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It took Best In Show a minute and 48 seconds to win the Meadowlands Pace. It took harness racing trainer Linda Toscano nearly as much time to allow herself to believe it was true. "I would not get in the car until his number came up," Toscano said, referring to the vehicle that shuttles people between the paddock, where Toscano had watched the race, and the winner's circle at The Meadowlands. "I was not getting in the car." After a minute-and-a-half wait, Best In Show was declared the winner of Saturday's $682,650 event for 3-year-old pacers in a four-horse photo, beating Bettor's Wish and Workin Ona Mystery both by a head and Captain Crunch by three-quarters of a length. Then, Toscano could enjoy the ride. "Oh, gosh; this is home," Toscano said as she discussed the emotions surrounding her first Meadowlands Pace win. "Lately I've been training a lot of trotters, and I've always had a lot of fillies, and the one shot I thought I had at this race was with Heston Blue Chip (in 2012) and it just didn't work out. "Just to get another shot at this race, this is another one I can check off the bucket list. It's cool." Toscano, a New Jersey resident who six days prior to Best In Show's victory was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, became the seventh trainer to win the Meadowlands' two premier races for 3-year-olds, the Meadowlands Pace and the Hambletonian. She captured the Hambletonian, for trotters, in 2012 with Market Share. The other trainers to win both races were Billy Haughton, Ray Remmen, Chuck Sylvester, Blair Burgess, Steve Elliott, and Ray Schnittker. "It's been a big week," Toscano said. "This is what you try to get to." Best In Show raced only three times at age 2 before being shut down to provide the colt more time to develop physically. This year, he won a conditioned race at The Meadowlands before heading to Canada and winning on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit. He then was second in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, sixth in the North America Cup final after a third-place performance in his elimination, and second in another Ontario Sire Stakes start. He returned to The Meadowlands and finished second to Bettor's Wish in his Meadowlands Pace elimination. "When he came back this year, he was behind on experience, he was behind on everything," co-owner Richard Young said. "These horses were racing in big stakes last year and we were in non-winners of two in his fifth lifetime start here at The Meadowlands (in May), so we've come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The progress has been rather quick. "I'm elated. I kept telling people I thought he could win. He has tremendous gate speed for position and if they fought it out, who knows. I always thought we had a shot. I think he's shown that he belongs." Said Toscano, "We thought he was a quality horse. He came back and we brought him along the right way. Fortunately for us, we had a great jump-start program being able to go up to the Ontario Sire Stakes so we didn't have to go against these gorillas every single week. It was a great place to get him started and get his sea legs under him. Every week he's been progressing just a little bit more and more. "Finally, the rookie thing is gone, he's starting to figure this out. He's got good gate speed, he's an honest horse, and he's an easy horse to drive. I love his attitude. He's totally nonplussed by shipping. I shipped him back and forth to Canada every single week, I never left him there, and he just gets out of the truck and eats his dinner. Those kinds of horses help. I went to check on him in the detention barn (Saturday) and he was lying down when I got there. That's basically what you have to like the most about him." Best In Show is a son of Bettor's Delight out of the mare Put On A Show. Young was among the owners of Put On A Show during her racing career, which saw her earn $2.40 million lifetime and take home a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2010. Best In Show was her third foal, and first colt. "We're talking about a great mommy, a great daddy; we had a shot here," Young said. "We kept Put On A Show for one reason - we thought she would produce a champion. We were just going to wait on it until it happened. "I think I have a potential sire here, which is really exciting." In the Meadowlands Pace, Best In Show was the fourth choice in the betting, at odds of 27-1, behind favorite Captain Crunch, Bettor's Wish, and Workin Ona Mystery. Best In Show started from post seven and used his gate speed to get to the lead in a :26.2 opening quarter mile. The three top choices all passed Best In Show on the backstretch and battled to the half in :52.4 and three-quarters in 1:19.3. As the group continued its fight in the stretch, driver Brian Sears found room inside his three leading rivals and guided Best In Show through to victory. Toscano said she thought Best In Show was primed to get a good piece of the purse, but was not going to predict victory prior to the race. "Then you see where you're sitting and you see a half in :52 come up, you go, oh, this is kind of looking pretty good here," Toscano said. "You know the right horses are all around you and are going to carry you. Then it's just hope for room and hope your horse is going to show up at that point. So, it worked out really well." The horse showed up. Best In Show. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

