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Nicholas, NY - Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs will both celebrate America's Independence with live harness racing on Thursday, July 4.   Tioga will race a matinee card beginning at 1:00 pm. A New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters is the day's highlight along with Filly & Mare pacing races. The condition sheet is posted on the internet and the box closes at 9:00 am on Sunday, June 30. The Race Office may be reached at (607) 699-7688. There will be no Friday live card at Tioga this week, racing will resume on Saturday and Sunday.   Vernon will race an evening overnight card that begins at the standard post time of 6:10 pm. The box for this card will close at 9am on Saturday, June 29. The condition sheet is available here. Vernon will have racing on Friday and Saturday, constituting a 3 da live racing week. The Race Office number is (315) 829-6825.   Electronic entry is encouraged at both tracks.     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast With The Babies took place on a perfect Saturday morning at The Meadowlands. The sky was clear, breeze light, harness racing track fast and temperature in the 70's when the trotting fillies stepped onto the track to contest the first race at 10:00am. Panem (Andy Mc Carthy) took the opener in 158.2, 29.1 after taking control from eventual third place finisher Winnerano (Trond Smedshammer) on the way to the 1:00.3 half then opening up a long lead before coasting in. Spoiled Princess (Brian Sears) closed to be second. The winner, a daughter of Father Patrick, is an Adam Bowden homebred via his Diamond Creek moniker and is trained by Nancy and Marcus Johansson. Race two was inherited by Violet Stride (Tim Tetrick) who was sitting a nice pocket to Jula Champagne (Yannick Gingras) when that rival jumped off stride just into the home stretch. Violet Stride never lifted her nose then trotted straight and true to a 1:59 record over Woodside Datendiva (Marcus Miller) and a strong stretch trotting Centa Hanover (Ake Svanstedt). Violet Stride is owned by Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia who paid $280,000 at the Lexington Selected yearling Sale (LSYS) for the Trixton lass, bred by Kentuckiana Farms and Jorgen Jahare, Jr. Mark Harder is the trainer. Al Libfeld's impressive Muscle Hill homebred filly Ms Savannah Belle (Gingras) rolled by the filed from far back to get up in the shadow of the wire in 1:57 / 29.3 in the third. Bank Wise AS IT (Tetrick) set honest fractions throughout, faced a stretch challenge from Solsbury Hill (Scott Zeron) then succumbed to both rivals grudgingly. Per Engbloom trains the winner. Julia C (David Miller), a full sister to 2018 Goodtimes winner Wolfgang, led all the way and took a 1:58.1 record in this morning's 4th race. She faced no pressure and trotted home in 29 flat to seal the deal over the closing pair of Munster (Tetrick) and Creature Of Habit. Bred by Art & Leah Zubrod's Fair Island Farm who retain a share of the ownership with partners Brixton Medical Inc and Hatfield Stables, Julia C is trained by Engbloom. Hypnotic AM (Sears) and Hello Tomorrow (Gingras) threw down in a stretch battle in race five. After taking over early, Yannick relinquished the lead to Sears just before the 59.2 half with Hypnotic AM then sprinting to an open lead through a 27.4 third panel. Once straightened up, Gingras flipped Hello Tomorrow out for the drive and the fillies traded blows right to the wire with Hypnotic AM prevailing under careful Sears handling in 1:55.4. Marcus Melander trains the winner, A Courant, Inc. (Anders Strom) homebred. Word Of Honor took a 1:57.2 record for Team Miller (trainer Julie and driver Andy) when she sat quietly behind Sequin (Zeron) as that rival sailed along on the lead, then slid up the inside for the win. Thankful For You (Corey Callahan) got up over Sequin for the place. Word Of Honor is a daughter of Father Patrick, bred and owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Trotting colt races commenced with the seventh where Fire N Fury (Tetrick) was a front stepping 2:01.1 winner over pocket rider Startrick (Josert Fonseca) and Ballcapsnbluejeans (Callahan). Marcus Melander trains the Explosive Matter colt, a $22,000 LSYS buy for Stall TZ. Celebrity Farms is the breeder. The Melander barn came right back with Rome Pays Off (Mattias Melander) who led at every call and won easily in 1:59 /29.1. Beyond Kronos (Tetrick) made a good impression in his maiden voyage to be second for trainer Jim Campbell and El Ideal (Svanstedt) took third. This Muscle Hill colt was a $155,000 Harrisburg sale purchase by Lennart Agren as SRF Stable. Brian Sears tamed Hayek this morning, holding the EL Titan snugly in the pocket behind even fractions set by Hennessey AM (Christian Lind), then easing past that rival through a 28.4 end to the 1:56.2 mile with something left. Big Oil (Andy Miller) raced well to get up for the place over Hennessey AM. Another Melander pupil, Hayek is owned by Courant, Inc who paid breeder Kostas Diakoloukas $70,000 for the colt in Lexington. Melander made four straight when Fly Eagle Fly (Sears) led all the way for a 1:59.1 win over Saxon (Tetrick) and Fear The Tiger (Marcus Miller). Fly Eagle Fly is a son of International star Bold Eagle bred in Italy and bought from the Lexington sale by Pontone, Gutnick, Lozito and Deo Volente Farms for $145,000. Sermon scored for Gingras and Engbloom in 1:58 under confident handling. Yannick mover the Muscle Hill colt to the top at the 59.2 half then held sway under no urging over Sheena Soldier (Zeron) and Kasha V (Dan Dube).Sermon is a Diamond Creek Farm/ Mel