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After being slowed for three months by a harness racing training accident earlier this year, Kevin McDermott is looking forward to rejuvenation this spring and summer. McDermott, who is stabled at Magical Acres in central New Jersey, is among the state's horsemen buoyed by Gov. Phil Murphy's recent approval of legislation directing a total of $100 million to horseracing and breeding during a five-year span. The 51-year-old McDermott has been part of the harness racing scene in New Jersey since he was a teenager. Since opening his own stable three decades ago, he has won 1,569 races and $24.5 million in purses. Notable horses trained by McDermott include stakes-winners Hypnotic Blue Chip, Lonewolf Currier, Mac Action, Major Look, and Yes Its True as well as millionaires Blueridge Western and Noble Falcon. McDermott has eight horses at Magical Acres, including Melanie’s Tedy, who was a winner in divisions of the Indiana Sire Stakes and Kindergarten Classic Series. He was sired by Hypnotic Blue Chip. In 2012, McDermott and his brother John, who also is a trainer, were honored by the New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association with its Stanley Dancer Award. The award recognizes individuals whose efforts on behalf of racing and cooperation with the media are in keeping with the example set by the late Hall of Fame driver and trainer Stanley Dancer. McDermott recently took time to speak with the U.S. Trotting Association's Ken Weingartner about his past, present, and future in harness racing. KW: Let's start at the beginning. How did you get started in harness racing? KM: I was pen pals with Jim Doherty, Herve Filion, a bunch of guys in the sport, and got my first job working with Jack Parker Jr. I was 16 years old. I had crawled under the back gate at the Meadowlands. I've been doing it ever since. KW: Do you think younger people know what a pen pal is? KM: (Laughs). That's true. I used to go to races with my dad and I got to like it so I started writing letters and people would answer me back. That's how I got into it. I started collecting whips too. KW: Were you surprised people were so responsive? KM: Carol Hodes, who worked at the Meadowlands (as director of media relations) at the time, helped me out a lot. Whenever I would write to her as a kid she would always get them to respond to me, and it was them responding. So I owe Carol a lot. KW: What were your hopes when you started out writing to these people? KM: In high school I was an all-state track runner and I had scholarships to go to a lot of schools, but all I wanted to do was work with horses. I had no family members in the business, but I always loved the horses. It's all I ever wanted to do. KW: What did you run in high school? KM: I was a half-miler. Pure natural talent was all I had. It wasn't work ethic. (Laughs). KW: So what was it like when you first started with the horses? KM: The first summer I worked with Jimmy Doherty, just helping out. Then Jack Parker Jr. kind of took me under his wing and really treated me good. I always joke with Jack that if I ever hit the Mega Millions he's the first person I'm taking care of. He's a great person. KW: Did you go off on your own after that? KM: I worked for Linda Toscano and Nick Sodano for a couple years each and they were both great. Then went on my own and claimed a $7,000 claimer named It Will Be Me at Freehold and she won her first three or four starts. I kind of got lucky that I was doing good. D'Elegance Stables gave me the opportunity to train one or two horses and it just led to another one and another one. Before you knew it, I had 30 horses. KW: What do you enjoy most about your job? KM: I just love the horses. I love working around the horses. There's just something about it. You develop such a bond with them. They're just great animals. KW: How many horses do you have right now? KM: I only have eight. It's the fewest I've had in 30 years. Earlier this year I got into an accident; I broke five ribs, got knocked unconscious, bruised my spine, bruised my kidneys. I was down basically for three months. I kept working through it, but I'm just starting to get healthy now and I'm going to try to expand my stable again. KW: Of the ones you have now, who are a few that you like? KM: Melanie's Tedy. He's in the Reynolds and the Rooney at Yonkers and then he'll go on to the Indiana Sire Stakes. He raced his first start (Sunday against older horses at Harrah's Philadelphia) and came the back half in :55. I was very happy with him. I think he will be in for a good year. His sister Melanies Angelique has been training down very good too. I also have a (2-year-old half-sister) to Lonewolf Currier and Lookout Hanover named Last One Hanover and she's been going very good too. KW: What have been your biggest thrills? KM: Probably winning the Titan Cup with Mac Action because he was an Amish horse that went on to become a great trotter. We kept him until he died at 21 years old. No question Hypnotic Blue Chip winning the U.S. Pacing Championship in a world-record (1:47.2). More importantly, I did it for (owner) Fran Azur, who has been like a father figure to me. Fran only breeds his Hypnotics right now, he hasn't been buying racehorses and it's hurt my business, but he's the best. I absolutely love him. KW: What races haven't you won that you would most like to win? KM: I've never won the Meadowlands Pace or the