East Rutherford, NJ -- What a week for harness racing Linda Toscano.   On Sunday evening, the trainer gave a gracious acceptance speech at her induction to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., and on Saturday night (July 13), she stood in the winner's circle after Best In Show pulled a 27-1 upset in the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace.   It was the perfect bookend to a seven-day span she'll never forget.   "This another one I never dreamed of," Toscano said after becoming the first female trainer to win the Pace. "This is home for me. This is awesome."   In a thrilling finish, Best In Show slipped through an opening on the rail to defeat his more heralded rivals. He got up by a head over Bettor's Wish, the brave first-over challenger who couldn't have raced much better.   Right in the mix was Workin Ona Mystery in third, with the pacesetting Captain Crunch, the North America Cup winner and the 1-2 favorite in the Pace, a close-up fourth in the blanket finish.   The time was 1:48 on the warm evening for the track's signature race.   Brian Sears, also a Hall of Famer, gave Best In Show a perfect ground-saving drive. Best In Show left alertly before readily yielding to let the favorites duke it out while settling into fourth.   "I knew they were racing pretty good," Sears said. "It was all the horses to beat and they were going at it. I was pretty content. I wanted to sneak him around there a little bit. I got a little opening, and he fired for me."   And he fired up the tote board.   Best In Show   Best In Show paid $56.20, $14.40 and $6.80. Bettor's Wish returned $4.00 and $2.80. Workin Ona Mystery paid $3.80 to show.   The time was 1:48 after clipping through aggressive fractions of :26.2, :52.4 and a blazing 1:19.3 to the three-quarter pole.   It was fourth win in 12 starts for Best In Show, who competed in a non-winners of two races condition as recently as May.   "We knew he was a nice colt last year and he got a little colt sore on us," Toscano said. "We shut him down, brought him back and he's done everything right."   Best In Show has been rapidly making up for that lost time.   The son of Bettor's Delight out of Put On A Show earned $341,325 as a homebred for Richard P. Young & Joanne Young. He turned in a pair of second-place finishes in his previous two starts, an Ontario Sires Stakes and his Pace elimination behind Bettor's Wish.   Meadowlands Pace Photo   Keeping Pace:    All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $4,044,303   All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $4,044,303, the sixth time in the last seven years that Meadowlands Pace Night betting surpassed the $4-million mark. … The driving stars were out in force as 10 of the races on the card were won by Dave Miller (3), Tim Tetrick (3), Yannick Gingras (2) and Sears (2). … There were a pair of 50-Cent Pick-4s on the program and they both took big action. The Pick-4 that began in Race 6 took in a 2019-best $146,229, while the Late Pick-4 (Races 10-13) saw a total pool of $122,070. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   by Mike Farrell, Meadowlands Media

When Joe Barbera's father saw a friend that knew nothing about horses end up as a partner on 1974 Cane Pace winner Boyden Hanover, he told his sons, "If he could do good, we could do good with a horse." The comment launched Barbera's career as an owner himself. "That's when I claimed my first horse," the 75-year-old Barbera said, remembering it to be a pacer named Lakewood Joe D. "I raced at Roosevelt a little bit. When Roosevelt closed, I got out of the business for a while. I just wanted to concentrate on working." But Barbera, an affable Long Island resident who owns a rigging company, eventually returned to the horses. And on Saturday, he will be among the owners of three Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace finalists: Captain Ahab, U S Captain, and Captain Trevor. All three are trained by Tony Alagna, who also sends Escapetothebeach into Saturday's $682,650 event for 3-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. "(The rigging company) has enabled me at this stage to get involved with these quality horses," said Barbera, who often partners with his brother Vincent on ownership. "We've had a lot of fun in the business and it's becoming much more fun in my later days because I'm with a group that can produce top horses, the kind that can race in the Meadowlands Pace, that can go to the North America Cup. "I've been close to having something good. I think I'm really close now with the people I'm with." Captain Ahab and Captain Trevor were winners on the Grand Circuit last year. U S Captain was winless in 2018 but has won four of five races this season. All three were from the first crop of stallion Captaintreacherous, who won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace and was twice named Pacer of the Year. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday. Overall, five of the Meadowlands Pace finalists were sired by Captaintreacherous, with 2-1 morning-line favorite Captain Crunch and 5-1 third choice Workin Ona Mystery joining Alagna's trio. Alagna trained Captaintreacherous during his racing career. "We went all-in on Captaintreacherous," Barbera said. "He produces wonderful horses. The bad thing about Captain is there are so many other Captains you have to go against. We don't have the only Captains. They're all good. The Captains are either good or they're great, they're one of the two." Captain Trevor                                                --Curtis Salonick photo Barbera, who is the uncle of Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, the executive vice president/syndicate manager at Hanover Shoe Farms, had his passion for racing in his early days in the sport fueled through a friendship with Hall of Famer Del Insko. Earlier this decade, he enjoyed success with Joe Pavia Jr. on the New York Sire Stakes circuit with horses such as Steelhead Hanover and Bet On The Law. He now owns part of 19 horses in Alagna's stable. "If you add up all the percentages, it comes out to about three," Barbera joked. "Tony is a hard worker and does everything to make those horses as good as they can be. But you still need a little bit of luck. It looks like it could be a very nice year for me. That's why we keep plugging. We know what can happen if you get a little lucky." In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands includes the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old male and female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Eight of the horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown weekly Top 10 Poll will be in harness racing action on the Saturday (July 13) night program at the Meadowlands, and a slightly different wagering menu - which promises to create big pools - will also be offered on the highly-anticipated Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Night card. Top-ranked Shartin N seeks her ninth win in a row in the Golden Girls for free-for-all mare pacers. Her last Meadowlands appearance came on November 24th of last year when she won the TVG Mares pace in 1:50.3. No. 2 Atlanta, who a week ago recorded the fastest trotting Big