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The Miss Versatility series for harness racing older mare trotters begins on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park as the eighth race. The first leg drew a field of nine racing for a purse of $50,000 (CAD).   Making her seasonal debut is Emoticon Hanover, who had a remarkable season in 2017 while winning the Miss Versatility final, the Breeders Crown and the Joie De Vie in world record time of 1:50.2 for owner Serge Godin's Determination Stable and trainer Luc Blais. She's had three conditioning qualifiers, the most recent a 1:56.1 win over the Campbellville oval. James MacDonald will drive the career winner of over $1.25 million from post position #7 on Monday.   The main rival in Monday's race is a familiar one in the venerable Caprice Hill (PP#2 Doug McNair). The two mares battled on several occasions last year, in fact Caprice was at the flank of Emoticon while beaten less than a length in the Breeders Crown. She's earned nearly $1.5 million in her career for owner Tom Hill while residing in the Tony Alagna barn.   Here's the field and a program is available on the web.   8 -- Trot, purse $50,000 MISS VERSATILITY - 1ST LEG - FILLIES & MARES. Post time: 09:50 P.M. 1 Highland Top Hill by Muscle Hill 2 Caprice Hill by Kadabra 3 Dream Together by Muscle Hill 4 Pink Pistol by Cantab Hall 5 Its Hallright by Cantab Hall 6 P L Jill by Kadabra 7 Emoticon Hanover by Kadabra 8 Southwind Tesla by Chapter Seven 9 The Erm by Cantab Hall   Nick Salvi

Vernon, NY - On Friday night, Vernon Downs will host five $12,500 elimination races for the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) the first major event of the season for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies and colts as races five through nine.   The box was overflowing with entries for the filly division with twenty-six declared for the eliminations resulting in three divisions with the top three on the official order of finish returning for the $265,000 final.   The most accomplished of the lot include Plunge Blue Chip who dominated the class at two, last season's surprise New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) final winner Lucky Ava and the fleet Atlanta who trotted to a 1:52 win in her first start of the new season at The Meadowlands last week.   Plunge Blue Chip and Lucky Ava both hail from the barn of Ake Svanstedt who has no fewer than five fillies in the elims and will drive both on Friday.   The only blemish on Plunge Blue Chip's freshman season was a shocking out of the money finish in the NYSS final where her barn mate Lucky Ava picked up the mantle and scored what is by far her biggest win. Svanstedt owns a piece of each, partnered with Blue Chip Bloodstock and Tomas Andersson on "Plunge" and Little E, LLC and Van Camp Trotting Corp sharing the title on Lucky Ava.   Atlanta captured everyone's attention with her stunning 1:52 win against a field that included older horses and a legitimate Hambletonian contending colt in a Meadowlands overnight last week. She zoomed by the field with a withering stretch burst to claim the win with Scott Zeron driving for his father Rick who trains her. Holland Racing Stable, HA Taylor and Brad Grant own Atlanta in partnership with the trainer.   Svanstedt also has one of the top contenders among the nineteen colts in last year's NYSS final winner Six Pack. A winner five times in nine lifetime outings, Six Pack is the fastest of the colts by virtue of his 1:53.1 win in a NYSS event at Vernon just a week ago. Svanstedt own him in partnership with Little E, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg.   The second division of colts is a very competitive, balanced field that includes the winner of last year's Kindergarten final, Tito. Driver Andy McCarthy will have to chart a winning course from an outside post eight for the Erv Miller trainee who was third in his seasonal debut last week. Anthony Lombardi, George Golemes and Louis Willinger are Tito's owners.   From the pair of colt divisions, the top four and one of the fifth place finishers drawn by lot will advance to the $248,000 final. Both of the rich finals will be part of the Labor Day matinee card on Monday, May 28.   The EBC eliminations will be carried live on The Meadowlands broadcast, spaced between the Meadowlands races.   Races 6-9 will comprise the Pick 4 with a $2,500 guaranteed pool in concert with the USTA Strategic Wagering initiative. Program pages will available on the web.   First race post time is 6:10 with the EBC races slated to begin at 7:30.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for harness racing 3-year-olds get underway on Friday, May 18 at The Meadowlands.   The once mighty program has diminished to where there are but a handful of horses to compete in each of the $15,000 sophomore divisions, necessitating that both colt races be held off the night card and raced early as non-betting events.   The same two pacing colts who competed in last year's freshman division will match up again with Melanie's Fran (Dave Miller) who swept through the series last season facing his rival Hypnotico (Austin Siegelman) at 6:00 pm. Kevin McDermott trains Melanie's Fran for the 80 Slot Right Stable.   