Hambletonian, but besides that I've won my share of big races and I've had four or five world champions along the way. I've got almost 1,600 wins and I'm very proud of that. KW: What is most rewarding about working with the horses and is there a horse in particular that stands out as having been really rewarding? KM: I think Noble Falcon. We bought him at Harrisburg for ($80,000) and we were really just looking at making him a 4-year-old $50,000 claimer. He made a million dollars and he did it the hard way. He did it in overnights, he never won a big race. He was just a treat to be around. He's a beautiful horse. He's got a home for life, him and Blueridge Western, who both made a million dollars for me. Fran gave them both homes for life, which to me is very special. KW: What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned over the years? KM: Just to be fair to the owners and tell them the truth, whether it's good news or bad news. I've been blessed to have very loyal owners for years. KW: With New Jersey getting the appropriation for the next five years, how big of a boost has that been and how big of a boost do you see it being for everyone here? KM: It saved the sport. I think it is tremendous. I train horses for (Meadowlands CEO) Jeff Gural and I'm thrilled for Jeff. I just wish I had a couple more horses that I could race at the Meadowlands. Hopefully over the next month or two I'll pick up some stakes horses and be able to race more at the Meadowlands. I think New Jersey has to get better horses to race here. I think the higher-class horses have to come back to the Meadowlands to make it like it was. There are not too many trainers who were around in the '80s, '90s, 2000s when it was the mecca. I was there and I would love to see that come back. At the end of the day it comes to be bringing bigger horses back, the higher claimers and higher-class horses, and we need to try to get some of the top drivers back too. KW: What do you like to do with your free time? KM: I really don't have any hobbies anymore. I love watching my son (Liam) wrestle. He's a good wrestler in college (at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island). I live for my kids, and that's the truth. Everything I do is for my kids now. That's it. Ken Weingartner  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is back racing tomorrow (Friday) evening with 13 live and a big $125,000 guarantee on the Pick - 5 wager spurred by a carry over of more that $30,000 from last Saturday. The bet requires a player to correctly select the winners of Races 3 through 7 and has a base wager of 50 cents. Race 3 is scheduled to go off at 7:25 pm eastern.   The guarantee is the result of a collaboration between The Meadowlands and USTA Strategic Wagering initiative. Free program pages for all Pick 5 races, as well as the $50,000 guaranteed Pick 4 (races 8 through 11) and the Race 13 Jackpot Super High five with a carryover of $120,134 are available courtesy of Track Master.   On the racetrack the $20,000 Preferred Handicap trot is the second race feature. A talented field of 7 will go forth and an interesting blend it is.   Gural Hanover (PP #7) makes his seasonal bow in his quest to advance his career bankroll to seven figures for the Burke Stable, Weaver Bruscemi. Little E and Panhellenic Stables with Yannick Gingras set to drive. Her is coupled for wagering purposes with the Opulent Yankee (PP#5 Andy Miller) who is as dependable as the Maytag repair man for his ownership group of Little E, Stolz & Geiger.   Meladys Monet is in from Yonkers for owner Melady Enterprises and trainer Kevin McDermott and Brett Miller is down to drive the career winner of nearly $1.25 million from post 6.   NF Happenstance (PP #4) has been red-hot for trainer/driver Jack Parker, Jr, a winner five times in seven starts against top competition already this year she represents the fairer sex for owner James Moore III.   LMC Mass Gem. Rossini and Zooming complete the septuplet.   It's Fiesta Friday with a cornucopia Mexican delights offered for your dining pleasure (the Tres Leche cake is divine) and you may now register for the Million Penny Giveaway through March 31 when the promotion will end.   Come early for the Survivor Pick 10 and stay late for the $120,000 carry-over in the Jackpot Hi-5.   Post time is 6:35 pm.   Nick Salvi

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 21, 2018 — Harness racing favored Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was just barely good enough Sunday morning (Jan. 21th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. The field of seven (down from nine after a couple of defections) went as the opener and the first of seven ‘French’ trots. His eight-hole now a six-hole after those scratches, Melady’s Monet made the first lead, unimpeded by a breaking Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory). ‘Melady’ found a :29.4 opening quarter-mile before briefly giving it up to Super Manning (Jordan Stratton), The fave wanted no part of the pocket, so he retook prior to the :59.1 half.  Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell) then moved from fifth, just about getting even with Melady’s Monet by the 1:30.1 three-quarters. Disposing of that rival around the 1:58.4 milepost, Melady’s Monet opened a length-and-three quarters into the lane, and needed all out it.   