time at home with the family. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

The annual fortnight of Grand Circuit racing begins on Thursday, September 25 with the $336,000 Bluegrass Stakes for freshman trotting fillies, traditionally the kick-off to the meet.   This stake has been known for a number as years as the Norman S. Woolworth Memorial remembering one of harness racing's most beloved personalities. Twenty seven fashionably bred debutantes were entered and split into quad-features on the twelve race card.   Wild Honey leads the first division of six in the third race. The gifted Cantab Hall filly is but a head away from an unbeaten season, having won six of seven with the $260,000 PASS final chief among those wins. Wild Honey shattered CR Kay Suzie's 20 year old half-mile track World Record by more than a second in a dazzling 1:55.2 performance last week at Delaware. She'll be a short price in this one for the Jimmy Takter barn and driver Yannick Gingras. Christina Takter, Fielding, Liverman & Fielding are the proud owners of the $35,000 bargain from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.   Jolene Jolene is the most accomplished of the seven fillies in the second division of the Woolworth (race 5). This Muscle Hill filly was second in the Merrie Annabelle and the winner of the Champlain stakes on her way to over $165,000 in earnings. She blew a shot at big money with an early break in the Peaceful Way final at Mohawk last week when division leader Mission Brief took herself out by going off-stride as well. A chance for redemption looms for Jolene, her owner Bill Donovan, trainer Jonas Czernyson and driver Dave Miller on Thursday.   A pair of solid fillies who have had their efforts focused on regional programs move onto the Grand Circuit stage in division three (race 8). Concentration has been working her way around the Empire State via the NYSS program with just over $100,000 in earnings to show for those efforts. She was the betting favorite in last week's rich final but jumped it off early and lost all chance for owner Ray Campbell, Jr. Trainer George Ducharme and Driver Brian Sears who teamed to win the 2013 Hambletonian with Royalty For Life, a horse in which Mr. Campbell had an interest, will look to rekindle that spark.   Local hopeful Armatrading (named for recording artist Joan Armatrading) should provide ample competition for Concentration. The Groton Hall lass won the $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final over this very track in August and closed nicely to be third in a Kindergarten leg last week for Atlantic Trot, trainer Kenneth Oscarsson and driver Randy Jerrell.   The fourth division (10th race) appears the most contentious based on current form.   Bee The Queen has really found her best stride here at The Red Mile with back to back Kindergarten scores for George Ducharme and owner Alfred Ross with equally effortless 1:56 wins. Allerage Star has pretty much made the winners circle her alternate residence, winning four of seven including her most recent, an unlikely recovery from an early break in the Kindergarten last Thursday. She flashed unusual determination and grit in that one for the ownership group of Jeff Gural (via his nom de course Little E, LLC) Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Art Geiger and trainer Jessica Okusko.   Captain Corey Callahan has the enviable yet difficult choice of either, having been named to drive both fillies.   The races begin at 7:00 on Thursday evening and continue at that post time through Saturday, then shift to 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Further information is available by visiting The Red Mile website.   by Nick Salvi, for the Red Mile                         View on www.theredmile.com Preview by Yahoo      

LEXINGTON, KY-- Freshmen filly trotters gathered for four divisions of the Kindergarten Classic Series at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18. The fourth preliminary of the harness racing series attracted 38 contestants for purses totaling to $40,000. Allerage Star, despite galloping at the start, recovered nearly 13 lengths to weave past rivals and get a nose in front of Saturday Mornings and Cocoacabana in 1:56.2.   Cocoacabana was the pacesetter with Sweet Thing and Fly Angel Fly sitting behind. She set fractions of :29.1 and :57.4 (:28.3). Challenged around the far turn by Sweet Thing, Cocoacabana remained in control as the backfield approached. Fanning three wide came Fly Angel Fly, with Lady Winona four wide and Saturday Mornings five wide.   After a 1:27.3 (:29.4) third-quarter, Saturday Mornings rallied down the center of the course, while Allerage Star strolled onto the scene from in-between horses. Cocoacabana battled Allerage Star and Saturday Mornings up to the finish, where Allerage Star got a nose in front, going a mile in 1:56.2 (:28.4).   Returning $3.20 to win, the daughter of Angus Hall-Starry Eyed-Muscles Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, A. Geiger and D. Stolz, trained by Jessica Okusko and Corey Callahan was aboard.   Lilu Hanover rebounded after failing as the favorite in last week's prelim with a 1:55.3 victory over 24-1 Annaliina.   Scott Zeron piloted Lilu Hanover to the front, while Aarena Hanover gunned for the pocket from post 10. Lilu Hanover set a opening quarter of :27.4. She remained uncontested through a :57.3 (:29.4) half.   Rules Of The Road was flushed first over entering the far turn, with Annaliina drafting 2 ¾ lengths off the lead. Rules Of The Road remained at Lilu Hanover's throat through a 1:27 (:28.2) third-quarter.   Kicking to a 2-length lead into the stretch, Lilu Hanover kept to her task as Annaliina gradually progressed towards the leader. Starting her bid a few yards too late, Lilu Hanover had a neck advantage at the wire over Annaliina, with Waiting Room and Lady Clarabella rounding out the top four respectively.   Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover-Donerail paid $5.00 to win.   Sarcy, upon brushing to the top after the first quarter, led the field to the finish in 1:55.3.   Bright Baby Blues swept across the track to claim command around the first turn, while Josie's Joy sat the pocket and Sarcy trotted third. After a :28.2 quarter, Jimmy Takter pulled Sarcy two wide to claim command before three-eighths. She was uncontested at the half, timed in :57.1 (:28.4).   