U Need Stones (Yannick Gingras) had his way with the trotting colts as a freshman and he'll look to continue his mastery over three rivals for leading trainer Ron Burke at 6:10. "Stones" has come back strong this season with a win and a second in as many starts this year for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Shoshie Deo is the main rival here.   The filly divisions drew five entries in each and will be raced as part of the pari-mutuel card.   Hurrikane Empress (Gingras) is the returning champ of the filly pacing division for trainer John McDermott and she'll begin her title defense in race 1. She swept the division with ease last year and has had a few starts to prepare for this battle for owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing and Pegasis Investment Group.   The filly trot goes as the third race where Princess Marxxx (Gingras) is the returning final winner in what is clearly the most competitive division. She took last year's final for owner/breeder Steve Stewart and was a winner in her most recent overnight contest. Justin Lebo is the trainer.   The NJSS comes back next Friday for leg #2 with the finals set for June 1.   The big news on campus is that Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural will sit for an interview with Dave Brower on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to permit sports betting in New Jersey. That interview will be on Racing From The Meadowlands at 6:45 pm on The Meadowlands live broadcast.   Post time is 7:15 pm.   Nick Salvi      

East Rutherford, NJ - Harness racing Qualifiers went at 5:00 this evening, Saturday, May 12, at The Meadowlands under overcast skies on a wet fast track with temps in the high 50's and a gusty 7-10 mph headwind in the stretch.   Manchego headlined the Q card as the unbeaten Dan Patch award winning freshman trotting filly of last season made her first public appearance of the season and she picked up right where she left off in the 2017 Breeders Crown final, with a win.   It was a workman-like effort for the talented filly as driver Yannick Gingras settled her mid-pack early through honest fractions then followed the live cover of Top Expectations (Andy McCarthy) before eclipsing that game rival by a pair of lengths to win in 1:53.4 with her last quarter in 27.3 under her own power. Jimmy Takter is the trainer and she is owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman.   Takter also sent out Nutcracker Sweet from his battalion of sophomore pacing colts and what a performance he put on for driver Tim Tetrick. On not a particularly nice evening he set a comfortable pace then ripped home in 26.2 for a 1:50.2 score. Another colt from Takter's barn that did not race at two, Thinkbig Dreambig (Gingras) went a remarkable trip, actually gaining a bit in that torrid final stanza to be second. HA Taylor, Order By Stable and R. Lombardo own Nutcracker Sweet.   Jimmy took the lines on his most accomplished returning trotting colt, last year's Peter Haughton Memorial winner You Know You Do, eased him to the front by the three-eighths then used a 27.4 final quarter to hold a game first-over Shoshie Deo (D. Minor) at bay by a length in 1:54.1. Wolfgang (Gingras/Takter) made his seasonal bow as well and was a good fourth off a conservative trip. Taylor, Order By, Hatfield, Katz and Libfeld share ownership of the winner.   Sophomore filly trotter Repentance (Tetrick) was a very game 1:53.3 winner, cutting the mile and fighting back after the good Supergirl Riley (McCarthy) poked a head past her early stretch in the 27.2 final quarter. Lina Toscano trains the Diamond Creek homebred.   Bautista (Gingras/ Takter) won in 1:55 and Band Stand (Brett Miller/Tony Alagna) also posted wins on the card.   Nick Salvi    

East Rutherford, NJ - Harness Racing Qualifiers began early at 9:00 this Kentucky Derby morning under cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 60's and a significant wind gusting in their faces in the homestretch. The card opened with a strong field of returning 4-year-old trotters. It resulted in a very close driving finish with Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) prevailing in a photo after an extended stretch battle over Sortie (with new trainer Trond Smedshammer driving) who set the honest fractions and Lindy The Great (Tim Tetrick) who shot the rail with good late trot. The fractions were 28.1, 55.3, 1:24.2 the mile in 1:53.2 with the stretch headwind taking a toll on them finishing. International Moni (Scott Zeron) was fourth in a race where all went well and were under some urging to the wire. The enigmatic Sortie showed dramatic improvement for Smedshammer, looking solid throughout. Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld own Ariana G and Jimmy Takter is her trainer. Sophomore pacing colts were next and Nutcracker Sweet (Tetrick) was strong cutting the mile to win in 1:52 / 28 on his own. Paprike Blue Chip (Corey Callahan) rode the pocket to be second and American History (Gingras) went another good trip, leaving from post nine to fall in fifth then rallied late into the wind to be third. H. Taylor, Order By Stable and R. Lombardo own the winner, also trained in the Takter barn. Last season's Dan Patch award winning Lost In Time and O'Brien award winning Stay Hungry, the top two colts listed on the Road to the Meadowlands Pace squared off in race 3 and the Lost In Time (Zeron) cut the mile to win in 1:51 with a strong 26.3 finish into the wind pretty much under his own power, the third straight winner for Takter. Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) sat a pocket and lacked late clearance, finishing 4th with pace. The 6-year-old Ross Croghan import named Heaven Rocks A (Dave Miller) was ultra-impressive grinding up first over and still gaining into the fast final quarter to be second. Pro Beach (Gingras) also went well this morning to be third. Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva, W. Rufenacht and Team S racing own Lost In Time. Eurobound won the fourth race for 3-year-old trotters easily in 1:55.2 / 28 with trainer Domenico Cecere doing the driving today. Unforgettable (D. Miller) cut the mile and Eurobound moved uncovered, eventually wearing that one down for the win. Lindy Farms and Bob Rudolph own the winner, a Love You colt. Marcus Melander put Evaluate on the front and held sway over the late bid from Brothers In Arms (Gingras) for 1:55.1 / 28.1 win in the fifth. Classicchap (Smedshammer) closed well late to be third. Stall TZ owns the winner. Dawson Springs (D. Miller) closed many lengths in late stretch to pick up Hill Street (Takter) in the last few strides for a 1:55.1 / 29.1 win for trainer Tony Alagna who owns him with Brittany Farms and Robert LeBlanc. Bautista (Gingras) was third. Kissin In The Sand (Zeron) just edged Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) on the wire with multiple Dan Patch award winning mare Pure Country (Mark MacDonald) sandwiched between them in a snappy 1:51.2, home in 27.3. To battle with a mare as accomplished as Pure Country certainly reflects well on the pair of fillies just getting their 3-year-old season underway. Nancy Johansson conditions Kissin In The Sand for Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. Yannick Gingras closed out the morning with a 1:53 / 27.3 win aboard Strong Opinion for Ron Burke. Hurrikane Shorty (Jim Marohn, Jr) gained well late to be second and Dance Blue (MacDonald) third. It's a big day with Derby doings all afternoon and the return of Grand Circuit racing to The Meadowlands tonight with the Cutler Memorial and Graduate series highlighting the card. Post time is 7:15 pm. For full results click here. Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday, May 4 will kick off the harness racing 2018 Meet of Champions at The Meadowlands.   Friday's feature is the sixth race, a conditioned pace for a purse of $17,500 where an accomplished field of seven pacing mares will go forth after the winner's share.   Despite showing individual sub 27 final quarters in each of her last four past performance lines, Pat Lachance will race his good mare Penpal on Lasix for the first time tonight. Known as a deep closer, Penpal has drawn post two for tonight's race and should benefit from the field size of seven. Pat trains and drives and owns the mare in partnerahip with M&M Harness Racing of NY.   It is, of course, KY Derby weekend and the fun starts at 9:30 am with the day-long production on Saturday around the first leg of the Triple Crown. There are contests a plenty, buffets in every room and free wagers on the big race.   The popular Horse Play promotion returns with the Friday card as well.   The live racing program on Saturday brings with it the first Grand Circuit stakes of 2018 at The Meadowlands, the Arthur Cutler Memorial and first leg of the Graduate Series for pacers.   Horizontal wager guarantees are in place and the Jackpot Super Hi-5 carry over has grown to $208,090 and free program pages for the wager may be downloaded here.   Post time on Friday and Saturday for the live racing is 7:15 pm.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Saturday, April 28 harness racing qualifying races at The Meadowlands got underway at 10am under overcast skies to begin with the sun threatening to peek through, temperature in the low 60's and no wind of consequence. Being the top dog at anything has its privileges, as driver Yannick Gingras can attest. His talents have enabled him to be first call for two of the very best trainers in the game, Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, resulting in him being the driver of many top stakes performers. Those include trotting mares Hannelore Hanover and Ariana G who were, respectively, the top two vote getters in the 2017 Horse of the Year balloting. There is, however, a downside to that lofty perch and that occurs when those types are from the same division and must face each other. They both raced in qualifiers this morning, though not against one and other. At some point, Yannick will have to make a difficult choice. Ariana G was up first in race six and making her first appearance of the new season and she looked fantastic. Yannick put her on the lead and she strolled along comfortable right through the end of the 1:53.3 mile five in front with an effortless 27.1 final quarter. Celebrity Ruth (Trond Smedshammer), certainly no slouch on her own, was a willing second. Jimmy Takter trains Ariana G for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Hannelore Hanover came up next in her second go of the season and she made a very strong case to keep her driver. Yannick moved the champion mare to the front after Yes Mickey (Svanstedt) took the field by the quarter in 28.1, cut comfortable middle fractions then let her trot home in 27.1 ending the mile in 1:52.2 on her own, looking fabulous. Broadway Donna (Dave Miller) actually