A ground-saving Moneycounts De Vie (Matt Kakaley) found room up the cones, surged, but the 18-1 rank outsider missed a nose. Melady’s Monet found paydirt in time, getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:27.4. Third went to Rock of Cashel (Brent Holland), with Dog Gone Lucky (catch-driver Dan Dube) and Cash Me Out settling for the remainder. For Melady’s Monet, a 9-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $43.20, with triple returning $229.50. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 5-Control Group (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Royal Bachelor (Yonkers’ 5th race) paid $11.80 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,942.   Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Millionaire trotter Melady’s Monet seeks to start the 2018 season of live harness racing at Yonkers Raceway the way he ended 2017’s, with a win in the featured Open Handicap. After a summer break, Melady’s Monet returned to the races in November and made short work of a pair of $25,000 overnights at Yonkers before finishing third in consecutive Open Handicaps. He captured the final feature of the year December 17 and trainer Kevin McDermott expects the 9-year-old to improve on the Opening Day card January 7. “He’s been ok, he hasn’t been as good as he was last year. He was 100 percent better in his last start,” McDermott said. “He always goes good fresh, a couple weeks off doesn’t hurt him, so actually I think he’ll come in better than his last race.” Despite a limited racing schedule last year than saw him compete from March to July and then again from November through the end of the season, Melady’s Monet still posted seven victories and another five placings, good for $159,600. The homebred gelding’s owners, Luca and Ester Balenzano of Melady Enterprises LLC, only like to see him race about 20 times per year. The Balenzano’s horse-first approach to racing makes training rewarding for McDermott. “When we gave him time off, we just gave him time off. Nothing ever happened to him,” McDermott explained. “He was getting assigned the eight hole in 12-horse fields and they just didn’t want to do that. They’re great owners. They’re so loyal to the horse and they want what’s good for the horse. That’s what you want, you want people that love horses.” McDermott kept Melady’s Monet on schedule during live racing’s holiday hiatus despite the frigid temperatures afflicting the northeast United States. “He doesn’t miss any days, he has to jog or train every day,” he explained. “The weather has been really tough down here lately, but he trained (Wednesday), he trained very good, so I don’t expect him to be short this week.” Although he is a quiet horse in the barn, Melady’s Monet can get hot on the racetrack. Through trial and error, McDermott has tailored the son of Revenue and Keystone Melady’s training regime. “He goes in the field every day before he jogs, even in the snow because he has to get out,” McDermott explained. “We don’t jog him in the jog cart, he ponies all week, tows alongside another horse. That keeps him quiet because he’s a very high-strung horse, so we just try to keep him relaxed. Most of the time at Yonkers, I don’t even warm him up because he gets so wound up before the race. I just let Jason (Bartlett) warm him up in the post parade.” Melady’s Monet will start from an assigned post eight as the 3-1 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. Regular reinsman Bartlett will drive. Carded as part of the French simulcast, eight other rivals will contest the 1 ¼-mile feature, including Cash Me Out and Tight Lines. “The eight hole is going to be a tough spot, but we’ll try our hardest,” McDermott said. “You hope Jason can somehow work himself into a four or five hole and perfect scenario come second- or third-up and hope he goes by them. “One thing about Melady’s Monet, he is 100 percent better from behind,” McDermott continued. “When he’s on the lead, he waits on other horses. He loves chasing horses. When he’s first-up, second-up, third-up, when he’s going past other horses late, he’s a lot better that way.” Although Melady’s Monet has never won at the 10-furlong distance in four tries, he has finished second twice, including as the runner-up to Bee A Magician in the $250,000 Invitational Trot on the 2016 International Trot undercard. McDermott thinks the added distance will play to the gelding’s strengths. “I think the more distance the better for that horse because he’s always coming at the wire,” he said. The 2018 season of live racing at Yonkers begins Sunday, January 7 with a first post time of 11:30 a.m. Bettors should note the half-mile racetrack no longer features a passing lane. For entries for Sunday’s races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

FREEHOLD, NJ — October 2, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $40,000 Renaissance final for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts on Saturday (Sept 30). Lucky Leonard and Jordan Stratton opted for the front when the gate folded.  While a pocket sitting Melanie’s Fran stalked the leader from the two hole eventually pulling mid stretch to nose out the competition for the win in 2:01.2.  The Kevin McDermott trainee marked her forth win in six starts.  Owned by Francis Azur the Hypnotic Blue Chip filly pushed her lifetime earnings to $117,000. Courtney Stafford