Sarcy remained unchallenged around the far turn. Bright Baby Blues, stalking from the pocket, tipped first over at three-quarters, with Josie's Joy and Armatrading tracking her move. Timed in 1:26.1 (:29), Sarcy remained in control. Despite bids from Bright Baby Blues, Josie's Joy, Armatrading and Fashion Lover in the late stages of the mile, Sarcy held command and sailed to a 1:55.3 (:29.2) victory; Fashion Lover finished second, Armatrading was third and Josie's Joy was fourth. Sarcy, sent off the second choice, is owned by Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding and trained by Jimmy Takter. The Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire-Valley Victory daughter paid $7.20 to win. Bee The Queen, entering off a 30-1 upset in the Kindergarten last week, was victorious at odds of 1/5 in 1:56.1. Catherine's Melody showed early speed, while Bee The Queen floated towards the front, and Bright Eyes sat behind in third. The opening quarter was timed in :29.3. Bee The Queen made her move before the half, trying to sweep around Catherine's Melody as Bright Eyes, Flirting Filly and Shafina Hanover began their bids. Bee The Queen had a head in front through a :58.3 (:29) half. Although Flirting Filly broke traveling first over, Shafina Hanover made her way to Bee The Queen's wheel through a 1:26.1 (:27.3) third-quarter. Corey Callahan pulled the plugs on Bee The Queen and she kicked 3 lengths clear of Shafina Hanover, Bright Eyes and Catherine's Melody, and eventually winning by 3 ½ lengths in 1:56.1 (:30). A daughter of Donato Hanover-Bee Line-Self Possessed, Bee The Queen is owned by Alfred Ross and is trained by George Ducharme. She returned $2.60 to win. Bee The Queen extended her lead on the Kindergarten leaderboard with 158 points, with Allerage Star second with 125 points and Lady Clarabella in third with 111 points. Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

At this morning's annual meeting of the Little Brown Jug Society, the board elected Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ontario and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ to the Little Brown Jug Society filling a pair vacant seats. Coleman is one of the sport's top conditioners, winning two Little Brown Jug and Jugette titles. Settlemoir is the General Manager of the New Meadowlands Racetrack and serves as the Simulcast Director for the Delaware County Fair. The Jug Society also re-elected the slate of officers, Tom Wright (president), Phil Terry (vice president) and William Lowe (secretary). by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug  

The current point leader in both the filly and colt standings for the Kindergarten series will be racing over the Kentucky clay at The Red Mile on Thursday night as no fewer than seven divisions will be contested, each for a $10,000 purse. Forty fillies made for a nice even four divisions of ten and the colts line up as a nine and two tens in the Grand Circuit event. Lady Clarabella sits atop the filly roster with 100 points as a result of her two-for-two record in the series. She won her division of leg two at Tioga in 1:57.2 and rewarded her backers handsomely with a $45 mutuel payoff. She begins from post 9 in the fourth race on Thursday at a generous 6-1 morning line. Andy McCarthy is aboard for Randy Beeckman who trains the Lear Jetta filly for breeder Paul Kinnear and his partner Dreamland Farms. Another homebred filly with a promising future is Allerage Star who will open the series action as the 3-1 pick in race two. She's won three of five this season, including a Kindergarten leg at The Meadowlands, Tompkins-Geers and most recently Reynolds Grand Circuit stakes for owner/breeder Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC and partners Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Art Geiger. She'll have the services of Scott Zeron in the sulky for conditioner Howie Okusko, Jr. on Thursday. The colt divisions are later in the card and series leader French Laundry looks to continue his perfect Kindergarten record for trainer/driver Jimmy Takter in race ten. French Laundry was a winner in the Champlain stakes at Mohawk in his last, a mere five days after a series success at Tioga. The nicely bred colt has now recover over $95,000 of his $115, 000 yearling purchase price for Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. He will encounter an interesting new shooter for the series in Indiana champ Airman Batten. This Swan For All colt has won seven of eight starts including three INSS finals and $161,500 for owners Paymaq Racing, Harvey Eisman and Greg Gillis. Erv Miller is the trainer and regular pilot Lewayne Miller is in for the drive. Those with Kindergarten eligibles are reminded that next week's leg has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 18 and entries are due for that one on Monday morning. Check the condition sheet for details. The fun starts at 7:00pm in Lexington on Thursday. From the press box at the Red Mile  

East Rutherford - Despite a relentless winter that seemed to never want to end and an interruption in racing due to the Super Bowl being held at MetLife Stadium, the early returns on the 2014 Meadowlands season, the first in the new state of the art facility are promising. Through 67 live racing dates, the on-track handle stands at $19,231,729, an average of $287,040 per card. That figure will increase through the final 14 dates of the season which include The Breeders Crown and TVG Free For All Championships. All-sources export handle through the same 67 live racing dates is $168,020,021, an average of $2,507,761 per-card. With 14 racing dates remaining, export is trending toward surpassing $200 Million for the entire season. Hambletonian Day was a tremendous success. While some international figures continue to trickle in, the current handle of $8,693,869 is an increase of over $1 Million from 2013 and is the third highest handle in Hambletonian history, behind only 2002 ($8.8 Million) and 2005 ($9 Million). "I am very pleased with the first year in our new facility," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "First and foremost, the new racetrack is absolutely stunning and I don't believe there is a racetrack like it in the country. The most common comments I hear from our guests speak to how beautiful the racetrack is. "I think the summertime and better weather allowed people to spread out more" Gural added, "enjoying all the outside amenities and as Hambletonian Day proved, any concerns that the new racetrack would not be able to handle the crowds on our biggest days were put to rest. The outside decks and the rooftop terrace offer some of the best views in racing and those locations are in very high demand in the warmer months. They seem to be attracting new and younger people to our facility which is critical to not only our future, but the future of this industry." Meadowlands General Manger and C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir looks back at the 2014 season with a great deal of pride and optimism. "I want to thank our horsemen for supporting us in this pivotal year at The Meadowlands and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the SBOANJ going forward," said Settlemoir. I also want to thank The Meadowlands employees. It took a herculean effort by each of them to put together the season we had and I couldn't be prouder of the team at The Meadowlands. Last but certainly not least, a great many thanks to our customers who have embraced the changes at The Meadowlands. Without them, none of this would have been possible." Looking forward to the Fall and 2015, The Meadowlands will continue its event-marketing strategy and providing its customers with events like Jerseyfest and Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night that proved to be a huge success. On the wagering front, beginning in the fall, there will be an exciting new low-takeout wager that The Meadowlands is confident when at its zenith will provide the largest pool in harness racing history. More details on the wager will come shortly. Harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday November 14th. That first weekend features the eliminations for The Breeders Crown, with the 12 Championship Finals to be contested on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd. Prior to the return of harness racing, thoroughbred racing will return to The Meadowlands on Thursday September 18th and will run through Saturday, November 1st. For the first time in several years, thoroughbred racing will be conducted at night, with a post time of 7:00 P.M. "I hope people come out to see the thoroughbreds," Gural added. "This is a great facility for a night-time thoroughbred event and I look forward to seeing how it is received. I think it will expose the facility to an entirely new group of people and hopefully they will come back for the harness racing as well." There will be six races each night during the thoroughbred meet, with all races conducted on the turf course. The racing dates for the Thoroughbred meet can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/calendardates.aspx. The 2015 Standardbred dates will be announced in the coming weeks. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

NICHOLS, NY - When nine of North America's top harness racing drivers compete at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs later this month in the 8th Annual All-Star Drivers Championship, they'll be racing for more than just prize money and bragging rights. They'll also be raising money for the charity of their choice. All nine drivers will donate their 5% driving commission to charity. The amount will be matched by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs plus the tracks' owner, Jeffrey Gural. Last year, more than $9,000 was donated. "This event is the premier driving tournament in the country with a first place prize of $25,000," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "Anytime we can use this big stage to raise awareness and money for some great organizations, we're happy to do it." Defending champion Jimmy Marohn, Jr. will be donating his earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Two-time champion Yannick Gingras and first-time participant Matt Kakaley will also support the SRF. Tim Tetrick and Scott Zeron will be competing on behalf of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Corey Callahan has selected the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Canadian representative Jody Jamieson will be donating to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Vernon Downs representative Chris Lems will be competing for locally based Sunshine Horses and David Miller has chosen to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Round 1 of the All-Star Drivers Championship takes place on August 29 at Vernon Downs and the final round moves to Tioga Downs on September 1. Both days will also feature a Jimmy Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway, commemorative t-shirt giveaway and other fan-friendly promotions and contests. by Justin Horowitz, for Tioga & Vernon Downs  

The field for the 2014 Tioga / Vernon Drivers' Championship is taking form, with 2013 champion Jim Marohn, Jr. poised to defend his title against some of the top harness racing drivers across North America.   "We are excited to unveil a new format for this annual event," said Jason Settlemoir, Regional Vice President of Racing at Tioga and Vernon Downs. "With top drivers from circuits across North America taking part, we're truly showcasing some of the best drivers in the world."   In addition to Marohn, top Meadowlands drivers Yannick Gingras, David Miller, and Tim Tetrick return to the Drivers' Championship. Jody Jamieson, the winner of this event in 2011 as well as the 2011 World Driving Championship, will represent the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The aforementioned quintet will be joined by newcomers Chris Lems (Vernon Downs), Scott Zeron (top driver aged 25 or younger), and Matt Kakaley (Harrah's Philadelphia/Pocono Downs). Corey Callahan, who represented the USA in the 2011 World Driving Championship en route to a second-place finish, has been named the sponsor's exemption, and will complete the field of nine.   The Championship kicks off on Friday, August 29 at Vernon Downs, sharing the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial and Crawford Farms trotting events. The second round is slated for Monday, September 1 at Tioga Downs, as part of the Cane Pace program. As in past years, the overall winner will take home a $25,000 check, and the leader after the first round will win $10,000. Second place overall earns a driver $5,000, while third place $4,000. No driver will leave with less than $1,500 in the two-day Championship.   All nine drivers will also be competing for a charity of their choice, with their 5% commission from their Championship drives going directly to charity. Tioga and Vernon Downs will match each driver's charity commission, as will Jeff Gural.   The Drivers' Championship is made possible thanks to the following sponsors:   Allerage Farms,   the Binghamton Mets,   the Binghamton Senators,   Bow River Jewelry,   Bud Light,   Cameo Hills, Ltd.,   Capital OTB,   LP Ciminelli,   Climans Green Liang Architects, Inc.,   Community Press,   Coon & Sons,   L. V. Harkness & Co.,   Ferris, Finn Tack,   Global Graphics,   The Horseman and Fair World,   HUB International,   Lexington Selected Yearling Sale,   the Little Brown Jug,   Maine Source Food & Party Warehouse,   McCullagh Coffee Roasters,   Roberts Communications Network,   the Southern Tier Harness Horseman's Association,   Tioga Downs,   Tioga State Bank,   V.I.P. Structures,    Vernon Downs,   and Winner's Choice Racing Programs.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs Racing Media

