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East Rutherford, NJ - The big guns are beginning to show up at The Meadowlands for qualifiers and there were more than a few Grand Circuit stars of last year sprinkled throughout Saturday morning's harness racing card. Under overcast skies at 54f with a slight headwind facing them in the stretch, things got underway right on time at 10 a.m.   Hambletonian winter book favorite Walner got things off to a grand beginning by looking good in a training mile around 2:00 before the races with his driver Tim Tetrick in the bike. He certainly is an imposing presence.   Last year's top pacing colt Huntsville (Tetrick) made his return to racing and was a workman like 1:53.2  26.3 winner from just off the pace in race ten. Tetrick held him in third through comfortable fractions, followed up when Brett Miller moved The Wall from the pocket to engage, then put away the leader and required minimal encouragement to edge by that willing rival late. Ray Schnittker trains Huntsville and owns the colt in partnership with Gewertz, Iannozzo and Arnold.   Hannelore Hanover (Gingras) looked as good as a horse can look for the second time this spring, trotting away from JL Cruze and Broadway Donna in a 27.1 final stanza on the end of a 1:54 flat mile in race six for older trotters. As fantastic as her 2016 season was, Hannelore may be even better this year.   She was also Ron Burke's fifth consecutive winner of the morning.   Sophomore trotting fillies opened the day with Myammie Drama (Tim Tetrick/Ron Burke) holding Princess Aurora (Yannick Gingras) at bay through a 27.4 end to a mile in 1:58.2 in the second race.   Several GC winners met in the third and Sianna Hanover (Gingras) was an easy front end winner for Ron Burke's barn in 1:55.2/28-, her second impressive effort of the spring. Amber Ella (John Campbell) another nice looking Chapter Seven from Linda Toscano's barn was a comfortable second and Goldsmith Maid winner Magic Presto (Brian Sears) was a closing third after being reserved toward the rear for much of the race in her first appearance of the season.   Trotting colts came around in the fourth and last year's NJSS champ What The Hill (David Miller) scored a closing win in 1:55.3/28.3 in his second solid showing of the young season. Explosive Ridge (Marcus Johansson) went well, cutting the mile before giving way to the winner just near the wire.   Both Sianna Hanover and What The Hill are owned by Burke Racing with partners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva. Deo Volente joins the group on What The Hill.   After a training break, three-year-old filly pacers came on to the track and last year's Breeders Crown and Kindergarten final winner Someomensomewhere made her first appearance for new connections. Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farms and Bob Boni have possession and placed her in Jimmy Takter's barn. On this day Someomensomewhere followed another Takter trainee, Somesleazetoplease (Brett Miller) around the racetrack to be second with something in reserve for Tim Tetrick in 1:54.4/27.1.   Last year's Dan Patch division winner Idyllic Beach (Gingras) and her Three Diamonds conqueror That's The Ticket (D. Miller) met in the eighth race. Both were reserved off the early pace and finished strong into a 27.4 final quarter with That's The Ticket getting a bit of a jump on her chief rival and prevailing in 1:54.4. Chris Ryder trains the winner.   Boogie Shuffle (Scott Zeron) was not a marquee name among pacing colts last season, but he was second in Downbytheseaside's world record equaling 1:49 at The Red Mile and was stakes placed on several other occasions. He has returned well for trainer Mark Harder, cutting the 1:51.4/26.4 mile this morning while drawing away from some pretty good colts.   Blood Line (Mark MacDonald) was a winner for the Takter stable closing stoutly into a 26.4 end to a 1:53.1mile to nip Western Joe (Gingras) and Summer Side (Schnittker).   The day's fastest mile came when a really good bunch of four-year-old pacing horses gathered for race eleven. Lyon's Snyder flashed his customary aggressive style and speed dragging Dave Miller to the front and setting lively fractions while being tracked by the undefeated scourge of the Maine state-bred program Seely Man (Brett Miller) and major stakes winner Western Fame (MacDonald). As they straightened up for home off the 1:22.2 three quarters, Boston Red Rocks (Tetrick) joined the fray from mid-pack and was charging the widest as Western Fame moved inside Lyons Snyder and that pair hit the wire together.   