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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 23, 2015) - The final stretch of the Meadowlands Championship Meet gets underway Friday (July 24) with five divisions of the Kindergarten Series for harness racing freshman trotters. The first of three divisions for the boys opens the twelve-race program. Taco Tuesday draws morning-line favoritism for trainer Frank Antonacci and driver Tim Tetrick. The Cantab Hall colt makes his pari-mutuel debut off a trio of qualifying wins, the last of which came by nearly ten lengths in 1:58.1. Pick Up The Tab also makes his pari-mutuel debut. He was a $220,000 Lexington Select yearling and a full brother to millionaire Uncle Peter. The second division for the colts and geldings is the second race and includes a pair of promising youngsters that competed in the New Jersey Sire Stakes. Waitlifter K finished fourth in the $100,000 Final while Jack Vernon was sixth after winning one of the preliminary legs. The high-priced Winter Harbor leads the third and final male division in race four. Brittany Farms, John Cancelliere, Jeff Gural's Little E, and Winter Harbor Partners own the Muscle Hill colt that cost $240,000 at Lexington. He makes his pari-mutuel debut for Tony Alagna off a pair of eye-catching qualifying wins. Scott Zeron has the drive. Among his rivals is $320,000 Lexington yearling, The Perfect Lindy, whose family includes last year's Hambletonian winner, Trixton. The two divisions begin in race nine. Jimmy Takter sends out morning line favorite Hollywood Hill, who won a preliminary leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in 1:56.2 before finishing fifth in the final last week. An overflow field of eleven will contest the second division for fillies in race eleven. Takter has the favorite here as well with Twice Is Right, a Donato Hanover filly who was third last out in a PA Sire Stakes. Julie Miller sends out Hustle Heart, a Credit Winner daughter of the great Creamy Mimi, who has tuned up for her pari-mutuel debut with a pair of wins in qualifiers. Friday's program also includes an Open Trot featuring Market Share and the East Coast return of Indiana star Natural Herbie, who is preparing to contest the John Cashman Memorial on Hambletonian Day. His owner/trainer/driver, Verlin Yoder, will be the "In The Sulky" guest on the Meadowlands pre-race show beginning at 6:45 p.m. The last race Jackpot Super High Five carryover has grown to more than $208,000. Post time is set for 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 1, 2015) - Fresh off his world-record victory, Doo Wop Hanover seeks a series sweep in the $250,000 Graduate Final, the highlight of a stakes-filled harness racing card on Friday (July 3) at the Meadowlands. In victories in the first three legs of the series for four-year-old pacers, Doo Wop Hanover set two different track records, one at Tioga Downs when he won in 1:47.4, and two weeks ago at the Meadowlands when he set a world record of 2:02.3 for the little used one-and-one-eighth mile distance. The Steve Elliott-trained son of Rocknroll Hanover drew post two in Friday's race and faces eight other foes including fellow Elliott-trainee Rockeyed Optimist, who saw his seven-race winning streak come to an end when finishing second to Doo Wop Hanover in his world-record victory. Doo Wop Hanover is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Rockeyed Optimist is the second choice at 8-5. Ron Burke sends out the uncoupled duo of All Bets Off and Limelight Beach. All Bets Off adds Lasix for the first time on Friday. Burke said the career earner of more than $1.2 million bled in his previous two starts. The Graduate Final is race ten on Friday's twelve-race card that also features six divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotters and pacers. Burke sends out a pair of two-year-old trotters that drew in separate six-horse divisions. In race two, Southwind Frank makes his pari-mutuel debut for Burke off a sparkling win in a baby race at Gaitway in 1:55.3. "He was not impressive starting out," explained Burke of the $100,000 Lexington Select yearling, "but he's got really good upside and we have plenty of reasons to believe he's a top colt." Burke sends out morning line favorite Southwind Flash in race four, the other division for male freshman trotters. Southwind Flash won both of his baby races at Gaitway. He was an $85,000 Lexington Select yearling and the first foal out of Friendly Amigo, an earner of more than $557,000 during her racing career. "He actually trained down better than 'Frank," said Burke. "No one else could go with him in both of his qualifiers, but we actually think he'll be even better following horses when he races the better ones." Handicappers will also have the opportunity to wager into a pair of large carryover pools in the Jackpot Super High 5. The Race Five carryover is $170,877 and the Race Twelve carryover is $154,332. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (June 30, 2015) - Continuing their wide-reaching partnership, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment and Crawford Farms, a leading New York-based standardbred breeding and racing operation, are teaming up to fight breast cancer with their Think Pink dinner at the races on Friday, July 17. The event will benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. "This is a cause that is deeply personal to me as I am a breast cancer survivor," said Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms. "I am very passionate about the cause and also believe this is a unique way to not only raise money, but also to expose new people to the beautiful Meadowlands facility and the great sport of harness racing." Tickets to the event are $100 and include buffet dinner, live racing program, and silent auction. A cash bar will be available. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. and takes place at Pink. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster by clicking this link . Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (June 23, 2015) - Retired Hall of Fame jockey Braulio Baeza will make an appearance Saturday (June 27) at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment as part of a "throwback" night at the races. The day will also include a Daily Racing Form handicapping seminar featuring national handicapper Michael "The Wizard" Kipness and one-dollar food and beverage specials. Baeza, a three-time Belmont Stakes winning jockey, 1963 Kentucky Derby winner aboard Chateaugay, and 1976 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductee will talk about his career and reminisce on the Meadowlands pre-race television show with Bob "Hollywood" Heyden at 6:45 p.m. before meeting his legion of fans for a meet and greet on the track apron from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Prior to Baeza's appearance, fans are invited to Victory Sports Bar for a handicapping seminar with the Daily Racing Form's renowned handicapper "The Wizard." The seminar is free and open to the public and will focus on wagering strategies for the day's major simulcast events including Santa Anita's Grade 1 Gold Cup and Grade 1 Triple Bend. The event runs from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. In keeping with the "throwback" theme of the evening, many concession prices will be rolled back to $1 including canned soda, Bud and Bud Light drafts, pretzels, popcorn, and hot dogs. The special priced concessions will be available from 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. at all indoor concession locations. Adding to the appeal of the evening will be the annual Meadowlands Ms. Hot to Trot beauty pageant. The ten finalists will compete in casual wear, formal wear, and swimsuit rounds during the live racing program. The grand prize winner receives $5,000. Saturday's thirteen-race live program begins at 7:15 p.m. Admission and general parking is free. Justin Horowitz Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073            

Through the first two legs of the Graduate Series for four-year-old pacers, it would be hard to find a harness racing trainer holding a stronger hand than Steve Elliott. Elliott has swept the series so far with his devastating duo of Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist. The pair will finally face each other as part of an overflow field of 12 going the extended 1 1/8 mile distance in the third leg of the Graduate Series on Friday (June 19) at the Meadowlands. "You never know what will happen in a twelve-horse field going that distance," said Elliott. "We'll let the drivers decide what to do when the race starts." In the opening leg of the series on May 25 at Tioga Downs, Rockeyed Optimist won his division in 1:48.1 while Doo Wop Hanover won his division in 1:47.4, the fastest mile ever at the Upstate New York track. The sons of Rocknroll Hanover came back to each win their respective divisions in leg two of the series at the Meadowlands on June 6 in 1:48. "Tioga was pretty impressive. The Meadowlands is just a fast track, but I really think they both have 1:47 miles in them," said Elliott without hesitation. Both horses are prime examples of why Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural has advocated for more racing opportunities for four-year-olds. 