closed ground into that fast final stanza to get up for second, though no threat to the winner. Lagerfeld (Jim Marohn, Jr) rallied for third while Yes Mickey gave way to fourth. The day began with Ken Jacobs' talented sophomore Chapter Seven filly Seven Karats (Scott Zeron) winning again, this time leading all the way through even fractions for the 1:54.3 / 29.1 win off by a few on her own. Linda Toscano is the trainer. I'mwhygodmadegirls (Yannick Gingras) was a solid second. Zeron employed similar tactics in race 2 with another good Chapter Seven filly, his dad Rick's Atlanta. Scott got them in line behind him through even numbers then drew off through a 27.1 end to the 1:54 mile in verrrrrrry impressive fashion. Rick Zeron trains for his own interest along with partners Holland Racing, HA Taylor and Brad Grant. Vivacious Allie (Ake Svanstedt) and Sevenbuyeleven (Tim Tetrick) held their respective spots in second and third in a race where there was no passing. Six Pack took a measured 1:54 win, closing out with a 26 and change final quarter for Svanstedt. He tracked Seven Iron (Tetrick) all the way then forged by with something in reserve. Seven Iron held grudgingly and Fashionwoodchopper (Dave Miller) flew home into the fast last quarter with no urging and no trotting hopples. Svanstedt trains and owns the winner, a son of Muscle Mass, with Little E, LLC, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg. Top WEG driver Doug McNair was in to drive the morning and he nudged Missile Hill past Brothers In Arms (Jimmy Takter) right on the wire to get a 1:54.3 / 28.2 win. Dawson Springs was an even third in his first go of the year for Dave Miller and Sonofamillionaire (Svandstedt) finished fourth after cutting the mile. Brad Grant owns and Tony Alagna trains the winner. Race 5 winner Helpisontheway (Tetrick) was originally programmed as #1 in race 4 but moved and left from post 9 in the next race. He landed in third as Godspell Hall (Gingras) led through unhurried fractions then was moving and drew clear when that rival went off stride at the ¾ pole. Helpisontheway was well in hand to Tetrick through a 27 flat end to a 1:54.2 mile. Zephyr Kronos (Takter) the enigmatic son of European star Ready Cash looked comfortable and closed considerable ground into the fast last quarter to get up for second. Linda Toscano trains the winner, another by her Horse of the Year sire Chapter Seven and owns the colt as Camelot Stable in partnership with The Bays Stable. Race 8 saw the start of the pacing races and O'Brien award winning freshman of last season Stay Hungry made his 2018 debut from the rail with Doug McNair driving for Tony Alagna. McNair sat a pocket as Pedro Hanover (D. Miller) set an honest pace, emerged as they turned into the stretch and rolled right by the leader to win in 1:50.4 / 27.1 under no urging. Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) rallied well late and Pedro hung in there for minor spoils. Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman own the winner, a son of Somebeachsomewhere. There were a bunch of top sophs in the ninth and Hayden Hanover (Andy Miller) came away the winner in 1:52.2 / 26.1. Andy put the SBSW colt on the lead early in 29 - 58 when American History (Gingras) came calling, not content with those dawdling numbers. That one led into the stretch and gave way grudgingly as Hayden rallied by. Sporting Chance (McNair) was a solid third while the Dan Patch award winning top freshman pacer of 2017, Lost In Time (Zeron), was fourth after a conservative trip. Julie Miller trains the winner for Pinske Stables and Jim Simpson. Another of trainer Tony Alagna's seemingly endless group of sophomore pacing colts, Captain Deo, is emerging as a top talent. He won back this morning in 1:51.2 closing into a 26.2 final quarter for Brett Miller, fighting past a stubborn No Easy Day (Gingras) and Twin B Tuffenuff for the score. He's a SBSW from the great race mare Worldly Beauty racing for Alagna Racing, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners and Captain Deo Partners. Python Blue Chip (Gingras) was a winner in the 11th, converting a perfect trip into a 1:53.3 / 26.3 score. Hurrikane Shorty (Jim Marohn, Jr) cut the mile and held second over closers inside and out. Ron Burke trains the winner, the owners listed are Ake Svanstedt, Blue Chip Bloodstock and Stable 45. Kissin In The Sand took the exciting 12th race, sitting a pocket to Rainbow Room (D. Miller) then finding a seam up the inside to edge by the leader and hold off the closing Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) in a 26.3 end to the 1:52.1 mile. This match-up of the three top freshman pacing fillies of last season resulted in them finishing right across the track. Filibuster Hanover was absolutely vicious in the last, following stablemate Rock N Tony through swift fractions then ripping from the pocket and driving off into the sunset with a 25.3 end to a 1:49.3 mile. It was his second go of the season and looks like trouble for potential foes in next week's Graduate Series opener. Rock N Tony held up for second while the great mare Pure Country (Mark MacDonald) was a solid third in her seasonal debut. You may view the charts from today's races on the web and the replays are also posted here. Live racing tonight at 7:15 pm. 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 horses over the harness racing oval during the month of May beginning on Thursday, May 3.   The track will be open each Thursday in May from 7am to 11am 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        

