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Duane and Connie Roland hope to rock the Meadowlands Pace later this month, but first they will prep their 3-year-old pacer for the big harness racing event by competing in one of the 10 Landmark Stakes on Saturday at Historic Track in Goshen. The Rolands' horse, Roland N Rock, is undefeated in 17 career races, with most of his victories coming on the Iowa fair circuit. It is an unlikely starting point for a Meadowlands Pace hopeful, but one the Rolands decided was worth following after watching the gelding dominate his competition to date. "It's very exciting," said Duane Roland, a corn and soybean farmer from Grinnell, Iowa, who trains and usually drives Roland N Rock. "Whatever happens, this is like an experience no one that I know ever gets to do. Who gets to train their own horse and go to New Jersey and race in the Meadowlands Pace? "Back home almost everybody sells their horse when it gets good. Most of the horses that are really good get sold between $50,000 and $75,000. My wife Connie and I are in the position that we don't have to sell him. We figured, let's just keep him and go have fun." Roland N Rock will face four rivals in Saturday's $17,470 Landmark Stakes at Historic Track, which also is an unlikely place to find a Meadowlands Pace hopeful. The only other horse since 1992 to prep for the Meadowlands Pace eliminations by racing at Historic Track was Exporter, who in 2001 won a New York Sire Stakes division in Goshen six days prior to finishing ninth in his Pace elim. Since 1992, four Meadowlands Pace finalists competed at Historic Track the year prior to racing in the Pace, most notably 2000 Pace winner and Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip. John Campbell is listed to drive Roland N Rock on Saturday at Historic Track. Post time is 1 p.m. for the first race on the card, which also includes three divisions of the Billings amateur drivers' series. The Grand Circuit weekend at Historic Track concludes Sunday with Hall of Fame Day. The Rolands decided to stake Roland N Rock to several of this year's top races after the horse won the $86,000 American-National Stakes by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2 at Balmoral Park in October. The American-National was one of only two stakes engagements for Roland N Rock last year; the other was the $21,450 Review Stakes at Springfield, Ill., where the gelding romped by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. "He's never been tested in any of his races," Roland said. "We thought we would test him last year when we went to Springfield and he just took off and won in (1):51.2. Then at Balmoral he was an easy winner too. We decided this was our opportunity, so we took all the money from the American-National and staked him to a bunch of races. We figured we'd just go for it." This year, Roland N Rock is 3-for-3, with his most recent victory coming in 1:55.4 at Wapello County Regional Fair in Eldon, Iowa on June 18. The time shattered the previous track record by 2-2/5 seconds. "It's a car racing track, so the turns are banked pretty good," Roland said. "We talked about it and thought he needed to go in 1:56 there for us to make the decision to come out here. And he did that. He still had more left, so that was good. "I'm still trying to get him to peak. He just needs one more good workout and he should be ready to go. Almost everybody else was ready to race in May and was prepping for the North America Cup (in June). They're going to have raced four to six weeks as hard as they can go leading up to this, so I'm thinking I have a fresh horse, at least that's in my favor." Roland N Rock is a son of the mare Hank's Chip, who the Rolands purchased in foal to stallion Rocknroll Hanover for $6,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale, when Perretti Farms dispersed its broodmare band. The resulting foal was Roland N Rock. And what did Duane Roland like about Hank's Chip? "The price," he said with a laugh. "We'd gotten about $15,000 in breeders awards and I said let's go spend that and try to buy two mares in foal to Rocknroll Hanover. We had $15,000 to spend. We bought two. This happened to be the good one." The Rolands soon will find out how good. In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Roland N Rock's stake schedule includes the Carl Milstein Memorial, Battle of the Brandywine, Circle City, Jenna's Beach Boy, Messenger, Matron, and Progress Pace. "We've got to give it a shot," said Roland, who has never raced a horse at the Meadowlands. "We paid him in to all these races, so we're just like let's go do it. If we're eliminated (in the Meadowlands Pace eliminations) and we're in the consolation, we're still happy because we got to go." Roland said the emergence of his horse continues the feel-good storylines surrounding the top 3-year-old pacers so far this season: Wakizashi Hanover ($23,000 yearling with three newcomers in ownership group), In The Arsenal ($7,500 buy back) and Wiggle It Jiggleit (privately purchased as a weanling). "Now you've got this farmer from Iowa bringing this Rocknroll Hanover to the Meadowlands," Roland said. "It's all good for harness racing just to say that anybody can get the good horse. You've got four different stories there all going against the great horse Artspeak. So you never know how it's going to turn out. "We just hope that (Roland N Rock) does well, makes some money, and we have some fun." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