Hartman bred sold in Lexington for $115,000 to Consus Racing Inc and Longbridge Trotting. Ake Svanstedt won with the sharp EL Titan colt Moon Bridge with a late rally to get up over King Slayer (Gingras) in 1:58 / 29. I Have A Dream (C. Lind) was third. The winner is a homebred for Overseas Farm and Janne Korpi.' The pacing fillies got underway after the break with a pair by Captaintreacherous hitting the wire together in 1:54.3. After Never Ever Forget and Dexter Dunn sailed along on a clear lead past the 1:25.3 three quarters, Tim Tetrick got Rocknificent into gear and made a strong wide rally in the stretch to just miss. Tony Alagna trains the winner for AlagnaInTheGym, VJ Stable, Bill Donovan and Joe Sbrocco who gave $85,000 at Lexington. AM Bloodstock is the breeder. Three six figure yearling fillies by "The Captain" finished across the track the 14th with Caviart Jane (Zeron) holding Shebesailin (Gingras) and Baby Your the Best (D. Miller) at bay in 1:53.1 / 27.2 after setting all the fractions. The winner is a White Birch bred sold in Lexington to Cavirat Farms for $100,000, trained in the Johansson barn. Real Long Hanover (Dunn) took the same route to victory as her stable mate and continued the Captaintreacherous reign of terror as she led by many throughout then held on for the 1:54.3 / 28.4 win over JK Finendandy (Zeron). Alagna owns the filly with Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing who paid $50,000 at Harrisburg for the Hanover bred. Lottery Winner (Zeron) set all the fractions before facing a stern challenge from Chief Mate (Andy McCarthy) and dug in tenaciously to hold that rival off in stretch scrap for the 1:53.2 / 27.2 win. This $185,000 LSYS Bettor's Delight colt comes from the Johansson barn where he is trained for owners Joyce McClelland, Hatfield Stable, R A W Equine and the Ric Flair Stable. Kentuckiana Farms is the breeder. Territory (Gingras) took the 17th in 1:53.2 / 28.4, benefitting greatly when It's Showtime rolled off stride while on the lead as the field turned into the stretch. Territory took the baton then held on grimly for the win over Captain Groovy (Mark MacDonald). Per Engbloom trains the Diamond Creek homebred Sweet Lou half-brother to the great Pure Country. The last of the 18 baby races went to the Well Said colt Lake Charles (MacDonald) in 1:54.3 over Captain Barbosa (McCarthy). Lake Charles sat up close through even fractions before tipping out in the stretch to take the lead then dug in to hold rivals on both sides at bay. Ray Schnittker trains and owns the $35,000 Harrisburg yearling with Egloff, Hempt and Arnold. Vieux Carre is the breeder. Today's results are available on The Meadowlands website. Racing starts at 7:15 tonight highlighted by the "Wiener Dog" races in between the live races. Nick Salvi  

East Rutherford, NJ - The North America Cup day edition of Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB), sponsored by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms, came an hour early at 9:00am on a beeeyooteefull, windless Saturday morning with the temperature at 70 degrees and the harness racing track fast. Trainer Marcus Melander flaunted his imposing freshman trotting power this morning, winning five of the six colt races while finishing 1-2 in races eight through eleven. Trotting colts got underway in the seventh race where the camera could not separate a closing Hellbent For AM (Sears) and mile cutter Legion Of Honor (Andy McCarthy) as they crossed the wire, resulting in a dead heat in 1:56 / 27.3. Hellbent For AM is a Anders Strom via Courant Inc homebred trained in the Melander barn while Legion Of Honor was a $150,000 LSYS purchase by Mario Mazza from breeders Steve Stewart and John Carver with Lucas Wallin doing the training. Just as impressive as the top two was the 27 flat closing kick displayed by third place finisher Real Cool Sam (D. Miller), a Fashion Farm homebred. Hellbent For AM (Sears) and mile cutter Legion Of Honor (Andy McCarthy) The Melander stable began the 1-2 binge in race 8 when Maesteraemon (Sears) out kicked Speed Ball Swagger (Mattias Melander) for a 2:01.1 / 28 win. Mahomes (Tetrick) scrambled up for third. The winner is another SRF Stable colt, this one an Andover Hall that cost $170,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale (SHS) and is a Hanover bred. Melander came right back with Capricornus (Tetrick) to win in 1:58.2, taking over from stable-mate Hollywood Story (Sears) on the way to the 1:00.3 half then moved away from his chief rival under his own power with a 27.3 final quarter. The $110,000 Cantab Hall scion was a Harrisburg yearling purchase is a Windsong Stable bred now owned by JJ Stable. Sears drove Expectations to a 1:57.2 / 27.3 score next, taking over early and finishing in hand over Hell Patrol (Tetrick) and Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer). Expectations is another son of Muscle Hill, bred by Dunroven Stud and sold in Lexington for $110,000 to Vicky Trotting. The domination continued with Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander) leading all the way to an easy 1:58 / 28.2 win over Hopeyousteponalego (Marcus Schoen) and Swiss House On Fire (Svanstedt). Back Of The Neck is a son of Ready Cash, bred by Order By Stable and still shows Order By as owner despite having sold for $150,000 last fall at Harrisburg. Ake Svanstedt finally put the Melander reign of terror to rest by winning the last of the trotting colt races with the very sharp looking Chapter Seven colt Third Shift. They tracked Melander trainee Gerard (M. Schoen) throughout slow fractions before blasting by in a 27.4 end to the 2:01 mile. Jula Trix Treasure (Gingras) closed it up