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 17, 2017) - As impressive as Melady's Monet was last week in winning his 2017 debut, he was even better tonight in winning his second straight top-level trot at the Meadowlands. The millionaire, trained by Kevin McDermott, left from post position six to make the lead before the opening quarter with Brett Miller at the lines before yielding the lead to Rose Run Parker, half of a Ron Burke trained entry. Melady's Monet, the 1/2 favorite, powerfully moved out of the pocket after three-quarters in 1:25. He then went right by a faltering Rose Run Parker and with a :27.3 final quarter, had plenty left to hold off the closing Opulent Yankee and Crosbys Clam Bake to win in 1:52.4. "Brett Miller said he was vicious tonight," said trainer Kevin McDermott. "He has been absolutely awesome two weeks in a row in cold weather. The plan is to race as long him at the Meadowlands as long as there is a race that fills. He is as good now as he's ever been, but I may take the hopples off him down the road." Stakes winner Appomattox won his second straight for trainer Lucas Wallin, who was pressed into driving duty when Corey Callahan booked off the remainder of his drives after taking ill following the fifth race. Wallin steered Appomattox to a win in 1:54.3 for his second career training victory. Brett Miller won the first race of the night and the last race with a trip to drive in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers in between. Andy Miller won two races as well. Total handle on the 11-race card was $2,427,559. Racing resumes Saturday with a 12-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night's race card will tip off the weekend of racing at The Meadowlands with a real good field of trotters opening the card and a pair of GSY finals in a supporting role.   The morning line choice in the trotting feature is Melady's Monet who made a successful return to the wars last week, converting a perfect pocket steer by Brett Miller to edge by a stubborn Opulent Yankee in the shadow of the wire for the win.   The competition is even deeper this time around with Rose Run Parker joining DW's NY Yank to form a potent Burke stable entry and Opulent Yankee looking to continue his recent form spree.   Melady's Monet will seek to repeat from post six in the seven horse $20,000 conditioned trot for trainer Kevin McDermott and owner Melady's Enterprises of Florida.   The GSY trotting final comes along in race two with a competitive group led by Joe Lee and his mount Karets who romped by seven lengths three starts back, the iron tough Keegan and his owner-driver John Calabrese and last week's surprise winner Landonfitz who scored at odds of more than 20-1 giving club founder Dave Yarock his first win in the series.   The gentlemen return with pacers in the third where there's an excellent chance for some "hardball" between Bob Davis whose pacer Who Do You Like set the all-time amateur speed record of 1:53.1 in the first leg and Hannah Miller with Stimulus Plan who left Davis and his charge out in the brisk spring air in last week's race.   Friday is St Patrick's Day and The Meadowlands will celebrate the wearin' o' the green with a "Go For Greenbacks" contest that rewards lucky fans with a $50 voucher when a winning driver has green in his driving colors.   March Madness has begun in Victory Sports Bar with food and drink specials.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 27, 2016 — A year ago, it was Purrfect Bags. Saturday night, it was Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton, $3) wreaking havoc for co-owner and harness racing trainer Jo Ann Looney-King in Yonkers Raceway’s Lady Maud Pace. 'Sassy' won this $109,050 edition for 3-year-old fillies, rolling past Apple Bottom Jeans (Jason Bartlett) late in 1:53. Odds-on Newborn Sassy, leaving from post position No. 3, left into an immediate two-hole behind second-choice Apple Bottom Jeans. The fave went to pull pocket, but 'ABJ' was not in a giving mood. She reseated her rival, then put up intervals of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.2. Skinny Dipper (Brian Sears) made a move out of third, but backpedaled in a hurry. Apple Bottom Jeans did get some nighttime daylight, opening a couple of lengths entering the final turn. However, Newborn Sassy closed ranks and angled out, wearing down the leader late and winning by a half-length. Hug a Dragoness (George Brennan) photoed Cheyenne Triengel (Scott Zeron) for third, with Time on My Hands (Dan Dube) settling for the smallest envelope. Skinny Dipper faded to last among the happy half-dozen. For 'Sassy,' a Western Ideal miss also co-owned by CC Racing, it was her fourth win in 13 '16 tries. The exacta paid $5.70, with the triple returning $21.60. While King won this race for a second consecutive season, Stratton completed his own 'double," having guided Kryptos to win the Lismore Pace for this same division in late May. "I knew we had a bit of a post disadvantage (against Apple Bottom Jeans), so I took a chance at moving again," Stratton said. "I'm not surprised Jason (Bartlett) wouldn't let me go, so I just had to wait. "She's a very talented filly, and I knew it pained (regular driver) Timmy (Tetrick) not be get to drive her tonight. I'm just fortunate the connections had confidence in me." Saturday's $45,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, Doctor Butch (Brent Holland, $6.70) in 1:50.4; --Trot, Undercover Strike (Bartlett, $2.50) in 1:54. Special Saturday props, too, to Kevin McDermott, who earned his 1,500th career training victory after Badix Hanover (Tyler Buter, $8.40) 'won the bob' in the $18,000, first-race pace (1:52.3). Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, NJ --- Melady’s Monet won the $75,000 Vincennes Invitational Trot Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Meadowlands. The 7-year-old gelding achieved a new lifetime standard by trotting his mile in 1:51.4 for harness racing driver Jason Bartlett. This was the winner’s 39th career triumph and placed him over the $875,000 mark in total purse money earned. John Campbell and the favorite, Musical Rhythm, finished second with Mambo Lindy coming in to show. Last year’s Hambletonian winner, Pinkman, finished out of the money in sixth place, beaten by two lengths. Meladay’s Monet received a three-hole trip in which he was locked in most of the mile until he was able to find racing room at the top of the stretch. The Kevin McDermott trainee went on to post a three-quarter of a length victory. The Revenue S gelding is owned by Melady Enterprises LLC of Pompano Beach, FL and paid $15.40 to win. by Hunter Holton, for the Clyde Hirt Workshop 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Danish Durango made the lead just after the quarter, and despite bumping up in class, held sway to the wire by half a length to take the $17,500 harness racing featured conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 4-year-old son of Andover Hall, a winner last week at the non-winners of $10,000 level, trotted clear of his foes by 2½ lengths at the head of the stretch in this non-winners of $17,000 event before bracing for the late challenge of the fast-closing Jewels In Hock, who broke in deep stretch. After a judges' inquiry, Jewels In Hock was placed fourth in the official order of finish. Barn Doll was placed second and 8-5 favorite B Yoyo third. The winner, trained by Kevin McDermott for owners Little E LLC, completed the mile in 1:52.1, returned $25.20 to win as the fourth choice in the wagering and upped his seasonal stats to five wins in 16 starts. Danish Durango (race six) was one of three winners on the program for driver David Miller, who also scored with Exotic Beach ($12.00) in the fifth and Card Shock ($10.00) in the 10th. ADAMS TOP HANDICAPPER: Kurt Adams of Hanover, PA won the $2,500 first prize in the 30-and-under handicapping contest sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural's Allerage Farms. The millennial's final bankroll of $135.60 topped the field of 41. Christopher Hofheinz of Hoboken finished second with $131.00 and pocketed $1,500. Remarkably, both players benefited from selecting race nine winner That Woman Hanover, who paid $46.20. CARRYOVER CONTINUES: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five, unhit since the start of the meeting, again failed to have a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover for the next card to $242,040.96. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $2,532,668. ... Live racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    

Season-debuting Artistic Major (Brent Holland, $15.40) and odds-on Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett, $3.30) shared the Saturday night harness racing glory, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $40,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee pace had a different look, with many of the just-concluded G-M Levy Series participants getting some well-deserved R&R. At the outset, Mister Bling A (Jordan Stratton) was put in play, as was outside assignee Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan). The latter, as the slight 3-1 choice, broke, leaving "Bling" to his own devices (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.4). Fiery Lustre N (Bartlett) was pocketed, while Artistic Major--from post position No. 2--was taking out of third. That one, opposing all elders, engaged a tiring leader in and out of the final turn, then put him away. Once in front, Artistic Major held off the foe on his back, Jeneral Patton (Pat Lachance) by a half-length in 1:52.1. Fiery Lustre N, Mister Bing A and Domethatgain (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For fifth choice Artistic Major, a 4-year-old son of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Steve Elliott, Michael Cimiglio, David Van Dusen and Gunjan Patel, his fresh parimutuel Lasix win was his 11th in 26 career starts. The exacta paid $177, with the triple returning $983. The week's trotting feature was simple as simple of simple could be for "Melady," who--from post No. 7--stole away (:28.3, :58.2, 1:27.2, 1:55.1). His two-length lead entering the lane was 2¼ lengths at the wire. Luminosity (Brennan) was a two-move second, with a pocket-sitting Somebody AS (Stratton) fading to third. Home'n Dry (Dube) and Dewycolorintheline (Tyler Buter) settled for the remainder. For Melady's Monet, a 7-year-old s Revenue S gelding owned Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, he's now 3-for-4 this season (lifetime loot up over $800,000). The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $14.80, with the triple returning $53. Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night at The Meadowlands has some really interesting races on the card as new faces begin to filter in to town and the overall quality improves in anticipation of the upcoming stakes season.   The $25,000 Open Handicap trot is an example of the shifting landscape as only two of the seven participants in this edition raced in last week's Open.   