East Rutherford, NJ – Harness fans, eager to check out the new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment complex, stormed into the facility Saturday night (Nov. 23) by the thousands. Shortly after the opening ceremonies, a series of snow squalls also stormed into the East Rutherford Sports Complex. Despite the high winds, the spirit of the estimated 15,000 fans would never be diminished as the new facility was as exciting as the racing product. Five of the thirteen races were determined by winning margins of less than a length and ten were won by 2 lengths or less. Possibly the most exciting was the neck victory by Foiled Again over Warrawee Needy in the final leg of the TVG FFA in 1:49.3. Interestingly, just three hours before his race, Foiled Again joined Gallo Blue Chip for a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony by the two richest pacers of all time. With combined earnings over $10 million dollars, the two harness heroes posed for throngs of photographers in the new “Blue Chip Farms Winners Circle.” Previous to the ribbon cutting, Miss Rodeo New Jersey delivered a poignant national anthem, followed by opening remarks by Sam McKee, Chairman Jeff Gural, SBOA/NJ President Tom Luchento, and CEO Jason Settlemoir. Fans were reminded that three years ago the SBOA/NJ and Gural met with the NJ Governor’s administration and helped rescue the Meadowlands Racetrack from governmental extinction. “Three years later, we are here in a magnificent new building, at the premier track in North America, looking forward to showcasing the best harness racing presented anywhere in the world,” Luchento said. Patrons on the apron for the race two-TVG trot found themselves in a mini white-out due to a rapid burst of wind and snow. Some of the best trotters in the world went behind the gate, where five out of the six starters were Hambletonian finalists. Wishing Stone was victorious, and paid his supporters handsomely at odds of 9-1. One big fan of racing, USTA Executive Director Mike Tanner found himself caught in the whirlwind. He proclaimed, “This place is great,” as he tweeted ‘Not Pompano’ in response to the sudden blast of arctic air. Fans and horsepeople alike were ecstatic about the new building. Janet Terhune, director of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, exclaimed, “The New Meadowlands is absolutely fantastic. Trotters (Owners club) is a great experience—it is very ‘clubby.’ The whole facility is filled with people and everybody loves racing.” Enjoying the atmosphere in Trotters was the breeder of Deweycheatumnhowe, Steve Jones. Clearly enjoying his well appointed surroundings, “Jonesy” stated, “The facility is fantastic. Gural and his partners have done a great job. There is a lot of enthusiasm here. I like the night club, and all the gambling areas, the bars and everything! I really think this is going to be a great place to be.” Hall of Famer Jimmy Doherty, who is one of the few drivers to win a race every year that the Meadowlands has been open, noted that, “I think it is tremendous. Everyone is very excited about the future. This place was built for a new generation.” Ray Remmen, who won the first race on the 1976 opening night with Quick Baron, presented the trophy to the first race winner Alexie Matosie and David Miller. Another guy who was active on the original opening night on Sept. 1, 1976 was Ted Wing. He was back as the trainer of a horse in the new opening’s twelfth race. When reminiscing about historical races, one need not venture any further than the statistician to the stars, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden. From his TV studio he reminded fans that on the ’76 opener, eight Hall of Famers drove on the card—and only ONE found the winners circle: Robert Farrington with Rambling Willie. When quizzed about his observations of this opening night Holly opined that, “Three things stand out. An unmistakable buzz in the building. A steady stream of patrons entering from 4 pm through 9 pm, reminiscent of Niatross winning the Meadowlands Pace or a heavy-weight title fight. And, the sense of anticipation for the overall future of the facility.” As fans poured into the main entrance, they were eager to enter the Million Dollar Pick 13 challenge. Many a punter stopped to ogle over the suitcase full of cash, prominently on display in the center of the ground floor betting area. Alas, the promotion turned elusive as the new racing configuration created a new and distinct track bias. Perhaps it was a night for underdogs, as only four betting favorites found the winners circle. Ironically, horses named after 1976 movie icon, Rocky, had a big night: Salevster Stallion (Race 1, fin. 2nd), Stallone Blue Chip (R3,1st) & Yo Cheyenne Rocky (R9, 1st). Nonetheless, Team Gural showed the world that they were up for the task! by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com
