Saturday night at The Meadowlands was pleasant weather-wise with temperatures in the 50's and little to no wind while the action on the harness racetrack was hot right from the start. The sixth race was the $63,000 What Baron final, remembering one of the great pacers of the early years at The Meadowlands and it turned out to be a slugfest. Captive Audience and Wake Up Peter were both in line for a sweep and Dave Miller made a bold early statement, flaunting the impressive early speed of Captive Audience through the 26.3 opening quarter while Scott Zeron and Wake Up Peter could not find position from his outside post and were forced to press on for the lead. The pair met at the half in a demanding 53.3 and went toe to toe from that point forward. At the wire, it was Captive Audience prevailing in a close photo while Wake Up Peter had to settle for the place after an absolutely paint peeling effort. The time of 1:48.3 was a new career best for the winner, trained by Corey Johnson for Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. The $55,800 Artistic Vision final (race 11) pitted favored American In Paris, questing for a series sweep, against JK Letitgo who had her own reign of terror interrupted by a pair of losses to her rival in the series legs. Jim Morrill, Jr was intent on the lead with American In Paris and set honest fractions as JK Letitgo made a bid around the final bend, taking a bravening tuck passing the 1:21.4 three panels. In the stretch, JK Letitigo emerged from the pocket and wore down the favorite to win in 1:50-. Driver Jonathan Roberts had this in the post-race interview, "I wanted to be close up, the fractions were fast enough that I thought she had enough to win. She actually was good enough last week but had no room in the stretch". The winner is trained by Joshua Parker, he is a partner in the filly with Nanticoke Racing, Barry Spedden and Kevin Evans. On the pari-mutuel front, Saturday's first race offered a Pick 5 carryover of $30,782 which attracted $140,596 in new money and those first few winners were not easy to have. Pierce came into the opener, a $30,000 instant series for Non Winners of 2 races with a perfect record, he had never won in 18 previous races. Tonight would be a different story as driver Scott Zeron, who had spoken to this particular horse's penchant for keeping himself classified in a Friday paddock interview, pressed to the lead passing the three eighths and held on in a photo for the 1:51.2 maiden breaker at odds of 8-1. The second race was the fast class A-2/B-1 pacers going for $22,500 and it was bombs away here when Rockin Wizard scored from off the pace for Mike Wilder in a new personal best of 1:49- returning $75.40 for a $2 win bet. The suspense continued to build when Jamaican Cowboy and Vinny Ginsburg won the fourth race from the clouds at 19-1. The will pays leading into the fifth and final leg of the bet revealed one uncovered combination and every held combination returning either $120,000 or $60,000 on the wager. In the end it was 5-1 shot Moonliteonthebeach scoring in a new record of 1:51 for Jonathan Roberts resulting in a published payoff of $60,140 for each fifty cent wager with the correct combination. The fifth and final preliminary leg of the Legends vs. Phenoms Driver Challenge was contested Saturday night as well. For the Phenoms, it was the same story as Scott Zeron swept each of the five preliminary legs, doing so this time with 79 points. On the Legends side, it came down to the final race as Dave Miller and Corey Callahan were tied after 12 races. Miller won the finale with OK Fame and took the $2,000 prize with 94 points. The 10 drivers qualifying for the Championship Round on Saturday April 26th, which will offer a $15,000 first place grand prize are Dave Miller, Corey Callahan, John Campbell, Jim Morrill Jr., Scott Zeron, Joe Bongiorno, Vincent Ginsburg, Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smith and Mike Wilder. The championship round will be contested over a limited number of races and all ten drivers will have the same number of drives, giving them all an equal opportunity to take home the grand prize. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