East Rutherford, NJ - Eliminations for the 2015 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace are scheduled for Saturday, July 11. The entry box for eligible horses will close at 9:00am on Monday, July 6. The final will be raced the following Saturday, July 18. The total purse is estimated at $800,000.   The race conditions allow for supplemental entry and are as follows: Supplemental entries are due and payable by 8:00am on Monday, July 6, 2015. Payment ($66,700) must be in certified US Funds and RECEIVED in the Racing Office prior to 8:00am (local time) on that day along with the supplemental entry.   If any supplemental entries are received, notice will be dispersed via Meadowlands text message service.   The horses declared for the eliminations & final are subject to detention as described on the condition sheet.   POST TIME FOR LIVE RACING ON FRIDAY, JULY 10 & SATURDAY, JULY 11 WILL BE 5:30PM.   The next condition sheet is available here.   Race conditions and a list of nominees are also available on the web.   Questions should be directed to the Meadowlands Racing Office at 201-842-5130.   Meadowlands Media Relations Department

With The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace rapidly approaching, The Meadowlands will not only put forth a spectacular night of harness racing, but will provide a world-class dining experience as well. With a wide array of selections through its many dining locations, The Meadowlands is sure to provide an explosion of taste buds as well as championship racing. The dining options begin with Trotters, which as is its custom, will be limited to members only on Meadowlands Pace night. The price will be $39.95 per person and space is very limited. The buffet menu can be located here. Those members interested in reservations should contact Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 as soon as possible. Those customers interested in an outdoor dining experience should consider the West Deck Buffet, a gorgeous location with breathtaking views of the racetrack. The West Deck Buffet is priced at $34.95 per person and space is limited. The buffet menu is available here.  Reservations should also be made through Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059. Lastly, The Meadowlands signature dining venue, Pink, with its tiered dining overlooking the racetrack will offer a prix-fixed menu for the price of $39.95. Pink is located on the third floor of the facility and provides some of the best views for watching the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. The Pink menu is also available here. Those looking for reservations in Pink should call 201-The-BigM to reserve their table. Remember, Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Night is the biggest party in harness racing, featuring not only The Meadowlands Pace, but Championship stakes events for nearly ever division in harness racing and also features a Hambletonian preview in the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Space is limited, make your reservations now!   Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD (May 2, 2015) - When last seen on the racetrack, Wiggle It Jiggleit was dominating the Final of the William "Buddy" Gilmour at The Meadowlands in mid-March. The three year old gelded son of Mr Wiggles was given a brief break following that win, but returned in style on Saturday night at The Meadowlands, winning the $47,124 John Simpson Memorial by three lengths over pocket-sitting Rock N' Roll World. Not only was Wiggle It Jiggleit released as the nickel on the dollar (1/20) favorite, but he was also the subject of a strong minus show pool, with $122,008 of $130,427 bet to show on the race favorite. His pilot, Montrell Teague, wasted no time establishing the early lead and carving out fractions of 26.3, 55 and 1:23.3 while facing no pressure throughout the mile. Rock N' Roll World was content to sit the pocket to the favorite throughout the mile. As the field turned for home, Teague asked his gelding for another gear and 'Wiggle It found it, pulling away to another impressive victory, his seventh in a row to start his career. Rock N' Roll World was second and Gratian Hanover checked in third. The winner is owned by George Teague and trained by Clyde Francis. Wiggle It Jiggleit now has earnings of nearly $90,000 in seven starts. He is Meadowlands Pace-eligible. Wiggle It Jiggleit The other main event on the evening was the $54,200 Whata Baron Final, featuring a field of nine. Rediscovery was sent off as the 3/5 favorite and was looking for a series sweep, but Ideal Cowboy had other ideas. Rock Out was sent to the early lead through a strong 26.1 opening quarter, but relinquished that lead to Rediscovery before the half-mile pole. As the field moved to the far turn past the half in 54.4, Rock Out seemed to step out of one of his hobbles and bolted to the outside, forcing Ideal Cowboy near the outside fence and scattering several horses behind. Ideal Cowboy got back on track and challenged Rediscovery though three-quarters of 1:23. The two raced on even terms as the field turned for home, but Ideal Cowboy put away the favorite and set sail for the wire. He was promptly challenged by Bettorever, who cut into the margin through the stretch and lunged at Ideal Cowboy late. Those two hit the wire together in 1:49.2, but the win photograph revealed that it was the nose of Ideal Cowboy that reached the wire first. El Bloombito was two lengths back as a rallying third. Ideal Cowboy paid $10 to win. He is owned by Bamond Racing L.L.C. and J & T Silva Stables. The winning trainer was Jeffrey Bamond Jr. and the winner was piloted by Tim Tetrick. Ideal Cowboy In other action, Dovuto Hanover won the $25,000 Open Handicap for four and five year old pacers in surprising wire to wire fashion, winning in 1:49.2 over Doctor Butch. Dovuto Hanover Blatantly Best established a new lifetime mark of 1:48.4 winning an upper-level condition pace with Brett Miller in the bike. Scott Zeron and Tim Tetrick reached the winners'circle three times on the evening, while Brett Miller scored a driving double on the program The first Jackpot Super Hi-5, which took place in race 10 this evening saw two winning tickets, thus the jackpot will once again carryover with $103,769 in the pool for the fifth race on Friday. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also went unclaimed, with the carryover pool growing to $77,990. Racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday evening, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (March 12, 2015) Wiggle It Jiggleit will head to the starting gate in the $58,000 William "Buddy" Gilmour Final Saturday night at The Meadowlands as a prohibitive harness racing favorite. In fact, he has been installed as the 1/5 morning line choice. While his connections are not looking past this next test for their talented colt, it's hard to not to look to the future and what is looming on the horizon, considering how special his owner, George Teague Jr., believed he was from the onset. "Last year I thought he was as good or better than most of the best horses I've had," said Teague. "The closest resemblance was Rainbow Blue with all the qualities and the ability he showed as a two year old. He may be even faster than Rainbow Blue. Since the start, he has never had a bad day." Teague has mapped out a plan, with all roads leading to the North America Cup and The Meadowlands Pace. "After Saturday we will keep him in training, but we will back off of him a bit. We'll come back to The Meadowlands on May 3rd for the Simpson and then we may head to Indiana for a couple of starts there. If everything stays on course, we'll be in Canada for The North America Cup and then back to The Meadowlands for The Meadowlands Pace. That's the plan . Hopefully, he will be racing in most of the major stakes." Teague's excitement can be felt throughout the industry as Wiggle It Jiggleit continues his meteoric rise. The gelded son of Mr Wiggles has won all five of his starts, with Montrell Teague in the sulky for all five wins. The 24-year old has shown the patience and composure of a seasoned veteran while sitting behind the talented three year old. Wiggle It Jiggleit will leave from post four in the Gilmour Final. If there is to be a challenge in the Gilmour Final, perhaps it can still come from National Seelster. The son of Bettor's Delight was unbeaten in three starts going into his round two matchup with Wiggle It Jiggleit. But in the stretch, he posed no danger to that foe after chasing him throughout the mile from the pocket and would need to improve to threaten the favorite. He is couple with another Chris Ryder trainee, Rodeo Romeo, who was second in his second round division last week. He was defeated by the Ron Burke trainee, Coaster who came up with a lifetime best performance that included a 26.2 final quarter sprint to score in round two. The Buddy Gilmour is scheduled as race 11 on the Saturday program at The Meadowlands. The Saturday program includes the $.50 cent Pick Five (race 1) and $.50 cent Early Pick Four (race 3), both with an average pool of just over $50,000 this meet. Also on the program is the $.50 cent Late Pick Four, which features an average pool of over $75,000 thus far this season. Post time for the 13-race Saturday program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations

East Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in conjunction with Crawford Farms have released the new harness racing logo for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. The new logo combines the Crawford Farms name and traditional green and blue colors with the iconic swoosh and pacer of the Meadowlands logo. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Crawford Farms to present one of the premier harness racing events in the world," said Jason Settlemoir, CEO/GM of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "This new logo is the perfect symbol to exemplify the type of industry cooperation we need to advance our sport." The new logo was designed by Kathleen Estes, graphic designer for Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Crawford Farms, a leading New York-based breeding operation, and Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal that makes Crawford Farms the title sponsor of the Meadowlands Pace through 2017. Crawford Farms served as a major sponsor of "The Pace" in 2014. "We have made a long term commitment, which the industry needs, to the Meadowlands and the Meadowlands Pace and we are ecstatic that this race is held at a venue like no other in the sport," said Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms. "It is a dream come true to be able to sponsor one of the biggest events in harness racing and to be able to bring people to a state of the art entertainment facility with top restaurants and clubs." The Meadowlands Pace has been held annually since 1977, when Escort won the inaugural edition. He's Watching won the 2014 Pace in a record time of 1:46.4. The 2015 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace will be held on Saturday, July 18th with eliminations held the prior week on Saturday, July 11th. ABOUT CRAWFORD FARMS Crawford Farms is a family-owned and operated farm since 1966. The farm, located in Durhamville, NY, just acquired over 1000 acres to continue to develop the state of the art breeding and stallion facilities. In the recent years Albert & Michelle Crawford have greatly improved and expanded the Crawford Farms facility to include approximately 55 broodmares, 40 race horses in training, state of the art breeding/foaling facilities, plush pastures, a retirement paddock, and a half mile trotting track. Visit Crawford Farms online at Rachel Ryan