'Doo Wop' and 'Rockeyed' were talented horses last year, but have blossomed into top-class racehorses after an extra year to develop. "The older horses all have four 26-second quarters in them which makes them so tough," said Elliott in explaining four-year-olds versus older horses. "The three and four-year-olds can give you three 26-second quarters with a 27-second quarter. It's a big change from three to four and racing against just four-year-olds puts them on a more even keel." Doo Wop Hanover will be reunited with his regular driver John Campbell, who missed driving him in his previous start while racing out of town. Tim Tetrick will once again get the drive on Rockeyed Optimist. Elliott's horses are hardly the only top contenders in Friday's race. Ron Burke sends out a pair of millionaires, recent Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off and last year's North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. Burke will also be represented by Little Brown Jug champion Limelight Beach. Friday's twelve-race card also includes the third leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-old trotters featuring a much-anticipated rematch between champion Father Patrick and the red-hot JL Cruze, who upset 'Patrick' two weeks ago in the second leg of the series. The 1:51 win was the eighth straight victory for JL Cruze, who has won 14 out of 17 races since trainer Eric Ell purchased him for $37,000 at last year's Harrisburg Sale for owners Kenneth Wood, Bill Dittmar, Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta. Handicappers will also have a pair of six-figure carryovers to chase on Friday in the two Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The fifth race carryover is $159,224 while the last race carryover is $136,155. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (June 10, 2015) - While exotic racing featuring camels and ostriches is sure to draw a big crowd, harness racing horseplayers will be attracted to a pair of six-figure carryovers in the Jackpot Super High 5 wagers Friday night (June 12) at the Meadowlands. The fifth race carryover has grown to $149,789 and the twelfth race carryover sits at $126,693. Even though the jackpots have not been hit, the consolation payoffs, which represent 75-percent of the nightly pool after takeout, have been rewarding. In the last four weeks, the average 20-cent payout in the fifth race wager has been $1,195.48. The average payout during that same time period in the last race wager has been $2,176.15. Friday's fifth race is the first of two divisions in the Cathedra Dot Com series. Bay Pond Racing Stable's Real Drama is the 3/1 morning line favorite coming off a victory in the opening leg of the series. With regular driver Tim Tetrick competing at Mohawk Raceway on Friday, Real Drama will be driven by John Campbell. Oceans Motion, who also won an opening leg of the series, will also have a new driver on Friday with Eric Goodell replacing Mohawk-bound David Miller. The twelfth race has a field of ten led by 4 Leaf Racing's Cambridge, who won at this class level last week as the heavy favorite. The Cantab Hall gelding is trained by John McDermott, the fourth leading trainer at the Meadowlands meet. He will be driven by George Brennan, who will make a rare appearance at the Meadowlands before heading back to Yonkers when its racing schedule resumes Saturday. Post time for Friday's twelve-race card is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz Media Relations Manager Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (June 4, 2015) - As a Hall of Fame harness racing trainer best known for his acumen with trotters, even Jimmy Takter is a bit surprised to have not one, but two aged pacing mares in his stable racing at a high level. "I've trained several good three-year-old filly pacers such as American Jewel and See You At Peelers, but I think these would be my first really good four-year-old pacing mares," said Takter. The two mares are Weeper and Katie Said, both of whom will be part of the ultra competitive $28,500 Mares Open Pace, the featured race on Friday's (June 5) twelve-race card at the Meadowlands. Weeper, owned by Joe and Joann Thomson's Bay Pond Racing Stable, earned more than $500,000 in her first two years of racing when trained by Kelly O'Donnell. She scored her biggest wins in the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final and the Matron Stakes. Takter took over her training this season and she has won her first two starts in the Open ranks at the Meadowlands, winning once in last-to-first fashion and once going gate-to-wire. "Weeper is a very powerful horse," explained Takter, "she's almost built like a stud colt." Katie Said will make her fourth start for Takter on Friday night. The daughter of Well Said was a minor stakes winner while earning more than $200,000 when trained by Julie Miller during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Under Takter's care, she has a win and a second place finish sandwiched around a race in which she made a break. "Katie Said is wicked fast and can absolutely fly home with the right kind of trip," said Takter. "Both are very good mares. Weeper might be a little better at this point, but I really have no idea which one will be better by the end of the season." Friday's race features a field of nine including reigning Dan Patch co-champion pacing mare