to be second. The winner was a $235,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Melby Gard Inc from breeder Winbak Farms. The day's opener featured several top bred filly trotters and a pair of expensive, impressive Muscle Hills finished one-two. Bellareina Dolce (Brian Sears) took over past the quarter, rated the middle half then dug in when challenged by Impressive Fashion (Dave Miller) as they sprinted home in lock-step through a 27.4 end to the 2:00 mile. Oblivion (Tim Tetrick) was a handy third. Lennart Agren owns the winner via his SRF Stable, a $400,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS) buy from breeder David McDuffee and she is trained by Marcus Melander. Yannick Gingras saved ground all the way then found room at the rail late for Queen Of The Hill to eke out a narrow 1:58.4 / 27.1 win over a wide and charging Dramatra (Scoot Zeron). Dip Me Hanover (Tetrick) was a good third. Queen Of The Hill is an Explosive Matter filly that Al Libfeld paid $110,000 (LSYS) for to secure from breeders Paymaq Racing, Lou Willinger and JC Bafia. She is trained in the Per Engbloom stable. Yannick took the exact same path to victory in the next race, guiding Becky Lindy to a ground saving 1:59.3 / 28.2 score, making it two straight for the driver/trainer duo of Gingras and Engbloom. They sat tight in the pocket behind the fractions set by Context (Jan Johnson) before wearing that game rival down very late to get up. Beautiful Mrs A (Marcus Miller) was third in a purposeful trip. Lindy Farms bred the winner, a $35,000 LSYS purchase by Christina Takter and John Fielding. Jula Beauty AM made it a hat trick for Per and Yannick, coming wide from well back to track down the leaders late in the stretch and get a narrow win over Common Sense S (Svanstedt) in 2:00.2 with her final quarter in 27.3. Musclesandmascara (Dexter Dunn) rallied late for third. Jula Racing owns the Muscle Hill filly, an $85,000 LSYS yearling bred by AM Bloodstock. Senorita Rita (Zeron) gave the crowd a thrill with an impressive gate to wire 1:57.4 win, trotting home in 27.1 under no urging. Shishito (Tetrick) actually gained in the stretch to get up for the place over Seventimesalady (Ake Svanstedt). Ken Jacobs paid $285,000 (LSYS) for Senorita Rita, a Chapter Seven lass bred by Our Horse Cents Stable and Hall of Famer Linda Toscano is the trainer. Caviart Ava was a winner for Andy McCarthy in a front end effort this morning, finishing her 1:58.4 mile with a 28.1 last quarter with something left. Electrapedia (Svanstedt) got up to be second over Mission US (Mattias Melander). The Trixton filly is a Caviart Farms homebred, trained by Nancy Johansson. The pacers came around after a training break and Tony Alagna fillies finished 1-2 in 1:57.2 / 27.3 with Never Ever Forget (Dex Dunn) closing to get up over the inside horses and holding off Reflect With Me (McCarthy) who lost ground early, breaking while leading before the 59.2 before making a nice recovery. Both fillies are by Captaintreacherous, the winner an $85,000 Lexington purchase by Alagna & In The Gym, VJ Stable, Donovan and Sbrocco from AM Bloodstock. Alagna sent out Lady Lou (McCarthy) to win the fourteenth after leading all the way in 1:54 with a 27 end to hold Baby You're the Best (D. Miller) and Rocknificient (Tetrick) at bay while becoming the fastest freshman filly pacer of 2019. The daughter of Sweet Lou was bred by Robert Hamather and went through the Harrisburg sale for $55,000 to Brad Grant. Capt Midnight (McCarthy) became the fastest freshman pacing colt of the season for Tony Alagna when he won the 15th race in 1:52.3 / 26.3 from the pocket over a stubborn Freedom Warrior (Tetrick) with Captain Nemo (Dunn) third. The Captaintreacherous colt is a Hanover bred and was a $350,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Marvin Katz, Ken Jacobs, Brad Grant and Captain Midnight Racing.  Capt Midnight Genius Man (Marcus Miller) took the last baby race of the day with an impressive gate to wire 1:54.4 / 26.4 win, holding sway over Force N Fury (Dunn) and He Refuses To Lose (Matt Kreuger). The winner is an Art Major colt was an $87,000 Lexington purchase by Ron Michelon and Daniel Plouffe from breeder Winbak Farms. Today's results are available on The Meadowlands website. Live racing tonight at 7:15. Nick Salvi          

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will host the third leg of the Grand Circuit Graduate Series for 4-year-olds on Sunday afternoon. Both the pace and trot split into two divisions, each for a purse of $50,000.   Lather Up and Courtly Choice will hook up in the first of two seven horse pacing divisions in race six. This pair split the first leg of Graduate divisions at The Meadowlands back on May 4 with Lather Up taking the single division of the second leg at WMP last Saturday. Lather Up is a slight favorite in the field of seven with Montrell Teague back aboard for trainer Clyde Francis and owners Gary & Barbara Iles.   Division two (race 9) features Done Well and Thinkbig Dreambig who are both off to strong starts on the season. Thinkbig Dreambig is the 2-1 choice in this division off losing a photo to Lather Up in last week's race. Scott Zeron has the drive for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners Brixton Medical, Fielding, Anderberg and Falk.   The first trotting division (race seven) sees leg one winner Muscle M Up (Ake Svanstedt) look to double up in the series from post 2 in the abbreviated five horse field. He has won all three starts this year for owner Knutsson Trotting but has been on the bench since his May 18 Graduate success.   