East Rutherford NJ - Maintaining eligibility for the 2016 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace requires a two-year-old sustaining payment made by the March 15 deadline.   On those foals of 2013 that were nominated by the $50 yearling payment last May, the sustaining cost is $400. Supplemental nominations to the race are accepted at the cost of $1,000.   Visit The Meadowlands stakes application page for the necessary form. Questions may be directed to the Stakes Administrator at (201) 460-4214.   From Meadowlands Media Relations

Undefeated three year old pacers Wiggle It JiggleIt and National Seelster set for confrontation EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (March 5, 2015) Emerging from the winter and the snow each year at The Meadowlands there is a three year old pacer that captures the imagination and brings a wonder of what could be on the horizon. This year, there are two, Wiggle It JiggleIt and National Seelster. While it may not be the Final of the Buddy Gilmour just yet, all eyes will be on the early season clash between this pair of unbeaten sophomore pacers. While the two enter the contest with unblemished records (Wiggle It JiggleIt a perfect four for four and National Seelster three for three), their style of winning has been rather different. Wiggle It Jiggleit started his career with a six-length romp in 1:51.2 at Pocono in his only start as a two year old. His connections gave their horse time to develop and brought him back in January where he dominated a non-winners of two field at Dover by over a dozen lengths. Six days later, National Seelster made his lifetime debut, rallying from well off the pace, showing professionalism in his first lifetime start, winning by a length. The colt followed that win up with a pocket-sitting, last-second surge to narrowly win by a neck. Both wins coming in non-winners of two company at The Meadowlands. Both undefeated, but National Seelster had been tested. Wiggle It JiggleIt had not. His connections thought enough of him to enter him in the Sonsam series against older horses where he won, powering up first over in an eye-opening 1:49.4 performance. The winners circle reaction appeared more like a mid-summer stakes race, as the connections new they had something special. His regular driver, Montrell Teague is excited about his potential and noted in a Meadowlands interview that all eyes are on the future. "We'll race him in the Gilmour series and then shut him down until May," said Teague. "He's staked well so we'll look to some races in New Jersey and focus on The Meadowlands Pace and a couple of other big ones." National Seelster has also been paid into The Meadowlands Pace. Both three year olds headed into their respective starts in the first round of the Buddy Gilmour as prohibitive favorites and neither disappointed. With Wiggle It JiggleIt dominating from start to finish to win in 1:51.2, and National Seelster making a move around the far turn and wearing down his opposition to win in 1:52 flat. Due to the brilliance and dominance that Wiggle It Jiggleit has displayed, he has been installed as the 3/5 morning line favorite for the matchup, with National Seelster an 8/5 second choice. The two will meet in the second race on Saturday night, the first of two Buddy Gilmour divisions. The second division goes postward as race 11 on the 13-race program. On the wagering front, it features three guaranteed pools. The $.50 cent pick five in race one, a pool that has averaged over $50,000 each night, the $.50 cent early pick four in race three, also averaging over $50,000 per night and the $.50 cent late pick four in race seven, which has featured an average pool of over $75,000. As usual, there will be a pair of $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers, with a low eight-percent (8%) takeout in races 5 and 13. Going into the Friday program, the fifth race carryover was $41,316 and the 13th race carryover stood at $148,526. Post time for The Meadowlands Saturday program is 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands Draw Schedule Change For Next Week Effective with the draw for next week until further notice at The Meadowlands:   Draw schedule change:   Program for Friday – Declare by 9:00 a.m. Monday   Program for Saturday – Declare by 9:00 a.m. Tuesday.   Condition sheet here. Race Office contact 877-782-2537   Darin Zoccali

East Rutherford, NJ - This Saturday's card at The Meadowlands exemplifies what makes the winter harness racing season so intriguing to the horseplayer. Thirteen compelling races comprised of 128 entries with several guaranteed wagers and a rising Hi-5 Jackpot provide ample opportunity for the big score.   The popular Pick 5 opens the evening's wagering menu with a $30,000 guaranteed pool then a pair of Pick 4's (guaranteed at $25,000 and $50,000) blend into racing's most exciting new proposition, the 8% take-out Jackpot Hi-5.   This 20% base wager offers unmatched value by paying 75% of each pool to successful ticket holders while 25% is carried toward the unique ticket jackpot. The Hi-5 is offered twice each night with the last race jackpot pool going into Friday's card now over $87,000, which could climb into six figures if it holds up into Saturday.   On the racetrack the Sonsam series, named for the speed merchant winner of the 1979 Meadowlands Pace, opens with a pair of $17,500 divisions of leg one.   Popular trainer George Teague, Jr owns an interesting prospect named Wiggle It Jiggleit in the first division (race 7). Sired by the Teague trained Mr. Wiggles, the gelding has won both career starts in fast times and makes his first foray to "The Mecca". Montrell Teague drives for trainer Clyde Francis.   The eleventh race is the second Sonsam division and there are several interesting prospects entered to go in this one. Rockeyed Optimist and Fritzie Pic Up Man are both two for two on the new year, something has to give on Saturday.   The Saturday night card kicks off at 7:15, right around the time that California Chrome, Shared Belief and Hoppertunity hook up in the $500,000 San Antonio stakes in California.   From Meadowlands Media Relations