Rocklamation, recent Betsy Ross winner Radar Contact, and the rock-solid Inittowinafortune. Post time on Friday is 7:15 p.m. There are six-figure carryovers in both of the evening's Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The race five carryover is $141,174 and the race twelve carryover is $115,348. Justin Horowitz Media Relations Manager Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (May 28, 2015) – The carryovers in both of the Jackpot Super High 5 wagers at the Meadowlands have grown to six figures heading into Friday’s (May 29) racing card. The carryover in the race five Jackpot Super High 5 has grown to $131,037. The jackpot was hit for $12,101 on December 26, but has not been claimed since then, a stretch of 50 race dates. The carryover in the last race wager now sits at $105,195. It was last hit on March 14 for $200,000, the largest payout in Meadowlands history. The Jackpot Super High 5 requires horseplayers to correctly select the first five finishers of the designated race in the exact order. The catch is that the jackpot pays out only if there is one unique winning ticket. If there is more than one winning ticket, 75-percent of the evening’s net pool is paid out to the winning tickets while the remaining 25-percent is added to the jackpot carryover. Friday’s fifth race is a conditioned trot with a full field of ten entered. The final race is a $10,000 claiming event for paces, also with a full field of ten. One lucky fan in attendance will also win a VIP trip to the Belmont Stakes to watch American Pharoah attempt to become the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. Saturday’s thirteen-race card features four $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals featuring Dan Patch Award winners Mission Brief and Artspeak. Post time for both nights is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz Media Relations Manager Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

Harness racing world champion makes 2015 debut Friday, April 24 after injury-plagued 2014 EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 23, 2015) - When Muscle Network races Friday night (April 24) at the Meadowlands, it will mark the first start of the horse's four-year-old season, but more importantly, it will serve as the first step in what his owner hopes will be his road to redemption. "Last year was probably one of the biggest disappointments I've ever had in racing," said co-owner Joe Bellino. "It was definitely a bitter pill to swallow." Muscle Network set a world record as a two-year-old when he won the International Stallion Stake at Lexington in 1:53.2. He ended his season with an upset victory in the $494,750 Valley Victory over Nuncio, who would go on to win two-thirds of the Trotting Triple Crown last year. "He's probably the best trotter I've ever owned by far," continued Bellino. "We really thought that he would be one of the top three three-year-olds last season." Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Muscle Network suffered through a series of nagging injuries and underwent surgical procedures on his knees. He made only three starts and earned $5,580. After spending the winter in Florida with trainer Ake Svanstedt, Muscle Network appears to be headed in the right direction. He qualified twice at the Meadowlands, including a second-place finish last week behind the top trotter Melady's Monet. "We were all very, very happy with his qualifiers," explained Bellino. "He's huge, he's muscular, and he's beautiful. He's a totally different horse than he was. Now, hopefully he races as good as he looks." Muscle Network is now trained by Tony O'Sullivan, who was also the trainer during his two-year-old season. Muscle Network has been made eligible to most of the sport's top trotting races, including the TVG Free For All Series and premier four-year-old restricted races including The Graduate Series and Hambletonian Maturity. Friday's 13-race card also features a pair of carryovers in the Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The fifth race carryover has grown to $87,136 and the thirteenth race carryover sits at $58,172. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 8, 2015) - Champion harness racing mare Rocklamation will delay motherhood and race another year, said her trainer Ron Burke. This announcement comes after it was originally planned for her to race while in foal until August. "The owners have decided to abandon her breeding plans and race her the entire year," said Burke of the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover that has earned more than $2.25 million. "I'm very happy about that decision." Rocklamation begins her seven-year-old season Friday (April 10) at the Meadowlands in the $27,500 Mares Open Handicap. She faces just five other rivals including the razor sharp Radar Contact, who won last week's Open with an eye-popping 25.3 final quarter