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EAST RUTHERFORD, April 24, 2015 - For the past two weeks, Inittowinafortune has chased Radar Contact from the pocket and each time she came up short. That changed Friday night at The Meadowlands as the five year old mare earned a hard-fought harness racing victory by a flared nostril in the featured $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap. Inittowinafortune was released as the 4-1 third choice behind Radar Contact (3/5) and Rocklamation (2-1). Radar Contact was sent immediately to the lead from her assigned outside post and she would remain on the point through strong fractions of 26.2, 54 and 1:22.1 before turning for home with Inittowinafortune right on her tail. As the open mares straighted away, Corey Callahan guided Inittowinafortune to the outside and mounted their bid for the lead. Callahan's mare put a head in front in mid-stretch, but Radar Contact dug back in and the two talented mares paced all the way to the wire together. Only a nose separated the pair, with Inittowinafortune earning a well-deserved victory over Radar Contact. Rocklamation was three lengths back in third in the 1:50.2 mile. Inittowinafortune is trained by Michael Russo for owner Michael Pagonas. Whom Shall I Fear was the easiest of winners again Friday night at The Meadowlands, as he coasted to a dominant wire to wire performance in his division of the Spring Preview for the three year old trotters. It appeared as though the $475,000 yearling never took a deep breadth as he coasted to a 1:54.4 triumph. The brother of Father Patrick, controlled the tempo through fractions of 28.4, 58 and 1:26.2 while never facing a challenge. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for the Whom Shall I Fear Stable. For the second consecutive week, social media went abuzz as Whom Shall I Fear crossed the finish line Friday night. Many were asking the question as to if this is the three year old colt to watch leading up to The Hambletonian and if this is the horse that can push Mission Brief? The most interesting aspect of that question is that Yannick Gingras drives both horses. Muscle Network, the 2013 Valley Victory made his four year old debut a winning one, by taking a condition trotting event in 1:54.3. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was last early in the mile and was allowed to find his stride through fractions of 28 and 56.4 before being guided to the outside by Dave Miller. Muscle Network found a live outer flow where he positioned himself third over and followed live cover past three-quarters in 1:25 where he set up his late rally as the field turned for home. From there, the classy four year old closed in on Quick Deal and reeled him in just before the wire to earn the comeback victory. Muscle Network is staked well, including the TVG Trotting Championship, and the upcoming Graduate series which begins one month from now at Tioga Downs. He is owned by Frank Bellino & Sons L.L.C. Stacia Hanover also returned a winner in a condition event for filly and mare pacers. The 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion was relegated to last early in the mile through rather tepid fractions of 28.2 and 57.1. Shortly past the half-mile pole, Stacia Hanover was guided outside and tracked live cover from a third over position where she would remain past three quarters in 1:26.1. From there, Scott Zeron would show his filly racetrack and she responded rallying home well to score in 1:55 over an equally fast-closing Strut My Stuff. American Truth saw her three race win streak come to an end, cutting the mile and finishing third. Stacia Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot for David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio. In amateur racing news, Hannah Miller continues to ride her amazing hot streak. Miller won the first race on the evening, the French-American Friendship Amateur event with Jacks To Open. Her record this season now stands at 6 wins from 21 starts with 12 of those 21 races resulting in an in-the-money finish. For her career, Miller has won 15 of 41 starts. The other amateur event went to Mr Ridgetaker and Alan Charles who took the field wire to wire. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers saw their carryovers continue. The 5th race carryover has grown to $91,918, while the last race carryover now stands at $62,450. Total handle for the 13-race program of $2,649,116 was an eight-percent (8%) increase over the same Friday one year ago. Racing resumes on Saturday, featuring the second round of the Whata Baron series, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands To Open For Two Year Old Training on April 30th Two Year Olds Welcome To Train at The Meadowlands through the end of May Beginning Thursday, April 30th, two year olds will be able to train at The Meadowlands on Thursday mornings throughout the month of May. Horsemen can supply The Meadowlands with $1,000 for an unlimited number of two year olds to train or can pay $50 per horse.  All payments made will be added to The Meadowlands purse account, less expenses. Horsemen must submit payment along with a list of horses that will be training to the Meadowlands Race Office on Tuesday of each week, with training hours taking place on Thursday morning. Any horsemen with questions should contact The Meadowlands Race Office. In addition, please note that qualifiers next week will take place on Friday, May 1st at 9:30 A.M.  Qualifiers will return to Saturdays the following week. Darin Zoccali