The four-year-old mares were the last to go with last season's bitter rivals Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach picking up just where they left off, right next to each other in posts five and six. On this occasion however, it was Blue Moon Stride, emerging form the considerable shadow of the aforementioned mares to cut the mile and hold that pair off in 1:51.4/26.4 for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Mark Harder. Pure Country, Darlinonthebeach and Rock Me Baby followed her in.   With major Grand Circuit stakes such as the Cutler Memorial FFA trot and Graduate four-year-old pace now on the horizon the fun is just getting started.   Hannelore Hanover Sianna Hanover What The Hill Boogie Shuffle Huntsville Blood Line Boston Red Socks Blue Moon Stride Somesleazetoplease That's The Ticket     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - It's an interesting mix of six trotters that will compose the field for the harness racing featured sixth race, a $20,000 Preferred trot, on the evening of Friday, April 21 at The Meadowlands.   A few familiar faces remain in B Yoyo, Muscle Diamond and Opulent Yankee. These three have been in the thick of things at the top trotting level throughout the early third of the Meadowlands racing season.   New shooters in the field are Up The Alley, shipping in fresh from South Florida for Richie Silverman and the $1.5 million winning proven stakes commodity Crazy Wow making his first pari-mutuel foray of the season for the Ron Burke barn.   Adding considerable intrigue is the American-bred, Italian-born, Scandinavian trained Tuonoblu Rex. The five-year-old globe trotting import had European stakes success at age three, winning the Ulf Thoresen Memorial in Norway but his form fell off while racing in France last season.   Now based in America, "T Rex" races for owner Cees J Faber under the nom de course of Stable Why Not and has been placed in the care of the successful training/driving team of Julie and Andy Miller.   A hint of the regard in which Tuonoblu Rex is held by his connections is evidenced by the fact that payments have been made to have him eligible for this season's Meadowlands major trotting stakes including the May 6 Arthur Cutler Memorial, lists which may be accessed here.   In his only stateside appearance thus far, Tuonoblu Rex evidenced a powerful presence while dominating a field that included stakes winner Crazshana in a 1:53.4 qualifying win while well in hand.   Friday's race will certainly be a greater test of his abilities, helping to determine if T Rex fits against America's best.   In the building, themed dining kicks off with Fiesta Night in Pink while the popular Swipe & Score promotion offers free betting vouchers.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ. - Let It Ride Stable, Inc. and Mr. Dana Parham's Prairie Sweetheart brings her perfect career record to The Meadowlands, facing five harness racing rivals in an $18,000 conditioned pace.   The lightly raced Florida bred four-year-old mare caught the eye of her current connections with impressive back to back scores at Pocono and Yonkers last summer and was placed in the barn of Ross Croghan at The Red Mile after a private purchase.   With no Grand Circuit stakes on her calendar, the new owners chose an unconventional route for Prairie Sweetheart by choosing to supplement her to the Allerage Farms Free For All mare pace where she would face division leader Lady Shadow among a very accomplished field of veteran pacing mares. She rewarded their faith with a surprisingly easy 1:49.1 win against that company.   After romping through what remained of her Florida stakes Prairie Sweetheart was put away for the winter and has had a pair of Pompano qualifiers to prepare for Friday's race. She'll begin from post five for driver John Campbell, attempting to advance her lifetime record to a perfect 15 for 15.   The Friday offering is a ten race program that begins at 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi  

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday signals the weekly start to live harness racing at The Meadowlands. The weekend begins with an eleven race offering led by a quality field of eight in the seventh race, a $20,000 conditioned trot.   The first quarter of the racing season have seen a parade of stars command the trotting ranks with Muscles Diamond, Crosby's Clam Bake, B Yoyo and Opulent Yankee trading blows at the top through the winter months before Melady's Monet joined the fray in March.   Those five remain in the mix, joined by quality performers such as former world record holder Wind Of The North, high percentage winner JATO and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Second Sister representing the ladies resulting in a very competitive horse race.   Melady's Monet has been awarded the slight favorite's role, paired this week with the estimable talents of David Miller for trainer Kevin McDermott and owner Melady Enterprises. He shows up every week and does his work to the tune of over a million dollars in his racing career and will begin from the outside post eight on Friday.   As tax season approaches The Meadowlands offers as a promotion the Tax Relief Sweepstakes which amounts to free money for the contestants. Stop by the customer service desk to enter for a chance to get some.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi    