In order to develop comprehensive proposals on the use of therapeutic medications and recommended penalties for violations in harness racing, President Phil Langley has appointed a diverse panel of experts to a new United States Trotting Association (USTA) medication advisory committee. "Recognizing that some of the fault was that the USTA lacked sufficient scientific representation on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC)," said USTA President Phil Langley, "I have appointed a widely representative advisory committee to guide us in future medication proposals." The members of the USTA medication advisory committee are: eminent researchers Dr. George Maylin and Dr. Thomas Tobin; practicing veterinarians Dr. Jay Baldwin, Dr. Janet Durso and Dr. William Moffett; trainers Mark Ford, Sam Beegle, Ray Schnittker and David McCaffrey; racing commissioners Bob Schmitz and Alan Leavitt; attorneys Joe Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck; racing investigator Brice Cote; Hambletonian Society President and CEO Tom Charters; and Phil Langley, Mike Tanner, and T.C. Lane from the USTA. As has been widely reported during the past few weeks, the USTA has struggled with acceptance of some of the RMTC and Association of Racing Commissoners International (RCI) proposed uniform medication rules - especially those regarding clenbuterol and corticosteroids. "Under these proposed rules, both medications would become virtually useless in harness racing," said USTA President Phil Langley. "We are hopeful that after much discussion with RMTC and with testimony before racing commissions, some adjustments will be forthcoming." The USTA has already been working with the Pennsylvania horsemen groups to commission Dr. Larry Soma and Dr. Mary Robinson to conduct research on items like EPO, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and some of the unknown drugs that most threaten the integrity of harness racing. Their research also is pursuing alternatives to clenbuterol and the adjustment of threshold levels that can be utilized with Standardbreds. By Dan Leary, USTA director of marketing and communications
The 34th awards dinner of the New England Harness Writers is just three weeks away. Tickets are still available to the October 21 awards program which features citations to two web sites--the ustrotting.com and harnesslink.com.
Two local men will be among the recipients of harness racing awards given by the New England Harness Writers Chapter.
When John Curtin and Mike Tanner meet at the New England Harness Writers 34th awards harness racing program, they will have plenty to talk about.
Memories to last a lifetime is what I took home with me on the October 23 anniversary awards program at the Courtyard Marriott honoring 56 contributors of harness racing from all parts of New England and beyond.
Before a packed house Sunday (Oct. 23) the New England Harness Writers paid hommage to many recipients who have been responsible for the harness racing's growth. From racing's smallest owner to those with bigger stables the sport has prospered by their carring efforts and contributions.
You know you're going to have a good day when you hear from the likes of Mike Tanner and George Brennan's wife Stacy. Both Tanner and Brennan who is on a driving tear, notified the New England chapter that they will attend the 50th anniversary awards harness racing program October 23, just three weeks away.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner to the Board of Trustees. "I'm thrilled to be part of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Harness racing is a wonderful sport, and I love the fact that HHYF provides kids with the opportunity to learn about it and be part of it.
Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack has enacted an across-the-board purse cut of approximately 15%, track officials have announced. These reductions were determined in cooperation with the track's horsemen's group, the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, and will be reflected in the track's next condition sheet.
Driver Catello Manzi, injured in a multi-horse racing spill at Harrah's Chester on Sunday, remains hospitalized as of Monday morning at Crozer-Chester Medical Center with a broken clavicle and fractured ribs, according to his wife, Ellen.
Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack will offer a special All Stakes Pick Three as part of its Super Stakes Sunday card this Sunday, August 17.
The highlight of the 2008 racing season at Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack - Super Stakes Sunday - is scheduled for August 17 and approaching fast. Featured during the day will be the Battle of the Brandywine for three-year-old pacers, the Colonial for three-year-old trotters and the Valley Forge for three-year-old filly pacers.
Four hundred forty-five horses have been nominated to Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack’s six early closing events, track officials announced today.
Veteran driver Tony Morgan won two races and was second in two others as he topped seven other drivers to capture the inaugural Harrah’s Chester Drivers Challenge on Sunday afternoon.
Owen Franklin’s Georgian Bay, sent off at odds of 322-1, established a Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack record for highest win payoff in capturing Thursday’s (November 8) second race.