East Rutherford, NJ - The morning qualifiers at The Meadowlands began at 10:00 am on a lovely, clear morning with temperatures in the 50's and just a slight stretch headwind. 2017 Harness Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover made her first appearance of the new season in race 6 and she clearly looked ready to defend her crown. Sent right to the lead from post 7 by Yannick Gingras the now 6-year-old daughter of Swan For All led at every call and closed the 1:53.2 mile with a 26.4 quarter into a moderate stretch headwind. Tuonoblu Rex (Andy Miller) went well and stuck right with her in the pocket throughout to be a good second after an 8 month absence. Ron Burke trains Hannelore for himself as Burke Racing along with Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stable. She is scheduled to make her first start of 2018 in the upcoming Cutler Memorial on May 5. Things got underway with the sophomore daughter of Donato Hanover What A Knockout taking the first with Marcus Melander driving in 1:56.2 for owners Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva. Race 2 saw the Chapter Seven filly Seven Karats (Scott Zeron) convert a pocket ride in a 1:57 / 28.4 mile. The winner is trained by Linda Toscano for Ken Jacobs. Lima Novelty (Corey Callahan) also from the Toscano barn was second. Don (Andy Miller) took the first of the 3-year-old colt trots in 1:56 / 28.3 converting a perfect pocket ride behind Maxus (Yannick Gingras). The New York bred son of Credit Winner is trained by Julie Miller for the home team Andy Miller Stable and Little E, LLC. NYSS final winner Six Pack (Svanstedt) had good late trot to be third. Svanstedt steered Gemologist to an impressive 1:57 / 28.2 win in the fourth. After leaving to the front early, Gemologist was reserved to let U Need Stones (Gingras) take over as they passed the half in 1:00.1 then edged by that game rival under minimal urging for the win while Helpisontheway (Tim Tetrick) was sneaky good late to be third. Lennart Agren's SRF Stable owns the winner, a Cantab Hall colt. Don't Press Send (Andy McCarthy) looked sharp this morning, setting all the fractions and winning well in hand in 1:57.2 / 29 with Eurobound (Domenico Cecere) closing nicely to be second. The winner is a Chapter Seven colt trained by Lucas Wallin for Reima Antero Kuisla. Crazy Wow (David Miller) also got back to work with a solid front end effort in 1:54.2 / 28.3 holding the pocket sitter Caprice Hill (Gingras) at bay late to win. He's another Burke barn double millionaire who also has a full slate of stakes on his docket starting with the Cutler. Our Horse Cents, Stable 45, Silva and Deo Volente own the winner. Pacing races commenced with the eighth where the 3-year-old filly Betterthanbrie won by a widening five length margin as she pleased in a visually impressive effort. She led early for driver Josert Fonseca, yielded by the 57 half and then roared by to end the 1:52.3 mile in 28 flat. The Betterthancheddar lass hails from the Jimmy Takter barn and is a homebred owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg. Babes Dig Me was sharp in his first go of the new year with an off the pace score for Brett Miller in 1:52.3 off a hot pace. He surged to the lead mid-stretch then held off This Is The Plan (Tetrick) in the final strides of the 29 last quarter. Tony Alagna trains the Somebeachsomewhere colt for Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Rob LeBlanc along with John Fodera and Steve Wienick racing as In The Gym Partners. Sophomore Somebeachsomewhere colt Decoy (D. Miller) was really impressive with a come from behind 1:51.2 / 27.4 win over the 4-year-old Boogie Shuffle (A. Miller). Seeing Eye Single (Gingras) also went well in here. It was a strong field of 3-year-old colt pacers assembled for the 11th and Captain Deo (Brett Miller) threaded through them late to get the 1:53 / 28 win. Dorsoduro Hanover (Gingras) gave way grudgingly late after cutting the mile and Major Authority (Jason Bartlett) held for third. Tony Alagna trains him as well for Alagna Racing, Sbrocco, In The Gym and Captain Deo Partners. A powerful group of older pacers teed it up in the 12th and final race of the day resulting in the fastest mile of 1:50.4 recorded by Blood Line afforded a perfect trip by Brett Miller. He pounced on mile cutter Blue Moon Stride (Callahan) as they turned for home and edged away in a 27.2 final panel. Filibuster Hanover (Gingras) closed to be second. Takter trains the winner for Diamond Creek Racing. Live pari-mutuel racing tonight at 7:15 pm. Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Easter holiday weekend of live harness racing at The Meadowlands kicks off with an eleven race card on Friday evening.   The featured event is race two a $17,500 overnight comprised of seven gifted pacing mares, five of which are coming into the race off a win in their most recent start.   Delightful Dragon has strung together a pair of wins, a 1:51.4 score at The Meadowlands two back followed by a trip across the Hudson to take the Preferred in 1:53.4 on the half mile oval. Trainer Noel Daley owns the now 7-year-old winner of nearly three quarters of a million dollars and Andy McCarthy will drive from post 3.   