On paper, the $83,000 Clyde Hirt Final appeared to be a wide open race. But on the racetrack, it was anything but. Avatartist, sent off as the 9-5 favorite, made the early lead in 26.1 prior to yielding to the pocket. Driver Dave Miller made an aggressive move down the backstretch, reclaiming the lead past a 53.3 half-mile. The Buckeye threw down the gauntlet and opened up a commanding lead heading to the top of the stretch and never had an anxious moment in the stretch winning in a stakes record 1:50.1. Alexa's Jackpot rallied very well off dull cover to be second, while Wake Up Peter came from an impossible spot to be third. The winner is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owners William Hill, Peter Harrisson, Michael Saftic and James Walker. Ironically, Avatartist is not eligible to the upcoming Whata Baron series which begins Saturday April 5th, while Alexa's Jackpot and Wake Up Peter are heading to that series next. In the $60,600 Final of The Horse & Groom, it was a perfect storm for Hldontghttoyurdrms in more ways than one. First, the 3-5 favorite Bambino Glide made a break prior to the start, never to be involved. At the start, round one winner Amigo Ranger went off-stride. Next, turning down the backstretch, with Hldontghttoyurdrms leading through a 27.3 opening quarter, pocket-sitting March Awareness broke stride, leaving the pace-setter with a six length lead heading to the half. Hldontghttoyurdrms got that half in 55.4 and three quarters in 1:24.3, while never facing a challenge and romping to an easy score in 1:53.4 for Canadian based driver Jonathan Drury. The winner had been a bit disappointing in the first two rounds of the series, but with the money down, the gelded son of Muscles Yankee got the job done. He is trained by Corey Johnson for owners Saverio Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Frank Spagnolo. Longshot Magglio was second with Crosbys Clam Bake finishing third. Scott Zeron and Jim Morrill, Jr. were the Winners in Round 2 of the Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Scott Zeron continues to make plenty of noise at The Meadowlands as he easily led the Phenoms from gate to wire to win the second leg of the Driver Challenge with 85 points. Zeron also won the "phenom" category last week as well. While Zeron is dominating the Phenoms, the Legends category has been a battle. Tonight, Andy Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. went into the last race each with 83 points, with first round winner Dave Miller right behind with 81 points. In the end, it was Jim Morrill Jr, with 90 points winning round 2 for the Legends. For the tournament, Dave Miller (172) leads the "Legends" followed by Andy Miller (160), Jim Morrill Jr. (158), Corey Callahan (74) and John Campbell (73). Scott Zeron (163) is cruising along in the "Phenoms" category. Joe Bongiorno (90) is a clear-cut second. Rounding out the top 10 are Tony Hall (60), Jonathan Drury (54), Steve Smith (52), Jim. Marohn Jr. (49), Vincent Ginsburg (46), Tyler Smith (45), Jim Meittinis (33) and Eric Abbatiello (22). On Saturday April 26th, the top five Legends and the top five Phenoms will qualify for the Driver Challenge Final, with the winner earning $15,000. Racing resumes on Friday with the first round of the Artistic Vision series for pacing mares, with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
Saturday, March 22nd will begin the six week long, Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Each race on the next five Saturday programs will be a part of the Challenge, with the following format. Â· The driver with the most points accumulated for each team will win a $2,000 bonus. Â· Points are accrued as follows: o Win - 10 points o 2nd - 9 points o 3rd - 8 points o 4th - 7 points o 5th - 6 points o 6th - 5 points o 7th - 4 points o 8th - 3 points o 9th - 2 points o 10th-12th - 1 point On the sixth Saturday, April 26th, the top 5 point earners for The Legends and the top 5 point earners for The Phenoms from the first five weeks will qualify for the Final, where the Overall winner will win $15,000, the runner-up will receive $5,000, third place will receive $3,000 and fourth through tenth will each receive $1,000. For purposes of this coming Saturday, March 22nd, the drivers will be divided as follows: Legends: Dave Miller, Andy Miller, Jody Jamieson and Jim Morrill Jr. Phenoms: Scott Zeron, Tony Hall, Tyler Smith, Joe Bongiorno, Jim Meittinis, Vincent Ginsburg , Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smtih, Eric Abbatiello and all other drivers on the card. The Drivers Challenge will take place each Saturday through April 26th. Darin Zoccali
East Rutherford, NJ - Last Saturday night at The Meadowlands driver Joe Bongiorno was replaced on two of his mounts after a pre-race interview in which he stated that his instructions from the owners of those horses were to race those two horses conservatively in anticipation of upcoming stakes. The judges at The Meadowlands, after listening to the interview, felt that he should be replaced to protect the interests of those wagering on the races discussed. Protecting the integrity of the racing is their job description. Drivers and other racing personalities that may be interviewed or post comments on social media are certainly not trained in the field. Mr. Bongiorno has said publicly that he did not state his intentions clearly in the interview. At twenty years of age, his media exposure is limited but his enthusiasm for racing and his integrity are unquestioned. Experienced horseplayers are aware that there is no substitute for observing the actions taken