East Rutherford, NJ - Another action filled Saturday is on tap at The Meadowlands with two important Kentucky Derby preps filling the afternoon followed by eleven live races once darkness falls.   The Florida and Louisiana Derby each go for a million dollars with the winners gaining important entry points and momentum on the path to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.   Here on the home track, there's action a plenty for horseplayers including the "$50 Last Chance Qualifier" to get a seat in the Big Kahuna, the $50,000 Guaranteed World Harness Handicapping Contest on April 29 right here at The Meadowlands.   On the course, the feature race is the sixth where a field of eight talented pacers square off for a purse of $20,000, led by the gritty five-year-old Artistic Major. A career winner of more than a half million dollars, the Art Major horse has enjoyed success over the Meadowlands mile including his 1:48.1 career fastest in a leg of the Graduate Series here last spring for owner/trainer Steve Elliott and partners David Van Dusen, Michael Cimaglio and Gunjan Patel. Artistic Major moves back into overnight competition on Saturday after a pair of unsuccessful tries against top competition in the Levy FFA series at Yonkers.   The NCAA March Madness tournament continues with Final Four match-ups and it's also Raining Cash at The Meadowlands on Saturday evening, adding two more entertainment options to your evening of possibilities.   It all starts at 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi              

East Rutherford NJ - Two-time defending Dan Patch "Driver of the Year" David Miller makes his first local appearance of the season as harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday evening with eleven contests scheduled beginning at 7:15 p.m.   The trotting feature is race six, a conditioned event for a purse of $18,000. It's a well matched field of seven with Second Sister, Appomattox and Classical Annie moving up off winning efforts, Doubleday and Crazy About Pat shipping in from Yonkers while Crosby's Clam Bake and Opulent Yankee defend their turf at the top level.   Classical Annie's gets underway from post five in the seven horse field. Last week's win was via disqualification, though she was beaten a mere nose for the conventional score. She's always in the hunt for the Burke Stable and will have the services of the above mentioned Dave Miller.   Second Sister absolutely dominated a field with her gate to wire romp in a career best 1:54.1 last Friday. The Ontario-bred has drawn the coveted rail post position for owner Jerold Hawks and the father son team of Todd (trainer) and Tyler (driver) Buter.   Appomattox has been the shining star for Lucas Wallin's fledgling operation thus far with a pair of easy wins against lesser in three 2017 starts. The young Scandinavian opened his own barn last fall and his work with this class master should draw the interest of potential clients. Reima Kuisla Stable owns and "Captain" Corey Callahan will drive from post three on Friday.   The always hotly contested amateur races are on the bill in races two (pace) and three (trot) as legs of the current Meadowlands based GSY short series.   The standard horizontal wager guarantees are in place and free program pages are available to get a leg up on the $50,000 Late Pick 4.   Make plans to attend on Saturday where the $50 entry fee "Last Chance Qualifier" gives one final shot at a seat for the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Challenge set for April 29. It's a good opportunity to secure a spot in the Big Show for small money.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has a long day in store for harness racing horseplayers on Saturday with the $30 million Dubai World Cup card simulcast from half-way around the world opening the doors at 8:30 in the morning, an important handicapping contest all afternoon and a dozen live races covering the evening hours.   The live races are a mixed bag with competitive fields and guaranteed horizontal wagers to hold the interest of the wagering faithful.   