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This Friday, May 3 experience a taste of the south with the $29.95 Pink Restaurant Buffet. The menu includes Bourbon-glazed beef, fried catfish, apple-roasted pork loin and fried chicken. A wonderful array of salads, sides and desserts compliment the meal. On Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 4, guests can enjoy a delicious lunch in the second floor Gallery. The $39.95 Derby themed lunch buffet begins at 11:30 am. Dishes include sides and starters like mashed sweet potatoes, home-made mac & cheese, freshly baked corn bread, and sweet & spicy chicken wings, entrees like roasted chicken, beef sliders and BBQ ribs, and assorted pastries and cookies for dessert. Guests wanting to come out for just the Derby and live racing can enjoy the $54.95 Saturday night buffet in Pink which opens at 4:30 p.m. The menu, created by Executive Chef Dennis, features strawberry fields salad, classic southern egg & potato salad, BBQ glazed steak, Cajun-rubbed chicken & creamy mac & cheese. Reservations for all dining options can be made by calling 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). For more Derby weekend information visit http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=1793  

East Rutherford, NJ - RUS Mid-Atlantic's trotting series makes its 2019 debut at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment on Friday, May 3, as a compact field of five will face the starter in the Renee Eck Memorial, a non-wagering harness racing event taking place after the first race on the evening's program. The $3,000 race kicks off this year's Trotting 4 Charity event as three riders are participating in the charity event which will take place over a period of ten days. The Renee Eck Memorial is named after "Renee from PA", who was one of the world's most beloved horse lovers who had several positions in the equine field. Since Renee was an animal lover her family, since her passing in 2013, has supported animal and equine causes in her name. Renee was a strong proponent of women in the equine industry so sponsoring the RUS Mid-Atlantic Trot at the Meadowlands was a perfect fit. Through this race, RUS Mid-Atlantic honors the life of "Renee from PA". As part of the Trotting 4 Charity event, fans can win special jerseys worn by their favorite participating riders in the May 3 event. Riders participating this week are Vanessa Karlewicz (American Cancer Society), Sofia Zingale (#PaisleeStrong), and Sietske Dijhkof (Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame). Fans wishing the chance to own a rider's specially designed T4C jersey worn in this race needs to make a $20 donation to the rider's charity of choice and send a copy of the receipt to T4cRaffle@gmail.com, specifying which rider's jersey they are trying to win. Drawings will be held May 13 and 14. Fans can enter multiple times and/or for multiple rider's jerseys by making additional donations. For further information about Trotting 4 Charity, visit www.trotting4charity.com. Here are the horses and riders in the first leg of the RUS MidAtlantic Trotting Series:   1st Non-Wagering - $3,000 RUS Trot - Renee Eck Memorial (Post Time 7:25) 1 Akhenation Vanessa Karlewicz Sofia Zingale 2 RCs Ready Hillary Hartnett Sofia Zingale 3 Hyway Marcus Sasha Moczulski Sasha Moczulski 4 Egosnattitudes Sofia Zingale Sofia Zingale 5 No Recess Sietske Dijhkof Kyle Spagnola   Allan Schott RUS MidAtlantic, Inc. Promoting Racing Under Saddle in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia

Freehold, NJ -- Starting from the six hole, lightly regarded Osprey Vision got a hustling drive from harness racing "Yankee Joe" Lee and overcame traffic to get in contention and then challenge the betting favorite Wygant Prince (Coach Paul" Minore) in the lane and rally for a length and a half victory in 2:02 in the $9000 Billings Trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon, April 27. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Minore and Wygant Prince challenged "Annie Get Your Gun" Stoebe's, Uriel, for the lead which they obtained just after the first stanza timer flashed :29 seconds. Once on top Minore's charge stepped by the halfway point in :59 at which point Lee was out and going with Osprey Vision who was still in fifth place but looking to move up. "Once I got him rolling we quickly ranged up behind Doc Woogen (with Peoplesayimnoood who was first-up) and since my horse was full of trot I angled him three-deep and had my sights on Wygant Prince who was still strong on the lead," Lee said. Osprey Vision collared Minore's trotter at he top of the lane and then slowly began to pull away and went on to victory, the second of the season for the veteran trotter. Wygant Prince held second and Doc Woogen's charge finished third, some six lengths behind the top two. Osprey Vision, a 10-year-old altered son of Ken Warkentin, is in from his home base in western New York and had raced successfully in a couple of NAADA trots before striking gold in the Billings today. Tommy Merton trains for owner, Melissa Russo. Osprey Vision paid $18.20 for win and marked the gelding's 50th career victory which raised his lifetime bankroll to over $302,000. For "Yankee Joe" last season's Amateur Driver of the Year, it was his 50th career triumph. The Billings Series will continue tomorrow (Sunday) with a nine-horse field at Miami Valley Raceway. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