by drivers during a race to determine if the horse was driven properly. The interview comments made by drivers are similar to the way the NFL discloses injuries, to provide interested parties with the most current and accurate information possible as well as adding a personal component to the broadcasts. In this age of information saturation, as we navigate through the process of utilizing the various social platforms to our best advantage, there will be missteps. So long as wagering is an element of our product, those will be magnified. While this situation may be regrettable, it was dealt with in an objective and thoughtful fashion. The Meadowlands considers both information and integrity vital components to the future success of harness racing. Our expectation is that any horse entered to race at The Meadowlands is racing to win every time. Submitted by the Meadowlands
Coral Springs, FL - In an exclusive interview early Sunday morning with Harnesslink.com’s Steve Wolf, harness racing driver Joe Bongiorno explained that he was “misunderstood” in his interview at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ Saturday night that prompted the judges to take him off two horses he was scheduled to drive. ‘What I said in the interview,” said Joe Bongiorno, “was that I was going to race those horses conservatively. I obviously regret using the word conservatively. Obviously my words were misconstrued. Probably should have used the words “raced off the helmet” and try to beat horses in the lane. ‘All people have to do is watch me drive races,” Bongiorno added, “I drive every horse to win. I’m very aggressive. I wasn’t going to be real aggressive at the start tonight but race them off the helmet. But I guess I did not explain myself well enough in the interview.” “He was only taken off the two horses he talked about,” John Tomasello, presiding judge at the Meadowlands explained, “Those two horses he indicated would get “easy trips” and we understand about racing and how racing lays out. However we expect horses to be raced to win and we don’t want to hear that they are in a series next week. We are concerned about the races here tonight. That was the reason we made the driver changes tonight. We want to see every horse here tonight given the best chance to win.” In the sixth race Saturday, Bongiorno was replaced on Shoobee’s Place, who was driven by Marcus Miller and finished fourth at odds of 4-1. Bongiorno was also replaced on Code Word, who was driven by Steve Smith in the eighth race and was never a factor, finishing eighth at odds of 6-1. “I spoke to the judges,” Bongiorno said. “They said they had to take me off the two horses because of the interview. We really didn’t get into details. I had to let them do what they had to do and now move forward. We talked a little and I have to respect the decision they made. Obviously I used the wrong phrase of words. I am out there trying to win every race. Sometimes I may even be too aggressive at times and that has cost me races. “Anyone who has come out and watched me race,” Bongiorno said, “knows that I am trying to win every race I am in.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Harness racing driver Joe Bongiorno was taken off two drives at the Meadowlands Racetrack Saturday evening because in a pre-race interview he said “I will not be pushing my horses because the owners said not to try too hard, they are in a series next week.” The two horses in question that Bongiorno spoke about and was replaced on were Shoobee's Place in the sixth race and Code Word in the eighth race. “The decision to replace Joe Bongiorno on those two horses was done by the judges,” said John Tomasello, presiding judge at the Meadowlands. “It was done because of the interview he gave before the races and in the best interests of the betting public. “He was only taken off the two horses he talked about,” Tomasello explained, “Those two horses he indicated would get “easy trips” and we understand about racing and how racing lays out. However we expect horses to be raced to win and we don’t want to hear that they are in a series next week. We are concerned about the races here tonight. That was the reason we made the driver changes tonight. We want to see every horse here tonight given the best chance to win.” When asked if there will be a further investigation into this situation, Tomasello said “possibly.” In the sixth race, Shoobee’s Place was driven by Marcus Miller and finished fourth in a photo at odds of 4-1. Code Word was driven by Steve Smith in the eighth race and was never a factor, finishing eighth at odds of 6-1. Bongiorno, 21, of Colts Neck, NJ, has been driving professionally for less than five years. He currently has 407 career victories and $2.9 million in purses earned by the horses he has driven. In 2011 he was voted the national Amateur Driver of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association. Bongiorno could not be reached for comment. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The 2013 season for filly pacers was all about I Luv The Nitelife and Shebestingin. At year's end, Somwherovrarainbow hadn't lived up the her two year old championship season. Now four, Somwherovrarainbow decided she was going to make a statement in her 2014 debut, at the Meadowlands a $22,500 B-1/A-2 Handicap for filly & mare pacers. In a race that included a wild sprint in the first turn, where the Rainbow Blue mare was stuck between horses 3-wide, Somwherovrarainbow moved to the lead on the backstretch, opened up with powerful acceleration and tripped the timer in a sparkling 1:49.1 for Tim Tetrick, who appeared to have his mare comfortably wrapped up in the stretch. The final margin was 6 3/4 lengths over Pan Luis Obispo with Continual Velocity third. Monkey On My Wheel who was parked 4-wide around the first turn, predictably faded in the final 3/8th's of a mile. For Somwherovrarainbow , the 2012 Breeders Crown Champion is onto the Bluechip Matchmaker at Yonkers Friday night for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Ted Gewertz and Diamond Creek Racing. If tonight's effort is any indication, she is sure to be a force in that series. Friday night at The Meadowlands saw the opening leg of the Horse & Groom trotting series with the first of two $20,000 divisions going to Amigo Ranger in 1:55.1. Corey Callahan drove the Amigo Hall five year old to a first over score, wearing down the favored Hldontghttourdrms in the stretch for his first win of the campaign. Ashes Cash closed to be second and longshot Home Turf was third. Ron Burke trains the winner for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stable. The second division featured an exciting stretch drive where Bambino Glide, who cut the mile, called on all he had to hold off a relentless Time To Quit, who missed by a diminishing neck in 1:53.1 with longshot March Awareness third. Bambino Glide was sent out by team Orange Crush, Andy and Julie Miller for owners Kapildeo Singh and Shakoor's Racing Stable. The second leg of the Winter Survivor series also split into a pair of divisions with the first of those going to Cane Ridge and Callahan in 1:51.1. The winner of last season's Rags To Riches late closer was sent right to the top from the outside post nine and rated an honest pace to score handily over Mc Rusty and Astreos Flash. Trainer Doug Dilloian shares ownership with Darius Oshidar and East Wind Stable. The second division of the Winter Survivor went to Mattador D with a well-timed late move for Joe Bongiorno in 1:53.4. A winner in a division of leg one last week, Mattador D settled well back as Hacienda led through a casual 58 flat half mile. Closing from the third over position, Mattador D was put to a rousing drive by Bongiorno and was actually a fairly comfortable winner over Malosi N. The feature race Friday night was the $30,000 Free-For-All Trot, carded as race six. That event went to Modern Family who scored decisively in 1:52.1 for Tim Tetrick. Parked past the 27.1 opening quarter, Modern Family crossed over, got a breather in the middle and tacked a 27 flat final panel on the end of the mile. DW'S NY Yank was second and Daylon Magician saved third from a first over trip. Daryl Bier is the trainer and part owner of the winner, who passed the $300,000 career earnings mark, with Charles Dombeck and Richard Poillucci. Brad Irvine is the trainer and Carly Roman the owner of Mattador, a likely favorite in next week's $47,650 final. Total handle for the Friday card was $3,053,484, a slight increase of 4-percent over 2013. Racing returns on Saturday, featuring the first round of The Clyde Hirt series and a $30,000 Free-For-All headlined by a rematch of Golden Receiver and Dovuto Hanover, with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
East Rutherford, NJ: Beginning on Saturday, March 22 The Meadowlands will host a six week tournament for drivers that pits the sport's established stars against the emerging new talent. Each Saturday night through April 19 (five legs) a point tally determined by each driver's order of finish will be kept over the course of the entire race card and the top point earner for each of those two groups will be awarded $2,000 for their efforts. The tournament will conclude on April 26 with a final in which the top point earners over the course of the five preliminary legs will compete in a series of races on the card. The winner of the final will be awarded $15,000, second place is worth $5,000, third $3,000 and all other finalists will receive $1,000. This event is jointly sponsored by Jeff Gural and The Meadowlands with no effect on the purse account. "During the Levy Series at Yonkers I thought this would be an opportunity to reward those drivers who remain loyal to the Meadowlands and at the same time create an opportunity