Pacing horses square off in the featured seventh for a purse of $18,000 where Millenium Wheel seeks his third straight since being shipped to The Meadowlands by trainer Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. Driver Andy Miller has worked out up close trips for Millenium Wheel in both prior Meadowlands scores and is back in the sulky from post eight for owners William Sartin and Mark Salerno on Saturday.   The competition is deep with Chevals Clivesdale who was third beaten just a neck in the class last week offering a price from post one, The Rock fits well against these, Winwood Mac is making his seasonal bow and brings a strong stakes resume from the mid-west and the accomplished New Zealand invader Our Sky Major makes his Meadowlands debut from the outside.   Throughout the day, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will provide horseplayers with one of their first opportunities to qualify for the 2018 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens and Treasure Island with a qualifying event. The Meadowlands qualifier will offer three guaranteed seats to the NHC .   You may enter for a shot at the 60 Second Wagering Spree by signing up at the Players Club.   Post time for the live is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi        

East Rutherford, NJ - Live harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on a Friday evening card composed of eleven races.   Pacing mares populate the featured seventh race where reigning queen of the class Icommandmyspirit faces several Yonkers shippers who seek to dethrone her.   Icommandmyspirit made a rapid ascent up the Meadowlands class ladder, having won three of her last four starts beginning with a NW $5,000 Last 5 win on February 17 through a win against this NW $15,000 Last 5 class on March 10. Jimmy Maron, Jr has steered her in each of those wins and drives for trainer John Bavosi and owner Cheryl Costello from post six on Friday.   The competition is led by I Know It All who shows competitive lines against the Yonkers Open types along with Abbijade Hanover and Mystical Nectar, both winners in their last at Ol' Hilltop.   Free program pages for the Late Pick 4 are just a click away, compliments of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster.   Off the track, March Madness continues in Victory Sports Bar for the next few weekends.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - The last of the Triple Crown races, the Belmont Stakes, takes place on Saturday, June 11 headlining a monster card that begins at 11:30 a.m. the simulcast of which will have The Meadowlands abuzz all day, then segue into the live harness racing program with first race post time of 7:15 p.m.   It's a twelve race card Saturday night at The Big M with a solid group of seven pacers set to go in the featured sixth race. Odds On Equuleus has a reputation for speed, which driver Jordan Stratton may employ early to get into the race from his outside post. The now six-year-old son of Art Major has a pair of 1:49.1 wins on the season and gets welcome class relief here after a respectable showing in last week's 1:47 world record Open pace. Odds On Equuleus is trained in the Tony Alagna barn for owner and breeder Dana Parham under his nom de course of Odds On Racing.   The guaranteed horizontal wagers are in place, led by the $50,000 promise of the Late Pick 4 beginning with the seventh race. Free program pages for that sequence are available courtesy of Trackmaster. The last race Jackpot Hi-5 carryover is now just shy of $250,000.   The Meadowlands has a number of promotions scheduled to enhance the Belmont Day experience, including the chance to win one of ten $100 wagers on the race and the 1st Annual Wing Bowl where ten lucky contestants will match their wing eating skills in quest of the $500 top prize.   Nick Salvi    

Vernon, NY - The Kindergarten Trotting Classic series, a Grand Circuit event for freshman fillies and colts, comes to a conclusion with the rich finals on Halloween night (Saturday, October 31) at Vernon Downs. The harness racing card will also include the annual "Turn Back The Clock" pace and trot where the horses race one circuit of the track clock-wise and the "Four One One" race for greys.   There is a special 6:00pm post time on Saturday.   The Kindergarten colts come up first in race eight with a with a very competitive field of nine going for a purse of $191,500. Trainer Staffan Lind holds a strong hand sending the uncoupled entry of series point leader Hollywood Highway and the emerging talent Celebrity Express into the fray.   