WASHINGTON, PA, April 23, 2015 -- Shake It Cerry, 2014 Trotter of the Year, and Classic Martine, 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, headline a field of nine top older harness racing mare trotters who will contest Friday's inaugural $51,100 The Meadows Maturity at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. The event goes as race 9, with first post at 6:55 PM. The Meadows created The Meadows Maturity, as well as a companion event for colts and geldings that's set for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Day card, as a rich earnings opportunity for the sport's trotting stars that could keep them from retiring early to the breeding ranks. That's a mission throughout harness racing, and in the case of The Meadows Maturity events, the effort appears to be a success. The distaff version attracted two Dan Patch Award winners in Shake It Cerry and Classic Martine as well as The Meadows' elite female trotters, including Daylon Miracle, Anaffairtoremember, Cowgirl Hall and Whata Donato. Shake It Cerry, who was won more than $2 million in her career, kicks off her 4-year-old campaign in The Meadows Maturity following a winning qualifier in 1:55 -- last quarter in 27.1 -- at the Meadowlands. Trainer Jimmy Takter was in the sulky that day and was pleased with her performance. "I was very impressed with how she felt," Takter reports. "I'm very happy with the way she's training." When Takter turns the reins over to Dave Palone, he won't be advising the Hall of Fame driver to take it easy on the champ her first time out." "She likes to be in charge," Takter said. "When she gets behind the gate, she wants to be part of the action." Takter indicated he and Shake It Cerry's owners, Solveig's Racing Partners, have mapped out an ambitious schedule for the champion that likely won't include any races against males. "It's possible she could race against boys if it's for 4-year-olds only, but we wouldn't race her against boys in anything that's 4 and up," Takter said. He said he does not expect this to be the final season on the track for Shake It Cerry. "At 5, I think she'll be a candidate to ship to Europe to race," Takter said. Classic Martine also is launching her 4-year-old campaign and must do so from post 9 for driver Dan Rawlings, trainer Chris Oakes and owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Edwin Gold. But The Meadows Maturity brings her back to the scene of a particularly memorable finish. That occurred in the championship of the 2013 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for sophomore fillies, when Classic Martine and Frau Blucher crossed the wire together in 1:53.2. It was the fastest trotting dead heat in North American harness racing history, a mark that still stands. If she wins Friday, the daughter of Classic Photo-Drinking Days becomes a millionaire. Friday's program also features the $33,700 championship of the Do Me Honor Pace for 3-year-old fillies. Here is The Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1 2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1 3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1 4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1 5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1 6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1 7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5 8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1 9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1 Evan Pattak

Shake It Cerry, the 2014 Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, is ready to shake off the rust and begin a new harness racing campaign. The 4-year-old female trotter, who closed out last season by winning her final nine races, will kick off this year in Friday's inaugural $51,100 Meadows Maturity for older female trotters at The Meadows Racetrack in western Pennsylvania. Shake It Cerry drew post No. 7 in the nine-horse field and is the 7-5 morning line favorite. Meadows leading driver Dave Palone will sit behind Shake It Cerry for trainer Jimmy Takter. Classic Martine, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, drew post No. 9 and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Dan Rawlings will drive for trainer Chris Oakes. Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races last year and earned $1.23 million for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group. In addition to being named Trotter of the Year, she was voted harness racing's best 3-year-old female trotter. She also was the 2-year-old Dan Patch Award winner in 2013. She prepped for Friday's Maturity with a 1:55 win in a qualifier on April 18 at the Meadowlands. "It's her first start and she had a soft qualifier, but she felt great," said Takter, who drove the mare in her qualifier. "She felt super. I was very happy." Shake It Cerry will try to become the first trotter since Moni Maker to win consecutive Trotter of the Year awards. Moni Maker, a mare who also was trained by Takter, captured three Trotter of the Year honors from 1998-2000. The only other horses in the last 45 years to earn back-to-back Trotter of the Year accolades were Pine Chip (1993-94) and Mack Lobell (1987-88). Of course, it will not be an easy task. Shake It Cerry will see tough competition in the older female trotting division alone, with the likes of 2013 Horse of the Year winner Bee A Magician also in its ranks. The trotting mares as a group in 2014 posted eight of the 12 fastest times in their division's history, with Classic Martine responsible for three of the efforts and Bee A Magician one. "It's no walk in the park there," Takter said. "By the same token, everybody knows (Shake It Cerry) is not just an average horse either. I'm sure she can go with them. Of course, sometimes those mares are a little tougher. They've been through a little bit more. "But she's a fighter. I'm excited to see her race. I'm sure she's not going to be as dominant as when she was as a 3-year-old. We have to pick our spots, but she's going to win one or two of those big ones this year." Last year, Shake It Cerry finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a "good" surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry is named in honor of one of Takter's sisters. The horse's dam, Solveig, was named in honor of Takter's mother. The horse's sire is Donato Hanover, who was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007. Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Classic Martine won nine of 18 races last year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equaling performance. She is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold. Here is the Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1 2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1 3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1 4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1 5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1 6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1 7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5 8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1 9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 17, 2015) - Whom Shall I Fear, the full-brother to Father Patrick and a $475,000 yearling, served notice that he is a three year old trotter to watch in 2015 with a compelling harness racing performance in his 2015 debut at The Meadowlands. Released from the gate as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite, Yannick Gingras guided Whom Shall I Fear towards the rear of the field while following what would turn out to be a live outer flow. Danish Durango would establish the early lead through a 28.2 opening quarter, but quickly felt a challenge from Clifton Beach who he released going past the three-eighths marker. But, Whom Shall I Fear was tracking that trotter every step of the early stages and Gingras guided his three year old to the lead past the half-mile in 57.3. From there, the race was over as Whom Shall I Fear created separation on Clifton Beach and all the rest, gliding past three quarters in 1:26.2. The lead would expand from that point with the final margin listed as 10 lengths in the end. The final time was an impressive 1:53.3, including a 27.1 final quarter under no pressure. Starzinner was a distant second with Madman Hall third. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for Whom Shall I Fear Stable. He is eligible to both The Hambletonian and The Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. There is a new kid on the block when it comes to the open trotters at The Meadowlands and his name is Wind Of The North.  The Daryl Bier trainee has gone back to back at the top trotting level after his win Friday night. Surprisingly dismissed at 5-1, Wind Of The North left for position and sat third on the pylons early in the mile as Lindy’s Tru Grit, the overwhelming 1/5 favorite (coupled with Master Of Law) established a rapid 26.2 opening quarter.  The favorite would continue to dictate the tempo through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.3 while turning for home with a diminishing lead.  Appomattox mounted a challenge from out of the pocket while Master Of Law ranged up off a live cover trip.  As Lindy’s Tru Grit tired, Wind Of The North quietly began to rally up the pylons and he powered through the stretch to grab the victory in the final strides in 1:52.  Appomattox finished second with Master Of Law third. Wind Of The North was driven to victory again by Dave Miller for Daryl Bier and Joann Dombeck. There was no single winner in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, that carryover has grown to $83,210.  The last race Jackpot Hi-5 also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $52,142 into the last race on Saturday. The 13-race Saturday program will feature the opening round of the Whata Baron series.  In addition the Spring Preview debuts for the pacing colts and fillies.  Post time is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

Jimmy Takter-trained Canepa Hanover and Whom Shall I Fear headline a group of 12 harness racing Hambletonian hopefuls scheduled to qualify Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Whom Shall I Fear and Canepa Hanover both battled maturity and health issues last season at age 2, combining for only 11 starts and one victory. Canepa Hanover, who made six starts, won a Peter Haughton prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. He went off stride in three races, including the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Cressida Hanover, Canepa Hanover is a half-brother to 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. The colt sold for $300,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Whom Shall I Fear was winless in five starts last year, but finished second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. The colt is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick and sold - under the name Custom Fit - for a Lexington Selected Sale-record $475,000 in 2013. "They are huge horses, big horses," said Takter, who won last year's Hambletonian with Trixton and is a three-time winner of the trotting classic. "Canepa started getting more problems after a couple starts. But he was in the Peter Haughton, so at least he showed that kind of ability. He was probably one of the fastest colts early. "But both of them have come back super. I never turned them out; I kept them around and kept going with them. I actually wish they would have been out a couple of weeks earlier, but the weather hasn't cooperated. I'm very excited to go up with both of them. They should be able to qualify very nice and we'll see where we're heading." Other Hambletonian-eligible male trotters entered in Saturday's qualifiers are Explosive Brother, Fashion Creditor, Finish Line, Handover The Money, Michael's Pearl, Natural Kemp, P Mac Attack, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Natural Kemp, who last year won one of two starts for trainer Ake Svanstedt, is a son of Muscles Yankee out of the stakes-winning mare Impressive Kemp. His family includes last year's Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. Svanstedt also trains Handover The Money, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Handover The Money, a son of Andover Hall-CR Sister Suzie, is a half-brother to 2010 Yonkers Trot winner On The Tab whose family also includes Dan Patch Award winner CR Kay Suzie. Stonebridge Force, by Muscle Hill out of Cream Puff, is a half-brother to 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce. Trond Smedshammer, who won the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong's Legacy, trains and drives Finish Line, a son of Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher whose family includes past Smedshammer star - and Dan Patch Award winner - Blur. Explosive Brother, a son of Explosive Matter-Meadowbranch Irene in the stable of trainer Noel Daley, is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Mr Muscleman. Fashion Creditor, now in the stable of trainer Tom Fanning, finished third in a division of the International Stallion Stakes last year. He is a son of Credit Winner-Bon Voyage. P Mac Attack is by Muscle Hill and out of the stakes-winning mare Under My Thumb. He is trained by Nancy Johansson. Michael's Pearl is from the stable of Bruce Lauer. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes will be contested Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, with eliminations and final on the same day. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