for the younger drivers to earn some extra money," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "With increased competition for the handle looming we feel the need to generate promotions that will hold the interest of our customers. "I think this is also a great chance for out of town drivers to show off their skills at the sport's most competitive racetrack during a time when there will be increased opportunity for them to get drives. We welcome those young drivers that would like to try their luck at The Meadowlands." There will be no specifically dedicated races for this contest. All drivers will be competing for their own interests, there is no team element other than to determine the top point earners for the purpose of awarding the prizes. The contest will consist of all races on each of the Saturday programs and the process will remain as it normally is so far as entering horses and driver selections. The trainers will enter their horses listing the driver of their choice. The drivers will make their choices with the judges by scratch time and trainers will be required to call the judges and react to those choices, then name whomever they wish if their first choice has gone elsewhere. The "Legends" will be comprised of Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Andy Miller and John Campbell (who expects to return to the sulky on March 28). The "Phenoms" will include Scott Zeron, Andy Mc Carthy, Joe Bongiorno, Marcus Miller, Jimmy Marohn, Jr, and Tyler Smith among others. Any drivers not listed above who race at The Meadowlands on the tournament Saturdays will compete as members of the "Phenoms" and are eligible for any prize awarded to that group. The drivers named above and any others will compete of their own volition, as their personal schedule allows. They may compete in as many or as few of the preliminary legs as they choose. Contact Nick Salvi at (607) 972-5500 with inquiries.
It was just a few years ago when a youngster by the name of Jordan Stratton displayed an innate talent for driving harness racing horses at a very tender age and Monticello Raceway fans watched the emergence of "the Kid", who became the youngest driver to win a Mighty M driving title. He has moved on and now competes, and very successfully, against the best drivers at Yonkers Raceway. Shades of Stratton have again come to mind here as fans watch another developing young talent in Austin Siegelman who just turned 22 years of age late last month. Although he has yet to reach the heights that Stratton did during his tenure here still Siegelman appears to have the talent to do so. And that he has great aspirations he may not stay here long enough to produce similar numbers. On the Wednesday afternoon (March 12) card the youngster again won three races but this time it was on an eight-race card. It also happened to be his second hat trick in the past two weeks. Now with 27 wins at the current meet, Siegelman is in sixth place on the local leaderboard. His initial triumph yesterday (Wednesday) came behind Woody Hoblitzell's trotter Samawinner ($17.60) in 2:01.3 in the first race and he followed that with a 1:59 victory with PB Racing Stables, Wheelchair Wendy ($8.70) in race four. Win number three came when he guided Julie Working's Wild Request ($4.20 ) to a come-from-behind victory in a 2:01.2 clocking. "I had seven drives yesterday and long for the days when I have a drive on every race on the card," Siegelman said. A quiet kid who does his talking on the racetrack previously stated that he wants to compete regularly on his hometown track, Pocono Downs. And that's a great possibility even though he has recently had success competing at Yonkers Raceway, the Meadowlands and even at Saratoga Raceway. Last fall the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA presented Siegelman with their Rising Star Award and honor also won recently by Jordan Stratton and Joe Bongiorno. And Jimmy Marohn, Jr. was also cited with a Rising Star Award a few years ago. "I'm in good company and I look forward to bigger and better things," Siegelman said. "I love driving horses and I plan on being in this business for a long time. Hopefully this is just the beginning of some great things to come." By John Manzi