With the top point earners assured a draw between posts 1 & 6 by series conditions, Hollywood Highway drew four. He clearly found The Red Mile to his liking, arriving in Kentucky a lightly raced maiden and leaving a Grand Circuit stakes winner with a 1:54.2 mark. He also won a pair of Kindergarten legs there for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld who also bred the son of Muscle Massive. Tim Tetrick drove to Hollywood Highway to his record mile and chose to stick with him for the final.   Celebrity Express (post 7) also came of age in Lexington when paired with driver John Campbell, scoring a late-closer win followed by a solid third in a division of the International Stallion Stake (INSS). The Andover Hall brother to Donato Hanover could make a significant dent in his $200,000 yearling purchase price with a good result here for owner Celebrity Farms.   Jimmy Takter who shattered records with his fantastic Breeders Crown tour de force last week has the power in the $174,500 Kindergarten filly final, race nine on the program.   The Takter coupled entry is led by series point leader Haughty who starts from the rail. The Donato Hanover lass is a three-time Kindergarten leg winner who finished second in last week's Breeders Crown, the only blemish on her freshman slate. Haughty won a Kindergarten split in 1:54.1 in Kentucky then captured an INSS division in advance of her Crown showing. Dave Palone has been the filly's regular pilot and is in to drive for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband.   Hollywood Hill (post 2) is the Takter entry-mate here. She has been a model of consistency while winning three of ten seasonal outings for owner/breeder Goran Falk and his partner Christina Takter. John Campbell has the drive on Saturday.   Further information on Saturday's races are available by visiting the Vernon Downs website.   Nick Salvi

The fifth and last preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic series goes Friday night at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs with two divisions each of trotting colts and fillies.   With eleven colts declared, they split five and six with the second race quintet loaded with talent.   Maven's Way, Celebrity Express, Taco Tuesday and Brownie Hanover all emerge from the Red Mile Grand Circuit stakes-tested with sub-1:55 miles under their belts.   Maven's Way did much of the work in Southwind Frank's world record and was timed in 1:53.3 while hanging tough for third.   The Muscle Hill colt, currently third in the series standings, will be reunited with Oskar Florhed who drove him to a Kindergarten win in Kentucky last month.   Maven's Way races for the interest of trainer Ake Svanstedt, Mal & Janet Burroughs and the TLP Stables.   Divison two for the colts is the tenth race where Dog Gone Lucky boasts the best current form.   The homebred Lucky Chucky colt was fourth in the NYSS final then dropped a tough photo after battling eventual winner Brooklyn Hill tooth and nail in 1:53.1 at Lexington.   Tim Tetrick is listed to drive for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley.   The fourteen fillies entered split nicely into a competitive pair of sevens as races six and eight.   Twice Is Right won a Kindergarten leg in 1:56.1 way back in July at The Meadowlands and has been chasing Grand Circuit types lately   She has drawn the outside post in the sixth Friday for owner Brittany Farms, trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Jim Morrill, Jr.   No fewer than three leg winners square off in the eighth race. I'm Volo, Sweet Ashley T and Hollywood Hill have Kindergarten wins on their resume.   Hollywood Hill is the most accomplished of the three, having amassed nearly $70,000 and a second place finish in the International Stallion Stakes in her most recent outing.   She also hails from the Takter barn with Christina Takter and Goran Falk sharing ownership and Morrill listed.   The top colts and fillies will return along with others residing at or near the top of the series standings for the Kindergarten finals next Saturday night at Vernon.   Post time on Friday is 6:45pm.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - The Kindergarten series returns to The Red Mile on Thursday evening with five divisions of the Grand Circuit event that include all four of last week's winners.   The colts are up first in races three, five and six and there are promising prospects in each.   Jack Vernon looks to make amends with the horseplayers for a miscue in last week's race having made a break at a nickel on a dollar. He'll face stiff competition led by Dominion Beach who comes into this race off a win in the Champlain at Mohawk for the training - driving team of Nancy and Marcus Johansson and owner Courant AB.   Southwind Flash appears to have found himself in recent efforts, chief among them an impressive start to finish 1:55.2 score over the clay in the series last week. Dave Palone is back in town to drive for trainer Ron Burke who owns the Muscle Hill colt in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt III.   