After watching Maven's recent performances in Europe, harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter says he is optimistic about the 6-year-old trotting mare's future overseas. A future that, if all continues to go well, will see Maven head to Sweden's Elitloppet for the second consecutive year. Takter on Thursday said he planned on accepting Maven's Elitloppet invitation, which was extended following her victory at Solvalla Raceway on March 28. Maven, driven by Johnny Takter, won by five lengths in an event restricted to mares and contested at one-mile and five-sixteenths. Elitloppet 2015 is May 31 at Solvalla. Last year's winner Timoko was the first horse to be extended an invitation and accept, according to the event's website. He will be joined by 15 other invited horses for the race, which contests eliminations and the final on the same day. Last year, Maven finished third in her Elitloppet elimination and sixth in the final. "It's almost two months until the race, and a lot of things can happen in the horse business in two months, but when they invite you, you're in it," Takter said. "I don't want to race horses in the race just to race. I want to win. We all want to win Elitloppet." Takter, who won the race in 1998 with Moni Maker, said Maven's next starts will be April 11 in the Gold Division at Jagersro - in Takter's hometown of Malmo, Sweden - and April 25 in the Olympic Trot at Aby. Maven will try to become the first mare since Queen L in 1994 to win the Olympic Trot. Maven's schedule following the Olympic Trot is not set, but options include the Copenhagen Cup or Finlandia. Prior to Maven's win at Solvalla, she finished second to Timoko despite an unfavorable post position in the Grand Criterium de Vitesse in France. Among four previous starts in Europe, she was a traffic-troubled fifth in the Prix de France in February and went off stride in the Prix d'Amerique in January. "She's actually raced pretty decent in all her starts, she just hasn't had any luck at all," Takter said. "The Prix d'Amerique, maybe she was a little unprepared to enter that race. I wish I maybe had her a couple months earlier, we might have been better off. "After her last start, I feel quite optimistic for her future." Maven, who joined Takter's stable last November, has won 29 of 52 career races in North America and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter in 2013. Her top win last year came in the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs and she finished second to Commander Crowe when she challenged the boys in the Breeders Crown. She is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Joyce McClelland. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (Friday, March 27, 2015) No Melady's Monet, no problem, that has been the theme for Odds On Amethyst over the past month and that them continued Friday night at The Meadowlands. In his last five starts, Odds On Amethyst has faced Melady's Monet twice, losing both races. In his other three starts, he has found the harness racing winner's circle, including tonight at The Big M. Assigned the outside post in the field of eight, Odds On Amethyst was a 4/5 favorite in the $30,000 Open Trot with Brett Miller in the bike. He showed his customary speed from the onset and took the early initiative through a quarter in 27.1 and a half-mile in 56.1. At that point, the favorite faced a challenge from the Ron Burke trained mare, Handover Belle, making her second start off the layoff. She pressed the tempo with Appomattox drafting in the pocket throughout. Tag Up And Go sat second over on the far turn, followed by Modest Price, who fanned wide through three-quarters of 1:24.2 while commencing a rally. But as the field of open trotters straightened away in the stretch, it was clear this race belonged to Odds On Amethyst as he opened up on the field at will, winning by open lengths in 1:52.3. Appomattox was able to save the runner-up spot, while Modest Prince rallied to be third. Odds On Amethyst is owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Jimmy Takter. He is nominated to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, which kicks off the Championship Meet at the Meadowlands, with the eliminations on Saturday, May 9th and the Final on Saturday, May 16th. The supporting feature was the $25,000 Dash For The "G" Notes Final for filly and mare pacers. The race featured plenty of early action, with HS Open Waters reaching the quarter in 27.3, but Smokin N Grinin quickly grabbed the lead between calls, but yielded to Top Brand at the half-mile in 55 seconds. Brownsville Bomber came up to challenge the leader and took over past three quarters in a strong 1:22.4. That mare was quickly engaged by Crazy On You, who grabbed the lead in mid-stretch, but stumbled and went off-stride as both Beach Granny and Ballineen went by. Those two mares sprinted to the wire together with Ballineen nosing out Beach Granny on the wire in 1:52.1. Crazy On You was off-stride through the finish and was disqualified and placed ninth. Brownsville Bomber finished fourth and was placed third. Ballineen was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Steve Elliot and owner Ernest Hartman. The win by Ballineen sent two lucky fans on a trip to Jamaica. The Meadowlands ran a promotion in which 10 customers were selected and each given a horse in the eighth race. The customer with the winning horse would win a trip for two to Jamaica. That winner was Brenton Rousey of Lawrence Harbor, N.J., who was just as excited to be cashing the winning exacta ticket and wrapped up his interview by exclaiming "The Big M is number one!" The GSY Amateur Series continued on Friday night and this week it was the Robert Krivelin show as he scored a driving double winning both $8,000 events with Current Crisis and Permanent Joy. Krivelin finished second in both amateur trotting events the previous week and has taken a commanding lead in the early part of the series. Hannah Miller had a good showing, finishing second with Jacks To Open and fourth with Rev It Now. The driving stars on the program were Jim Marohn Jr. and Scott Zeron, both scoring driving triples on the card. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-Five went unclaimed with multiple winning tickets connecting. That carryover will be $61,472 into the Saturday program. The last race Super Hi-Five also had multiple winning tickets, resulting in a carryover of $11,841 into 12th race on the Saturday program, which begins at 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands Signal Restored to Mid-Atlantic Customers Simulcast Impasse blacking out The Meadowlands signal has come to an end The simulcast dispute that had prohibited certain bettors from wagering on The Meadowlands has been resolved.  Effective tonight, Friday, March 27, 2015, those customers who wager at Mid-Atlantic sites will be able to bet into the largest pools in harness racing once again. “First and foremost I want to apologize to our customers who have been unable to partake in The Meadowlands product these past four months,” said General Manager/C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir.  “We are very thankful that this impasse has come to an end and we appreciate our customers sticking with us through this difficult time.  We thank them for being fans of The Meadowlands and are elated that they will be able to wager into our pools again.” “We have worked hard over these past few months to do our best at The Meadowlands to help resolve this dispute,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.  “It was very unfortunate, and we are very sorry that so many people were affected and essentially blacked out from wagering on our product.  We are hopeful that with this impasse being lifted they are eager to return to wagering on the world’s greatest harness racing.  We thank them for their continuous support.” Darin Zoccali

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – The richest and fastest harness racing pacing colts of the 2014 season in North America have been nominated to the second annual revival of the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R. The $200,000 Prix D’Ete is restricted to four-year-old pacers only and the race will be held on Sunday, August 23. It is the richest harness horse race in all of Quebec and one of the richest races for four-year-olds in the sport. Headlining the list of the 28 four-year-olds that features six of the top ten money winning three-year-olds from last year is $1,472,937 winner McWicked. He was voted the Dan Patch award and the O’Brien award as North America’s top three-year-old pacing colt of the year in 2014. Last year he was victorious in the Breeders Crown, the Hempt Memorial, the Adios Pace and the Progress Pace for trainer Casie Coleman and Ed James SSG Stable. He is joined by other world class performers All Bets Off, He’s Watching, Always B Miki, Limelight Beach and Somewhere In L A among the top ten money winners from 2014. Three of the horses nominated are million dollar lifetime winners, McWicked, He’s Watching and All Bets Off. And if speed counts for anything, then the Prix D’Ete eligibles for 2015 have that too, as five of the six fastest three-year-old pacing colts last year were also nominated. There are 12 horses nominated with a race record of 1:50 or faster. He’s Watching, with his amazing 1:46.4 world record performance in the Meadowlands Pace final, which ties him as a co-fastest harness race horse ever, heads the lineup followed by McWicked’s  1:47.3 world record mile at Pocono Downs, Always B Miki (1:47.4), Luck Be With You (1:48) and All Bets Off (1:48.3). “With this caliber of horses nominated,” said 3R General Manager Vincent Trudel, “the Hippodrome 3R track record set last year by Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 in the Prix D’Ete could easily be broken. What a great group of horses we have that have been nominated.” Jimmy Takter trained Sunfire Blue Chip, who was driven in the Prix D’Ete by local favorite, Yannick Gingras. Takter hopes to return once again to vie for the Prix D’Ete trophy as his stable has nominated Somewhere In L A, who last year won over $500,000 with a record of 1:50. The top four leading money winner trainers in 2014 all have horses nominated to the Prix D’Ete. They are Ron Burke, Jimmy Takter, Erv Miller and Casie Coleman. “We could not be more pleased with such top horses nominated to the Prix D’Ete,” Trudel added, “There are still two more nomination payments that must be made in April and May, but I am sure that most of these horses will remain eligible. It will also be exciting as this season we have purchased a new starting car with a slated gate that will make the races even more competitive.” There is also a local flavor to the race as seven of the horses entered have Quebec-based connections. They are Atomic Million AM, Bettorever, Big Boy Dreams, Boomboom Ballykeel, Electric Western, Titus Seelster and Vance Bayama. “It is shaping up that we can look forward to an exciting live race meet at 3R,” Trudel said. “The race fans will not only get to see the best horses compete in the Prix D’Ete, but with the new starting gate, our $1 million Quebec-bred series, the drivers tournament and the special promotions we have planned throughout the season, opening day on Sunday, May 3 cannot arrive fast enough.” From the Quebec Jockey Club Here are the 28 horses nominated in alphabetical order: All Bets Off Always B Miki Arthur Blue Chip Atomic Million AM Best Said Bettorever Big Boy Dreams Boomboom Ballykeel Electric Western Fort Knox He’s Watching Jet Airway Limelight Beach Luck Be Withyou Mattamerican McWicked Melmerby Beach National Debt Roger Mach EM Silverhill Shadow Somewhere In L A Speckled Door Three Of Clubs Titus Seelster Unlocked Vance Bayama Whiskey N Pie Winds Of Change