Juxta Cowgirl is using this race to prep for the upcoming Burning Point series which begins next week. The career winner 27 times from 47 starts dominated the Iowa fair circuit as a freshman and sophomore and has excelled since moving to the East coast for owners Stuart Oppenheimer, David Glasser and Robert Cooper. She won at first asking over the Meadowlands mile and takes on better foes this week. Mike Watson trains and Jim Marohn, Jr is back in the bike from post 6.   The popular "Driver Face Off" promotion returns, the "1 Million Penny Giveaway" debuts and the Jackpot Super Hi-5 pool is at $161,453 going into Friday's races. Get your free program pages here.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   BIG M GEARING UP FOR SUPER SATURDAY  Last Saturday, March 24, was a big one at the Meadowlands as for the second time this year, handle on the live program reached the magic $3 million mark. Total play was $3,086,823 on the 12-race program, a number surpassed only once earlier in the meeting, when betting reached $3,454,633 on March 3. In addition, the track saw big action on its Pick-4 and Pick-5 bets. “$3 million is a huge number for a night-time track,” said Jason Settlemoir, the track’s chief operating officer and general manager. “And $127,239 in the Pick-4 pool? That’s a thoroughbred number. Obviously, we are very happy with the public response to our product and the New Meadowlands facility. “There was more than $1.3 million wagered on all horse racing Saturday at the Meadowlands and that is an extremely big number as well. We are expecting another great Saturday this week with the $10 million Dubai World Cup and the $1 million Florida Derby. In addition, they’ll be the mandatory payout on the Gulfstream Rainbow 6. All of this leads up to the Final Four games in Victory sports bar and our live program Saturday night. The atmosphere in the building should be incredible.” Last Saturday’s wild wagering represented a half-million dollar increase in play over the corresponding card from a year earlier, and the per race average of $257,235 was up over $44,000 from the year before. The Pick-4 pool smashed the previous best by more than $25,000 while the Pick-5 pool of $72,123 represented a 2018 non-carryover best. Free program pages for the Pick-4 (Races 8 through 11), courtesy of Track Master, are available on the Meadowlands’ website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. SATURDAY STATS: The average pool sizes for Saturday’s card: Win, $44,961; Exacta, $67,964; Trifecta, $55,774; Superfecta, $40,518. On Race 8, which begins the Pick-4 sequence, a total of $363,411 was bet. GIANT FRIDAY CARRYOVER: They’ll be plenty of opportunities for players to make money on the Friday card as well, but none as enticing as when the 11th race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five and its $161,463 carryover are in the spotlight. Post time on Friday and Saturday is 7:15 p.m. FINAL FOUR IN VICTORY: The NCAA basketball tournament’s Final Four will be shown in Victory sports bar Saturday night. Cinderella 11-seed Loyola-Chicago takes on 3-seed Michigan in the first game at 6:09 p.m. while the 8:49 p.m. matchup features a pair of top-seeded powerhouses, Kansas and Villanova. WORLD’S RICHEST RACE: The $10 million Dubai World Cup (post time, 12:50 p.m. EDT) from Meydan Racecourse will be on the Big M simulcast menu Saturday, as will the $1 million Florida Derby (post time, 6:30 p.m.) from Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 will have a mandatory payout on Saturday, which is certain to create big noise, given that the carryover at the conclusion of Sunday’s card was just short of $4.5 million. In the event the carryover continues through the end of Friday’s card, the Rainbow 6 pool could reach a staggering $20 million on Saturday, a day which could see a Gulfstream total handle in excess of $40 million. Post time for the first race at Gulfstream on Saturday is 11:30 a.m. ARRIVE EARLY: To accommodate those who wish to watch and wager on the early races from Dubai, the doors at the Big M will open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.   Meadowlands Media Relations    

East Rutherford, NJ - The nominations for the March 15 harness racing 3-year-old late closing series' offered by The Meadowlands have been counted and here are the results:   The two pacing series, #53 Escort and #54 Rainbow Blue, drew a sufficient number of horses and will be raced as scheduled.   The trotting series, #55 Muscle Hill and #56 Broadway Schooner, did not fill resulting in the cancellation of those two events. The nomination fees for those two will be refunded.   In response, The Meadowlands will add two more late closers for horses of all ages.   Nomination fee for each is $200.   Nominations close Monday, April 16   Nomination forms will be available on the web soon.   #57 HOT LEAD PACE: All ages NW of $20,000 in 2018 who have started 8 or more times in 2018 as of April 15. Leg #1 $12,500 Saturday, May 12 Leg #2 $12,500 Saturday, May 19 Final $35,000e Saturday, May 26   #58 LUCKY JIM TROT: All ages NW of $20,000 (Mares $22,500) in 2018 who have started 8 or more times in 2018 as of April 15. Leg #1 $12,500 Friday, May 11 Leg #2 $12,500 Friday, May 18 Final $35,000e Saturday, May 26   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - St Patrick's Saturday night brings with it to The Meadowlands an even dozen of races that may cast the "Luck O' The Irish" on the charmed harness racing horseplayer.   