The Meadowlands Winter Survivor Series began on Thursday, March 6 with a pair of $12,500 divisions. The opening round drew twenty one horses that had started in a $15,000 or less claiming race in at least once in their last four starts, which resulted in a couple of pretty competitive fields. In the first division, Tamayo shipped in from The Meadows for Ron Burke with a fairly imposing record and his form converted to the big track successfully with a 1:51.2 win. Yannick Gingras sent Tamayo away from the gate smartly and made the top, turned barn mate Malosi N loose as they moved toward the half and shook free late for the score. Malosi N held second and Mc Rusty split horses late for the show. The winner is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Division two was won by Mattador D and Joe Bongiorno in 1:51-. Bongiorno found position in fourth early as Boiler Bob The QB and Cane Ridge hooked up through taxing early fractions of 26.3 - 55.2. As they fanned out for home, Mattador D was fed racetrack by his young driver and rolled on by the tiring speed for the win. Highland Boreas was second and Astreos Flash snuck though for third. Mattador D races out of the Brad Irvine barn for owner Carly Roman. The win was one of three on the card for Meadowlands rising star Joe Bongiorno. The series continues with leg two next Friday and concludes on Saturday, March 22 with the $47,650 final. Live handle showed a 37-percent increase on the card compared to 2013. Racing resumes with a 13-race Friday card with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2014--Yonkers Raceway's Monday Pick 5 attracted more than the usual interest. A $10,000 guaranteed pool began with a $4,039.56 carryover and ended with $16,887 of new money. The winning combination of 3/2/3/8/5 returned a generous $1,415.50 for every half-a-buck. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager offered on races 5 through 9 nightly. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners, the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. The Pick 5 offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool every Monday and Tuesday (in conjunction with the US Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program), with program pages for those days available for perusal at www.yonkersraceway.com. The bombardiers were out for the evening's third race, where 7-1 Cam Funny (Austin Siegelman, $17.40), 67-1 Art's B (Eric Carlson), 24-1 Stone of Magic (Larry Stalbaum) and 2-1 Cicely Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) comprised the first quartet. The exacta returned $365, the triple paid $32,178 and the superfecta returned $12,816. The latter two wagers, based on $2 payouts, were worth $16,089 ($1 ticket) and $640.80 (10-cent ticket), respectively. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
The entire field was back. That was the theme for the quintet of trotters in the Friday night feature race at The Meadowlands, the $30,000 A-1/Free For All Handicap. When last raced, it was World Cup and Joe Bongiorno who stormed home to nail Daylon Magician on the wire, but tonight Daylon Magician was too elusive on the lead. Appearing headstrong under a hard hold by Dave Miller, Daylon Magician got to the lead past the opening quarter which was reached in just 28.2. From that point, Daylon Magician coasted through a 58 second middle half tripping the timer in 57.1 and 1:26.2 before sprinting home in a final quarter 27.2 to hit the wire in 1:53.4, one length in front. Not Afraid appeared to have a great deal of trot in the pocket but was unable to shake free late and was a hard luck 2nd in the best effort of the year for him. Amigo Ranger rode the pylons to be 3rd, while World Cup could not close into slow tempo and finished 4th in what was a four horse place photo. Both Amigo Ranger and World Cup couldn't come home much faster, sprinting the final quarter in 27 seconds. Sweet Justice took his shot on the far turn, making a powerful brush from last to first in an eighth of a mile, but could not sustain that bid and finished a tough 5th, beaten only a length and a half for all the money. The winner, Daylon Magician now has lifetime earnings of $1,634,267 for owner Daylon Farms LTD and new trainer Mark Ford. This was a key win for Daylon Magician with stake payments upcoming for the most important trotting races at The Meadowlands, The Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, John Cashman Memorial and TVG Free For All Championship. Coraggioso was an extremely impressive winner tonight, winning his second start back since July 26th in a powerful 1:52.4 triumph in a C-1/B-2 Handicap trot, lowering his lifetime mark by a full second. The one time Hambletonian contender, driven by Andy Miller is owned by Joseph Spadaro and long-time NYRA track announcer Tom Durkin and is trained by Julie Miller. Perfect Alliance served notice as the horse to beat in the Charles Singer Memorial which is where she is headed following her victory tonight. She followed up her 1:53.3 blowout win last week with a game and determined victory tonight, overcoming several obstacles. She shied away from a breaker on the first turn, was parked for the opening three-eighths of a mile, found the pylons for an eighth of a mile and then went first over from the half mile pole to the wire winning in 1:54. Even more impressive, she did that racing with a flat tire on the sulky of Andy Miller for the back half-mile. Of the nine horse she defeated, five were Charles Singer Memorial eligibles. Perfect Alliance gave trainer Julie Miller a double. She is owned by Little E L.L.C., Meadowlands General Manager Jason M. Settlemoir, Stolz and Geiger. Total handle for the night was $2,645,278. The Meadowlands was cancelled on this Friday in 2013 due to a winter storm. The $2,645,278 would be a 10-percent increase over the same night in 2012. Racing returns to The Meadowlands Saturday for a 13-race card with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