EAST RUTHERFORD, NY (March 26, 2015) - With dominant divisional leader Melady's Monet sitting out the week, Odds On Amethyst assumes the favorite's role in Friday's featured $30,000 Open Trot at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill is the 8-5 morning line favorite in a field of eight that also includes millionaire Sevruga and Handover Belle, the third place finisher in last year's Breeders Crown Mare Trot. Odds On Amethyst has five wins in 13 starts since joining trainer Jimmy Takter's barn last August. Brett Miller has driven the gelding in each of last five starts including a lifetime best 1:52 win on February 27. Owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Odds On Amethyst has been nominated to the revamped Graduate Series for four-year-olds as well as the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial for free-for-all trotters. Friday's thirteen-race card also includes the $25,000 Dash for the "G" Notes for mare pacers and two divisions of the GSY Amateur Series. Horseplayers can look forward to a carryover of $58,878 in the Jackpot Super High 5 in the fifth race. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Dubai World Cup Simulcast Information The Meadowlands will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday for fans to watch and wager on the Dubai World Cup program, the world's richest day of racing. Advance wagering on the card will also be available at the Meadowlands starting Friday at Noon and continuing through the close of simulcasting on Friday night. Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year California Chrome headlines the field in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Justin Horowitz

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, March 15, 2015 - It just isn't a fair fight. Not even an assigned 12-hole ("11-hole" after a second-tier scratch) and taking a whole lot of Sunday afternoon cold, windy Westchester air could deter harness racing favored Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $4.80) from winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot. Out a long way and just minding his business through any number of lead changes, Not Afraid eventually went after DW's NY Yank (George Brennan) in and out of the final turn. The two wagering choices, plus 53-1 longshot Dancehall Mistress (Mark MacDonald), left the rest behind. However, Not Afraid is too tough, winning the mile-and-quarter Ides of March feature by a neck in 2:28. Dancehall Mistress dove inside and snapped second, with "DW," Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) and Brando's Muscle Man completing the cashers. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 6-for-8 this season, having won his last four starts. The exacta paid $153.50, with the triple returning $791. Special Sunday props to Brian Sears, who drove four winners during the dozen-race card. Stakes/series action continues next week. Monday, it's the second round of the Petticoat Pacing Series. Tuesday, the second round of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series. Friday, the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and Saturday, opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The Raceway's live season continues Monday (7:10 PM), with a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). After that, it's Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). There are no Sunday matinees scheduled until November. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available. Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands offered twin $30,000 Open harness racing features on a brisk late February Friday night.   Odds On Amethyst took the top class trot for the second time this season with a start to finish romp in 1:52 for Brett Miller. Miller set his charge away sharply from post eight and crossed over instantly. Odds On Amethyst set honest fractions, fought off a legitimate bid from Melady's Monet through a grueling 27.3 third panel then held sway for the win. B Yoyo sat a tight pocket throughout, menaced the winner late and held well for the place with DW's NY Yank surviving an adventurous trip from the far outside to be third in his first seasonal start. The winner returned $9.20 and the exacta a healthy $122.60. Jimmy Takter trains for Diamond Creek Racing.   The Open Mare Pace went to Inittowinafortune and Corey Callahan in an identical time of 1:52. Callahan fashioned an ideal second-over trip then rallied the mare late from just off the pace to track down Radar Contact after a stretch-long battle and prevail in a photo. Inittowinafortune returned $18.40 while winning her third straight for owner Mike Pagonas and trainer Mike Russo. It was Callahan's third winner of the night.   In wagering news, the Hi 5 Jackpot carried over in the fifth race at $37,167 and the last race Jackpot eclipsed $142,000 going into tomorrow night's program.   The Saturday card features three Winter Series finals among the thirteen races. Post time is 7:15 pm.   From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Not even an assigned eight-hole in a Sunday expanded field could stop favored Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $4.90) from dominating Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 featured Open Handicap Trot. The week's marquee trot was the third of the seven, French-themed trotting events to begin the card, all at the added (1¼-mile) distance and all with overflow (12-, 11-, four 10- and a nine-horse) fields. Leaving but having to wait his turn, Not Afraid took over from On the Podium (Eric Carlson) just past a 29-second opening quarter-mile. Another pair of identical intervals (:58, 1:27) ensued before Count Me In (George Brennan) moved meekly from fourth. That one never came close as Not Afraid rolled through a 1:55.4 milepost. He owned a three-length lead entering the lane, then widened. The final margin, over Lorenzo Dream (Brian Sears), was 4½ length in 2:25.3. Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter), Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) and Awesome Valley (Brett Miller) rounded out the payees. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 4-for-6 this season (career earnings up and over a half-million dollars). The exacta paid $42, the triple returned $1,008 and the superfecta paid $3,503. Note that the next two "French" Sunday matinees are March 8 and 15, with post times TBA as of this writing. The Raceway's live season continues Monday (7:10 PM), with a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). After that, it's Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily (all provided Mother Nature cooperates). Frank Drucker