Former world champion Perfect Alliance, who was victorious in her first 11 races this year before suffering back-to-back setbacks, will try to get another win streak started when she faces five harness racing foes in Friday's $20,000 first round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Perfect Alliance finished seventh in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series on July 12 at the Meadowlands. The race was won by Bee A Magician in a world-record 1:51.1, with Perfect Alliance 4-1/4 lengths back. Afterward, Perfect Alliance was found to have bled, in addition to scoping sick, and will compete with Lasix on Friday. In her previous start on June 14, Perfect Alliance finished second to Classic Martine in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Perfect Alliance starts Friday's Ima Lula from post six, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Julie Miller, and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The remainder of the field is Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, and NF Happenstance. "I was pretty surprised because she had a layoff and trained good during the week," Miller said about Perfect Alliance's performance last week. "This time of year, we do have a little bit of sickness in the barn with the young horses. She still went in (1):52 with a last quarter in :27, it's still an impressive mile, but I didn't like how she did it. "After scoping her and pulling the bloodwork, we elected to put her on Lasix and treat her for being sick. She seems really good. We took the necessary steps to get her better for this week. I'm just hoping for a nice bounce-back race. I'll let Corey decide behind the gate what he wants to do, if he wants to leave or race from behind. I just want to see her finish strong at the wire." Perfect Alliance -- owned by Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz, and Arthur Geiger -- won the Singer Memorial Series and the Bobby Weiss Series during the winter and equaled the then-fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter when she won a division of the Miss Versatility in 1:51.2 at Woodbine Racetrack. She also set a track record at Mohawk, winning in 1:51.4. "You always want more, and we're the same way," Miller said. "She started luckily in good spots [earlier in the year] where she seemed to be the prohibitive favorite all the time, to where she did prove herself in those races in Canada. "You're going to have a clunker every now and then. They're living animals; they're going to have an off day. You just need to listen to your horse and let them decide their schedule. I'm still proud to train her and I'm sure the owners are still proud to own her." The second round of the Ima Lula is July 25 and the $55,000 estimated final is Hambletonian Day, Aug. 2, at the Meadowlands. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions for 3-year-old trotters are on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Only four fillies entered, so that race will be a non-betting event prior to the regular 7:15 p.m. post time for the night's first race. One of those fillies is Julie Miller-trainee Take The Money, who is auditioning for the chance to race in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks. Eliminations for the Oaks are July 26 and the $500,000 final is Aug. 2 at the Big M. Take The Money, owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, has won six of 10 races this year, primarily in Pennsylvania. She has twice finished second to top Hambletonian Oaks contender Shake It Cerry. She will be driven Saturday by Marcus Miller and faces Bikini So Teeny, Silent Opera K, and Mity's Winner. "She's been a nice [Pennsylvania] Sire Stakes horse, in my opinion," Miller said. "We're using this race to decide whether if we're a Hambletonian Oaks contender or not. She's had a little bit of a layoff, but I want to see a nice race, finishing with trot. With a four-horse field, it's usually just a race home. That's what I want to do. "If Marcus hops off the bike and says 'She was vicious, she was super,' then you go in the Oaks. If he says she didn't seem strong, then we have to have a discussion. She trained really good. I know by program she seems to be the best, but that's why they still race. I'm just hoping for a strong race." On the boys' side, there are two 11-horse divisions worth $32,207 each. Jimmy Taker-trained Nuncio, who has won four of six races this year and twice finished second to nemesis, and stablemate, Father Patrick, is part of the 3-5 favored entry with Amped Up Hanover in the first division. Nuncio and Amped Up Hanover are eligible to the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2. The rest of the field is Uva Hanover, Another Deposition, Sarcastic Man, Southwind Poseidon, Revrac Harbour, Resolve, Home Front, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. All are eligible to the Hambletonian except Another Deposition, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. Takter's Trixton is the 3-5 choice in the second division. The split also includes Mister B's Way, Skates N Plates, Another Transcript, Truxton, Well Built, Speak The Truth, Scacco Matto, Lightning Force, Muscle Midas, and Datsyuk. All are eligible to the Hambletonian. * * * The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters on Friday visits Harrah's Philadelphia, where several horses with famous siblings will go behind the gate. Kolachke (Donato Hanover-La Riviera Lindy) is a half-sister to 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven and Sistas (Andover Hall-Honorable Mother) is a half-sister to Honorable Daughter, the 2008 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. Inch By Inch (Yankee Glide-Armbro Niagara) is a full sister to millionaire Falls For You, Lilu Hanover (Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover) is a full sister to stakes-winner Luckycharm Hanover, and Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough) is a three-quarter-sister to 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Heaven's Door. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