Division two (race 10) features plenty of horsepower with a pair of million dollar winning sophomores from last year, Six Pack and Crystal Fashion, meeting up for the first time this season. Six Pack became the fastest 3-year-old colt trotter ever twice last year by winning in 1:50 at The Meadowlands then taking the Kentucky Futurity in a sizzling 1:49.1. Six Pack captured his division of the first Graduate leg then skipped leg two in Canada and will make his second seasonal start on Sunday. Ake Svanstedt drives and trains for his own interests along with partners Little E, LLC, Knutsson Trotting, Stall Kalmer and L. Berg.   Post time for the 13 race card is 1:00 pm.     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will get an early 6:35 PM start to the live racing on Saturday, July 6 for Fan Appreciation Day as we recognize our legion of faithful followers of Harness Racing with reduced concessions and a spine-tingling fireworks display after the live card is completed.   Eliminations for The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace will be held on that evening along with the $250,000 finals of the Graduate Series.   Details are available on the web.       Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The season opener of the popular Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB) sponsored by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms kicked off the 2-year-old harness racing season at The Meadowlands this morning under perfect conditions. The track was fast, the temperature in the 70s and no discernible wind when they began at 10:00 A.M. Trainer Marcus Melander and crew were back at it early after a big night with Greenshoe winning the NJSS final with eleven freshman trotting colts and fillies spread over the five races. Marcus' brother Mattias drove Bellarina Dolce to a front end 2:00.1 / 28.1 win over closing stable mate Queen Of The Hill (Casper Foget) and pocket sitter I'm Really Special (Tim Tetrick). The Muscle Hill filly from Bella Dolce was a $400,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS) purchase by Lennart Agren as SRF Stable from breeder David McDuffee. She's off to a good start. Marcus spoke to the talented lass, "She's been good all year. She's been a sweetheart, perfect to drive, steers well; nice horse. She has the gait and wants to do it. She has good manner, is very professional. She feels like an aged horse, really. (This qualifier) was perfect. We've been here two times training with her before this, so they're well prepared when they start baby racing. But it was a nice first one for her. It looked she was in hand. We're happy with her." Shishito gave her sire Father Patrick a winner when she came wide into a 28.3 end to a 2:01.3 mile for Tim Tetrick to out close Oblivion (Mattias Melander) and mile cutter Queso Fresco (Andy McCarthy). Per Engbloom trains Shishito for Black Horse Racing and John Fielding who paid breeder Diamond Creek Farms $50,000 at the Lexington sale last fall. "They were very good, I'm happy with them. They all did what we expected. They all behaved and we babied them around a little bit and they all trotted home good," said trainer Per Engbloom of his five freshmen. "Shishito finished really good from her spot, so that was great, and I also was very happy with Queen Of The Hill. She finished good. It was nice." Marcus Melander drove the $200,000 Standardbred Horse Sales (SHS) filly to a 2:02.2 / 28 win, up on the wire to nip Torrent (Dexter Dunn) with Becky Lindy (Foget) third. The top two are by Father Patrick, the winner a Hanover bred, now owned by Al Libfeld. Melander colts went under the wire together in the fourth with Hellbent For AM (Mattias Melander) picking up barn mate Maesteraemon (Brian Sears) in the last step of the 2:00.4 mile, while closing into a 27.3 final quarter. Legion Of Honor (McCarthy) made a sharp late gain to be third. The winner is a Swedish bred son of Muscle Hill from a Supergill dam, bred by AM Bloodstock and owned by Anders Strom as Courant Inc. Melander made it four of five when Expectations (Sears) took over near the 59.3 half, rated a 31.2 third panel then sprinted home in 28.1 for a narrow 1:59.1 score over the closing Take Shape (Tetrick) who was gaining with each stride to just miss. Capricornus (Mattias Melander) was a solid third. Expectations is a Dunroven Farm bred Muscle Hill half-brother to My MVP and was a $60,000 Lexington buy now owned by Vicky Trotting. Ray Schnittker is back at it, sending a pair of So Surreal colts right on down the road to impressive wins. Ray steered The Mystic to a front running 1:54.2 / 28 flat win over Come On Rags (Scott Zeron) and General Idea (Jason Bartlett). Schnittker, Paul Bordogna and HA Taylor paid $40,000 for The Mystic at Harrisburg last fall. Fair Winds Farm and Steve Jones bred the colt. Schnittker came right back with Splash Brother who made every call a winning one over Tomas (Bartlett) in 1:54.3 / 27.1 as he pleased. Nolamaura Racing, Steve Arnold and T. Flannery share ownership of Splash Brother with the trainer/driver. Steve Jones bred the $30,000 Goshen yearling. A BWTB aside; escaping notice on Friday evening at Tioga Downs was another So Surreal, the 2-year-old gelding Steuben Moose, who raced in a qualifier against older and paced in 1:54.2 while finishing fourth behind the 3-year-old Live Lucky, a winner in 1:53.1. Roy Marsh, Jr trains and owns Steuben Mouse, an $8,500 Morrisville Yearling Sale purchase from breeder Steuben Farms. After the BWTB show, we watched the great Hannelore Hanover strut her stuff in the fashion of a 1:52.2 / 27 seven length win over Marion Marauder under a Matt Kakaley hold. Matt had this to say on the World Champion trotting mare "She was very good, well in hand. We wanted