New to the scene is Rose Run Parker who dominated the Indiana program as a two and three-year-old, then was lightly campaigned last year at age four by Ron Burke. Now with three impressive sub-1:53 wins in as many starts at The Meadows at age five, Rose Run Parker is making his first foray into the "Big Time" at The Meadowlands.   He's drawn the open outside post seven from the three spots available to him via the handicap condition of the race. His last line indicates Rose Run Parker doesn't mind a little air, showing being wide through a 55.4 half and living to tell of it. Joe Bongiorno has the drive for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.   Returning to the wars is the accomplished veteran Melady's Monet, who makes his 2016 debut in Friday's Open. The pride of the Balenzano family's Melady Enterprises had far and away his best season in 2015, earning $364,450 on the strength of a dozen wins. John Campbell drives the veteran from post five for trainer Kevin McDermott.   The lead promotion this weekend in the Tax Relief Sweepstakes where The Meadowlands will put smiles on the faces of a few customers by giving them money. The possibility of winning a trip to the Kentucky Derby exists with entry accepted via a form in the program or on social media through April 23.   You may dine in any of several venues while enjoying the races including a delightful buffet in Pink, the trackside dining room.   For those interested in the gambling, all horizontal wager guarantees remain at the expected level and the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover stands at $164,848 entering the weekend. Past performance for the Late Pick 4 is yours at the click of a mouse for each night's card, courtesy of Trackmaster.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 31, 2015 - A week ago, we wrote...George Brennan won half of Yonkers Raceway's harness racing program Saturday night, his happy half-dozen including the tandem of $40,000 Open Handicaps. Now, we write...Jason Bartlett won half of Yonkers Raceway's program Saturday night, his happy half-dozen including the tandem of $40,000 Open Handicaps. Bartlett and Ideal Cowboy ($36.20) upset in the week's featured pace (1:50.4), while Bartlett and 6-5 favorite Melady's Monet ($4.40) won the week's marquee trot (1:55.1) from an impossible locale. Ideal Cowboy, leaving from a seat from post position No. 7, went up and over Lucan Hanover (Brian Sears) after that one's two-move, early intervals of :27.1 and :55.4. Ideal Cowboy moved from third, grabbing the lead at a 1:23 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Take it Back Terry (George Brennan), at just over even-money, was right behind, but couldn't match strides with the "Cowboy" as that one opened 3¼ lengths into the lane. "Terry" closed the final margin late, but missed by a half-length. Lucan Hanover, Soho Jackman A (Tyler Buter) and Big N Bad (Eric Carlson) came away with the remainder. For sixth choice Ideal Cowboy, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding co-owned by Bamond Racing and J&T Silva Stables, it was his seventh win in 21 seasonal tries. The exacta paid $66, with the triple returning $601. Now, to Melady's Monet, remanded to an eight-hole despite three weeks off. He tried to leave, but several others inside of him were reading from the same script. He was forced to go to the back of the bus as DW's NY Yank (Brennan) gave his backers some brief hope (:27.3; :56.2, 1:25.4). Crazy About Pat (Buter), sitting an antsy pocket, pulled early, with Fort Valley AS (Carlson) slipping out behind that one. As for "Melady," he was last along the cones, then slipped out to race third-over, with nothing moving forward in front of him. Last, 6¾ lengths away turning for home, he had no right winning this race...except he didn't get the memo. Melady's Monet powered by on the far outside, whipping "Fort Valley" by a neck with an individual :27.4 final quarter. Third went to "DW," with "Pat" and Can Do (Jordan Stratton) settling for the small change. For Melady's Monet, a 6-year-old Revenue S gelding trained by Kevin McDermott for owner Melady Enterprises, it was his 12th win in 25 '15 tries. The exacta paid $21.20, with the triple returning $94. Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, NJ --- Some of harness racing's biggest stars, including five Dan Patch Award winners, were in qualifier action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack, where they were greeted by an unseasonably cold morning and stiff headwind in the stretch. Three of the Dan Patch Award winners - older trotters Father Patrick, Market Share and Bee A Magician - met in the ninth of the day's 16 qualifiers, but it was Kevin McDermott-trained Melady's Monet who led them all to the finish line. Melady's Monet, who has raced in the Opens during the winter at the Meadowlands and has won five of eight starts this season, won by 1-1/4 lengths over Father Patrick in 1:54.4. Market Share was third and Bee A Magician fourth, both timed in 1:56. Four-year-old Father Patrick, making his first trip of the season to the track, and driver Yannick Gingras were content to sit behind Melady's Monet through the stretch after fractions of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:27. No harness racing horse earned more money last year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million. He was a divisional Dan Patch Award winner at both ages 