M mile ever of 1:49.1 in the Graduate Series Final, will look to stay perfect in seven seasonal starts in the Hambletonian Maturity, an open event for 4-year-olds at a mile and an eighth. In the evening's feature, Captain Crunch (No. 3) and Bettor's Wish (No. 5) will go head-to-head in a second consecutive major event in the glamourous 3-year-old male pacing division, the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Four weeks ago, 'Crunch' bested 'Wish' by three-quarters of a length in the North America Cup. No. 4 Greenshoe, whose explosive late rally left him a head short at the wire in the June 29th Beal, will try to make it six wins in nine lifetime tries in the second of two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters. Speaking of polls, Greenshoe is currently the top-ranked horse in Meadowlands' track announcer Ken Warkentin's weekly 'Road to the Hambletonian' Top 10. Last Saturday, in the Graduate Series Final for pacers, sixth-ranked Lather Up became only the second horse in harness racing history to complete a mile in 1:46. He'll take on defending Horse of the Year McWicked in the William Haughton Memorial at a mile and an eighth. No. 9 Warrawee Ubeaut, who was upset two weeks ago in the Lynch, takes on the horse that beat her - Stonebridge Soul - in the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old pacing fillies at a mile and an eighth. Finally, Hannelore Hanover (No. 10) takes on Darling Mearas S, one of only four horses to ever break the 1:50-barrier on the trot at the Big M, in the second leg of the Miss Versatility for open mares. WAGERING MENU: The Saturday card will feature an extra 50-Cent Pick-4 as well as an extra Pick-3 as compared to a normal 13-race card. There will be Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta wagering on all 13 races; Daily Doubles will be offered on races 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 8-9, 9-10 and 12-13; the 50-Cent Pick-5 will begin with Race 1, but will have a $50,000 guaranteed pool instead of the usual $25,000; the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 will be offered starting with Race 3 while the pair of 20-Cent Jackpot Super-High Fives will be in their usual spots, Races 5 and 13. Fans of the track's signature wager, the 50-Cent Pick-4, will get to double their pleasure. There will be two rounds of the bet on Saturday. The first - which will be made up of the Golden Girls, Hambletonian Maturity, Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace and Haughton Memorial - takes place on Races 6-9 and will offer a guaranteed pool of $100,000, while the second will be on Races 10-13 with a $50,000 promise. Keep in mind that the Survivor, Pick-5 and Pick-4 all offer a low 15 percent takeout. CHECK YOUR WATCH: The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace field will head to the gate at 10:10 p.m. ... Racing on Friday and Saturday night will get underway at the usual 7:15 p.m. ... For the remainder of the meeting, racing will be conducted on a Friday-Saturday 7:15 p.m. basis, except for Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 3, when the card gets underway at noon. Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - This Saturday, July 13th the 4th Annual BBQ Battle returns to the track on Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Night. $2,000 is up for grabs in the Battle with $500 top prizes for the best brisket, chicken, pulled pork and ribs. Plus on the track, the top 3 year old pacers compete to become the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace champion. From 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. in the Backyard, fans can grab some delicious barbecue and food truck eats from some of the best local food trucks and restaurants in the area. Seven contestants have signed up to compete in this year's Battle including: Magic Mike's Smoked Meats, Dr Dor's BBQ, Delicious BBQ, Gentle Giant Brew Co, Smoke & Steer BBQ Grill, Carlito's BBQ and Big Barlow's BBQ. Additional food and dessert options ranging from empanadas to seafood tacos to burgers to Italian ice and cupcakes will be provided by Empanada Guy, All Surf No Turf, Jersey Roll, 2 Guys Catering, The Mozzarella God, Burgerstrasse, Clydes Italian Ice and House of Cupcakes. "Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace night is a highlight of our Championship Meet," said Meadowlands General Manager and CEO Jason M. Settlemoir. "This is truly a spectacular night of racing, food and family fun." In addition to the BBQ Battle, The "Greatest Night in Harness Racing" also takes place on Saturday with the featured $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace in the spotlight. Also being contested on the card will be the Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer, Del Miller, William Haughton, Golden Girls and Hambletonian Maturity. Fans ride the mechanical shark and enter to win a $500 win wager. There is also live music by the Mighty Spectrum Band and carnival games for the kids. First race post time is 7:15pm. For more details on the BBQ Battle and the Crawford Farm Meadowlands Pace, visit http://meadowlandspace.com/default.html  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Here are the horses and post positions for the major harness racing events on Meadowlands Pace Night, Saturday, July 13, at the Meadowlands: Race 2 - $124,000 Del Miller Memorial (3-year-old filly trot, 1st division): 1, Miss Trixton; 2, Beautiful Sin; 3, Sonnet Grace; 4, Cloud Nine Fashion; 5, Evident Beauty; 6, Special Honor. Race 3 - $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial (3-year-old open trot, 1st division): 1, Sheer Muscle; 2, Swandre The Giant; 3, Gerry; 4, Green Manalishi S; 5, Summit In Sight; 6, Reign Of Honor; 7, Osterc. Race 4 - $40,000 Miss Versatility (mares open trot, 2nd leg): 1, Ice Attraction; 2, The Erm; 3, Darling Mearas S; 4, Hannelore Hanover; 5, Top Expectations; 6, Pat Matters; 7, Plunge Blue Chip; 8, Satin Dancer. Race 5 - $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial (3-year-old open trot, 2nd division): 1, Don't Let'em; 2, Final Claim; 3, Pilot Discretion; 4, Mass Fortune K; 5, Super Schissel; 6, Southwind Avenger; 7, Greenshoe. Race 6 - $179,550 Golden Girls (free-for-all mares pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Reclamation; 2, Divas Image; 3, Kissin In The