Making a name yourself in The Meadowlands driving colony is no easy task. But Brett Miller has been making it look easy. Miller would spot-drive at The Meadowlands in 2014 when some of the top drivers were out of town and Miller did quite well. Making the move to drive at The Big M on a regular basis has proven to be a great one as coming into Friday night Miller sat fourth in the driver standings, behind just Yannick Gingras, Dave Miller and Tim Tetrick. He gained on all three of those rivals with four winners on the Friday harness racing program, including a pair of upsets in the two featured events. The top-trotting level this winter meet at The Meadowlands has belonged to Melady's Monet, winning five of six starts, including a three length romp just one week ago. On Friday, he was sent off as the 3/5 betting choice, but this night would belong to another trotter. Driver John Campbell was content to allow Melday's Monet to settle into last position early-on in the field of six in the $27,500 Open Trot. Lindy's Tru Grit was sent to the lead by Andy Miller and would proceed to cut the mile, setting fractions of 28, 56.4 and 1:24.4. Odds On Amethyst tracked the leader from the pocket throughout the mile and set sights on the leader in the stretch. Meanwhile, Melady's Monet still had plenty of work to do, five lengths off the speed as the field turned for home. Brett Miller and Odds On Amethyst turned the perfect trip into an upset victory as they scored at 5-1 in 1:52.3. Lindy's Tru Grit saved the runner-up spot with Coffeecake Hanover trotting well to be third. Favored Melady's Monet put forth his first disappointing effort of the season, finishing fifth as the 3/5 favorite. Odds On Amethyst is trained by Jimmy Takter for Diamond Creek Racing. . The second round of the Burning Point series for pacing mares was contested Friday night as well. Witch Dali, the Worldly Beauty Champion, who finished third in round one of this series last week was sent off as the even-money favorite. The entry of Southwind Serenity and Donttellruss for Ron Burke was the 7/5 second choice. Witch Dali was aggressive from the start, sending hard from post seven with Dave Miller and making an easy lead through an opening quarter of 26.4. The mare would take the field to the three-quarter pole, through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.1 before seeing pressure from a first over Southwind Serenity. Witch Dali tried to fight back, but she had no answer for the Burke-trainee and conceded in the stretch as Southwind Serenity took over the lead in mid-stretch. But the race was far from over, as round one winner, Empress Deo, who was tracking Southwind Serenity loomed boldly just off the lead. Brett Miller guided his mare off that cover and the instant she saw racetrack, she responded again and chased down Southwind Serenity to win again, in 1:51.3. Empress Deo is now in the position to sweep the Burning Point series when she races in the $50,600 Final on Saturday, January 21st. Somenicebeach raced well to finish third. Empress Deo is owned by Legacy Racing of Delaware Incorporated and trained by Wayne Givens. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 Pools went unclaimed with multiple winning tickets in both events. The fifth race carryover will be $20,600.71 into Saturday night while the last race carryover grew to $116,386.10. Post Time for the Valentine's Day program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 7, 2015 - Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $2.80) and a repeating Sapphire City (Eric Carlson, $10) grabbed the gusto Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing co-featured $35,000 Open Handicaps. Not Afraid made it three wins in his last four featured trot tries. Outsprinted--from post position No. 6--at the outset by outside number Count Me In (George Brennan), the odds-on choice settled fourth. After early intervals of :27.4 and 58 seconds flat, Not Afraid took off after the leader, engaged in and out of the 1:26.3 three-quarters. Not Afraid took over early in the lane, then held off a trio of closers to prevail in 1:55.4. On the Podium (Carlson) grabbed second, beaten, three-quarters of a length, with Awesome Valley (Jason Bartlett) third. A from-last Struck By Lindy and Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) completed the cashers. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $34.80, with the triple returning $200,. Sapphire City, from post No. 3 in the pacing feature, made the first lead before Michael's Power (Dube) went by. That one, from an assigned eight-hole, cleared and led early (:27.1, :57.1). Invading Dapper Dude (Brian Sears) tried it first-up from fifth, prompting past a 1:25.1 three-quarters. The leader remained so, with a length-and-a-half in and out of the final turn. However, he began to tire as Sapphire City ducked in and went by. In a virtual carbon copy of last week's race, he was able to whip a closing 2-1 choice Take it Back Terry (Brennan). The margin was a half-length (same as last Saturday) in 1:52.4. Dapper Dude held credibly for third, with Michael's Power and BJ's Guy settling for the minor spoils. For third choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, it was his second win in five seasonal starts (career earnings now over $900,000) The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $292.50 and the superfecta paid $699. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then a French-centric Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