2 and 3. "(Father) Patrick looked fantastic," trainer Jimmy Takter said. "Yannick said he was just crawling over (Melady's Monet), but he didn't want to make a sprint of it." Father Patrick, whose wins in 2014 included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic and Beal Memorial, has done stallion duty while preparing for this season. "He loves it," Takter said. "Everything is good. He's filled out quite a bit; he's much more stout." Bee A Magician, a 5-year-old mare who was the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year in 2013, was making her final qualifying start prior to the Miami Valley Distaff on May 3. "She was good," trainer Nifty Norman said. "She's come back really good. I'm very happy with her. (Driver Brian Sears) likes to qualify nice and simple, but he's very happy with her. If he's happy, I'm happy." Market Share, a 6-year-old who has won $3.68 million in his career and received Dan Patch Award honors at ages 3 and 4, was making his first qualifying start as he gets ready for the Cutler Memorial (eliminations May 9) at the Meadowlands. "It was pretty much what we expected," trainer Linda Toscano said. "We've kind of gone back to basics and we knew we were going to race him just at the end of the mile. It was such a tough qualifier; we don't really have anything to prove. We just needed to get some work under him. "He'll come back and qualify again next week and he should be the better for it. If he acts like he's good for the Cutler, we'll go to the Cutler. He'll tell us." Pinkman, who was voted the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, was the only award-winner to win his qualifier. The Takter-trainee won by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Uncle Lasse in 1:55.1. Aldebaran Eagle and Cruzado Dela Noche, who each won an International Stallion Stakes division last year, were third and fourth, respectively, followed by Breeders Crown runner-up Muscle Diamond. Last season, Pinkman won six of eight races and earned $566,960. Named after a character from the television series, "Breaking Bad," the gelding's victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes. "Pinkman is so lazy," Takter said. "He does what you ask of him. It's not impressive at all, but that's him. And he wins. He might be one of those horses we always underestimate." Artspeak, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer, made his first qualifying effort Saturday, but went off stride approaching the three-quarters point and finished 10th. Hurrikane Ali, trained by John McDermott Jr., won in 1:51.4. Last year, Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor's Cup. He went off stride in both losses. "He loses his focus sometimes when he comes first over like that," trainer Tony Alagna said. "He did it the other day training up here. He just doesn't pay attention. (Driver Scott Zeron) says he felt perfect, he just loses his focus. If he's on a helmet, he doesn't do it. But he's got to be able to come first over as well. "I'm going to take his hobbles back in a little bit more because they're still two inches longer than they were last year. We'll train him next week and make sure he's OK before we put him back in to qualify. That's why we gave ourselves some extra time, just to make sure, because he's done it before. It's frustrating, but if training horses was easy everybody would do it. We'll fix it and he'll be as good as ever." Takter sent out four qualifier winners, with 3-year-old filly trotters Wild Honey (1:55.1), Lilu Hanover (1:57.4) and Fly Angel Fly (1:56.3) joining Pinkman in victory. Takter's 3-year-old male trotters The Bank, Walter White and French Laundry finished second through fourth behind Crazy Wow in another qualifier featuring multiple stakes winners. "I thought they qualified very good," Takter said. "It's tough weather; the wind is tough, but I'm happy with all of them." Crazy Wow, who won last year's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male trotters, was making his debut for trainer Ron Burke after spending last season with Dan O'Mara. Crazy Wow won in 1:54.1. "He was very good," Burke said. "I wasn't surprised, but he was even better than I thought he would be." Burke also had wins with 3-year-old filly pacers Happiness (1:53.1) and Southwind Roulette (1:53.3). JK Endofanera, who won the 2014 North America Cup, finished second to Larry Remmen-trained Somesizesomestyle in 1:51.3 in a qualifier for older male pacers. Somesizesomestyle was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2014. "Overall I thought it was real good," Burke said. "I was happy with JK Endofanera; he was strong for his first start. My better horses were what they should have been. They improved today. That's all you're looking for, improvement each time." Steve Elliott had two qualifier winners, with 3-year-old male trotter Twain Drive (1:56.2) and 3-year-old male pacer Artistic Major (1:53.2). Toscano's Dapper Don won a qualifier for 3-year-old male trotters in 1:58.2 and Alagna's 4-year-old male trotter Propulsion won in 1:55. Other winners were Wayne Givens' 5-year-old pacing mare Jerseylicious (1:51.4) and Monte Gelrod's 3-year-old male pacer Maxdaddy Blue Chip (1:52.3). For the complete charts of Saturday's qualifiers, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