to get her stretched out. Last week she was just dull the whole way. Dull behind the gate, dull in the mile. Today she was way better, strong the whole way. Maybe she just wasn't feeling herself last week because today she was super." Hannelore Hanover BWTB sponsor Jules Siegel had a winner in his sophomore trotting colt Chapter Fashion who just got up to nail Union Forces in 1:55 for David Miller. Odds On St Lucie (Tetrick) impressed in a 1:50 / 26.4 stretch win over Don't Think Twice in her third qualifier for Tony Alagna and Odds On Racing. De Los Cielos Deo put a wow into today's action with a wicked 1:48.4 win for Miller. He took off fast and just kept going faster, whizzing by the half in 54.4, threw in a 26.3 third then finished it off with a 27.2 kicker to beat up on two others. Burke trains. Finally, the horse of the meet thus far this season, Highalator, got in a 1:50.3 / 26.1 work out for Rich Still and trainer Jenny Bier to close the card. Results may be found on the web. Live racing resumes at 7:15 this evening. Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - Recognizing the snowballing negative public perception surrounding Thoroughbred racing and, ultimately the imminent threat to our own sport, The Meadowlands has taken the following position regarding horse slaughter and "kill pens"; any person connected with Standardbred racing found to be involved in either practice will be barred for life from participation in any form at The Meadowlands Racetrack.    The ban also includes Tioga & Vernon Downs.   The scrutiny of horse racing has not ebbed, if anything the focus on the welfare of the horses has intensified and is not limited to catastrophic breakdown and ethical treatment at the track.    What becomes of horses once their racing career is over is another key component, not only for public perception but because providing a soft landing is the humane thing to do.   It is imperative that we as horse people recognize the seriousness of these situations and don't wait until "the horse is out of the barn" to insure the protection of racing horses both on and off the track.   The movement to abolish racing in California is gaining momentum and racing interests there are in constant damage control, largely because they have been reactive rather than pro-active.   Addressing the current issues surrounding racing at Santa Anita, United States Senator Diane Feinstein has issued the release below that includes the following quote;   "...We need to determine what we’re doing wrong in this country and fix it. If we can’t, we need to consider whether horse racing has a future here.”   US Senator Dianne Feinstein renews call for suspension of Santa Anita races   Here are a few other recent reports in mainstream media that illustrate the level of outrage directed at current practices in horse racing from the perspective of those outside of the industry, including a searing indictment run on the popular HBO Sports just last week. Take the time to watch that and see how horse racing is viewed by the general public.   Paulick Report on HBO Real Sports ‘Very Survival Of The Sport At Risk’: HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ Examines Racing Fatalities     Paulick Report 2 Illinois HBPA Officer Suspended 120 Days After Horse Found In Kill Pen     Louisville Courier Journal Along with racetrack deaths, horse racing now has another fear: slaughterhouses     NBC News Protesters Call for End of Horse Racing After Latest Horse Death at Santa Anita     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will kick off the 2019 edition of the popular Breakfast With The Babies harness racing program on Saturday, June 1.   Jules Siegel, via his Pennsylvania nursery Fashion Farms, will again generously sponsor the pastry and refreshments provided for the those who enjoy watching the freshman pacers and trotters get their early lessons on the promised path to stakes success.   Breakfast With The Babies is annually a fan highlight with millions of dollars worth of Standardbred royalty paraded over The Meadowlands mile track before their connections who have patiently waited for the hopes and dreams to come to fruition.   Each Saturday morning, Trotters Owners Club will be open to horsemen and the public alike at 9:30 to serve coffee and pastries and the races will get underway at 10:00 with a guest announcer calling the action.   We welcome you to come out and see the stars of tomorrow on June 1.     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - In light of the recent circumstances in Thoroughbred racing surrounding the welfare of the horses, all of horse racing has come under increased scrutiny. While the rate of catastrophic breakdowns in Standardbred racing is but a fraction of what it is with the Thoroughbred, the public does not make that distinction.   The health and welfare of our harness racing horses has been a top priority throughout President and CEO Jeff Gural's tenure at The Meadowlands and a great deal of time and money has been spent in efforts to eradicate Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) from Standardbred racing.   Over the past few months in response to questions on the use of the diuretic Lasix as a PED, a consortium of Thoroughbred tracks is taking steps to reduce or eliminate the use of Lasix on race day.   It is the intention of The Meadowlands as the flagship track of the standardbred industry to join that movement and proceed in such a way as to insure the best interests of our equine athletes.   