East Rutherford, NJ - The harness racing stars were certainly out on Saturday morning at The Meadowlands for the day's qualifying races contested on a very windy morning over a track that was dry but dulled a bit by overnight rains. A steady, strong wind was blowing hard across the track, helping most around the final turn and somewhat against them in the stretch with the temperature at 54 degrees when they began at 10:00am. The great Hambletonian winning filly Atlanta (sans trotting hopples made) her first appearance today for her new trainer Ron Burke with Yannick Gingras at the controls and she was fabulous. The Chapter Seven lass was sent out to the front from post eight, Atlanta set all the fractions in a 1:52.3 mile, final half in 55.2 and into the wind last quarter of 27.3 with no urging. The Veteran (Zeron) was impressive in his first go around to hold second over a clearly in hand Cruzado Dela Noche (Brian Sears). Crawford Farms, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor own the trotting queen. Marcus Melander brought his imposing team of sophomore colt trotters up for the day and clearly the most impressive performance of the morning from his string was turned in by the enigmatic Greenshoe (Brian Sears) who looked composed and imposing at the same time. Greenshoe trotted an impressive 1:54.1 mile with a back half in 56 and 28.1 final quarter well under wraps, leaving his competition in some disarray 20 or more lengths in arrears. The Father Patrick colt is insanely talented and can certainly trot with anyone if his connections can keep his focus on business for owner Anders Strom's nom de course, Courant, Inc. Melander's Dan Patch Award and Breeders Crown winning Gimpanzee (Sears) who sat last of the field of six and closed some late as Hudson River (Marcus Johansson) set even fractions in an easy 1:57.2 win over Captain Krupnik (Svanstedt) and a closing Southwind Avenger (Dexter Dunn). Gerry (Melander) put in a solid front stepping 1:56.3 effort, closing it out in 28.1 under no urging. Soul Strong (Ake Svanstedt) closed a bit up the inside to take the place over pocket sitter No Drama Please (Tetrick). Gerry is owned by SRF Stable. The Millers opened the day with the good Father Patrick filly French Cafe cutting the mile for Andy to a 1:58 win off a 1:01.3 and 1:30 three quarters. Sister's Promise (Tim Tetrick) was second and Susy (Scott Zeron) third. For perspective she trotted in 1:55.4/27 in her first try two weeks ago. Julie Miller trains the winner for owner/ breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Evident Beauty (David Miller) looked sharp in her first effort for trainer Nifty Norman passing fillies from well back in the stretch for a 1:57.4, with a wind compromised 30 second final quarter on the board. Winndevie (T. Smedshammer) was second and Whispering Oak (S. Zeron) third. The White Birch Farm bred Trixton filly was a multiple Grand Circuit winner at The Red Mile last fall for owners Mel Hartman, Little E and R A W Stable. The pacers began with the 7th and Captaintreacherous sired the winner of the first two sophomore colt races. Major Decption (Tetrick) was a winner in 1:55.3 leading through the 56.2 closing half comfortably holding on over No Mas Amor (Gingras). Tony Alagna is the trainer while In The Gym Partners (John Fodera & Steve Wienick), Martha Frank, Robert LeBlanc, Steve Head and Joe Sbrocco own the colt. Captain Victorious (Gingras) was giant in his first start from the Ron Burke barn. He set a solid pace then closed out a remarkable 1:51.1 mile in 27.2 with mild encouragement from the driver. Best In Show (Tetrick) was a good second and Dancin Lou (Matt Kakaley) third. Major March (D. Miller) raced right back to his good mile behind Captain Crunch last week with an effortless 1:52.1/27.2 daylight win over a closing Buddy Hill (Sears) and Escapetothebeach (Tetrick). Linda Toscano trains the Art Major colt for Bay Pond Racing. Last year's top freshman filly Warrawee Ubeaut (Gingras) has come back beautifully for Burke and the Sweet Lou lass was an easy 1:53.2 winner, settling nicely off the pace early and rolling by good fillies late under her own power. Odds On Clearwater (Dunn) and St Somewhere (D. Miller) followed the winner, owned by Burke, Collura, Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi in. Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) closed in tandem with 3-year-old Treacherous Reign (Dunn) nip Percy Blue Chip (Kakaley) in 1:53.1. Bill Donovan owns the mare and Ron Burke trains. Done Well was scary good in the last today dragging Dexter Dunn around in 1:50.4 to win by seven over a really good bunch of horses. Dorsoduro Hanover (Kakaley) left into play from post 10 and was real good for second with Filibuster Hanover (Gingras) completing the Burke sweep. The results are available on the web here. Racing resumes tonight at 7:15 pm. Nick Salvi

Whenever Harvey Eisman is given the opportunity to name a racehorse, he keeps it all in the family. It has nothing to do with harness racing pedigrees, but everything to do with his grandchildren. "It's a fun tradition they've done," said trainer Julie Miller, who trains Jason's Camden, a horse co-owned by Eisman that is named after his son-in-law and year-and-a-half-old grandson. "They get a little kick out of it." Jason's Camden can provide some more thrills in the weeks ahead. On Saturday (April 27), the 3-year-old colt trotter will compete in the $39,650 Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The top-seven finishers from the eight-horse field advance to the $118,950 final on May 4, where they will be joined by bye-recipient Osterc. The Dexter Cup is the traditional first stakes race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Jason's Camden is among the Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the Dexter Cup, along with Cavill Hanover, Whirl Winds K, HL Revadon, and Osterc. Eisman co-owns Jason's Camden with the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, which bred the colt. Jason's Camden, a son of Muscle Mass out of Palm Beach Chic, was purchased for $48,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale, at which time he was named Palm Beach Muscle. "I'm only a part owner in these horses, but I do get to name quite a few and that's nice," said Eisman, a Michigan resident who has been involved in harness racing since 1977. "All the grandkids go in order naming the horses every year. It was Camden's choice since he was just born and his mother (Julie) came up with Jason's Camden." Some other current horses co-owned by Eisman include Alana's Brilliance, Ev's Girl, Zack's Got The W, and Luv U Bye Click, which is a reference to the way one of Eisman's young granddaughters gets off the phone with him. Jason's Camden won five of nine races last year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $67,750. All his victories came in preliminary rounds of the New York-sired Excelsior "A" Series and he finished second in the final. He also finished second in a division of the Simpson Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He was a pretty nice horse in New York for us, but one of those slow learners and kind of