Division three appears to be a good spot for Hollywood Highway to repeat. The Muscle Massive colt broke maiden in 1:56.1 here at a huge price for Palone last week. Trainer Staffan Lind has his lightly raced charge going in the right direction for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.   Fillies split into a pair of nines and go in races seven and eight, both interesting and competitive contests.   The first of the two features both returning filly winners in Haughty and I'm Volo.   Haughty looked like a million bucks for trainer - driver Jimmy Takter last week drawing away to an eight-length win in 1:54.1 with the greatest of ease. Libfeld and Katz also own this Donato Hanover lass in partnership with Sam Goldband.   I'm Volo converted a perfect trip afforded her by trainer - driver Jan Johnson into a win, albeit four seconds slower than Haughty, last week. She is a homebred racing for Jorgen Jahre, Jr,.   Choosing a focus in the second split is slightly more complicated, of the nine six have yet to win a race.   Among the winners Gifted Lady is the most accomplished, having won a Kindergarten leg at Tioga Downs in 1:56 for Takter. She makes her Red Mile debut on Thursday for owners Silver Linden Farms.   Post time for Thursday evening is 7:15pm. Visit The Red Mile website for information on all things racing.   Nominations to the Grand Circuit Late Closing events must be postmarked by today, find the form here.   By Nick Saliv, for the Red Mile

The Kindergarten Classic series came to to the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile in Kentucky on Thursday night with a mixed bag results-wise.   Fillies began the stakes with Jimmy Takter steering the unbeaten Donato Hanover lass Haughty to an as easy as can be 1:54.1 win.   Takter moved Haughty to the front on the backstretch and widened at will in a very impressive outing. Southwind Adele was second and Sweet Ashley T third.   The winner is owned by Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband who paid $80,000 at the Lexington Select sale last fall.   Jan Johnson steered I'm Volo to a 1:58 win for owner and breeder Jorgen Jahre at 17-1 in the second division.   Johnson put the Yankee Glide filly in play early, accepted cover then angled out late to rally past Earn Your Wings and Coco Truffles late.   The tote board exploded in the first of two colt divisions when Dave Palone and Hollywood Highway closed from well back to win in 1:56.1 at odds of 43-1.   With 1-9 favorite Jack Vernon eliminated by a break in the final turn, Palone found clear sailing wide from last and guided the Muscle Massive colt to his first victory for trainer Staffan Lind and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who have $50,000 for this fella at the Lexington yearling sale and had a pretty good night.   Sigmund came second and Mavens Way third.   Palone completed a driving triple on the night with a front end score aboard Southwind Flash in 1:55.2 for trainer Ronnie Burke.   The striking Muscle Hill colt took to the clay beautifully for his first win in six outings.   Honor Above All went beautifully in his very first career start tracking the winner and actually gaining late for driver Nicolas Roussel with Brownie Hanover third.   The winner is another Lexington Select sale grad costing Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt lll $85,000 last fall.   Racing returns to The Red Mile on Saturday and the Kindergarten returns for leg four next Thursday.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - The harness racing Grand Circuit rolls into Lexington, Kentucky with the third leg of the Kindergarten series for two-year-old trotters at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 10.   Two $10,000 divisions for both fillies and colts are on the bill with the girls splitting neatly into a pair of eights in races five and seven.   The Takter stable houses likely favorites in each, with Haughty coming into the first division off a 1:56 win in leg two at Tioga Downs ten days ago. Trainer Jimmy Takter is listed to drive the filly for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband.   Jimmy may well be driving the favorite in the seventh too, as Hollywood Hill brings impressive credentials into her split having won three of her five career outings for owners Goran Falk and Christina Takter.   The colts compete in races six and nine with Tioga track record holder Jack Vernon a clear choice in the sixth for owners The Miller Stable, trainer Randy Beeckman and driver Corey Callahan.   