Billed as a matchup between the razor sharp Sweet Justice and the classy Daylon Magician, Friday's Open Trot at The Meadowlands seemed to be a 2-horse race on paper, but in the end, it was anything but. Sweet Justice broke stride right at the start, seemingly leaving the race to Daylon Magician who asserted an early lead. Setting fractions of 26.4, 55.2 and 1:23.4, Daylon Magician driven by Dave Miller turned for home seemingly on cruise control. But World Cup was guided off the pylons by Joe Bongiorno and made his move with three-sixteenths of a mile to go and what a move it was as he wore down Daylon Magician sprinting home in 27.4 to get up by a nose at 17-1. World Cup is owned by Carly Roman and trained by Brad Irvine. It was that upset that sparked a lone winning ticket in the Pick-5 which returned $30,052.60 for the $.50 cent minimum play. The Pick 5 wasn't the only pool with one winning ticket as Mike Simons repeat upset victory with Twin B Spike Man at 31-1 in the tenth race B-1/B-2 Handicap Trot ensured one winning ticket in the Late Pick 4, which returned $64,811.80. Perfect Alliance was noteworthy impressive winner in her return to the races, romping to a 7-length score in a lifetime best 1:53.3 as she gears up for the Charles Singer Memorial Series. Driver Yannick Gingras stole the driving show tonight, winning five races extending his lead in the drivers standing to 14 wins in front of Dave Miller. It was another big night for the on-track handle, as it yielded a 14-percent increase over the same race day in 2013, while the total handle of $3,120,181 was a five percent increase as well. Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time of 7:15 P.M. The program features a Free For All Handicap Trot, featuring Hypnotic Blue Chip, Bettor's Edge and the razor sharp Dovuto Hanover. Darin Zoccali
Last week we ended the 2013 season on a winning note with four of seven winners and a profit of $10.40 (based on a $2 win bet each race). So now we are starting off 2014 on a clean slate. Weather is going to be a big factor at the Meadowlands as it will be pretty cold with head winds that must be taken into account. This weekend we have six races spanning the East Coast with four at the Meadowlands in the cold and two at Pompano Park in the warm weather. Good luck! $20,000 B1/A2 Handicap Pace Meadowlands 1st race Saturday – While weather may not be ideal for racing on the front end, Cowboy Terrier was decent in his last start and held for a game second place finish. Gets in with a field of closers so he may just be able to hold on to the lead in here. Three starts back he shows ability to wire the field in adverse weather. $30,000 A1/FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 6th race Saturday – Last week Arockin Hanover scored big for us at 6-1. Goes from Campbell to youngster Joe Bongiorno but I don’t mind the driver switch. Bongiorno can drive and this guy is red hot, having won five of last seven starts and can grind it out if necessary. Campbell moved to Hypnotic Blue Chip but I think Arockin Hanover can win again. $17,500 N/W - $50,000 Claiming Pace Meadowlands 7th race Saturday - This will be a very hotly contested race with more than half the field showing the ability to win. I am going with Big Game Hunter who despite poor showing last out is dropping in class and should be able to return to winning ways for Miller Stable. $20,000 B1-A2 Handicap Pace Meadowlands 11th race Saturday – Going to take a long shot in this race. Yo Cheyenne Rocky is sort of a yo-yo horse for trainer Robbie Siegelman and this is the week that he should be able to rebound with a strong effort like he did three starts back. Not a super tough field and he gets Ron Pierce back in the sulky who won with him three starts back. $10,000 Open Handicap Pace Pompano Park 6th race Saturday – Very tough to even think of going against Prairie Jaguar. He went undefeated at Pompano in the month of December including a lifetime mark in his last start of 1:49 for Mike Deters Stable. May have to start from the outside in post eight but he has shown the ability to win from that far out before. $10,000 F&M Open Pace Pompano Park 6th race SUNDAY – Strong group of mares will be battling it out in here. I am going with De Vins Girl from post four for trainer Luca Derrico. Stable is hot and two starts back this mare was able to take a lifetime mark of 1:51.4. Any repeat of that effort for driver Rick Plano will see them back in the winner’s circle again.