went through the motions to start," Miller said. "I feel like at the end of the year he kind of understood the program and wanted to do his job. "He handled the half-mile track really well (last year) so we thought the Dexter Cup would be a good opening race for him. He showed a lot of consistency last year. He's a nice big horse, an honest horse, very willing. Hopefully we make it to the final and get a good draw there." Jason's Camden, who is making his season's debut in the Dexter Cup, will start Saturday's elimination from post seven with Andy Miller in the sulky. He is 5-1 on the morning line. "He's pretty docile," Julie Miller said. "He just goes about his day and doesn't need constant attention like some of the others. But when you put the race bike on him and get him behind the gate he's all business. "He's primarily staked in New York but we threw in the Hambo. He would be a longshot for that race, but in case he ends up peaking at that time he'd be in there." Cavill Hanover, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, is the 5-2 Dexter Cup elimination favorite from post one. Cavill Hanover, also making his seasonal debut, won three of seven races and $67,193 last year. All three victories came on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. Osterc, who received the bye based on earnings, was last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. He won five of seven races in 2018 and earned $226,401. He is trained by Per Engblom. For Saturday's complete entries at Freehold, click here. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) and the Dexter Cup elimination is race 10.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

MONTICELLO, NY--Although there were events for Billings members in early April at Pompano Park the granddaddy of all amateur driving programs, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, will get underway in earnest on Saturday, April 27 at Freehold Raceway and then move to Miami Valley Raceway the following afternoon. Both programs have been drawn and most notable is the purse increase at both venues. At Freehold the lady and gentlemen drivers will compete for a $9000 purse while at Miami Valley they'll go for $8,000. But competitors will find that they'll be racing for more money than in the past at many venues. At Scioto Downs the purse will be $10,000; at the Meadowlands, $11,000; at the Meadows-$12,000; and at Woodbine Mohawk; $12,000. Both Tony "the Capo" Verruso, Billings Series president, and Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, the series vice president, worked diligently in an effort to formulate an admirable program. "Tony and I adjusted the schedule a bit concentrating on the tracks that get the most participation, "Oldford noted. "The big add in the West this year is The Meadows where we have five legs and the West Gold Cup. Northfield Park has eight legs total. Purses are up at all tracks which we hope will bring out more participation. "We will again have our youth program which allows those under 25 years old, with under 50 pro wins, to race for free. It worked well last year. Two up and coming amateur drivers to watch are Mariah Wright and Alysha Binkley, both very good and should be at our West opener at Miami Valley next Sunday." "We have also added some condition allowances for amateur horses to help benefit those who race mostly in amateur races," Verruso added. Once again the Billings Series -now in its 38th season--will offer opportunities for competitions nearly weekly until late November. According to Billings Series president Tony Verruso, one big difference this season will be the elimination of the Silver Cup Final in in lieu of an East and West $25,000 Gold Cup Championships.   by John Manzi for the Billings Harness Driving Series,

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is handing out one million pennies this Saturday, April 27 in the Million Penny Sweepstakes! A total $10,000 will be given away to twenty-four lucky fans with the grand prize winner walking away with $5,000. Guests can enter the Sweepstakes through Saturday at 9pm. All the completed entry forms collected throughout the month will be dropped into the drawing barrel and 24 lucky winners selected via a reverse drawing. Guests must be present to win. The reverse drawing schedule for Saturday is as follows: After Race 6: 1-10 will be drawn, each wining $50. After Race 7: 11-20 will be drawn, each winning $100. After Race 9: 21-24 will be drawn with 21st winning $500, 22nd winning $1,000, 23rd winning $2,000 and the grand prize winner walking away with $5,000! Sweepstakes details can be found at http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16146 Must be 18+ to enter.   Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When legislators and Gov. Phil Murphy said yes to a $20 million yearly appropriation to support horse racing in the State of New Jersey, Garden State horsemen were predictably pleased that the purses they would go for would increase considerably. But would the fans react in a way that would make one think harness racing's lifeline would lengthen? Thus far, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'. The Meadowlands has been able to withstand the yearly opening of Pennsylvania's harness venues unscathed having been able to battle them on a level playing field for the precious horse population with purses that have experienced two significant increases in the last two months. The proof? Last Saturday (April 20), Big M players wagered $3,046,148 on the 13-race card, as betting exceeded the $3 million mark for the seventh time this year. In addition, over the course of the 32 race cards contested at the Meadowlands in 2019, 29 have seen handle of at least $2.5 million. Big fields and big competition in evenly-matched races are what the Big M faithful crave. "Over the last four racing programs, only nine favorites have won from 52 races," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The current percentage of winning favorites at the Meadowlands is 38. Of harness tracks currently racing, the median percentage is 46. In fact, our 38 percent compares right there with some of the top thoroughbred tracks. Often, the knock on harness racing is how easily horses make the lead and win, but we've had great racing with non-stop