A proposal to address the use of Lasix as a race day medication at The Meadowlands has been submitted to the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC). The submitted proposal states that beginning in 2020, no 2-year-old Standardbred will be permitted to use Lasix when racing at The Meadowlands. Further, in 2021 the track's signature stakes race, The Meadowlands Pace, will become Lasix free. It is noteworthy that the marquee stake in all of Standardbred racing, the Hambletonian at The Meadowlands, has not permitted the use of Lasix throughout its 93 year history. In discussion with several Standardbred trainers, the consensus was that 2-year-old horses should not race with Lasix and should instead be given time away from the track to recover if they are indeed diagnosed with Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). Over the entire 2018 season at The Meadowlands, only seven 2-year-olds raced with Lasix . At the end of the 2021 racing season we will review these changes, consider any revisions to the practice in Thoroughbred racing and adjust as necessary.   While we recognize the therapeutic benefits of Lasix, our concern is with the optics and feel it is important to show that we take the health and safety of our horses very seriously. We believe this is the best approach while we observe how even stricter measures work for the thoroughbred industry.     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - It was a perfect Saturday morning for qualifiers at The Meadowlands with sunny skies, a slight cross breeze and temperatures in the 70's. The track was rated as fast when the races began at 10am. Hannelore Hanover is back! The 2017 Dan Patch Horse of the Year and career winner of $2.8 million made her 2019 harness racing debut an impressive winning one over current "Road to the Hambletonian" list topper Gimpanzee (Sears). Settled in fifth through the early poles, Hannelore had advanced to third via a few breakers by the 1:25.4 third panel, fanned wide and engaged the leading Gimpanzee then prevailed on the wire in 1:53 flat with a sub 27 final quarter under her own power. Super Schissel (Scott Zeron) was right in between the top pair in third. Ron Burke trains Hannelore Hanover for his interests as Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva and Joe Bongiorno picked up the drive this morning. Beautiful Sin was ultra-impressive this morning, not only beating a field of quality male rivals but doing so authoritatively. Driver Tim Tetrick moved the Muscle Hill lass first over from fourth as they passed the 59.2 half and brushed past the leader Gerry (Marcus Melander) through the 29.1 third panel, leaving the boys behind with a 27 flat close to the 1:55.3 mile. Gerry stayed on for second while White Tiger (Sears) was a rated third. Lennart Agren's S R F Stable owns Beautiful Sin who at $480,000 was the highest priced yearling of 2017 and Per Engbloom trains. Trainer Domenico Cecere brought a string of Lindy Farms 3-year-old trotting colts in for their first foray of the new season and drove the Chapter Seven colt Refi to a front stepping 1:56.2 / 28.2 win under wraps over stable mate Signor Cardin (Brian Sears). Wing Suit (Zeron) was comfortably third. Refi is owned by Lindy Farms and Bob Rudolph. Sophomore pacing colts came around next and a pair of trainer Tony Alagna's Captaintreacherous colts finished 1-2 with Captain McKee (Tetrick) prevailing from the pocket in 1:52.3 / 27.1 over mile cutter Captain Cash (Andy McCarthy) with Magic Joe Lindy (Zeron) third. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant and Captain Trevor Racing own the winner. Another round of Captains swept the first three spots in the next race with Latissimus Hanover (Tetrick) leading throughout under restraint and holding Captain Ahab (McCarthy) and Shipshape (Matt Krueger) at bay in 1:51.1 / 28.1. Trainer Ray Schnittker owns the speedy colt with Mary Kinsey Arnold and Ted Gewertz. Tall Drink Hanover (McCarthy) completed the "Captain sweep" for the sophomore pacers, winning handily in 1:51.4 / 27.1 under complete wraps. Key West (Tetrick) was a good second. Alagna trains both and owns the winner as Alagna Racing along with Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing (Stephanie & Myron Bell). Western Joe was pacing out of his skin through a 26.1 end to a 1:50.1 mile this morning, looking like he's ready to roll after this, his third qualifier. He tracked Shnitzledosomethin (Tetrick) throughout and roared past that rival under some Zeron rousing in the stretch. Chris Choate trains the 2018 Sam McKee Memorial winner for Anthony Ruggeri and Joe Tosies. It's a huge night at The Meadowlands with Graduate Series trotters on the track and BeerFest in the Back Yard. Live racing gets started at 7:15pm.   Nick Salvi

The Miss Versatility series for trotting mares gets underway on Monday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a single $52,800 harness racing division of five led by Serge Godin's pair of starlets in Emoticon Hanover and Dream Together racing under his nom de course of Determination.   Emoticon Hanover (Dan Dube) has won the past two Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot Finals to go with a World Record and nearly $1.5 million on her imposing resume. The Miss Versatility leg will get her 2019 stakes campaign underway after a convincing 1:52.3 win in an overnight.   Dream Together (Randy Waples) burst onto the Grand Circuit scene with a $105 win mutuel in the 2018 Dr John Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands and is but a cheque away from $700,000 in career booty.   Luc Blais has trained both from the first day they had the harness on and continues to have them beautifully prepared for each engagement.   Sorceress Seelster, Pat Matters and The Erm complete the quintet, which is the second race on the Monday night bill.     Nick Salvi