Sand; 4, Shartin N; 5, Apple Bottom Jeans; 6, Seaswift Joy N; 7, Wisdom Tree; 8, Youaremycandygirl; 9, Alexa's Power; 10, Caviart Ally; 11, Bettor Joy N. Race 7 - $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity (4-year-old open trot at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Run Director; 2, Phaetosive; 3, Fiftydallarbill; 4, Atlanta; 5, Manchego; 6, Custom Cantab; 7, Crystal Fashion; 8, Muscle M Up; 9, Southwind Chrome; 10, Mission Accepted; 11, Six Pack. Race 8 - $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace (3-year-old open, with morning-line odds): 1, Captain Crunch, 2-1; 2, Escapetothebeach, 15-1; 3, Captain Ahab, 12-1; 4, Bettor's Wish, 3-1; 5, Hurrikane Emperor, 10-1; 6, Reigning Deo, 15-1; 7, Best In Show, 10-1; 8, U S Captain, 12-1; 9, Workin Ona Mystery, 5-1; 10, Captain Trevor, 15-1. Race 9 - $423,000 William Haughton Memorial (free-for-all pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Endeavor; 2, Duplicated N; 3, Beckhams Z Tam; 4, Always A Prince; 5, Lather Up; 6, McWicked; 7, Western Joe; 8, Highalator; 9, Dorsoduro Hanover; 10, This Is The Plan; 11, Dealt A Winner; 12, Filibuster Hanover. Race 10 - $207,700 Mistletoe Shalee (3-year-old filly pace at 1 1/8 miles): 1, Sylph Hanover; 2, Warrawee Ubeaut; 3, Tall Drink Hanover; 4, Trillions Hanover; 5, Rose Run Uptowngal; 6, Philly Hanover; 7, Zero Tolerance; 8, Stonebridge Soul; 9, St Somewhere; 10, Sweet Lucy Lou; 11, She's Allright; 12, Renaissance Lady K. Race 11 - $126,500 Del Miller Memorial (3-year-old filly trot, 2nd division): 1, Sister's Promise; 2, Princess Deo; 3, Millies Possesion; 4, Asiago; 5, Queen Of Trixs; 6, The Ice Dutchess; 7, Starita. The 13-race card gets underway at 7:15 p.m. with purses totaling $2,597,900. The Meadowlands Pace has an off time of 10:10 p.m. Dave Little  

Chris Ryder knows what it is like to race in the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace -- this year's appearance with Bettor's Wish will be the trainer's seventh trip to the harness racing event's final -- but this time feels different. Bettor's Wish, who has won five of six starts this season, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in Saturday's $682,650 race for 3-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. The colt, with driver Dexter Dunn, heads to the final off a win in his elimination last weekend. The morning line favorite is Captain Crunch, who is 2-1 after also winning his elimination. Captain Crunch, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, won the North America Cup on June 15 at Canada's Woodbine Mohawk Park, with Bettor's Wish finishing second. Bettor's Wish has finished third or better in all but one of his 18 career races, winning 10. "Quite often in the past, I've been in the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace, and you get a bit nervous," the 63-year-old Ryder said. "You think hard about it, what has to be done. You always question yourself as a trainer. But with this horse, I'm absolutely not doing that because he gives you confidence. That's what Dexter says, and he's right. "He's so reliable when he races. Every time he races, he shows you some brilliance. I'm not nervous, I'm going to enjoy it, because you don't get in these spots very often. I'm just going to enjoy it and make the most of it." Ryder is among the owners of Bettor's Wish, along with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Ken Solomon. The colt, by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and has earned $664,556 so far in his career. "It's just a good story," Ryder said. "He was a cheap yearling, but when you look at his pedigree, it's tremendous. He's from the family of Life Sign and American Ideal; Three Diamonds is his fourth dam. But he was small and he wasn't a (Captaintreacherous-sired yearling). That was the first year of the Captains and the money went to Captaintreacherous. "He doesn't look small when he's racing," Ryder added. "He's got a big, long stride. And he's always good down by the wire. We're just pleased to have him." Bettor's Wish won five times last year, all in Canada, and was second in the Battle of Waterloo and Ontario Sire Stakes championship. This season, his triumphs include the Art Rooney Pace. Bettor's Wish "Honestly, he's a little better than I thought he would be," said Ryder, whose best Meadowlands Pace finish came in 2002 with runner-up McArdle. "He impresses me every time he races. He trains quite well, but plenty of horses train pretty good. When you go and race, he's got that bit extra that you don't always see when you race them. "I like his speed and his versatility. He's getting two-hole trips all the time and it's not just luck. It's because he can get himself where he needs to be." Bettor's Wish will start Saturday from post four. Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron will leave from post one while Workin Ona Mystery, the 5-1 third choice on the morning line, and driver Tim Tetrick start from post nine. No other pacer in the 10-horse field is better than 10-1. "This is going to be a tricky race," Ryder said, adding with a laugh, "I said that about the North America Cup, and here I am saying the same thing again. Who knows?" Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands features eight of the top-10 horses in this week's Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. In addition to Captain Crunch (No. 3) and Bettor's Wish (No. 5) in the Meadowlands Pace, No. 1 Shartin N is in the Golden Girls, No. 2 Atlanta is in the Hambletonian Maturity, No. 4 Greenshoe is in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, No. 6 Lather Up is in the William R. Haughton Memorial, No. 9 Warrawee Ubeaut is in the Mistletoe Shalee, and No. 10 Hannelore Hanover is in the Miss Versatility. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The stage is set for a harness racing glamour division grudge match. Captain Crunch and Bettor's Wish - the 1-2 finishers three weeks ago in the North America Cup - will go at it again next week in the $682,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Final for 3-year-olds after both emerged victorious in eliminations for the Big M's signature event Saturday night. The Nancy Johansson-trained Captain Crunch had little trouble taking the first elim in 1:48.3. The son of Captaintreacherous-Sweet Paprika went after even-money second-choice Workin Ona Mystery as that one made the lead approaching the three-eighths, before 'Crunch' moved to the top shortly thereafter. Captain Crunch hit the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.4, and despite Workin Ona Mystery making one last lunge nearing the wire, held on for a safe half-length win. U S Captain, Captain Ahab and Reigning Deo finished third through fifth, respectively, to grab spots in the July 13 final. "Nancy always keeps her horses fresh, so I wasn't concerned (that he had been off for three weeks)," said winning driver Scott Zeron. "Once I saw (we went) :27 to the first quarter and everything was going nice and steady, I was comfortable with any kind of fractions. He's just a different type of animal." In winning for the fourth time in five outings in 2019, Captain Crunch returned $3.60 to win as the 4-5 favorite. Captain Crunch Bettor's Wish was even more impressive, scoring in the other elim in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. He hit the finish 2¼ lengths clear of Best In Show, with Hurrikane Emperor (third), Captain Trevor (fourth) and Escapetothebeach (fifth) grabbing the last three berths in the final. Bettor's Wish, who was driven by Dexter Dunn, put a beating on his foes by brushing to command at the three-eighths, hitting the half in :55.3 before pacing his back half in :53.3 to go on to the easy win. "I think we are in a good spot," said winning trainer Chris Ryder. "I suppose we won't be favored next week. But I think we're dangerous." A son of Bettor's Delight-Lifetime Star, Bettor's Wish returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 public choice in winning for the fifth time this year in six starts, his only loss coming to Captain Crunch in the NA Cup. Bettor's Wish PACE POSTS: Here are the post positions for the $682,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Final, which takes place Saturday, July 13, at the Meadowlands: 1, Captain Crunch; 2, Escapetothebeach; 3, Captain Ahab; 4, Bettor's Wish; 5, Hurrikane Emperor; 6, Reigning Deo; 7, Best In Show; 8, U S Captain; 9, Workin Ona Mystery; 10, Captain Trevor. A LITTLE MORE: Lather Up (6-1 third choice) sat a perfect pocket trip behind Always A Prince and rolled home to take the $250,000 Graduate Final for 4-year-olds on the pace. His eye-popping time of 1:46 equaled Always B Miki's all-time fastest mile in harness racing history. Lather Up . ... Atlanta (1-5 favorite) stayed perfect in six 2019 starts by taking the $250,000 Graduate Final for 4-year-olds on the trot. Her time of 1:49.1 was the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history. Atlanta . ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five resulted in a single-ticket winner. That NJBets mobile player had the only winning ticket with the combination of 7-9-2-11-8 and walked away with $126,155 . ... All-source wagering on the 11-race card totaled $2,654,612. The per-race average of $241,328 was the fourth highest of the meeting. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ — The 10th and final edition of Dave Little’s “Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace” finds Captain Crunch in the top spot harness racing for the ninth time. There are 14 horses looking to beat him in the Big M’s signature event, which gets underway Saturday (July 6) with two eliminations. To view the complete list, click here.   Rachel Ryan  

Christina Takter was in Sweden when Captain Crunch won the C$1 million North America Cup last month, and although it was around 4 a.m., it did not prevent her from cheering on her 3-year-old harness racing colt or from celebrating enthusiastically with her husband, retired Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. "We were yelling so much I thought the roof was going to lift from the house," said Christina, who is among Captain Crunch's owners, with 3 Brothers Stables, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We had set the alarm to wake up and see the race. It was a lot of fun." The Takters were in Sweden for a month, seeing family and friends. At the time of the North America Cup, they were visiting Per Eriksson. Did the commotion disturb their host? "We were staying maybe a quarter of a mile from their house," Christina said, adding with a big smile and laugh, "so I don't think I woke them up." Christina hopes there are more reasons to celebrate in the weeks ahead, beginning with the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Captain Crunch, a Dan Patch Award winner in 2018, was among 15 horses entered in the event, with the group divided into two $50,000 eliminations that will be contested Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack. The top-five finishers will return for the final on July 13. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six. Captain Crunch, trained by Christina's daughter Nancy Johansson and driven by Scott Zeron, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the first of the two eliminations. North America Cup runner-up Bettor's Wish is the 9-5 choice in the second. For the year, Captain Crunch has won three of four races. His only loss came in his North America Cup elimination, when he went off stride in the first turn because of jumping a shadow. He recovered to finish fifth and advance to the final, where he started from post eight and posted a three-quarter-length win over Bettor's Wish in 1:47.2. "I was very, very nervous," Christina said about the final. "But, at the same time, that was kind of a freaky thing he did in the elimination, so I wasn't too worried about it. Of course, it's in the back of your mind, but we still had faith in him. "That's when you really want to show the world that the horse is what you think he is." Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, was purchased for $85,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Johansson's daughter, Ella, fell in love with the colt the day prior to the sale and implored her mother to buy him. The connection has added another layer of joy to Captain Crunch's story. "It's special," Christina said. "She picked him out, kind of; she really liked him. She has that extra bond with him. "I thought the price was right too. I was happy to get a piece of him because with the pedigree, I don't think we overpaid for him. And it's a very nice group (of owners) to be involved with." If Captain Crunch advances to the Meadowlands Pace final, it will conflict with another big event for the Takter family. Jimmy, already a Hall of Famer in the U.S. and Canada, is scheduled to be inducted into the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame on July 13. And although Christina and Jimmy celebrated the North America Cup win in Sweden, the couple plans to remain home for the Meadowlands Pace. "It's going to be exciting," Christina said. "Of course, we have to get to the final. You never know. I just hope nothing happens, that the horse doesn't have bad luck or get sick. It all depends on Saturday." Joining Captain Crunch in the first elimination are U S Captain (5-1), Reigning Deo (10-1), Workin Ona Mystery (5-2), Mangogh (15-1), Captain Ahab (4-1), and Mac's Power (12-1). U S Captain, entering open stakes company for the first time this season, is unbeaten in four races this year. Mangogh and Mac's Power are making their seasonal debuts. The horses joining Bettor's Wish in the second elimination are Love Me Some Lou (10-1), Escapetothebeach (10-1), Best In Show (12-1), Captain Trevor (7-2), Hurrikane Emperor (8-1), Caviart Rockland (8-1), and De Los Cielos Deo (4-1). Saturday's card at The Meadowlands also includes the $250,000 finals of the Graduates Series for each 4-year-old trotters and 4-year-old pacers. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). It is Fan Appreciation Night and fireworks will follow the races. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

East Rutherford, NJ - The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace has drawn 15 harness racing entries that will result in a pair of $50,000 elimination races on Saturday, July 6.   NA Cup winner Captain Crunch leads the talented group of sophomore pacing colts. The 2018 Dan Patch award winning freshman went over $1,000,000 in his career when he won the Cup for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners 3 Brothers, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. Scott Zeron has been the colt's driver throughout and is listed for the Pace elims.   Cup place and show finishers Bettor's Wish and Workin' On A Mystery are in the field and trainer Tony Alagna has entered four in the big dance, three of his colts represent half of the six entered sired by Captaintreacherous.   Also on the Saturday card are the $250,000 Graduate finals featuring the finest 4-year-old pacers and trotters in the land.   Post time on Saturday is 6:30pm with Fan Appreciation night and the promise of fireworks after the races also holding allure for the Meadowlands faithful.   The entrants are listed below:   BEST IN SHOW - By Bettor's Delight BETTOR'S WISH - By Bettor's Delight CAPTAIN AHAB - By Captaintreacherous CAPTAIN CRUNCH - By Captaintreacherous CAPTAIN TREVOR - By Captaintreacherous   CAVIART ROCKLAND - By Sportswriter DE LOS CIELOS DEO - By Captaintreacherous ESCAPETOTHEBEACH - By Somebeachsomewhere HURRIKANE EMPEROR - By Hurrikane Kingcole LOVE ME SOME LOU - By Sweet Lou MAC'S POWER - By Somebeachsomewhere MANGOGH - By Western Ideal REIGNING DEO - By Rock N Roll Heaven U S CAPTAIN - By Captaintreacherous WORKIN ONA MYSTERY - By Captaintreacherous     Nick Salvi

Captain Crunch has vaulted back to the top harness racing spot in Week 8 of Dave Little's "Road to the Crawford Farns Meadowlands Pace" after his stunning 1:47.2 score in the North America Cup. The "Big Three" of Crunch, Bettor's Wish and Workin Ona Mystery will all skip the Max Hempt to prepare for The Pace.   Rank Horse (Earnings – Mark) Driver, Trainer Owner(s) Dave Little’s Comments 1 Captain Crunch ($1,050,806 – 1:47.2)   S. Zeron, N. Johansson 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, Caviart Farms Rebounded in a big way in the North America Cup Final after jumping a shadow the week before in his elimination, scoring impressively after leaving the gate, coming after favorite Workin Ona Mystery, then holding off Bettor’s Wish in a dazzling performance. Johansson: “I don’t think he’s ever come alongside a horse and not won. The mile did not take a lot out of him. After the race, he was in the paddock and he felt like he was the King of the World. We are skipping the Hempt to go to the Meadowlands Pace.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 1st (1:47.2) 2 Bettor’s Wish ($639,556 – 1:49.3)   D. Dunn, C. Ryder Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, Kenneth Solomon   Raced big but came up three-quarters-of-a-length short in his quest to stay unbeaten in five starts this year in a superb NA Cup effort. Ryder: “This horse is usually very relaxed but after the recall he got a little grabby in the race. I’m going to give him an easy week and get ready for the Meadowlands Pace.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 2nd (1:47.3) 3 Workin Ona Mystery ($258,567 – 1:49)   T. Tetrick, B. Brown Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith, Wingfield Brothers   The 7-5 NA Cup favorite reached three-quarters on the point in 1:20 before settling for third, only his second career defeat in 10 starts. Brown: “He was really good. Tough trip. When you go for a million it ain’t going to be easy. We’ll try it again Meadowlands Pace night.” A rematch of the division’s Big Three is something worth looking forward to. Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 3rd (1:47.3) 4 Best In Show ($96,163 – 1:50.3)   B. McClure, L. Toscano Richard P Young, Joanne Young, Craig W Henderson   Came close to getting the final check in The Cup, finishing sixth in 1:48.2 in just his ninth career start. Toscano: “He checked a little bit at the half. He was just getting a full head of steam and then got startled. Every week for this colt has been an education. We’ll go in the (Ontario Sire Stakes) Gold next Saturday then come back for the Meadowlands Pace.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 6th (1:48.2) 5 Air Force Hanover ($209,638 – 1:50.1)   Y. Gingras, B. Brown Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard M Lombardo, W J Donovan   Failed to qualify for the final, finished a respectable third in the consolation as the third choice to Century Farroh. Brown: “He couldn’t get all the way to the wire up there (at Mohawk). He showed some blood. He’s in the Hempt, and hopefully, we can control his bleeding with a higher dose of Lasix.