action, which makes it possible for horses to win from anywhere." According to Brisnet, Santa Anita (36 percent), Tampa Bay (36) and Gulfstream (37) are right there with the Big M when it comes to winning chalks. Last Friday (April 19), despite bad weather that arrived early in the evening, the action was plentiful. A new wagering high was established in the Can-Am Pick-4, which saw $65,333 in action. Those who went four-for-four cashed in for $87.17 for the bet with the 20-Cent base wager and low 15 percent takeout. One lucky patron wagering on the Meadowlands' signal into the Oregon hub went home with a huge smile on his or her face in the 13th race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five. After 10-1 shot Knightofvictory held off 5-2 favorite Prince Of Minto after a stirring stretch duel, that player holding the only ticket with the winning combination of 6-8-1-10-3 cashed in for $68,059. When live action resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., racing fans will have a big carryover to shoot for, as the 'other' 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five will start out with $82,307 in the hat in race five. For 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 and Meadowlands' 50-Cent Pick-4 players, free program pages are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. Saturday's $3-million night was highlighted by the eighth race, when a total of $341,302 was pushed through the windows, with the always prolific 50-Cent Pick-4 accounting for $116,859 of the pot. Only once in 2019 has the Pick-4 had a larger pool, when $134,614 was put in play on March 2. 1 MILLION PENNY GIVEAWAY: On all live racing nights during April, make sure to try and win one or more of many prizes totaling $10,000 in the Big M's "1 Million Penny Giveaway". Guests may enter once per live race day. The month-long contest concludes Saturday (April 27). For complete information and a list of prizes, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16148 HORSEPLAY ALLOWED: Come on out to the Meadowlands on Friday (May 3) and take your best shot in the track's Horseplay Giveaway. To play, contestants must complete an entry form and grab a free toy horse at the Players Club Desk or the outdoor Horseplay table. If you throw your horse into the window of the target car, you qualify to win a $100 betting voucher. In the event you win the voucher, you will then be entered in a drawing on Friday, August 2, when the prize is a 2019 Toyota C-HR. In addition, for each horse that makes it into the target car, the Meadowlands will donate $10 to a designated charity. During May, the money will go to A Lot to Grow. For complete contest details, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=11075 COUNTDOWN TO THE DERBY: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is one week from Saturday on May 4. Come on out to the Meadowlands and bet the entire Churchill Downs card, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. (Big M gates open at 9 a.m.) Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:46 p.m. In the Gallery, there will be a special Derby Day lunch buffet for $39.95. Food service begins at 11:30 a.m. That evening in Pink restaurant, there will be a southern inspired buffet for $54.95 that begins at 4:30 p.m. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations. You better hurry! There will be a $100 Derby win-wager contest with entry forms available in the Derby program and at the Players Club Desk. Contestants must enter by 5 p.m. In addition, there will be a $100 live win wager contest beginning at 6 p.m. with those entry forms available in the live harness program as well as the Players Club Desk. Ten winning contestants will be selected throughout the evening. It wouldn't be Derby Day without a hat contest for the ladies who come out to the Big M. Contestants can register from 2-4:45 p.m. at the Clubhouse Main Entrance. Judging will take place in front of the winner's circle at 5 p.m. There are five cash prizes up for grabs, ranging from $50 up to $500.   Meadowlands Media Relations Dave Little  

Pink Restaurant has a special "dinner and a show" planned for Friday, May 10 as The Blues Brothers & Neil Diamond tribute acts take the stage. A night of great songs, awesome dance moves and high energy is what makes "HATS AND SHADES" the most exciting Blues Brothers tribute in the USA. Gene DiNapoli as Jake Blues and Bob McArthur as Elwood Blues recreate the live concert that brought their band of soul and rhythm and blues to the country after their skit got rave reviews on "Saturday Night Live." And as a special bonus, Bob McArthur, well known as a Neil Diamond impersonator, will kick things off with rockin' crowd favorites that are sure to leave guests singing and dancing all night. A buffet has been created for the evening that includes garlic and herb sliced steak, crispy garlic chicken, rigatoni & meatballs, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and associated desserts. Price of the buffet and show is $39.95, plus tax & gratuity. The buffet begins at 5:30pm with the musical entertainment taking the stage at 8:30pm. On non-themed or music nights, the Pink Friday buffet remains $29.95 and $39.95 on Saturdays. Live harness racing post time is 7:15 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (201) THE-BIGM. Visit PlayMeadowlands.com for all dining and upcoming events.   Rachel Ryan