Vernon, NY - The Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for 3-year-old New York sired trotters at Vernon Downs was drawn today.   There were but nine colts declared and they will go directly to the $215,200 championship on Monday, May 27 as part of the matinee Memorial Day holiday harness racing card. No elimination necessary.   Last season's unbeaten freshman Gimpanzee is the headliner in the colt division. He won the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) final and Breeders Crown final during his Dan Patch Award winning season for owner Courant, Inc. and trainer Marcus Melander.   They are in post position order: Horse Driver 1- Getting Serious - R. Lopez 2- Star Struck Hanover - TBA 3- Skyway Kon Man - T. Smedshammer 4- Whimzical Chapter - D. Daley 5- Gimpanzee - B. Sears 6- Mr Vicktor - T. Buter 7- Travel Winner - T. Buter 8- Cavill Hanover - J. Morrill Jr 9- Big Money Honey - T. Buter   Twelve fillies were declared and they will race in a pair of six filly eliminations on Friday night with the top nine (first four and one fifth drawn by lot) and the two winners will draw for posts 1-6 for the $209,500 championship on the same afternoon.   Last season's NYSS Final winner Winndevie will compete in the second division for Purple Haze Stable and trainer -driver Trond Smedshammer.   They are: Race 4 Purse $12,500 1. Pilgrims Lass M. Simons 2. Conway Kellyanna C. Norris 3. Amal Hall J. Morrill, Jr 4. Sensibility S. Zeron 5. Amanda Blue Chip TBA 6. Gobi Princess J. Morrill, Jr   Race 7 Purse $12,500 1. Quincy Blue Chip J. Morrill, Jr 2. Winndevie T. Smedshammer 3. Sweet Chapter J. Morrill, Jr 4. Hanna Dreamgirl TBA 5. With Out A Doubt T. Buter 6. Stella Jane J. Bartlett

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday morning qualifiers at The Meadowlands were held under mostly sunny skies (the short sleeved colors made their first appearance of the season), negligible wind and temperatures in the 60's, with the track rated fast as they began at 10:00am. Trotting fillies opened the card with the good pair of Evident Beauty (David Miller) and Beautiful Sin (Yannick Gingras) crossing the wire together in hand, the mile in 1:58.4/28.2. Both were making their second start, Red Mile Grand Circuit winner Evident Beauty appeared flawless for trainer Nifty Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Little E and R A W Equine while Beautiful Sin looked healthy after sustaining a serious tendon laceration that ended her freshman season prematurely. Greenshoe clearly holds great promise with his remarkable speed but often authored his own undoing last season via his anxious temperament. Today was another triumph for the connections as Greenshoe looked more comfortable going to the gate, driver Brian Sears was able to settle the colt in third through slow fractions then got the response he wanted when the colt ground up uncovered and wore down a good colt in Super Schissel (Gingras) through a 27.1 end to a 1:55.1 mile. Great things may well be in store for owner Anders Strom (Courant Inc) and trainer Marcus Melander if they're able to continue to harness the power of the enigmatic Father Patrick colt. Ake Svanstedt unveiled the Swedish star Darling Mearas S this morning as the career winner of over three quarters of a million dollars led at every call then held pocket sitter Pat Matters (Matt Kakley) at bay in hand, the mile in 1:56.1/27.4. Darling Mearas has been made eligible to the top US stakes for mare trotters by owners Snogarps Stable. With a stretch headwind beginning to pick up, The Veteran was a 1:53.4 winner this morning for his new connections, the Paul Kelley Stable. Mark MacDonald held the powerful 4-year-old Muscle Mass horse in third as Manchego (Scott Zeron) set fast fractions while appearing somewhat fresh before rolling off stride on the final bend. Mac Donald has The Veteran marching up uncovered by then and he held off Ice Attracion (Svanstedt) comfortably. Trainer Kelley owns him with SRF Stable, Winske and Michaels. Odds On St Lucie (Matt Krueger) closed nicely to get the 1:54.3/27.4 win today over stable mate Wicked N Wonderful (Dexter Dunn) and Petticoat winner Catch An Ace (D. Miller). Tony Alagna trains the winner for Odds On Racing. Western Joe (Zeron) is making his way back to the wars and took another step forward with a 1:52.2/27.3 win from the pocket this morning over Limelight Beach (D. Miller). He's had two good Q's back now for trainer Chris Choate and owners Anthony Ruggeri & Joe Tosies. Sophomore colt pacers capped the card and Bettors Wish was an impressive out of the pocket winner for Dexter Dunn in 1:52.4/27.3 clearing pacesetter Captain McKee (Tim Tetrick) by a couple at the end. Trainer Chris Ryder owns the sharp Bettor's Delight colt with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Ken Solomon. The results are available on the web. Live racing resumes tonight around 7:15 pm.