The introduction of graded stakes races to harness racing is an issue that has gnawed away at owners, trainers, drivers and fans for a half-century, but we’re no closer to making it a reality today than we were back in the sixties. A survey that Tom White, one-time publicity director at The Red Mile and the Little Brown Jug, conducted on the topic more than three decades ago offers us some perspective. White concedes that his audit would not stand up to scientific scrutiny, but it certainly holds much anecdotal value. He wanted opinions on how to grade the slightly more than 2% of races that were not specifically for claimers or conditioned by earnings, age or sex. He sent a list of all unrestricted races—except by age and sex—to “40 knowledgeable harness racing representatives,” asking those folks to designate them as Grade 1, 2 or 3. He also allowed for a No Grade option. And 80% of them responded. The powers that be in Thoroughbred racing formulated a list of 330 graded stakes for 1973 and 1974; it was reduced to 276 in 1980. White used 69 races from the Standardbred calendar for his survey. Only 35 of 100 Thoroughbred tracks in North America carded graded stakes in 1981. Last year’s precept that every open stakes race—regardless of how insignificant it is—come under the Grand Circuit umbrella, works against any sort of graded stakes paradigm in harness racing. Every track and publicity director’s race in the Standardbred world is a Grade 1 as far as they’re concerned. Four races, the Hambletonian, Jug, Messenger and Wilson drew perfect Grade 1 scores. The Wilson went away after the 2012 edition; of the other three, the Hambletonian would no doubt still get a perfect score, but I’m not sure about the other two. There’s a great deal of resentment over the fact that two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown—the Jug and the Messenger—are raced over half-mile tracks. Also, the Messenger lost much of its cachet when Roosevelt closed and the race embarked on a nomadic journey that now has it rooted at Yonkers Raceway. The purse is $500,000 but many owners and trainers keep their premium stock clear of half-mile tracks; All Bets Off, Ronny Bugatti and Bolt The Duer won the last three. The Jug doesn’t engender as much enmity as the Messenger, but there are plenty of harness racing aficionados who discount it as a post position crap shoot. Races that came within one or two votes of a perfect Grade 1 score in the 1981 survey are the Meadowlands Pace, Kentucky Futurity, Cane, Yonkers Trot, Adios, Oaks and Fox Pace. Only one individual labeled the Meadowlands Pace a Grade 2 stake, and certainly it would fall solidly in the Grade 1 column today. The same goes for the Kentucky Futurity. The Cane, which was shown the door by the Rooneys after the 1997 edition, and spent 14 uneventful years at Freehold, one at Pocono and the last three at Tioga, carries a shorter purse than the Messenger, but has escaped the twice-arounds. Lyonssomewhere beat He’s Watching and JK Endofanera in 2014; Captain T beat Vegas Vacation in 2013; and Dynamic Youth beat Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance in 2012. Switching to the bigger track has drastically improved the talent. This year the race will move to the Meadowlands where it will enhance the Hambletonian Day program. The Cane is a solid Grade 2, which has drawn better quality fields than the Messenger of late, and is striving to regain its Grade 1 status. The Yonkers Trot would also have more of a problem drumming up Grade 1 votes in 2015. Nuncio crushed a soft field in this year’s $580,000 edition. Six, or 17%, of the Hambletonian winners have also won the Yonkers Trot in the 35 years since Tom White conducted this review. Just as the better pacers tend to avoid the Messenger, the better trotters sit out the Yonkers Trot. The Adios, which was classified as a Grade 1 by 31 of the 33 respondents, is another race that has fallen somewhat out of favor. Only 14% of the Meadowlands Pace winners in the last 35 years also won the Adios; the last to do so was Davids Pass nineteen years ago. Only 13 % of the NA Cup winners have also won the Adios since the Cup was rebranded in 1984, and again, Davids Pass was the last to do it. This year the Adios will be held on Saturday, August 1. One assumes the Hambletonian—and the Cane—will be the following Saturday. McWicked, Sunfire Blue Chip, Bolt The Duer, Alsace Hanover, Delmarvalous and Vintage Master won the last six editions of the Adios. Needless to say, reputation notwithstanding, the race wouldn’t garner all those Grade 1 votes today. Thirty-one of the 33 respondents designated the Oaks as a Grade 1, and I assume the result would be equally one-sided today. The Fox Stake, on the other hand, has done a free fall from grace. Around since 1927, it was the richest race for freshman pacing colts at one time. Adios, Good Time, Bret Hanover, Romeo Hanover, Laverne Hanover and Albatross all won the Fox. Unfortunately racing at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds isn’t what it was, and in recent years the likes of Harfo Hanover and Blooming Genius won the race. Rating it a three would be too generous. Some of the stakes which garnered two-thirds of the votes in White’s survey have been eliminated. The Colonial, Holmes, Kentucky Pacing Derby, Prix d’Ete (3YO), Sweetheart and World Trotting Derby are all gone. The venerable Dexter and Lady Suffolk, which are raced at Freehold, are now Grade 3 stakes. The Peter Haughton Memorial Pace, which was raced at Roosevelt, is no more. The Adioo Volo is now a Grade 3; the Tattersalls Pace, which is now raced in divisions with no heats, is a Grade 2. Can’t have two winners and be a one. The Peter Haughton freshman trot is still around and noteworthy. The Tarport Hap has been eliminated, along with the Niatross, and previously mentioned Wilson. Sweetheart and Holmes as Jeff Gural gradually purges the calendar of colt and filly stakes so he can concentrate on series for the four and up group. The Breeders Crown, the most important addition to the stakes landscape in the last thirty-five years, had yet to be introduced when Tom White solicited these opinions in 1981. All of them would rate a Grade 1 designation today. A race needed 22 votes for Grade 1 status to qualify under White’s system. Eighteen, or 26%, made the cut. Less than half that number would warrant a Grade 1 designation today. With so many buying strictly for sire stakes racing, it apparently doesn’t matter. by Joe FitzGerald for