This Week: Dexter Cup elimination, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features a single $39,650 Dexter Cup elimination for 3-year-old open trotters. A field of eight will go to the gate in race 10 with an approximate post time of 3:30 p.m. (EDT). Complete entries for the race can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Western Fame was the top horse in the five preliminary rounds of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and he proved to be the best again in Saturday's (April 20) $664,000 championship for older male pacers at Yonkers Raceway. The 6-year-old stallion won the final by 4-3/4 lengths over Rodeo Rock in a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.4. More The Better N was third. After an opening quarter-mile skirmish with Anythingforlove A and JJ Flynn, 1-5 favorite Western Fame settled into the lead and never relinquished the top spot from there. The opening quarter was reached in :26.4, the half in :55.3, and three-quarters in 1:22.3. Ideal Jimmy, who started from post eight and was fourth during the early goings, launched a first-over bid at the halfway point, but was rebuffed by Western Fame's :27 third quarter. Ideal Jimmy finished fourth. Dan Dube drove Western Fame, who had four wins and a second in the Levy's five preliminary rounds, for trainer Rene Allard. The duo won the previous two Levy finals with Keystone Velocity and also captured the championship in 2015 with Domethatagain. "Those fractions look kind of fast for him, but he did it nice and easy," Dube said. "Turning for home he gave me another run again. He's so nice to drive. He never gets tired." Western Fame, a son of Western Ideal-Shyaway, has won five of seven races this season and earned $446,300. For his career, he has won 21 of 74 starts and $1.48 million. He is owned by Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables, and Gilbert Short. His clocking equaled the stakes record set in 1993 by Silver Almahurst. Shartin N became the first repeat champion in the 11-year history of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, capturing Saturday's $402,600 final for pacing mares by 1-1/2 lengths over stablemate Bettor Joy N in 1:52.1. Apple Bottom Jeans finished third. Shartin N became the first repeat champion in the 11-year history of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Mike Lizzi photo. Feelin Red Hot and Apple Bottom Jeans exchanged the lead in a :27.2 opening quarter-mile, after which driver Tim Tetrick put even-money favorite Shartin N in motion from fourth place. Shartin N reached the front by the half, timed in :55.2, and was unthreatened the rest of the way. "When I knew (Apple Bottom Jeans) had to go hard to get the lead and let (Feelin Red Hot) go and retake, I thought I would take my chance and make (Apple Bottom Jeans) push the envelope," Tetrick said. "The fractions were still fair and (Shartin N) still ended up on the lead at the wire." Shartin N was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer. She has won four of five races this season and earned $264,500. For her career, the New Zealand-bred daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin has won 30 of 42 starts and banked $1.39 million. Jim King Jr. trains Shartin N for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC. "She's got big lungs and she's a tough SOB," Tetrick said. "Week in and week out she shows up. When she puts her head on the gate she wants to race. She's proven that every week." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 158; 2. George Brennan - 90; 3. Jason Bartlett - 87; 4. Daniel Dube - 77; 5. Scott Zeron - 75. Trainers: 1. Jim King Jr. - 122; 2. Rene Allard - 77; 3. Ron Burke - 53; 4. Richard Banca - 51; 5. Ross Croghan - 43. Owners: 1. Jo Ann Looney-King - 45; 2. Tim Tetrick LLC - 41.5; 3. D R Van Witzenburg - 40; 4. Robert Cooper Stables - 39.1; 5. Royal Wire Products - 37. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup final for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 4); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 4); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares and the Chip Noble Memorial for older pacing mares on Monday (May 6).   Paul Ramlow Internet News Manager U.S. Trotting Association

The always popular Meadowlands Championship Meet Survival Challenge powered by 123Racing is back for the 2019 Championship Meet. Cash prizes and World Harness Handicapping Championship seats are up for grabs in this online competition which begins Friday, May 3rd. Registration is now open. Trackmaster will provide Platinum Past Performances for each night of the contest. The game covers the Meadowlands' Championship Meet, featuring millions in stakes races and the best pacers and trotters in the sport. The game concludes on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 3, 2019. The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 "across the board" wager [win, place and show] on selections for three designated races each program. However, to continue in the game, entrants have to "survive" by finishing in-the-money [first through third] with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player's survival one "lucky horseshoe" is given. The lucky horseshoe is a "free pass" given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or all three of his selections fail to hit the board. The grand prize is $1,000 & 2020 WHHC Spot The second-place prize is $500 & 2020 WHHC Spot The third-place prize is $250 & 2020 WHHC Spot Most Winners prize is $250 The contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada 18 years and older, and all selections must be made through the format provided on the Survival Challenge website page. No selections will be accepted by phone, fax, e-mail or any other means. Trackmaster Platinum Past performances for the three designated races will be provided through the game board. The deadline for selections each day is 30 minutes before 7:15 p.m. post time for the first race. The only exception being Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 3 [post time 12 noon]. After 30 minutes to post, all selections are final. To set up a username and password, and for more of the contest rules, visit www.survival-challenge.com.   Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On Saturday, May 4th, join Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment - for an exciting day and night of simulcast & live racing action, including the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Grandstand doors open at 9:00 am with free parking and free admission. With a full day of racing guests can enjoy a delicious lunch in the second floor Gallery. The $39.95 Derby themed lunch buffet begins at 11:30 am. Dishes include sides and starters like mashed sweet potatoes, home-made mac & cheese, freshly baked corn bread, and sweet & spicy chicken wings, entrees like roasted chicken, beef sliders and BBQ ribs, and assorted pastries and cookies for dessert. For reservations call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). All day, enjoy Woodford Reserve bourbon, the "Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby," and bourbon specials including mint juleps along with Grey