of a mile. "With the short field, there probably won't be a lot of movement," said Burke. "It'll probably turn into a sprint and we'll likely be sprinting home from sixth." Rocklamation is owned in partnership by Our Horse Cents Stable, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables. Last year, she was named the Dan Patch co-champion pacing mare despite battling soundness issues throughout the season. She scored her biggest wins in the Golden Girls, Lady Liberty, and Artiscape. Burke believes the issues developed following the demanding Blue Chip Matchmaker, which is why he skipped the series this year. "Whatever issues she had last year have seemed to resolve themselves and as long as she stays sound we plan to race a full schedule," explained Burke. "Hopefully, we've learned how to manage her better. You can call this year her retirement tour because she will definitely be retired and bred next year." Friday's 12-race card also includes a $27,500 Open Trot. Melady's Monet is the 6-5 morning line favorite versus five other rivals. There is also a carryover of $71,506 in the Jackpot Super High 5 in race five and $35,827 in the race 12 Jackpot Super High 5. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz

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

When Brett Risi started tagging along with his dad and older brother to the horse races at Vernon Downs at age 12, he never thought it would lead to the opportunity of a lifetime. After winning a qualifying tournament at Vernon Downs last month, Risi, now 21, will compete against 100 of North America's best horseplayers for a $50,000 prize pool in the World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) in April at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ. "I am honored to have a chance to play against the best handicappers in the country," said Risi, who will be the second youngest person ever to compete in the WHHC Final. "It makes me feel good about myself and I hope more kids my age will come to be as interested in the game as I am." Now in its tenth year, the WHHC is harness racing's premier handicapping tournament and allows players from across the U.S. and Canada the chance to qualify through both live and online events, in addition to buying a seat for $800. In the WHHC Final, each player begins with a $300 bankroll and contestants are required to wager at least $30 on ten designated contest races. The player who amasses the largest bankroll is declared the winner. Risi, a Herkimer, NY resident, is a college student and works part-time. He is a self-described regular at Vernon Downs and says he has won a few other smaller tournaments, but none that would provide a first-place prize of $20,000. "As I got older, I learned how to bet and really expanded my knowledge of strategic wagering," explained Risi. "By the time I was 19, I knew I had figured out just about everything I could on how to bet." Risi says he already spends a lot of time handicapping the races and will devote even more time to his craft if he wins next month. Three other horseplayers from Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs also won qualifying tournaments recently at the two Upstate New York racinos and will compete at the WHHC Final: Phil Melancon from Clay, NY; Mark "Duke" Smolinsky of Endicott, NY; and Kim Wahila of Vestal, NY. For more information on the World Harness Handicapping Championship, click here http://bit.ly/1DZmmIf. Justin Horowitz

East Rutherford NJ – The calendar indicates that spring begins on March 20 but snowy conditions led to an “Inquiry” of that seasonal change at The Meadowlands on Friday night. The races began in the midst of what would eventually measure out to several inches of powder.   The $20,000 second leg of the Shiaway St Pat trotting series drew just eleven entries resulting in a single division that pit the top pair of winter series trotters, JL Cruze and Opulent Yankee against one and other for seventh time this season. JL Cruze held a four to two edge (including both finals) going in and romped to a 1:54 win here providing John Campbell with his third of the evening. Opulent Yankee was again second best and Sheer Flex third as they head into next week's $59,800 final. Eric Ell trains the winner for Kenny Wood, Steve Iaquinta and Bill Dittmar.   The $27,500 Open was again won by this winter's trotting star Melady’s Monet in another long uncovered grind for Campbell in 1:54.1.   Away sixth and last from his outside post, Melady’s Monet sat until the field neared the half with Winds Of The North enjoying an uncontested lead in 56.4. Campbell eased the 1-5 favorite to the outside slowly working his way up to the lead and by the 1:26.1 three quarters had gained even terms. Melady’s Monet went on by willingly and was edging clear to a length margin as they neared the wire. Winds Of The North held well for the place.   