The ninth race is more of a puzzle with several lightly raced prospects developing into contenders as the second half of stakes season gets underway.   Racing begins at seven o'clock at The Red Mile on Thursday. Live racing continues through September 19, breaks for Jug week then returns with the fortnight of Grand Circuit racing with a Wednesday through Saturday schedule beginning on September 30.   The first week is a 7:00 post time and week two is a 1:00 matinee each day. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale begins on the evening of Monday, October 5 and continues through Friday night. Catalogues are available.   Also of note, nominations to the Grand Circuit Late Closers must be postmarked by September 15. The form is available here.   Nick Salvi  

The 2015 Hambletonian Day card on Saturday, August 8 at the harness racing meeting at The Meadowlands has all the elements necessary to be one of the great events in harness racing history.   The races will begin at noon with a $40,000 Open Pace and over the next six hours 164 horses will compete in 16 races for purses of just over $4 million, led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian and the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks.   The story line for the Hambletonian became far more interesting when trainer Ron Burke entered the great filly Mission Brief in the open event, bypassing the Oaks and taking on last year's Hambo winning trainer/driver Jimmy Takter's five horse armada in the process.   The drama increased when Yannick Gingras, the regular driver for Mission Brief and Takter's top contender Pinkman, was named on both horses for the race.   The two drew into separate divisions of the eliminations heats which will allow Yannick to drive each in their respective elimination before having to make a choice for the final, assuming both qualify.   Pinkman's late season rally as a freshman made him the champion of the division at two and he has defended his title with nearly flawless form this season.   The most accomplished of the Takter five, Pinkman has won the Earl Beal, Stanley Dancer and Harry M. Zweig Memorials (all major stakes) in his last three start and has made well in excess of $1 million over his career for owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman.   He is saddled with the far outside post ten in the first elimination.   Mission Brief has found the form that dazzled fans last season and was really keen to go in her most recent start, the Filly Zweig Memorial.   The Muscle Hill lass is poetry in motion when on her game and has drawn the favorable post two in the nine horse second division for Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, J&T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi.   The $1,000,000 Hambletonian final is race 13 and is scheduled to go to post at 5:15 pm.   The Hambletonian Oaks is a very well matched group of ten talented fillies.   With the defection of Mission Brief to the main event and the tragic demise of elimination winner and consensus "horse to beat" Spirit To Win in a Monday morning training mishap, the race becomes a wide-open affair.   Lock Down Lindy won her split in 1:51.4, starts from the inside for owners Mystical Marker Farms, Crawford Partners, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners and is currently doing her best work.   Wiggle It Jiggleit, currently the most exciting horse in harness, will race in the $319,400 Cane Pace, the first leg of pacing's Triple Crown (race 10).   Wiggle It Jiggleit has been absolutely monstrous all season long and is coming into the Cane fresh off three weeks rest.   He is a family project with young Montrell Teague driving the Meadowlands Pace winner for his father George's stable and trainer Clyde Francis.   The $109,500 Shady Daisy for the sophomore pacing fillies is another chapter in a season that has seen a very evenly matched group slug it out over the past two months with no filly able to rise above the others just yet.   The very best aged performers in the game are out in force on Saturday and account for several of the most competitive and entertaining races on the program.   Eleven pacing mares will race the route distance of nine furlongs in the $251,250 Lady Liberty (race 3).   These mares may parade like ladies but when the starter says "Go" the gloves come off and the girls throw down.   The Bamond family's absolutely iron-tough Anndrovette has won four division titles, $3.3 million and the Golden Girls stake last month here against many of these at the same distance when it looked like she may have lost a step. Well, she hasn't.   This year's edition of the US Pacing Championship is up next and offers a purse of $215,400 to a field of nine really good horses...make that eight really good and one great horse.   