Goose in the K-Derby cocktail for $10. Each specialty drink is served in an official commemorative 2019 Kentucky Derby glass. Ladies are welcome to express their fashion sense and style by entering the $1,000 Derby Hat Contest with no boundaries on how over-the-top the headwear can go. The most creative hat wins the $500 grand prize. Sign up between 2:00pm to 4:45pm with the judging at 5:00pm in the Winner's Circle. Plus all guests over 18 years of age can enter the $100 Derby Win Wager contest. Ten lucky contestants will be selected to place a $100 win wager on any horse of their choice in the Kentucky Derby. Entry forms are available in the Derby program and at the Player's Club desk. After the Derby, guests are welcome to enjoy a night of live harness racing at the Meadowlands with the first post time set for 7:15pm. Pink, the tiered dining room with perfect views of the live racing action, will feature a few Southern inspired options on the $54.95 buffet created by Executive Chef Dennis Sammarone. Pink will open at 4:30 pm and reservations are strongly recommended as space is extremely limited. To reserve a table call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). Prizes continue into the night with ten $100 win wagers on live harness racing, the ten contestants will be selected throughout the night. Entry forms are available in the live racing program and at the Player's Club desk. Fans can also participate in the Horseplayer Car Giveaway by picking up a FREE horse to toss at the Players Club desk or Horseplay table in front of the Winner's Circle. Participants attempt to throw their numbered horse into the window of a moving car. A winner, randomly chosen from all the horses that make it into the car, will receive a $100 betting voucher. Each night's winner will be entered into a grand prize drawing to win a brand new 2019 Toyota C-HR on, Friday, August 2. After the horse toss each night, children get to pick up all the horses left on the track and receive a FREE ice cream from The Cafe'. For every horse that makes it into the Horseplay car, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment donates $10 to the designated monthly charity. The 2019 May donation recipient is A Lot to Grow: https://www.alottogrow.org/index.html The 2019 June donation recipient is Humane Society of Bergen County Lost Pet, Inc: http://www.humanesocietybergen.org/ The 2019 July/August donation recipient is Horse Rescue United - http://horserescueunited.org/   For more information visit http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=1793 Reminder, you must be 18+ to enter wager on racing and enter any promotions. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.   Rachel Ryan

East Rutherford, NJ - The spring of 2019 has been a good one at The Meadowlands. Handle is up as a result of greater field size and the gradual return to better quality horses, the logical explanation being increased purses made possible by the supplemental funding from the state. The horseplayers are voting with their wagering dollars and handle begets handle, that is fact. The entry box has been solid. There have been enough horses entered to card 13 races for each live racing night, most of them with full fields, which is exactly what The Meadowlands' customers desire. "We have momentum that we haven't had in a while and I want it to continue. We appreciate the support at the entry box by those trainers racing with us this spring, that's a big part of it," stated Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "I was excited watching the races this weekend. There is no question that horses closing in on the leader as they approach the wire with five or six across the track in deep stretch creates excitement. We have to demonstrate to the legislators that our product is enhanced and improved to continue the purse allocation, we're going in the right direction and it must continue." Saturday's card resulted in another night of over $3 million in all sources handle on The Meadowlands races, which were interesting and entertaining. The track is playing fair, a bit less speed favoring, with horses able to win from virtually anywhere. In every one of the races this past Saturday, the fifth place finisher was no more than 6 lengths from the winner, most were far closer, and in the 11th race the first five finishers were separated by just a head.   The competitiveness of the races, leading to fewer short priced favorites, is an important component of what drives handle. The average win payoff on Saturday was slightly over $10 and as pointed out in Dave Little's release the percentage of winning favorites over the past two weekends (9 from 52 races) is around 17 percent.   With several of the top Meadowlands/Grand Circuit drivers absent for most of the winter/spring meet it has provided an opportunity for the next generation of talent to ply their trade on the big stage. Their desire to succeed when the chance presents itself, along with less familiarity within the driver colony, has made for some exciting racing.   "I thought the racing Saturday night was fun to watch. The drivers closed the holes which makes it much more competitive and the handle reflects that. Hopefully with the championship season on the horizon and many of our regular drivers returning from Yonkers after the Levy I hope we will continue to see the same level of competitive driving with the elimination of the courtesy holes that we have seen for the last several years. There is no question that the racing on Saturday was the best I have seen in many years and reminded me of the good old days of the Meadowlands when horses either got to the top or were parked when they left from the outside. It obviously makes for a much better product," said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ -- The Meadowlands and the SBOA of NJ will again cooperate to provide access to the racetrack for those horsemen wishing to train their young harness racing horses over the oval during the month of May beginning on Thursday, May 2. The track will be open each Thursday in May from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the paddock is open and available during those hours. The cost for these sessions will be covered by the SBOA of NJ. Please call the Race Office at 877.782.2537 by noon each Wednesday with an estimated number of horses so preparations may be made.   Nick Salvi