Kevin McDermott trains the winner for Melady Enterprises LLC of Pompano Beach, FL. It was disclosed by Swedish representatives last week that Melady’s Monet has been extended an invitation to compete in the 2015 Elitlopp at Solvalla Racetrack on Sunday, May 31.   The GSY Amateur Series began with two $8,000 divisions and Peter Kleinhans christened the competition by driving Majestic Ginger, a mare he recently purchased in partnership with Colleen Cash, to a win with the greatest of ease.  Peter took Majestic Ginger back and handled her cautiously as the past performance lines indicated the need for patience. Once she felt set and solid, Peter simply fed her race track as wide as the four or five path into the stretch as she went by the field under her own power in 1:58.2.   When interviewed post-race by Justin Horowitz, a jubilant Kleinhans remarked, “She got great power. I’m so pleased for her to get a good flat mile in. She’s got a history of making breaks when clear, so I has concern until she crossed the wire.   “I’m thrilled with the possibility to race in the series. It’s a great way to get new people interested in racing. It brought me back to the track, as I bought this horse expressly to campaign in the series.”   John Mc Dermott, Jr trains the winner.   Division two of the GSY came in race twelve and Bob Hechkoff came home a winner with Pounce Hanover in 1:57.3 over Current Crisis and Bob Krivelin. Virgil Morgan trains for Hechkoff's RBH Ventures.   Racing resumes tomorrow night at 7:15pm.   Meadowlands Media Relations Dept

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 18, 2015) - For more than 20 seasons, New York Yankees clubhouse assistant Joe Lee has had the best seat in the house for some of baseball's greatest moments. Friday night (March 20), Lee will take the best seat at the racetrack when he drives the trotter Free Rollin in Race 12 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ in the GSY Amateur Series. "Baseball is in my blood for sure," said the Bronx-native Lee, who started working for the Yankees as a 16-year-old batboy. "But it is such a rush to drive a horse. If there was a race in Alaska and an owner gave me the opportunity to drive their horse, I'd be there in a heartbeat." Lee, 35, grew up around horses: his parents owned racehorses and regularly took their son to the races at the Meadowlands, Yonkers, Freehold, and Roosevelt. "When I was a teenager and first started working for the Yankees, I saw [Hall of Fame driver] John Campbell outside George Steinbrenner's private box when he was driving for him, it was like meeting Mickey Mantle," explained Lee, "John Campbell was my idol." Lee also rode horses as a child, but always had the itch to sit behind one of the powerful trotters he watched race in the evenings. "Sandy Goldfarb put me in touch with trainer Buzzy Sholty who invited me down to his stable and gave me my first chance to jog a horse," explained Lee. "I started going to help him every Saturday and eventually worked my way to getting my harness driver's license." Amateur harness racing allows men and women to compete in actual races with the same horses that are driven by professional drivers. The amateurs come from all walks of life and have day jobs that range from attorneys, insurance agents, and financial planners. "No matter how much I practice, I could never be the starting shortstop for the Yankees," said Lee. "But now that I have my harness license, I can compete on the same 'field of play' as the pros. I won't ever drive 2,000 horses in a year like Tim Tetrick, but on one day and in one race, I have the chance to beat the best. There's no other sport like harness racing where a guy like me can compete with the pros." Besides Lee, the Yankees and harness racing have other connections. General Manager Brian Cashman's late father, John, is in harness racing's Hall of Fame. George Steinbrenner was a very active and successful Standardbred horse owner and Whitey Ford was a frequent visitor to Pompano Park in Florida. Friday's 13-race card at the Meadowlands begins at 7:15 p.m. The program includes two divisions of the GSY Amateur Series and the second leg of the Shiaway St. Pat for trotters. For more information about amateur harness racing, visit http://www.amateurharnessracing.com/ Here is a video replay of Joe Lee's win in the 2014 Hambletonian Amateur Drivers race at the Meadowlands http://bit.ly/1xyoCOS Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 11, 2015) - With wins already in the Super Bowl and Charles Singer Memorial, JL Cruze begins his quest for a third straight harness racing winter series win Friday (March 13) in the opening round of the Shiaway St. Pat, honoring the 1981 Hambletonian champion, at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Thirteen trotters were entered for Friday's first round. JL Cruze is the 6/5 morning line favorite in the second of two divisions, which will go