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (December 23, 2014) - Crawford Farms, a leading New York-based breeding operation, and Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment have agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal that will make Crawford Farms the title sponsor of the Meadowlands Pace through 2017. Crawford Farms served as a major sponsor of "The Pace" in 2014. "We have made a long term commitment, which the industry needs, to the Meadowlands and the Meadowlands Pace and we are ecstatic that this race is held at a venue like no other in the sport," said Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms. "It is a dream come true to be able to sponsor one of the biggest events in harness racing and to be able to bring people to a state of the art entertainment facility with top restaurants and clubs." The Meadowlands Pace has been held annually since 1977, when Escort won the inaugural edition. He's Watching won the 2014 Pace in a record time of 1:46.4. "We are grateful to Crawford Farms for stepping up to the plate and partnering with us to help promote the Meadowlands Pace for the next three years," said Jason M. Settlemoir, CEO/GM of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment. "The Crawfords continue to make a major investment in harness racing that is paramount to the long-term success of the entire industry." Crawford added: "We strongly believe that regardless of your level of participation in this amazing sport, everyone on every level from owners to trainers to drivers need to step up and contribute their time and money to the sport that pays them back so it stays alive with passion and is able to thrive for years to come." Live racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit ABOUT CRAWFORD FARMS Crawford Farms is a family-owned and operated farm since 1966. The farm is located on more than 100 acres in Durhamville, NY. In the recent years Albert & Michelle Crawford have greatly improved and expanded the Crawford Farms facility to include approximately 55 broodmares, more than two dozen racing horses, state of the art breeding/foaling facilities, plush pastures, a retirement paddock, and a half mile trotting track. Visit Crawford Farms online at by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Jim Simpson, the president of Hanover Shoe Farms and the members of the the Captaintreacherous racing group have announced that The Captain will be officially retired at Lexington's famed Red Mile during the races on Thursday October 2. Tony Alagna, the colt's trainer said "Captain just hasn't been himself for the last several weeks. He's been fighting a low respiratory bug and we just haven't been able to overcome it. Rather than take the chance of doing irreparable harm to this great horse, I think it would be wise for everybody concerned to have him retired at Hanover Shoe Farms. I have no doubts that he is destined to become a great sire. I very much look forward to the day when I will be looking at, buying and training his babies". Jim Simpson said that he looks forward to having the greatest son of the sport's supersire Somebeachsomewhere stand at Hanover. "Captaintreacherous was one of the greatest two and three year old pacers in the sport's history. It's now time for him to excel in the next stage of his remarkable career." Myron Bell, the colt's racing manager throughout his career said "I've been involved in Harness Racing for half a century. I've seen all of the greats during that time. Captaintreacherous has to rank right up there among the very best. In my entire career in the sport I've only predicted two horses as being "can't miss" sires. Those two were Artsplace and Western Ideal. The one quality that all three horses share is extreme courage. I have no doubt whatever that Captaintreacherous will follow in their footsteps in the stallion ranks. I look forward to buying and training a large number of his yearlings". Captaintreacherous was voted "Pacer of the Year" at both two and three. At 2, he won 8 of 10 starts and earned $918,253. At 3, he won 13 of 16 starts and earned $2,055,033 winning almost all of the Classic events including the three richest, the North American Cup, the Meadowlands Pace and the Breeders Crown. Captaintreacherous retires with earnings of $3,148,657. Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky in whose hands the Captain will be literally be in at Hanover can't wait until the horse gets to his next home. "I don't think I've ever been more excited about an incoming stallion. The Captain has it all, great performance on the racetrack, great courage, a fantastic pedigree and perhaps most important of all, he's drop dead gorgeous and correct, something that I'm certain he will transmit to his foals." Captaintreacherous will begin his stallion career in February of 2015. Captaintreacherous 2013 Captaintreacherous (Tim Tetrick) fighting the bit to win the Crown Murray Brown Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc.