East Rutherford, NJ - While we are many months away from the warm spring and summer months and the marquis Championship Meet at the Meadowlands, the unseasonably mild conditions provided a hint of summer on the track. In what was the fastest mile witnessed so far at the new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Validus Deo opened eyes going a huge first over trip and stopping the teletimer in an extremely sharp 1:48.4 in the 3 Year Old B-1/A-2 Handicap Pace. Corey Callahan drove the winner for owners Bamond Racing LLC and trainer P.J. Fraley. Sweet Talkin Satin did a lot of the work on the front end, getting to the half in 53.4 while ensuring a rapid clip. He held his ground well, finishing a game second. Perhaps even more impressive was the effort of Dovuto Hanover who overcame a break at the start and made up 15 lengths to finish a fast closing third, pacing the mile in 1:49.1 with a final quarter in 26 seconds flat. Hypnotic Blue Chip also paced a sub-1:50 mile on Saturday, winning the 7th race B-1 Pace in 1:49.3. It was one of three wins on the night for John Campbell. Corey Callahan, Yannick Gingras, Jeff Dauplaise and Joe Bongiorno all scored driving doubles on the card. Once again, all three guaranteed pools returned massive dividends. Of the Early Pick 4, Late Pick 4 and Pick 5, none returned less than $1,807.60 and the Late Pick 4, a sequence that saw winners that paid $8.80, $22.40, $6.20 and $12.60 returned a monstrous $10,407. A four-race parlay of those same prices would have returned just over $1,660, reinforcing the value of the Late Pick 4 wager at The Meadowlands as the best bet in harness racing. As the month of December rolls along, total handle at the Meadowlands continues to climb. The $2,885,432 wagered on the 13-race program was the most of the month and was a 23-percent increase from the last time the Meadowlands raced on this Saturday in 2010. Racing returns on Friday December 27th with first post time at 7:15 P.M. The Meadowlands management and staff would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Rachel Ryan
TORONTO, December 19 - Fifteen harness racing sophomore pacing fillies made their way to Woodbine Racetrack on Thursday ev ening to contest two divisions of the $15,000 second leg of the Niagara Series. The Niagara Series is for three-year-old fillies, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. After skipping the opening round of the series, U.S. invader Joe Bongiorno guided Solid Queen to victory in 1:53.3. In doing so, Bongiorno celebrated his first career win on Canadian soil. Bongiorno elected to use off-the-pace tactics as race favourite Wonderful Charm (Jody Jamieson) was first to the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. Wonderful Charm would continue to lead past the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:26.2. Dance Hall Girl (Mario Baillargeon) began the first-over attack heading to three-quarters giving live cover to Solid Queen. As the fillies turned for home, Wonderful Charm was still the leader, but Bongiorno showed Solid Queen open racetrack and the daughter of Riverboat King responded with a :27 final quarter en route to a three and three quarter length victory. Wonderful Charm stayed for second, over D Gs Pesquero (Sylvain Filion) third. Trained by Mike Russo for owner Scott Irwin, Solid Queen enjoyed her sixth career victory as her bankroll now sits at $60,667. She paid $7.70 to win. In the other split, Hands Off Hanover pulled off the 3-1 minor upset for Sylvain Filion. Putmeintogo (Roger Mayotte) was quickest to the front, but allowed Lyonssweetie to command at the quarter in :26.2. Heading towards the half, Putmeintogo retook command and laid down middle-half speed of :56.2 and 1:25.1. Turning for home, Putmeintogo was still in command, but the backfield was quickly closing in on the tempo-setter. Hands Off Hanover, who was fourth along the rail turning for home, found open racetrack in deep stretch and was able to pick up all the pieces to score the narrow victory in 1:54.1. Both Miss Poppycock and Lyonssweetie finished second in a dead heat, while Bad Girl Vegas (Jonathan Drury) finished fourth. Trained by Victory Puddy for owner Percy Elkins, Hands Off Hanover earned her fifth career victory as her lifetime earnings increased to $60,865. The daughter of Western Ideal paid $8.80 to win. The $30,000 (added) final will take place on Boxing Day (December 26), which holds a special 1:00 p.m. first-race post time. by Greg Gangle for WEG