as the twelfth race on the 13-race card. The thirteenth race features a $161,277 carryover in the Jackpot Super High 5. JL Cruze was purchased for $37,000 at last fall's Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Mid-Atlantic based trainer Eric Ell for owners Kenneth Wood, Bill Dittmar, Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta. In the 10 starts with Ell, JL Cruze has earned $87,760 with seven wins and two runner-up finishes. "Originally, we just wanted a horse to race up through his conditions in Delaware, but he has been a blessing in disguise," explained Ell. "He just does it so easily and it looks like he's the one to beat again heading into this series." The 55-year-old Ell has trained more than 1,100 winners with more than $14 million in earnings during his career. Always humble and gracious, Ell admits he has had many solid racehorses during his career. He describes his biggest win as the 2011 Maxie Lee at Harrah's Philadelphia with Anders Bluestone, who would go on to earn more than $1 million. "[JL Cruze] just might be one of the best we've had," admitted Ell. "If he keeps improving like he has, you never know." Hall of Famer John Campbell will take his usual seat behind JL Cruze on Friday. Ell will also be represented in the Shiaway St. Pat with another exciting prospect; Razor Ramone brings a five-race winning streak into the first division and will be driven Friday for the first time by Hall of Famer David Miller. Ell purchased the son of Kadabra out of Canada last September. Like JL Cruze, he's owned by Iaquinta and Dittmar. "He can trot a lot, but not quite like JL Cruze yet," said Ell. "He's good on a five-eighths mile track, but I'm not sure if the big track at the Meadowlands will help. He's a stocky built, 'Mighty Mouse' type of horse. His qualifier last week was a good tightener and we're looking forward to seeing how he races on Friday." Holloway Provides Update on star pacing mares Trainer Joe Holloway's Somwherovrarainbow headlines a field of eight in Friday's $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace. The 2012 champion 2-year-old pacing filly has raced only once this year, an easy win in January at the Meadowlands. "I needed to see if she would return to her good form this year and so far it looks like she has," said Holloway. "I expect her to race like herself on Friday and continue after that." Holloway said the plan is to race Somwherovrarainbow in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway. Holloway also reported that his other star mare, world champion Shebestingin, has been retired from racing and is scheduled to be bred to Captaintreacherous. Mare Open Trot Written for Friday A new class has been added to the Friday condition sheet. A Mare Open Handicap Trot for a purse of $27,500 - $30,000 is listed in the hope that enough top trotting mares enter to fill the class. The next condition sheet can be accessed by following this link. By Justin Horowitz for Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 11, 2015) - Last Friday's opening leg of the Burning Point Series at The Meadowlands was supposed to be a showdown between Ron Burke's dynamic duo and Tony Alagna's red-hot Witch Dali. Instead, 14/1 longshot Empress Deo passed all three of them in the stretch to win in an upset. Burke expects a bounce back effort from both of his mares, Southwind Serenity and Donttellruss, in the second leg of the Burning Point Series on Friday night (February 13). The entry has been installed as the 8/5 favorite on Darin Zoccali's morning line. The twosome is part of a field of seven pacing mares that also includes Worldly Beauty champion Witch Dali and first leg winner Empress Deo. The $65,000 final is February 21. In last week's opening round, Southwind Serenity led the field to the top of the stretch before fading to finish fifth. "She tied up last week," said Burke. "I'm not making any equipment changes and I'm confident she won't have those issues again this week." He's also hoping for a change in tactics on Friday night. Last week, Southwind Serenity was on the lead while Donttellruss came first over. "Hopefully with different trips this week we will see better results," said Burke. Once again, Yannick Gingras will drive Southwind Serenity and Corey Callahan will be partnered with Donttellruss. The Burning Point is race six on a 13-race card. Melady's Monet looks to win his third straight in a small, but select field in the Open Trot and world champion Shebestingin continues her comeback in race seven. The 50-cent Pick 5 with an average pool of more than $50,000 begins with race 1. The Early Pick 4 begins in race 3. Its average pool size has also been more than $50,000. The Late Pick 4 covers races 7-10 and features an average pool size of more than $72,000. by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands        

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