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 13, 2015) With harness racing Swedish interests looking on from The Meadowlands grandstand, Melady's Monet put forth a flawless audition, winning the $30,000 Open Handicap trot for the second week in a row and for the fifth time in his last eight starts. The 7/5 favorite from post 9, Melady's Monet was gathered back off the gate early in the mile and established a stalking position halfway through the field. The early lead belonged to longshot B YoYo, who reached the first quarter in 26.4, but Andy Miller and Lindy's Tru Grit was not content with his position and that trotter quickly assumed command down the back stretch. Not to be out-done, Brett Miller guided Odds On Amethyst off the pylons and they picked up the pursuit of Lindy's Tru Grit through a 56.3 half-mile. At that point, John Campbell elected to follow Brett Miller's move and Melady's Monet found himself well-positioned second over. But into the far turn, Odds On Amethyst cleared to the front, leaving Melady's Monet first over as the field rolled through three-quarters in 1:25. Both trotters coming off wins at the Open level would proceed to hook-up for a stretch battle. Inside the final eighth of a mile, Melady's Monet was able to wear down Odds On Amethyst to reach the wire in 1:52.3. The win was the fourth on the season for the six year old gelding. Melady's Monet is trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises L.L.C. The co-featured event was the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. That race featured millionaire and world champion, Somwherovrarainbow, who was the 3/5 favorite. But it was not her night tonight as Radar Contact, in what may have been the best performance of her career, not only won, but dominated the field to win by four lengths, posting an 11-1 upset. Somwherovrarainbow was a bit wide in the first turn while following Camille who would grab the lead early in the mile. Those two hit the opening quarter, while racing on even terms in 26.4. The favorite cleared the lead shortly thereafter and took the field down the backstretch with Camille drafting in the pocket through a 55.2 half-mile. At this point, John Campbell guided his mare, Radar Contact to the outside and she committed to a first over grind around the far turn. With that mare at her throat, Somwherovrarainbow reached three-quarters in 1:23.3, but as the field turned for home, it was clear that Radar Contact was going the better of the two. As the mares straightened up in the stretch, Radar Contact found gears four, five and six and she pulled away from the millionaire, leaving her and six other mares in her wake as she rolled to an authoritative win in 1:50.2, pacing a 26.4 final quarter after racing first over. Charisma Hanover rallied for the runner-up spot. Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley and was driven to victory by John Campbell. The first leg of the Shiaway St Pat trotting series was contested Friday night at The Meadowlands. With 13 horses entered, the first round was split into a pair of $20,000 divisions. The Super Bowl and Charles Singer winner JL Cruze was the name that headlined the list of entries. He was sent off as the 1/5 favorite in the second division and he picked up right where he left off. Settling into third position early in the mile through fractions of 28.2 and 57.4, JL Cruze committed first over as the field moved into the far turn and with a measured move, seized command as the field reached three-quarters in 1:27. In the stretch, JL Cruze turned it on, opening up at will and powering home in 27-seconds to win by many in 1:54. It was the sixth win from eight starts this season for the Eric Ell trainee. The win by JL Cruze gave John Campbell his third win of the program for Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. When he doesn't face JL Cruze (and sometimes even when he does), he wins. That has been the case all winter for Opulent Yankee and that trend continued in the first round of the Shiaway St. Pat on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the 2/5 betting choice in the first $20,000 Shiaway St Pat division, Opulent Yankee was kept off the gate slightly and allowed to settle into third position early in the mile with Andy Miller. The front end belonged to the Dover invader Razor Ramone, who was keyed up through a quarter of 27.2. Positions remained unchanged down the backstretch until Miller guided his trotter off the pylons past the half-mile in 57.3 where Opulent Yankee began his pursuit of Razor Ramone. Midway through the far turn it was clear that Opulent Yankee had more in the tank and the gelding cleared the lead going past three-quarters in 1:26.3. In the stretch, Opulent Yankee powered away with the end result never in doubt, gliding to an easy 1:55 score. Sheer Flex rallied for the runner-up spot, with Razor Ramone fading to third. Opulent Yankee is trained by Julie Miller for Little E L.L.C., Art Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz. Rising star Jimmy Marohn Jr. had another impressive night at The Meadowlands, winning three races from six drives on the Friday program. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carried over again. That carryover will be $50,461 into the Saturday program. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover is now $167,731. The 13-race Saturday program features the $58,000 Buddy Gilmour Final, led by Wiggle It Jiggleit. Post time is set for 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

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