Maven has been the darling of the harness racing press and a hefty chunk of the sport’s fan base for the past few months. She’s taken the crown from Foiled Again, who held that distinction for a couple of years. The six-year-old daughter of Glidemaster—the only top tier trotter that sire has produced in North America—only won four races during 2014, and only one of those was a grade one stakes race. She set a track record in winning the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs in November. Her other three wins came in the Miami Valley Distaff in mid-May, a preferred trot at Pocono in August and the BC elimination at the Meadowlands. Maven finished out in three legs of the Miss Versatility Series, which she won in 2013, and was third in the final at Delaware, which division champ Classic Martine won. She earned $333,027 between her dozen starts in NA and a pair in Europe. So what’s all the fuss about? Why is Maven the flame of the Twittersphere and the horse harness scribes have elevated to the top of the pile? Her pedestrian numbers during the past year scream journeyman in a slump—not superstar. Racing in Europe adds some panache to her resume, but she has one third place finish to show for five European starts last season and this. Maven’s popularity obviously extends to the sales ring as she brought a record $750,000 bid from Herb Liverman at Harrisburg in November. And he already owned a piece of rival Bee A Magician. One of Maven’s problems is that Liverman is determined not to have the pair go head to head. That means Maven is stuck in Europe, or destined to take on the boys back home. Neither of those scenarios looks promising at the moment. Contrast Maven’s overseas performance with the much less celebrated Arch Madness, who made eight starts in Europe during 2011, 2012 and 2013. He won two of them, the 2011 Oslo Grand Prix and a heat of the Elitlop. He finished second in the latter twice and was third three times in European races. Arch got some publicity for all of this, particularly in Canada, but Maven seems to be leaving him in the PR dust despite a much shorter record of accomplishment. Something similar has been happening on the pacing side. Eleven-year-old Foiled Again is still the most popular pacer in NA. He was second to Sweet Lou in division earnings in 2014, thanks to making the board in 19 of 26 starts, but he had no grade one stakes wins. The Quillen was his only significant victory, and that one isn’t very important at this point. He won four legs of the Levy, then went winless for the season except for his Quillen elimination and final. In 2013 he was wildly popular and a candidate for Pacer of the Year, despite suffering 18 losses. Foiled’s hook is excellence over many years, consistency and the money record for pacers that he holds. Maven was good at two and three, winning 15 times and earning more than $900,000, but she took a back seat to Check Me Out until the late fall of her sophomore campaign. She was the standout in her division at four, winning 10 times and banking more than a half million dollars, and had an off year in 2014. This exaltation on the part of fans and the press is curious. Some of it has to do with her newsworthy passage from Jonas Czernyson to Ron Burke to Jimmy Takter. And participating today in the premier race in France for last year’s trainer and driver of the year doesn’t hurt. But with each non-competitive loss on the Continent, we should get less cheerleading and more questions about why she has been placed on a pedestal.  by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 24, 2015 - Harness racing driver Dan Dube, off to a solid start to the season, continue his roll Saturday night by sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night $35,000 co-features. In-form Not Again ($4.40) defended his marquee trot title, winning this Open Handicap event in 1:56.3. Assigned outside his six rivals, Not Again, as the second choice. was in play early. Eschewing a three-hole, he drove on, getting around Meadows invader Count Me In. That one, the 11-10 favorite, took over from lone lass Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter). Not Again threw down the gauntlet (:27.3, 57.3, 1:26.2), taking no outer-tier pressure whatsoever. Count Me In pulled pocket early, and that would cost him. Not Again wound up winning by length-and-a-quarter, with 45-1 rank outsider Sim Brown (Mark MacDonald) slipping up the cones for second. Count Me In was third, with Hoorayforvacation (Eric Carlson) and Star Photo (Eric Goodell) rounding out the payees. Backstreet Hanover jumped it off entering the final turn. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $98, with the triple returning $228. Dube won the blind-draw Open Pace was a pocket-patrolling Michael's Power ($10.40). That one, from post No. 6, left outside of Sapphire City (Carlson). He then gave it up to a quarter-move by just-over-even-money favorite Warrawee Needy (MacDonald). It was "Needy" laying down the law through intervals of :27.1, :56 and 1:23.2, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, that quick third quarter could not separate himself from the gang, and the gang swallowed him up. It was Michael's Power ducking inside, beating a closing Take it Back Terry (Brennan) by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 Sapphire City, Warrawee Needy and a season-debuting P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For third choice Michael's Power, a 6-yer-old Camluck homebred gelding owned by Jeff Snyder and trained by Mark Silva, it was his second win in three '15 tries. The exacta paid $52, with the triple returning $244. Dube won four races during Saturday's dozen-race card. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker  

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