The weather could not have been nicer for Breakfast With The Babies this morning with sunny skies and gusty winds, the consensus temperature was 77 degrees. The star of the show wasn't a two year old at the start of their career but a Hambletonain candidate at the very peak of his powers, the remarkable Trixton. Out for a little leg stretching in a qualifier, Trixton went right to the front for trainer/driver Jimmy Takter and waltzed around the oval in 1:53.3, last quarter in 28 flat into a significant wind. He's looks ready to battle Father Patrick for the crown in the Stanley Dancer Memorial next Saturday. Perfect Alliance also got some work in this morning, touring the oval in 1:53.3 in preparation for the Miss Versatility leg here next week. She looked sharp with Yannick Gingras aboard for trainer Julie Miller and owners Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Art Geiger. Baby trotters led off the card and a couple of fillies impressed with identical 1:58.1 miles. The pretty $140,000 Credit Winner Lexington filly Crazy Beautiful took by the 59.4 half then closed with a 28.4 final stanza to hold sway against the closing bid of Nunkeri. Scott Zeron drove, Tony Alagna trains for the Willow Oak Ranch of Tennessee. Lilu Hanover made a bold move around the final bend and drew clear in a 29 flat final quarter to win for Takter and Gingras in her third qualifier. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, she was a $130,000 Harrisburg purchase. Takter later drove the Cantab Hanover x Muscaloosa colt Walter White to a 1:59.4. He was a $57,000 Harrisburg purchase for the interest of Christina Takter, RAW Equine and John & Jim Fielding. Takter pacing pupil Bet You won his Third Straight non-betting race, this one in 1:57 for Yannick. He's by Bettors Delight out of Armbro Amoretto purchased inn Lexington $75,000 for Christina, the Fieldings and Mc Clelland. Trond Smedshammer won a couple, taking the second race with Finish Line a Yankee Glide gelding from Calchips Finisher in 2:00. He was a $50,000 Lexington purchase by Trond's American Viking Stable, Diane Giuliano and Purple Haze Stable. Trond won with Crazshana in 2:01.4 a few races later. This one is a Crazed gelding that Purple Haze gave $47,000 at Harrisburg last fall. Jonas Czernyson sent out a pair of winners, taking the fourth with Alderbaran Eagle in 2:00.3 with Corey Callahan aboard. He's a $70,000 Muscle Hill from Letsjustalkaboutme that the Alderbaran Stable bought at Harrisburg. Dave Miller drove the Muscle Hill filly Jolene Jolene to a 2:01 victory for Jonas and owner Bill Donovan. She's out of Celebrity Speedie and was an $87,000 Harrisburg baby. The pacers started off with the speedy Sportswriter filly Yellow Mustang dragging Dave Miller through fast middle splits then holding on in 1:57. Joe Holloway trains the daughter of Best Tussle, a $23,000 Harrisburg yearling buy, for Ted Gewertz and Val D'Or Farms. The cleverly named She's A Hot Mess redeemed herself after last week's miscue by beating a field of colts in 1:58 with a good 29.1 close into a gusting wind for Scott Zeron. She's an American Ideal homebred from Sure Fun Tryin trained by Tony Alagna who owns her in partnership with Stephanie & Myron Bell's Riverview Farms and John Fodera. Tony sent out a nice pair of colts in the fourteenth and Dream's Beachboy impressed, winning at first asking for Zeron in 1:56.2 / 29- off a nice pocket trip. He's a $150,000 Harrisburg Somebeachsomewhere colt from Dream-A-While owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Stillwater Partners, a Myron Bell production. The Cancelliere brothers unveiled a sharp Rock N Roll Heaven colt named Raylan Givens in this heat, closing to be second and Official Prince (Art Official) from the Alagna barn was a good third. The next group also contained some pretty impressive looking colts. The winner was Major War, Shannon DePinto and Kovach Stables $60,000 Harrisburg purchase by American Ideal from Cantor's Daughter. He made a big move on the final turn to get clear and closed out a 1:55.4 mile in 27.4. Dave Miller drove for trainer Sam De Pinto. Somekindaparty, Shane Adam and Mohegan Blue Chip all flashed good pace down the stretch into the wind. Tonight is one of the big ones, Meadowlands Pace elim night. The inaugural Hambletonian Maturity fields fourteen of trotting's finest four year olds racing for $484,500 and a spectacular fireworks show after the races. Post time is 6:30. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

This Fourth of July holiday weekend will be one that a very special young lady will never forget, thanks to the generosity of the staff and management at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Sydney Weaver, the “little darling” of North American harness racing, and her parents, Lisa and Don Weaver, are driving down from their home in Ontario to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The racetrack making this holiday weekend an unofficial “Sydney Weaver Guest of Honor” at the Meadowlands. "Over the winter, Darin (Zoccali) approached me about bringing Sydney Weaver and her family down for their first visit to the Meadowlands,” said M’lands GM Jason Settlemoir.  “After everything that happened with Sydney's horse, I thought it was a great idea.  Sydney is very popular within our sport and it seems there is a lot of buzz about her trip here.” Sydney Weaver is a phenomenal 14-year-old young woman, who just graduated eighth grade. She got her groom’s license at age 10, has won major youth writing awards and her stories are always about harness racing. She was given half of a racehorse, who coincidentally is named Sydney Seelster and the two have lived through the trials and tribulations of having the horse she loves claimed from her and then get her back.   Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Sydney is always at the races, watching from the rail no matter what the weather conditions are. She roots for the horses, cheers and congratulates the drivers and trainers and has become a household name in harness racing because of her honest enthusiasm for the sport. Her true passion for harness racing is why some call her the “Shirley Temple” of the Standardbred industry. She is now a monthly columnist for the international harness racing website Harnesslink.com and is the youngest member ever of the United States Harness Writers Association. And throughout this all, Sydney battles daily with Cerebral Palsy and is usually confined to her wheelchair, but that has never stopped her from achieving whatever goals she has set before her. This includes jogging horses on the racetrack as she is working hard to try and get her trainers license. The Meadowlands is rolling out the red carpet in honor of Sydney’s visit. The family is driving down on Thursday. Then Friday morning they will head out to visit trainer Tony Alagna and Julie Miller to see their stables and great horses and tour the training farms in the Freehold area. Then back to the Meadowlands for dinner at Trotters, visiting the race paddock and a