The retired harness racing trainer reflects on learning to communicate with horses and what it feels like drive them to victory in the sport’s biggest races. ELORA, ON — What does it feel like to drive a horse to victory in a major stakes race? Dr. John Hayes said coming from 10th at the top of the stretch to win the 1981 Meadowlands Pace with Conquered is a feeling he can only compare with finishing his first Boston Marathon. “It was totally emotionally impacting. It was so overwhelming I had trouble controlling it,” he said Wednesday, referring to the marathon he completed on his first attempt in 2007. As for that equally overwhelming Meadowlands Pace victory, Hayes said, “At the head of the stretch I was out of it. Halfway through the stretch it was evident I was going to be in the hunt for a cheque. Down near the wire, the cheque was going to be pretty good and at the wire, holy f---. “It was that first 30 seconds from the horse crossing the finish line until you get down into the turn and the horse gets pulled up; that feeling I never experienced it to that extent before in my life.” Hayes has done it all in harness racing. He’s a veterinarian that has owned, trained and driven horses all of his adult life. While he’s retired from training and his farm on the shore of Lake Ontario in Beamsville is for sale, it is still home to Canadian Pacing Derby champion Modern Legend trained by Dave Drew. Hayes has long been one of the sport’s most respected, most articulate participants. When asked to describe the sensation of driving horses, he said it doesn’t feel like you might expect. “Something you’re acutely aware of is how fast the ground is going underneath you when you’re driving a horse,” he said. “That sense is, of course, nothing you can compare to because it is being in the car without the floorboards. “Lots of times there is that addition of physiology of the horse that impacts on you. You smell the horse. There’s sweat involved. You’re getting that added sensory input that doesn’t come from another moving-over-the-ground experience.” Nearly 50 years of experience has taught Hayes to understand the language horses speak. “Although horses don’t talk, they certainly communicate. I became much better at speaking horse speak incrementally as time went on,” he said. “The language is in their response to the inputs that are from your end. In other words, you just get more comfortable in identifying the feedback and what it probably means.” As for people he admires in the game, Hayes said he’s a big fan of fellow veterinarian Dr. Ted Clarke, the general manager of Grand River Raceway in Elora. Clarke was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in August. “If Ted Clarke had a greater responsibility for the direction of Canadian racing, we would be way, way down the road to optimal opportunity,” Hayes said. “He has the ability to create consensus like nobody I’ve seen. He does not make vested interest his primary objective. He makes the interest of everybody his primary objective with the assumption that vested interest will be best served.” Hayes no longer owns any horses, but he was quick to name the one that changed his life. “The horse’s name is Decked. Let’s just say it was a father-son relationship thing,” he said of the late John Hayes, Sr., who is enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. “Father was cutting back, phasing out and I was taking over the operation … Of course, I was young and wanting to expand my wings and there was no opportunity to do it with a trotter. So, we had this two-year-old who was by the first crop of Penn Hanover called Decked. His mother was an Adios mare. She was from the last crop of Adios. He was made to pace, but he loved to trot. “Father said, ‘You can hold him together in 2:20, but he’s bred to pace and he’ll switch over to the pace as soon as you chirp to him going some speed …’ The bottom line is he won his first pari-mutuel start, in London, in a sires stakes on the trot in 2:09 in October. That was the day that I somewhat gained a level of independence from my father where I was able to make a decision and he didn’t have to tell me I was full of (it).” In six years on the track, Decked earned more than $140,000 on the trot and just $4,000 on the pace. To hear our conversation with Dr. John Hayes — including what his personal heaven is like — check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at

Wagering on the first of two Little Brown Jug future wagering pools will start at 12-noon Thursday, August 28 and continues through 11 p.m. Sunday, August 31 at racetracks and internet sites throughout North America and Europe. The second future pool will be from 12 p.m. Sunday, September 14 through 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 17. The minimum future wager is $1.00 and all future wagers are win wagering only. The winner of each pool will be determined by the official first place finisher in the 2014 Little Brown Jug presented by Fazolis to be raced Thursday afternoon, September 18. A team of harness racing analysts and handicappers have selected a group of 23 colts and geldings. Each colt and gelding has been assigned morning line odds based on the selection order. The horses in each of the pools are listed in alphabetical order. "This is the ninth year for the Jug Future Wager and our fans have been supporting this effort year after year," said Phil Terry, marketing manager for the Little Brown Jug. "The future wager gives you an opportunity for potentially higher pay-offs than on the actual second heat of the Jug." Last year Jug champion Vegas Vacation paid $11.00 in the first pool, $4.20 in the second pool and paid $3.40 in the second heat. The Casie Coleman trainee McWicked been tapped as the 7-2 morning line favorite in Pool #1. McWicked won the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial and the $400,000 Adios Pace and owns a lifetime mark of 1:47.3. The bay son of McArdle is owned by the SSG Stable. With a win, Coleman will be the first conditioner with three straight LBJ training victories. World champion Hes Watching is a very close second choice at 4-1. The son of American Ideal won the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace in a world record time of 1:46.4 on July 12. Hes Watching was originally purchased for a meager $3,000 as a yearling and has earned Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing more than $983,000. The mutuel field consists of the remaining horses eligible to the 69th edition of the pacing classic. Past performance lines for the Little Brown Jug Future Wagering event will be available free of charge on the Little Brown Jug website, 2014 LITTLE BROWN JUG FUTURE WAGERING POOL #1 HD Horse ML Odds 1. At Press Time 15-1 2. Beat The Drum 12-1 3. Boomboom Ballykeel 20-1 4. Cammikey 6-1 5. Carracci Hanover 25-1 6. Doo Wop Hanover 12-1 7. Friskie Adam 25-1 8. Hes Watching 4-1 9. Ideal Fashion 25-1 10. Jet Airway 15-1 11. Lets Drink On It 8-1 12. Limelight Beach 8-1 13. Mattamerican 15-1 14. Maxi Bon 20-1 15. McWicked 7-2 16. On Golden Ponder 20-1 17. Sometimes Said 10-1 18. Somewhere In LA 6-1 19. Spaghetti Eddie 30-1 20. Tellitlikeitis 8-1 21. Twin B Speedo 20-1 22. Western Vintage 10-1 23. Wicked Business 30-1 24. Field 6-1   by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