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Consolation – 3rd (1:50) 6 Hurrikane Emperor ($325,400 – 1:49.3)   D. Dube, J. McDermott Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Investment Group, William Garofalo   It was not his night at The ‘Hawk, was never close in The Cup but did kick home in :27.1 – which was the second fastest final quarter in the race – to finish eighth. McDermott: “He just wasn’t comfortable in the NA Cup. He was rough-gaited but had tons of pace late. I’m changing his shoes and he drew well for the Hempt.”  Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 8th (1:49.3) 7 De Los Cielos Deo ($217,758 – 1:48.4Q)   D. Miller, R. Burke Burke Racing Stable LLC, Lawrence R Karr, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC     He was a hot item at the windows, being sent to the gate as the 3-1 second choice in the wagering, but did not live up to that billing, finishing seventh in The Cup. Burke: “Hate to make excuses, but this horse did not do well after the recall. Maybe something scared him. Normally, he would be fine. We’ll skip the Hempt and go to the Meadowlands Pace.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Final – 7th (1:49.3) 8 Buddy Hill ($112,431 – 1:52)   J. Bartlett, M. Melander Tom Hill     Makes his first appearance in the Top 10 by registering a sharp win over Reigning Deo in 1:52 at Tioga for just his second lifetime victory. Melander: “We were very happy with him at Tioga. Tough half on a sloppy track. He’ll be at Yonkers next Thursday in the New York Sire Stakes. He’s staked to everything.” Last Race: 6/16 – TgD – New York Sire Stakes – 1st (1:52) 9 Caviart Rockland ($93,265 – 1:50.3)   Y. Gingras, N. Johansson Caviart Farms   Breaks into the Top 10 after finishing second in a nice try in the NA Cup Consolation after pacing home in :27. Johansson: “He raced super. Had the roles been reversed (racing from off the pace instead of on the lead) I think he would have gotten there. We have some options to get him a race before The Pace.” Last Race: 6/15 – WMP – North America Cup Consolation – 2nd (1:49.1) 10 Reigning Deo ($288,725 – 1:54.1Q)   A. McCarthy, B. Pelling Deo Volente Farms, Pelling Racing, Brian Gordon   Went a First-over trip on the way to a fourth-place finish in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga in his last start. Pelling: “He just needs to be better. I need to back off and let him do his thing. He’s a sound, lovely horse but things have to go his way. He’ll race next Thursday at Yonkers.” Last Race: 6/16 – TgD – New York Sire Stakes – 4th (1:52.4)   KEY PREP RACES MEADOWLANDS PACE ELIGIBLES IN CAPS – Supplements are permitted per the conditions of the race Date Stakes Site Winner Trainer Driver 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time 5/4 Pa. Sire Stakes Pa. Sire Stakes Pa. Sire Stakes Mea Mea Mea Southwind Ozzi WORKIN ONA MYSTERY LOVE ME SOME LOU B. Mac Kenzie B. Brown T. Cancelliere T. Tetrick T. Tetrick D. Miller PROOF Wild Wild Western Brassy Hanover Prince Of Tides Captain Malicious CAPTAIN VICTORIOUS 1:50.4 1:50.1 1:50.4 5/11 Pa. All-Stars Pa. All-Stars Pa. All-Stars PcD PcD PcD BLOOD MONEY Branquinho AIR FORCE HANOVER N. Johansson R. Schnittker B. Brown S. Zeron T. Buter G. Napolitano, Jr. ESCAPETOTHEBEACH LYONS NIGHT HAWK Highlandbeachlover Brassy Hanover Warrawee Unique SUGAR FACTORY 1:50 1:50.1 1:50.1 5/13 NY Sire Stakes NY Sire Stakes NY Sire Stakes MR MR MR Hickfromfrenchlick Major March Rollwithpapajoe R. Schnittker L. Toscano J. Bongiorno M. MacDonald J. Bartlett T. Buter American Mercury Major Blake REIGNING DEO Stone Hanover Astaire Covered Bridge 1:55 1:55 1:56 5/17 NJ Sire Stakes M1 HURRIKANE EMPEROR J. McDermott D. Dube Clintock Black Dan 1:53.2 5/18 Art Rooney Elim. Art Rooney Elim. YR YR AIR FORCE HANOVER BETTOR’S WISH B. Brown C. Ryder D. Miller D. Dunn BUDDY HILL BLOOD MONEY PRICE HANOVER Rollwithpapajoe 1:52.4 1:53.2 5/19 Pa. Sire Stakes Pa. Sire Stakes Pa. Sire Stakes PcD PcD PcD Wild Wild Western CAPTAIN CRUNCH WORKIN ONA MYSTERY N. Parker N. Johansson B. Brown M. Wilder S. Zeron T. Tetrick CAVIART STETSON Southwind Ozzi LOVE ME SOME LOU SEMI TOUGH PROOF Highlandbeachlover 1:52 1:49.1 1:49.3 5/24 NJ Sire Stakes M1 HURRIKANE EMPEROR J. McDermott D. Dube Black Dan Clintock 1:52 5/25 Art Rooney Final YR BETTOR’S WISH C. Ryder D. Dunn   Rachel Ryan

East Rutherford, NJ - The number of 3-year-olds sustained to The Meadowlands' signature stake, the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, increased by more than 50% in 2019 with 63 making the February payment as opposed to 40 last year.   Among those seeking the coveted trophy are the Dan Patch award winning freshman colt Captain Crunch who heads up a talented returning crop that includes open stakes winners Captain Ahab and Workin On A Mystery along with New York and Pennsylvania sires stakes champs Reigning Deo and Proof respectively. The connections of top regional colts Bronx Seelster (Ontario) and Melodie's Major (New York) have made the $7,500 February supplemental payment to gain eligibility to the "Pace".   The Mistletoe Shalee also saw a solid forward move from 35 in 2018 to 47 this year with the Dan Patch Award winning freshman filly star Warrawee Ubeaut, the fastest 2-year-old in harness racing history regardless of sex, and She's A Great Lady/ O'Brien Award winner Tall Drink Hanover cast as the leading ladies.   Both of these marquee stakes are part of the "Greatest Party In Harness Racing" on Pace night, Saturday, July 13.   Pace trophy table      - Lisa Photo   Overall there was a slight uptick in the total number paid into Meadowlands Grand Circuit stakes year over year. The list of nominees for all stakes is available on the web.     