night of racing. There will even be a race named in honor of Sydney’s visit Friday night. Then Saturday morning it’s Breakfast with the Babies and at night dinner at the track at, of course, “Pink” which is Sydney’s racing colors. Sydney will be honored by being one of the co-presenters of the trophy to the winner of the $484,000 Hambletonian Matturity Trot for four-year-olds. After the races, Sydney and family will drive to Goshen, NY and then Sunday morning head over to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, one of Sydney’s favorite places to visit. Then an afternoon at Goshen’s Historic Track for the Grand Circuit races followed by the Hall of Fame induction dinner under the tent at the museum. Monday is visiting Tioga Downs for some live racing, visiting the local breeding farms and then back home to Ontario. And it’s the Meadowlands who is making this all happen for the Weaver’s and it’s the Meadowlands who is paying for everything, from hotel’s to dinners, transportation and Hall of Fame dinner tickets. “Jeff Gural and I try to do things like this for people whenever we can and it usually doesn't attract this much media attention,” Said Jason Settlemoir, “We typically don't like to publicize it.  But, I understand why so many people have taken an interest in this fabulous young woman.  That said, this weekend is all about Sydney and her family and we are just lucky to have them here." And what does Sydney Weaver think about all of this? “Shortly after Pinky got claimed I heard from Darin Zoccali at the Meadowlands,” Sydney said. “It was a few days after she got claimed and I was still in shock over it and Mr. Zoccali said that they wanted to invite me to come and see the new Meadowlands. I’ve always wanted to come and see the new Meadowlands. It was such a great surprise. “This is going to be so fantastic,” Sydney gushed with excitement. “I have read all about the track and watched the races and seen pictures and now I am going to see it in real life. It’s just too cool. “So many of my friends on Facebook has told me they are coming either Friday or Saturday to the Meadowlands to meet me,” Sydney said. “They want to get my autograph so I now have to bring some Sharpie pens with me. I can’t believe people want my autograph. It’s amazing all the people I will get to meet. I’m just a small time Canadian girl and this is so overwhelming and exciting.” And what is the most exciting part of the trip for a 14-year-old harness racing lover? Well for Sydney Weaver its pink racing equipment. “I can’t wait to visit some of the tack shops,” Sydney said. “It’s hard up here to get equipment in pink but the tack shops around the Meadowlands area they have lot of pink tack and I plan on getting some cool stuff for Pinky to bring back.” What Darin Zoccali and the Meadowlands is doing for Sydney Weaver and her family is way over the top and their generosity is very touching, especially to a deserving young lady who has made such an impact on the Standardbred industry despite her claiming of only being a small time Canadian girl. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Perfect Alliance all but destroyed a field of six rivals at Mohawk Raceway Friday, romping by six and one-half lengths in winning her $35,000 division of the Armbro Flight harness racing eliminations while Bee A Magician tasted defeat for the second time this year, losing to 54-1 long shot D’Orsay by a half length in her division. Now undefeated in 11 starts this year, Perfect Alliance lived up her name once again as driver Yannick Gingras had little trouble once he got his mare to the lead. He was parked out from post seven by Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) and was unable to clear to the lead until after the opening quarter mile in :27. But once on top Perfect Alliance settled in and led the field to the half mile in :55.3 and then by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4, Ma Chere Hall made a break in the two-hole as Perfect Alliance scooted away from the field, leading by four and one-half lengths before coasting home to win in 1:51.4. Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) was second with Bax Of Life (Chris Christoforou) third. The time of the race was the track record at Mohawk for trotting mares. Also making it to next week’s $266,000 final were Upfrontluckycarol (Stephen Condren) in fourth and Lady Laker (Trevor Ritchie) in fifth place. To watch Perfect Alliance win click here. Trained by Julie Miller, Perfect Alliance is sired by Credit Winner and is owned by Little E, LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She paid $2.30 to win. Mohawk Raceway’s tote board had to use all five digits when D’Orsay did the unthinkable and defeated last year’s Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, and she did it at odds of 54-1 and paid $111.30 to win. The five-year-old mare by Yankee Glide was driven by Sylvain Filion and used a :26.2 last quarter mile kick to collar Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) in late stretch and then win by a half length in 1:52.1. Classy Martine (Tim Tetrick) was third. It was Classy Martine that went right to the early lead and gave Bee A Magician what seemed to be the perfect two-hole trip through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25 and all the while D’Orsay and Filion sat in third place following the action until the top of the stretch. Sears came out with Bee A Magician and started after Classy Martine and had them collared but Sears was not pushing Bee A Magician so when Filion fanned out with D’Orsay they may have caught Sears napping a bit as they charged down the stretch to pull off the upset. Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) was fourth with Angie’s Lucky Star (James MacDonald) fifth to complete the final for next week. For D’Orsay, it was her first win in three starts this year for trainer Jonas Czernyson and the Consus Racing Stable of Hamilton, NJ. To watch D'Orsay win click here.  The field for the final will line up as follows per post positions: 1) Lady Laker 2) Bax Of Life 3) Dorsay* 4) Perfect Alliance* 5) Classic Martine 6) Upfrontluckycarol 7) Rockin With Dewey 8) Charmed Life 9) Bee A Magician 10) Angies Lucky Star AE) Ma Chere Hall By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - May 2014 - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is pleased to announce that on Saturday May 31st, Victor Espinoza, jockey of California Chrome will be making an appearance at The Meadowlands. Espinoza will be at The Meadowlands beginning at 7:00 P.M. on Saturday and will be signing autographs of special California Chrome posters. He will also make an appearance on The Meadowlands television show and make a winner's circle presentation. The Espinoza meet & greet event is made possible through the sponsorship of "Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, Purple Haze Center." Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has partnered up with Exposure North Jersey and the North Jersey Media Group to host the 3rd annual Jerseyfest on Saturday, May 31st. Jerseyfest will take place from 5-11pm with free admission, showcasing the best food trucks in the area, along with New Jersey artisans, vendors and crafters. Other highlights include games and entertainment and special guests. The wide selection of Jersey-centric food trucks includes Bacon on Wheels, Gorilla Cheese NYC, Lechon de Negron, The Thai Elephant, Dark Side of the Moo, Luke's Lobster, Kona Ice, Wrap Star, Waffle de Lys, Empanada Guy, Incrediballs, Polkadot Cupcake, Sweet Spot Ice Cream, and The French Quarter. Guests can enjoy live musical performances from American Country duo, Brothers Osborne as well as children's singer, songwriter and entertainer Kimmy Shwimmy. Sports Authority will host a Sports Zone with outdoor games, a bouncy house and entertainment for kids. Former NFL linebacker, Quentin Coryatt, will be presenting live demos from his one of a kind invention The Perfect Jumper, a unique training aid for the serious basketball player. His invention has been endorsed by NBA greats such as Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash and Bob Night. Coryatt will be donating a percentage of all proceeds from the sales of The Perfect Jumper at Jerseyfest to The Max Cure Foundation, Meadowlands "Charity of the Month" for July and August. Charity partners for Jerseyfest include Center for Food Action and Max Cure Foundation. Both organizations will be on-site collecting donations with Center for Food Action collecting non-perishable food and Max Cure Foundation collecting used sneakers and athletic shoes. On the racetrack, the Garden State's finest horsepower will be showcased in the New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals worth $400,000. Post Time is 7:15 pm "Our new $100 Million entertainment complex is the perfect location to celebrate all the great food, crafts, entertainment and live racing that the Garden State has to offer," stated Jason Settlemoir, General Manager & CEO of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "Last year's Jerseyfest was a tremendous success and with all the new additions, this year's event will be even better." Jerseyfest will be held rain or shine. For up-to-date event information: http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/event_detail.aspx?id=7543. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

We are visiting today with harness racing trainer Julie Miller.   Julie Miller is one of harness racing's racing leading trainers. She is currently ranked sixth in trainer earnings for the year with close to a million dollar in earnings, $975,100. Her stable of trotters is one of harness racing's best, if not the best. She has an amazing UTRS rating of 0.404. Julie could be on her way to her best year of training ever.   Perfect Alliance trained by Julie Miller, set a world record trotting a mile at Woodbine in 151.2 last week. Perfect Alliance is now the fastest older mare in harness racing history. She defeated last year's Horse Of The Year, Bee A Magician, who tasted defeat for the first time in more than a year.   Perfect Alliance is currently unbeaten in ten starts and is ranked second in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Miller has a stable of outstanding stakes trotters in Cee Bee Yes, Take The Money, Designed To Be, Bambino Glide, Green Hornet, and Sevruga. Her distinguished filly pacer, Katie Said, recently won a division of the Historic Series-Ladyship Stakes at Pocono Downs in 151.2.   One-On-One is done exclusively for Harnesslink.com by Brian McEvoy   HLINK: You have an outstanding stable of horses this year. Is this your best crop of horses ever?   JM: Everything is going great so far. I am really please by the ones who came back from two to three. Designed To Be won a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Servuga was third in the Cutler Stakes to Sebastian K. I thought that was excellent by him. He has had his aches and pains. I am really proud of him.   HLINK: Let's start with new world record holder Perfect Alliance. How did she come out of the race? What did you think of her world record performance?   JM: She came out of the race really well. She is home all tucked away in her stall. We are tickled to death. What else can you expect from a horse. She had a first quarter in 26.3 and came home in 27. You can't ask anymore from a trotter. It was her first step up to the big ranks. She responded incredibly.   Hlink: Your next race is the Armbro Flight at Mohawk. She will be facing a tough task in facing Maven, Bee A Magician and Classic Martine.   JM: It always surprises me that when I am interviewed that they mention only one horse I will be facing. There are five or six outstanding horses in these races. It is going to be in the draw or the trip who wins. It is going to be an outstanding race for the fans. She might get a qualifier before the Armbro Flight or just go up there to race.   Hlink: What are the plans for the rest of the year with Perfect Alliance?   JM: I don't plan that far ahead. I race from race to race. I just look at the next target. I don't put the cart before the horse.   Hlink: You have a full stable of outstanding trotters this year. I am going to name them and maybe you can tell me a little about each one. The first one is Cee Bee Yes.   JM: She was in a short field of horses in her last start. She had the five hole and there was a horrible wind up the backside. She was at the mercy of a thirty two second quarter. She was gapped out turning for home but came home in 26.4. It is a full field this week. I hope we get good positioning. I have high hope for her. She won in the New Jersey Sire Stakes last year.   Hlink: Let's talk about Take The Money. She finished second to Shake It Cerry in her last start.   JM: She was super with a great effort. There was some slow fractions. We sprinted home and we couldn't get the momentum. Shake It Cerry is the number one horse that everyone is talking about. Finishing second to her says it all.   Hlink: What about Designed To Be?   JM: She is awesome. She has her own world record from last year. She is healthy and i am pointing her toward her next start in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Pocono Downs.   Hlink: Tell us about Bambino Glide.   