Freehold, NJ --- As the owner of a breeding farm, Mike Gulotta would seem an unlikely candidate to buy a horse that was gelded. But when longtime horse agent Gerry Bloch called Gulotta about gelded 3-year-old pacer Somewhere In L A, Gulotta knew he had to listen. After all, it was Bloch who directed Gulotta to a 4-year-old pacer named Lis Mara in 2006. Lis Mara, who had earned $180,536 entering that season, banked $1.96 million the rest of his career and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer in 2006. So far, Gulotta is happy he listened to Bloch and partnered with J&T Silva Stables and TLP Stable to buy Somewhere In L A on June 1. Since then, Somewhere In L A has won four of eight races, finished second in the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $186,373. The fact (Somewhere In L A) was a gelding gave me some pause, but I thought that if Gerry was recommending the horse, I needed to pay attention,” said Gulotta, who is the CEO of Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. “I have a great deal of respect for Gerry. He’s found a number of horses for me, so when he calls, I have to listen. “I think this horse is pretty special. He’s a fast horse that can take a lot of air. I think he’s getting better and better.” Somewhere In L A races Friday in the first of two $99,990 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows. He will start from post seven with driver Dave Palone at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Also in the race is Adios champion McWicked, who leaves from post four with David Miller driving for trainer Casie Coleman. A son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere, Somewhere In L A is the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare West Of L A. She is a half-sister to millionaire Thinking Out Loud and stakes-winner You See L A. Somewhere In L A was bred and owned by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables, and Al McIntosh Holdings before the sale to Gulotta’s group. Last year, he won three of 11 races, including a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, and earned $71,831. He enters Friday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes start with three wins in his last four races. His only setback during that span came by one length to McWicked in the Adios, and Somewhere In L A is coming off a victory over older horses in the preferred on Aug. 22 at The Meadows. “Jimmy is doing a great job with him,” Gulotta said. “I thought if he had a better trip in the Adios, he would have been right there with McWicked. He was on the outside a long time.” Gulotta is hoping for a long and prosperous career for Somewhere In L A, noting the earning potential for gelding pacers while making reference to Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest all-time North American performer. “What’s wrong with making $6 million,” Gulotta said, laughing. “(Buying Somewhere In L A) fits from a business perspective. He can bolster our finances.” Tom Pontone, who along with his father, Lou, makes up TLP Stable, was unaware the horse was a gelding when he committed to be a partner. He was given the chance to leave the group, but decided to stay on board. “I thought he was going to do good,” Pontone said. “I saw his stakes schedule and we have the opportunity to get back our money this year. And I love owning horses with Mike because he’s like a brother to me. I told Mike I think we’re going to have a little fun with him. “He’s turned out to be a pretty good buy for us so far. He’s a tough horse and he keeps on trying. That’s the one thing I liked about him. He’s had some tough races where he’s had to come first up, but he never stops. He just keeps on going right down to the wire. He never gives up.” If all goes well, Somewhere In L A will go to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 7 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, then head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Somewhere In L A is the No. 3-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings, behind Meadowlands Pace winner He’s Watching and McWicked. None of the current owners of Somewhere In L A have had a horse win the Little Brown Jug. “It would be a thrill,” Gulotta said. “It would be a dream come true. “Even with a gelding.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Shepparton, Victoria, Australia --- Life Sign, the 1993 Little Brown Jug winner and Hall of Fame member, died at Morley Park stud near Shepparton, Victoria, Australia on Aug. 14, 2014, at the age of 24. A son of the incomparable Abercrombie and world champion filly Three Diamonds, Life Sign raced only as a 2- and 3-year-old, amassing $1,912,454 from 18 wins, 10 seconds and five thirds in 35 starts. Besides his record-breaking Little Brown Jug success, he won such prestigious classics as the 3-year-old Breeders Crown, Art Rooney Memorial, International Stallion Stake, Burlington Pace, Governor’s Cup, American-National and the Bluegrass Stake. At the stud Life Sign left the winners of more than $113 million in stakes in North America, placing him among the top ten money-winning sires at his gait of all-time. While in Australia his stock has earned $12.4 million and in New Zealand, they amassed almost $2 million. Real Desire 1:48.2 ($3.1 million), the 2002 Horse of the Year; Peruvian Hanover 1:49.4 ($1.8 million); the Meadowlands Pace winner Day In A Life 1:49.4 ($1.8 million); and the 2-year-old pacing colt of the year I Am A Fool 1:51.2 ($1.1 million) were among the seven millionaires sired by Life Sign. He was the broodmare sire of the winners of more than $97 million and eight millionaires including Loyal Opposition 1:48.4 ($2.6 million) and Breeders Crown winner Village Jolt 1:50.4f ($1.6 million). Life Sign was inducted into the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2013. by Peter Wharton

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