There’s an old saying and we all know it: “Money talks and [you know what] walks.” Many will say that it really isn’t about the money; how many times have we heard athletes say that after they sign a very lucrative contract with their new team? We know that money — if it doesn’t rule the world, it certainly drives it — matters. I give you The Meadowlands as Exhibit A. Last April, there were talks of closure, talks of ending stakes races and talks of moving The Hambletonian. We all know why. While other tracks were using casino monies to bolster purses, The Big M had no casino monies to give. They got by during the winter when nearby tracks were closed, but once March came, off went the horses to other tracks, mainly those in Pennsylvania, which offers two facilities — Pocono and Chester — that are buoyed by the casino dollars. The politicians were thinking about helping all three New Jersey racetracks — Monmouth on the thoroughbred side and Freehold and Meadowlands on the Standardbred side. For years, they hemmed and hawed, the classic political football. Former Governor Chris Christie opposed helping and legislators had to be careful too. Any time a politician talks of using taxpayer money to support private industry, it goes over like a lead balloon. Most cringe at funding public schools, let alone an industry such as horse racing. So, for much of 2017 and 2018, New Jersey horse racing stood in limbo. Both sides had valid arguments. Those that wanted the subsidies argued that horse racing is a billion-dollar business that employs thousands and seeing it end would leave many unemployed and would deprive the state of much-needed revenues. Those against it believe that it is not the state’s responsibility to prop up private industry, even though subsidizing horse racing, because it’s heavily regulated by the state, is a little different than, say, subsidizing car dealerships. Still, it’s a valid point: if an industry can’t survive on its own, then maybe it should fold. In May 2016, Phil Murphy decided that he wanted to be the next governor of the Garden State and, while campaigning, he came out as a friend of New Jersey horse racing. He visited the Meadowlands more than once and said (if elected) that should subsidy legislation ever reach his desk, he would sign it. In 2017, he was elected and he took office in 2018. As we know, nothing moves quickly in politics. So, for much of 2018, the bill to subsidize horse racing purses crawled along. Finally, in January of this year, it became law. The state would give horse racing $100 million over five years — $20 million each year. Of that, $10 million would go to Monmouth, $6 million to the Meadowlands, $1.6 million to Freehold and $2.4 million to support New Jersey breeding. It’s amazing how the money has altered people’s moods. The Meadowlands owner is Jeff Gural. While his love for harness racing cannot be questioned, he is known as a doom-and-gloomer, a glass-half-empty type guy. But things have changed. Now flushed with $6 million, Gural feels that his track can compete with Yonkers, Harrah’s and Pocono. He is armed with cash and, as mentioned, money talks. Overnight purses have been bolstered, the preferred paces and trots are now running for $30,000 (from $18,000) and, recently, the track announced a new series of four races worth a total of $700,000. The four races will be run in the spring and early summer with the finals coming in June and July. The races are as follows: The Golden Receiver Pace: Three legs, and then a final, total $165,000. The Mr. Muscleman Trot: Four legs, and then a final, $205,000. The Rainbow Blue Mare Pace: Three legs, and then a final $165,000. The Bee A Magician Mare Trot: Three legs, and then a final, $165,000. All four finals will run for an estimated $60,000, which is far from chump change on an otherwise nondescript night of racing. As for Freehold, it has upped its purses as well. The preferreds, which ran for $8,000 are now running for $12,000. Karen Fagliarone is the racing director at the nation’s oldest harness facility and has plans for the $1.6 million. “We raised purses by 50 percent for all classes,” she said, “we’re going to use the monies on overnights.” Freehold’s season is cut in two; the first part runs from Jan. 4 to May 17, with the second half picking up on Aug. 30 and running through Dec. 28. That’s 38 weeks with racing on Friday and Saturday afternoons. I asked Fagliarone if there were plans to develop a series, à la The Meadowlands and she was noncommittal. “Right now, there are no plans,” she said, “at least not through May. We may rethink that over the break and do something the latter half of the year, but right now, we are going to use the money to boost the overnight purses and reward those who race here.” While many focus on purses, there is also $2.4 million earmarked for New Jersey breeding, something that is badly needed for a state that is suffering from a horse shortage. “Everybody followed the casino monies and left New Jersey. There weren’t many stallions and mares standing in the state,” Fagliarone said. “It will take years to build up the stock in our state. This money will help, but it’s going to take time.” Freehold has been racing since 1853 and, like Monticello, runs only in the afternoon, something Fagliarone likes. “We have an advantage with daytime racing. We have lots of farms nearby and they can drive them in, race them and be home at night with their families.” The additional purse monies have allowed Fagliarone to write some different races for the pacers and trotters as well. “We are using the Trackmaster figures for some races. Right now, we have paces and trots for horses that have TMRs (Trackmaster rating) of 68 or less. Those are racing for $4,200 purses, the lowest figure we have here.” On good days, Freehold will handle over $400,000 and, while it focuses more on overnights, there are some big days on the calendar. For most, the first Saturday in May is the Kentucky Derby, but, on that day, Freehold runs its signature race, the Dexter Cup. Sanctioned by The Hambletonian Society, this is a race for 3-year old trotters and will offer a purse of at least $130,000 in 2019. In its day, it used to serve as a prep race for The Hambletonian, but, in