JM: He is coming off a great second in the SOA Final at Yonkers. He is in this Friday at Yonkers. He needs a race. I could have qualified him but decided to put him in. He is a nice four year trotter and I expect big things from him.   Hlink: What is happening with the lightly raced trotter Green Hornut?   JM: He is what Andy and I call our project horse. He was sent to me because he was not minding his manners. He is still on the fence.I hope I got him straightend out. He had a good qualifier. His last race was in the rain and it got congested. He made a break. I hope I have him on his way to success in the New York Sire Stakes.   Hlink: Sevruga was nice third to Sebastian K in the Cutler.   JM: How can you complain when you are third to Sebastian K and Modern Family. He is just a nice war horse. How can you complain about a horse who trots in 1:51 and a piece.   Hlink: I know you also have pacers in your stable, but you seem to specialize in training trotters. What do you attribute that to?   JM: I don't think I specialize in trotters. We just had Katie Said who paced in 151.2 at Pocono. It is just that my clientele want trotters. I get what they want. If someone comes along and says they wanted me to buy a pacer I would do that too (laughter). It just that I am stocked up on trotters now.   Hlink: Let's talk about Katie Said. I had talked to Andy about Katie Said about a month ago. He said that she had some issues. Marcus said he drove her like a trotter the other night. What is the story about Katie Said?   JM: Andy knows my horses inside and out. This is a new challenge for me and my stable. I have to rely 100% on catch drivers. It's hard getting your message across on how you want your horse driven. Marcus was able to qualifier her and get a feel for her. He did what I exactly said in driving her like she is a trotter. She responded and it worked out. She might race next in non-winners of three and then go in the next Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race. She is staked pretty good this year.   Hlink: The trotters this year are going at incredible fast times. Records are dropping left and right. What do you attribute these amazing fast times to?   JM: The Standardbred is getting better all the time. The conformation, breeding and pedigree is better. Our training methods are better. I am just so proud that our sport is evolving. The other breeds are pretty stagnant, Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds. It is nice that we are getting better all the time.   Hlink: How fast do you think the trotters will go this year?   JM: I don't like that kind of question. I just want to go fast enough to win. I don't care if it is 1:49 or 1:52. I just want to be in the hunt and be successful.   Hlink: Ake Svanstedt has burst upon the training scene from Sweden. He seems to have some unique training methods. What do you think of this?   JM: I am not really familiar with him yet. I have not met him. I do not know his training methods. I really don't have a comment about that. His horse Sebastian K was brilliant the other night. I don't know his background. I guess he has a private farm out here and stays pretty secluded. It is great for racing as we have more competition and more races.   Hlink: Can you tell us about the unfortunate accident that Andy had? Where were you and how did you find out about it?   JM: I was actually on spring break with my two kids. I was out at dinner with the kids. I said to my son that Bambino Glide is about to race and would you put it on the ipad so we can watch it. I saw a ton of messages on my phone. I knew something happened as there were a ton of messages from people at Yonkers. I immediately called and that is how I found out. I got a flight the next morning and was on my way back home.   Hlink: I am sure you are being asked a million times, but how is he doing now?   JM: it is just a long road to recovery. We are lucky he was 100% healthy and athletic before the accident. On May 28th, he goes for his next appointment. We are hoping for good news. It is a six month process. His mental state has just been amazing. He had to go from going 100 miles an hour to just laying in bed to stabilize his back. I am very proud of him. The other great thing is he comes out and watches the horse train and gives me suggestions. He is still right here helping me do everything. I am really lucky.   Hlink: How are your two-year-olds coming along in their training so far? What can we look forward to this year?   JM: I like to keep my cards close to my vest. There are some I have high hopes for. When you are training out here all by yourself they all look amazing. We will know more when they go to the first qualifiers and face competition. I am very optimistic.   Hlink: I am sure there are a couple that look like they will be very good. I am sure one has caught a twinkle in you eye. Can you give me a couple of names.   JM: No I can't (laughter). I am going to keep everything under wraps. We will have them in the baby races soon at Gaitway. You will have to come out and see them.   Hlink: Was Lucky Jim the best horse you ever had?   JM: Yes he was. We had him for two seasons, 2009 and 2010. He won 1.5 million and every major stake race except the Maple Leaf Trot.   Hlink: How is it training for Jason Settlemoir and Jeff Gural?   JM: Oh my gosh, they are amazing. They pay their bills on time. I call and text them a couple times a month. They let me do my job. This is why they are so successful.   Hlink: Your racing is all based around New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and their sire stakes programs. With the expansion of slots in Ohio is there any chance you will pick up some Ohio bred horses?   JM: I like being based in New Jersey. My kids are still in school. I have got plenty to do here. It is great for our Standardbred economy. I don't have any plans for Ohio or Indiana bred horses.   HLINK: Drugs are always a hot topic in the harness racing business. What can harness racing do better. How can we make the bettor feel safer when betting on the horses?   JM: It is disappointing that this is one of the major things talked about in our sport. People have to have integrity and do the right thing. We need regulations and guidelines. Trainers need to be aware of what is black and white and is allowed and what is not. There is always one bad apple. People generally do the right thing. I think most trainers medicate their horses right and follow the guidelines. It is unfortunate that the one eyesore gets the headlines. The racing commissions have to do the right thing and govern the sport.   By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com

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