There are promotions a plenty inside the grandstand including the River Horse beer dinner, featuring a fantastic 5-course menu where each course is paired with a delicious beer from NJ's River Horse Brewing Co located in Ewing, NJ. The St Paddy's Day theme continues with Go For Green Backs drawing where every time a driver that is "Wearin O' The Green" in his driving colors wins a race, two lucky contestants will receive $50 betting vouchers. Also the NCAA basketball tourney continues the second round with everyone's bracket busted so come and root for your own private underdog to score an upset as you watch the action on the giant screens of Victory Sports Bar.   On the racetrack six speedy Preferred Handicap pacers square off for a $20,000 purse in the second race.   Western Joe (PP#5 Jimmy Marohn, Jr) returns after being given a week's vacation. He's been the scourge of the Preferred class thus far in 2018 with three wins at the top level and seeks to continue that form spree for owner Anthony Ruggeri and trainer Chris Choate.   Bettor's Edge (PP#6 Vic Kirby) found the winner's circle for the first time this season in last week's race with a strong closing effort at a generous mutuel of $13.60. The now 9-year-old has done well for every barn that has housed him and is currently putting smiles on the faces of trainer Jennifer Lappe and her partner in ownership Robert Santagata.   The last race Jackpot Hi-5 carryover has reached a whopping $143,675 to go along with the various horizontal wager guarantees. Free program pages for some of those may be downloaded off the web.   While post time for the Saturday, March 17 card remains 6:35, it is important to note that beginning next Friday the first race post switches to 7:15 pm.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - Live harness racing is back on Friday night at The Meadowlands with 11 races on the menu.   The featured second is a conditioned event for trotters where a field of seven will vie for a purse of $16,000. It's a very even group as indicated by the tight Dave Brower morning line where Montalbano Bi has been tabbed as the slight 5-2 choice.   Montalbano Bi has been as regular as clockwork for owner Joel Kahan and flashing his finest form in the last pair with a win and a second to show for it. He'll starts from the inside post one for regular driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr and his trainer, Patti Harmon.   The weekend brings another sign that Spring is nigh as Andrew McCarthy is back from his winter travels. The popular young Australian reinsman caught a full slate of drives upon his return over St Patrick's Day weekend.   Celebrate the favorite of all Irish holidays at The Meadowlands with all the corned beef, cabbage and green beer you can consume via the Pink buffet.   We'll also have all the NCAA Basketball Tournament action available on the giant 20 foot screens in Victory Sports Bar.   MARCH BETTING MADNESS CONTINUES AT BIG M  It may not have surpassed the $3 million mark as it did on Saturday, March 3, but wagering at the Meadowlands remained vigorous last Saturday (March 10) as a 2018 second-best total of $2,875,940 was bet on the ultra-competitive 13-race card. The faithful gambled with verve throughout the night as the first race saw a 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 pool of $18,598 while the third race Pick-5 saw $58,334 in play. The eighth race Pick-4 pool pushed past the $90,000 mark for a third consecutive Saturday ($91,904) before the 13th-race finale, which saw bets total $286,600, the weekly single-race high. That race did as well as it did in part because the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five saw $35,643 in wagers, and after the pick the first five finishers in official order of finish puzzle failed to result in a single-ticket winner, the carryover ballooned to $139,614, which will be on the minds of the Meadowlands players who figure to hang around for the last race Friday night. FABULOUS FRIDAY: Last Friday (March 9) saw some big play as well, as the 20-Cent Survivor Pick 10 resulted in a single-ticket winner walking away with a payoff of $18,447. … The Pick-5 saw $48,126 in wagers, and after a sequence that saw the last three races won by favorites, the payoff was a superb $4,429 for a 50-cent bet. … The 50-Cent Pick-4 ($87,607 in the pool) saw no chalk winners and a payout of $4,131. Free program pages for the Meadowlands Pick-4, courtesy of Track Master, are available on the Meadowlands’ website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. POST TIME CHANGE: This Friday and Saturday will be the final weekend when post time will be 6:35 p.m. Beginning Friday, March 23, post time will switch to 7:15 p.m. as racing will continue to be conducted on Friday and Saturday nights. FINAL LIVE SHOW FRIDAY: “Meadowlands Harness Live” returns Friday at 9 p.m. on SNY for the final time this season with coverage of Races 7, 8 and 9. The Big M TV team of Dave Brower, Dave Little, Hall of Famer Bob “Hollywood” Heyden and Ken Warkentin will provide commentary, selections and interviews. HOOPS AND HORSES: Catch all of college basketball’s “March Madness” in the Big M’s Victory sports bar on its massive HDTVs. See all of the games  from March 15 through April 2, except Sundays, when Victory is closed. During tournament action, there will be beer specials, plus you can enter the MRE Sports Challenge for free and take a swing at the $6,500 Grand Prize.   Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Saturday night harness racing card is filled with intriguing options (13 in all) for the horseplayer and fan alike.   Pacing races dominate the program with eleven of those filled pretty much to the ten horse capacity of the mobile starting gate.   The $20,000 Preferred Handicap pace comes early, in race two. It's a strong group of seven including the 2017 Grand Circuit stakes winner of the Confederation Cup and Prix D'Ete, Western Fame (PP #5) making his seasonal debut for Brittany Farms and Jimmy Takter. A career winner of $681,718 in a mere 41 starts, Western Fame lists a runner-up finish in the 2016 Little Brown Jug among his career highlights and may well be on his way to the upcoming G.M. Levy FFA series. Yannick Gingras has the drive.   Last week's winner of the Preferred class, Awesomeness, is back from the far outside post seven looking for his third consecutive win for the meet's top jock Jimmy Marohn, Jr. Awesomeness has been at or near the top of the local heap all winter for owner Martin Scharf and trainer Brett Pelling.   Class master Bettor's Edge can never be discounted in these spots, either. The career winner of more than $2 million is winless in his six 2018 starts but has been second or third in five of those. He has just failed to last on the lead his last few and may relish a bit of cover with the potential for a contested pace in this one. Brett Miller drives from post six for Jennifer Lappe, who trains and shares ownership with Robert Santagata.   A breakdown of the Friday night exotics reveal very substantial pool size for all. The 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 drew $16,711 and again went to a single winner. The Pick-5 pool was $48,126 and yielded a $4,429.35 return. The popular Pick 4 generated $87,607 with $4,131.05 the payout to those holding a ticket containing the four winners. The last race Super Hi-5 Jackpot pool is at $132,042 into Saturday's play.   Free program pages and Dave Brower's selections are available for your Saturday gambling pleasure.   Another WHHC leg is set for the evening as well as the Spring Break Sweepstakes for those so inclinedto escape the winter climate.   Post time is 6:35 pm.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - With this week's nor'easter behind us, the forecast is friendly for live harness racing at The Meadowlands to return with twin 13 race cards on the menu for Friday and Saturday.   No fewer than nine trotting races populate Friday's offering with the featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap trot coming up early in race two.   With Friday past's card having been a casualty of last week's winter storm, the seven horse Preferred looks an awful lot like the field that had been drawn for that program.   Gural Hanover (PP#7 Yannick Gingras) and Opulent Yankee (PP#6 Andy Miller) compose the favored entry, coupled for wagering purposes due to the common ownership of Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC.   Gural Hanover is closing in on $1 million in career earnings for Gural and partners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable and is making his 2018 debut. Ron Burke conditions the now 7-year-old son of Crazed who prepped with a sizzling 1:53 qualifier two weeks ago.   Opulent Yankee already has a pair of wins and a second in three tries thus far in the new year for trainer Julie Miller. Also aged seven years, the Muscles Yankee gelding races for Stolz and Geiger as partners with Little E and recently eclipsed the $400,000 mark lifetime for his connections.   Gonna Fly, Rossini, Fashion Creditor, LMC Mass Gem and Melady's Monet will provide the competition.   You've got your guaranteed horizontal pools, free program pages and $126,952 in the Jackpot Super Hi-5 pool to generate interest.   Post time is 6:35 pm.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands rebounds from the disappointment of Friday's weather-induced cancellation of live racing with a 13 race card tonight.   The Pick 5 carry over of $30,000 complete with the guaranteed pool of $125,000 will be offered on Saturday's races 3-7.   The racing feature is the seventh race $20,000 Preferred where the winter meet's top pacer thus far, Western Joe, takes on six rivals led by Dr J Hanover who is making his seasonal bow.   Western Joe has taken the class twice consecutively and won 4 of his 5 2018 starts for the owner/trainer combo of Anthony Ruggeri and Chris Choate. Pat Berry has been the pilot for the past pair, including last week's score in a snappy 1:50 flat.   Dr J Hanover had a solid 4-year-old campaign highlighted by his all time Canadian record of 1:46.4. He's had pair of good qualifiers in anticipation of this start and a season filled with stakes engagements. Tony Alagna trains Dr J for Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc, Steve Wienick and Irv Samelman and Brett Miller is listed to drive.   Another World Harness Handicapping Contest qualifier will be offered on Saturday with four to advance to the April 28 final.   Post time is 6:35 pm.   Nick Salvi      

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