recent years, things have changed. The accompanying Lady Suffolk is for 3-year old fillies, which last year ran for $66,000 purse. The fall schedule culminates with New Jersey Sire Stakes action, as well as some other stakes races. The full stakes schedule can be found here. What a difference a year makes. Last year, things were looking shaky for New Jersey harness racing, but things are looking up in 2019 and, hopefully, beyond. John Furgele   As a kid growing up in the Buffalo suburbs in the 1970s and 80s, the radio was one of John Furgele’s best friends. In the evenings, he used to listen to a show on WBEN radio called “Free Form Sports,” hosted by Buffalo broadcast legend Stan Barron. The show ran weeknights from 6 to 11 pm and featured every kind of sport you could imagine. One minute, Mr. Barron was interviewing a Buffalo Sabres player; the next, he was giving high school field hockey scores. But there was always one thing that caught John’s ear. During those five hours, Barron would give the results from Western New York’s two harness racing tracks — Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs. This is where John learned what exactas, quinellas, trifectas and daily doubles were all about. From then on, he always paid attention to harness racing, and when Niatross (a legendary Western New York horse) hit the scene in 1979, his interest began to blossom. John believes harness racing is a sport that has the potential to grow and he will explore ways to get that done via marketing, promotion and, above all, the races themselves. When he’s not watching races, John is busy with his family and his job in sales. Like the pacers and trotters, he does a little running himself and you’ll occasionally find him “going to post” in a local 5K race. Reprinted with permission of US Racing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Meadowlands has always been known as a place where bettors can play against harness racing favorites with confidence and those who are anti-chalk must have loved wagering at the Big M last weekend (April 12-13), as 23-of-26 post-time choices went down to defeat during the course of the two-card race week. After the odds-on favorite won the first race, the remainder of Saturday's card went chalk-free as race after race saw horses and drivers mixing it up through contentious first halves that were reached in an average time of :55.2, leading to anything but wire-to-wire winners. Shrewd handicappers who came up with one extraordinary winner - a 16-1 chance - in the 50-Cent Pick-5 cashed in for $1,048 on Saturday night, while 50-Cent Pick-4 players needed a 24-1 outsider in the leadoff spot followed by three straight 3-1 shots to hit for $1,328. At evening's end, total wagering stood at $3,025,740, the sixth time this year that betting at the industry's handle leader had exceeded the magic $3-million mark. Several wagers with average payouts that pleased their backers to no end last weekend included the Exacta ($88.57), Double ($127.04) and Pick-3 ($944.50). Friday night's special wager - the Can-Am Pick-4 - was again popular with players, who poured better than $55,00 into the pot. After a formful sequence saw three 5-2s and one 4-1 shot win, those who cashed put $158.76 in their pockets for the 20-Cent base bet that requires one to pick a pair of winners at the Big M and two more at Toronto's Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Can-Am Pick-4 is offered every Friday evening, and free program pages for the CAP4 - as well as the Big M's Pick-4 - are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. It's been quite some time since there's been a single-ticket winner in either of the Big M's 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Fives, so when racing resumes Friday, the fifth race will offer a carryover of $79,350, while Race 13 will begin with $59,504 up for grabs. Yannick Gingras led the driver's colony with six weekend wins while Dave Miller was next with five. Ron Burke was the top trainer with three victories. Live racing will take place this Friday and Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. SLADER LOVES CAMWISER: Russell Slader of Nutley, NJ wagered $50 to win and place on 10-1 shot Camwiser in Saturday night's 13th race to catapult him to victory in the World Harness Handicapping Championship, presented by www.DerbyWars.com. His final bankroll of $2,518 was best of 108 entries in the contest as Slader took home the top prize of $43,200. The total prize pool of $108,000 was the largest ever offered in the WHHC. The Meadowlands Racetrack would like to thank all WHHC sponsors, partner outlets and contest participants for a successful 2019 World Harness Handicapping Championship. 1 MILLION PENNY GIVEAWAY: On all live racing nights during April, make sure to try and win one or more of many prizes totaling $10,000 in the Big M's "1 Million Penny Giveaway". Guests may enter once per live race day. The month-long contest concludes Saturday (April 27). For complete information and a list of prizes, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16148 COUNTDOWN TO THE DERBY: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is two weeks from Saturday on May 4. Come on out to the Meadowlands and bet the entire Churchill Downs card, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. (Big M gates open at 9:30 a.m.) Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:46 p.m. In the Gallery, there will be a special Derby Day lunch buffet for $39.95. Food service begins at 11:30 a.m. That evening in Pink restaurant, there will be a southern inspired buffet for $54.95 that begins at 5 p.m. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations. There will be a $100 Derby win wager contest with entries available at the Players Club Desk. Contestants must enter by 5 p.m. There will also be a $100 live win wager contest beginning at 6 p.m. with those entries available in the live harness program. It wouldn't be Derby Day without a hat contest for the ladies who come out to the Big M. Contestants can register from 2-4:45 p.m. at the Clubhouse Main Entrance. Judging will take place in front of the winner's circle at 5 p.m. There are five cash prizes up for grabs, ranging from $50 up to $500. Meadowlands Media Relations  

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