NIck Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - As the purse subsidy bill (Senate Bill 2992) awaits the signature of Governor Murphy, The Meadowlands is finalizing live racing and stakes purse details for this season. Although it is clear in the language of the bill that the subsidy money is to be used for overnight races, a number of breeders who have previously helped to fund Meadowlands Grand Circuit races over the past few seasons vis sponsorships have declined to continue their contributions for 2019, creating a shortfall in the stakes account. As a result of this shortfall the Governor's Cup 2 year-old colt pace and Three Diamonds 2 year-old filly pace will have to be cancelled for 2019 without the sponsor contributions. "The breeders had another record breaking year at the sales and seem to think that the pressure is now off at The Meadowlands with the purse subsidy, but it's far from off," said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural. "I am adding a minimum of $1 million from sports betting to the $6 million subsidy for overnight purses. The language is clear that the subsidy is not for use in our Grand Circuit stakes, so nothing has changed so far as funding those. If we get sufficient sponsors for these races we can reinstate them, if not they will be cancelled for 2019." It's important to realize that while the bill passed contains language to continue the $20 million in total to the horse racing industry for five years with $6 million directed to Meadowlands purses, it also requires the track to demonstrate that the funds are in fact improving the racing industry in New Jersey. The parameters set out by legislators include impact on handle, the number of horses in races, the success of the New Jersey bred horse in their home state and increased attendance and revenue at the tracks.  The overnight purses will be increased immediately after the bill is signed. Another increase will come in late March or early April, when the competition for horses increases. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 26, 2018- Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice is invading Yonkers Raceway for the first time Tuesday night (Aug. 28th), coinciding with the $173,500 New York Sire Stakes Armand Palatucci Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Post time for the 10-race card is 6:50 PM, with the pair of $86,750 statebred events going as races 7 and 8. Courtly Choice drew post position No. 6 in the opening division, with Dave Miler again driving for co-owners (as part of Mac and Heim Stables)/trainer Blake Macintosh, Daniel Plouffe, Hutt Racing and Touch Stone Farms. For the season, Courtly Choice has eight wins in 11 starts ($612,018), entering off a down-the-road win in the $272,025 final of the Empire Breeders at Tioga (1:48.3). His 1:47.1 life-best did come in that $701,830 Meadowlands Pace last month. Tuesday is just his second New York Sire Stakes appearance of the season, having won a Memorial Day event at Vernon (1:48.4). He's only made one other small-track start, winning last season's $50,000 consolation of the NYSS at Monticello. If Courtly Choice gets a challenge, it's probably going to come from Heavenly Sounds (Jim Mahon Jr., post 3). The Rock N Roll Heaven colt, trained by Bruce Saunders for M&M Harness Racing, has won six races and more than $137,000 this season. He was snappy sire stakes winner here (1:52.4) late last month. Tuesday night's second and final group includes Macintosh's Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald, post 7), himself a six-figure performer this season ($102,307). Jersey Jim (Jordan Stratton, post 2) has not raced back to his frosh sire stakes championship form, while Ghost Dance (Scott Zeron, post 3), Keystone Tenacious (Marohn Jr., post 4) and Ideal Feeling (Jason Bartlett, post 8) were all finalists in the Empire Breeders Classic. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It was a big night on many fronts last Saturday (July 14) at the Meadowlands, as the $4 million plateau was reached in total handle, the track's sparkling new Fanduel Sports Book @ Victory Sports Bar was opened for wagering on professional sports and Hall of Fame driver David Miller won the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for the first time in his 19th try. Total handle on the program was a meet-high $4,083,401 (an increase of approximately $250,000 over last year's Pace Night) as six stakes races on the program saw pools in excess of $300,000, with the Pace leading that parade, with $536,305 being put in play. "All of us at the Meadowlands are so pleased that our fans supported the Pace card like they did," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "It just goes to show you with quality purses we attract quality horses and the public responds by betting with both fists." On the morning of Pace Night, the sports book opened to a big crowd anxious to place wagers on Major League Baseball, the World Cup Final and many other future bets. The hours of the sports book are as follows: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Finally, the 53-year-old Miller broke his Pace maiden by guiding 6-5 favorite Courtly Choice to a 1¼-length win over 57-1 shot Dorsoduro Hanover in 1:47.1. Horses driven by Miller have earned at least $10 million 15 times over the last 17 years and "The Buckeye" sports lifetime earnings of nearly $226 million. Miller will be the guest Friday night on "In the Sulky", the Big M's interview segment on its live simulcast presentation. It will be seen at approximately 7:35 p.m. POST TIME CHANGE: This Friday and Saturday, post time for the first live race at the Meadowlands will be 8 p.m. JUMP INTO THE POOL: After failing to reach six figures for two months, Saturday night marked the fourth consecutive race card where the 50-Cent Pick-4 pool reached $100,000, as a meet-high $142,198 was pushed through the windows. ... On Friday night, the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five had a mandatory payout, and after "new" money pushed the total pool well past the $500,000 mark, those holding winning tickets cashed in for $76,472. HAMBO COUNTDOWN: It's just three Saturdays until this year's edition of the Hambletonian. Here is the track's schedule for its stretch run: July 20 and 21, post time 8 p.m.; July 27, 28 and Aug. 3, 7:15 p.m. On Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 4, post time is noon. On the card, more than $3 million in purse money will be up for grabs. HAVE A SPA DAY: Thoroughbred racing's most popular meeting starts on Friday as the Big M will feature racing from Saratoga on its daily simulcast menu. Every Saturday, there will be at least one $500,000 event on the Spa card, with the marquee event, the $1.25 Travers Stakes, slated for Saturday, August 25. Saratoga races every day except Tuesday through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. Post time is 1 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

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