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Kentucky Derby day qualifiers got underway an hour early at 9:00 today on an overcast morning over a drying harness racing track started out rated as "good" then improved to "fast" with the eighth race, no discernible wind and temperatures in the 60's. Race Secretary/announcer Scott Warren called the action. The trotting race of the year thus far (until tonight's Cutler Memorial) came in the eighth race of the day with the fastest trotter ever, Homicide Hunter (Yannick Gingras) debuting for new trainer Ron Burke facing the fastest 3-year-old trotter ever in Six Pack and Ake Svanstedt. Six Pack had to work to get past Eurobond (Domenico Cecere) early with Homicide Hunter waiting in third as they trotted to a 57 first half. Six Pack held the lead through the stretch as they fanned across the track with Eurobond gaining from the pocket and Homicide Hunter closing widest of all into the 28 flat final quarter to get up by a scant nose over Six Pack in 1:53.4. Meadowlands track record holder JL Cruze, making his seasonal debut, was sneaky good in here as well. Al and Michelle Crawford are the proud owners of Homicide Hunter via their Crawford Farms Racing. The day kicked off with a "crunch", Captain Crunch that is as the top rated colt on Dave Little's "Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace" won easily in 1:51.2 with driver Scott Zeron motionless throughout including a 26.3 final quarter over the off going. Captain Trevor (Andy McCarthy) looked to nose out pocket riding US Captain (Matt Krueger) in the shadow of the wire for second while Major Deception (Gingras) was a well within himself fourth. All four colts are sons of Captaintreacherous. 3 Brothers, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms own Captain Crunch for trainer Nancy Johansson. Can't Beach That (Troy Beyer) now racing from the Brett Pelling barn was super impressive today winning from the pocket in 1:50.4 with his final quarter in 25.3. He was a couple clear of Captain Ahab (McCarthy) who was strong today with an uncovered march on the leaders to close for second with Odds On Boca Raton (Dexter Dunn)a willing third into the fast final fraction. Mel Segal, Kentuckiana Farms and Eddie Gran own the Somebeachsomewhere colt. Trainer Marcus Melander was back this morning with several of his sophomore colt trotters including last year's unbeaten champ Gimpanzee who was strong in his second go around, cutting the 1:55/27.2 mile while in hand to Brian Sears. Bordogna (Andy Miller) followed for second and last year's Peter Haughton winner Don't Let'em finished really well for Marcus Johansson to be third. Anders Strom as Courant, Inc. and Lennart Agren as SRF Stable share ownership of the talented Chapter Seven colt. Just before, Melander steered 2018 Wellwood Memorial winner Green Manalishi S to a 1:54.1/28.2 score for Courant, Inc. over a closing Hudson River (Johansson) with Memo (McCarthy) staying for third. 2018 She's A Great Lady winner Tall Drink Hanover (McCarthy) looked fabulous this morning with a pacesetting 1:51.4 win using a well in hand 26 second final quarter to hold off stable mate Treacherous Reign (Dunn) . Tony Alagna trains the daughter of Captaintreacherous for his interest as Alagna Racing along with Marvin Katz and Myron & Stephanie Bell as Riverview Racing. Queen Of Tricks (McCarthy) looked sensational in a front stepping 1:54.4/27.4 romp for trainer Lucas Wallin and owner Mario Mazza. The lightly raced Trixton filly certainly has a classy look to her. Sexy Wow (Dunn) followed her in for second with High Love (Dan Dube) third in her career debut. Marvelous Trix, with owner Steve Smith driving for trainer Karen Garland, nosed out Susy (Gingras) crossing the wire in 1:56/28.2 with Antonia (Sears) a reserved third. Both Susy (Father Patrick) and Marvelous Trix (Trixton) are preparing for the upcoming New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) which will begin on Friday, May 17. Last year's Jim Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess (Gingras) prevailed over mile cutter Sister's Promise (Zeron) in a 27 second final quarter sprint to the finish of a 1:56 mile. Personal Paradise (Ake Svanstedt) was third. The winner is trained by Nancy Johansson for John Floren's Coyote Wynd Farm. After the break, Andy McCarthy took Pilot Discretion for a 1:54/28 spin around the oval with Totally Takter (Gingras) staying on over Bazillionaire (Trond Smedshammer) for second. The Muscle Hill colt won both of his freshman starts at The Red Mile for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson and John Fodera. Phaetosive (Smedshammer) converted a pocket trip behind her familiar rival from season's past in Manchego, driven by Jimmy Takter in his first appearance of the season, into a powerful 1:54.2 win trotting home in 26.4. Manchego held up well in her first qualifier to be second and Pat Matters (Zeron) closed from last to be third. Purple Haze Stable owns Phaetosive. Marcus Miller steered St Albray to a 1:53.1 win closing into the 28 final quarter to just get up over Odds On Clearwater (Dunn) and Disturbed Hanover (Bart Dalious). Erv Miller trains for Geis Enterprise, LLC. Fresh import Frankie Rocks A (McCarthy) held off the good open pacer Western Joe (Zeron) through a 26.2 end to the 1:51.4 mile to end the day. Tahnee Camilleri owns and trains Frankie. Tonight marks the start of The Meadowlands Championship meet with the $175,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial FFA Trot and a pair of $50,000 divisions of leg #1 of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. Come early for the Kentucky Derby simulcast and stay for the live action. Nick Salvi

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

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will kick off the 2019 live harness racing season on Saturday, May 4.   Racing will be Saturday and Sunday the first two weeks then pick up Friday beginning with May 17.   The first draw will be a double draw held on Wednesday, May 1 with a box closing of 9:00am.   A racing application is required and they may be found, along with other pertinent information, on the Tioga website.   The first condition sheet is up on ustrotting.com.   Enter via e-track or by calling (607) 699-7688 and the direct line to the Judges is (607) 699-7573.     Nick Salvi    

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