The venerable $7 million winner Foiled Again has recently shown flashes of his best form after a slow start to the season for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables.   He raced about as good as he ever has in the Haughton Memorial three weeks ago and had plenty of pace but no place to use it in last week's TVG Open.   Foiled is also being honored with a Breyer likeness giveaway to all the kids that come out on Saturday.   The $301,500 John Cashman Memorial (open) and $181,450 Fresh Yankee (mares) feature trotting's elite in bulky fields at a mile and one eighth in races 5 and 6.   All the stars of the division are on the racetrack in these trotting classics.   Magic Tonight returns home a champion, having won this year's Elitlopp in May for Swedish owner A. O J Konsult and trainer Roger Walmann.   The expatriate son of Andover Hall faces a very deep field of eleven rivals including 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share who is competing at the highest level on Hambo Day for a remarkable fourth consecutive season.   The Fresh Yankee is a brand new stake for mare trotters and the inaugural edition just could not have drawn a more stellar field.   "Queen" Bee A Magician is the undisputed monarch of her division having won seven of eight starts this year including several versus mixed company while passing the $3 million career earnings mark along the way for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and Dave McDuffee.   "What about the young horses," you may ask.   Well, the $389,450 Jim Doherty for fillies (race 2) and $349,850 Peter Haughton (race 7) for colts memorialize two of the game's legends with the first high-dollar opportunity for the freshmen.   Broadway Donna looks like a top filly, having dispensed of all competition with minimal effort thus far, including the fastest Doherty elimination last week for Jules Siegel's Fashion Farm. Woman's Will and Kathy Parker were the other elim winners and will seek the upset.   Southwind Frank is the favorite going into the Haughton, having won three of four thus far including both the NJSS final and his Haughton elimination with the greatest of ease.   He is another from the Ron Burke barn and races for the same partnership as Mission Brief on what could be a huge day for those connections.   You want Wagering opportunities? We got 'em. There are $275,000 worth of guaranteed pools spread over several horizontal wagers and the day ends with a $231,403 carryover on the 8% take-out Jackpot Hi-5.   With this the close of the 2015 Championship Meet, this wager takes on "Mandatory Pay Out" status which will create huge interest and great value, potentially driving the pool into seven figures. Programs will be available here and in the Daily Racing Form.   If you can't make it live, the Hambletonian will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30pm and is available in Hi-Def on TRN.   The races are also available via live streaming from The Meadowlands website.   There are a ton of promotions going on throughout the plant all day long including the ever-popular Hambo hat giveaway.   It's the greatest day of the year in harness racing and it all happens at The Meadowlands on Saturday.   Nick Salvi  

East Rutherford, NJ --- World champion Sebastian K, the fastest trotter in harness racing history, made his 2015 debut in Saturday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands Racetrack and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt said the 9-year-old trotter felt good after having the start of his campaign delayed because of ulcers. In fact, the returning Dan Patch Award-winning divisional champion might have felt a little too good. "He was too good; I drove too fast," Svanstedt said after Sebastian K won his qualifier in 1:53.4 with a final quarter-mile in :26.4 in a light rain. "I was hoping to go in (1):55 or (1):56, but he feels so good. It was tough to feel the tempo. I had the (stop)watch, but I missed it. "Now he is healthy again and he feels good. Better than last year. He will start in two weeks at Pocono, on the Fourth of July." Sebastian K, owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., won eight of 13 races last year and was named the sport's best older male trotter. He arrived in the U.S. last year after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands (off a qualifier in 1:56.2) and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his world-record 1:49 triumph at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Overcast skies, moderate temperatures and little to no breeze greeted the harness racing enthusiasts that attended the Breakfast with the Babies card to watch 15 races of 2-year-olds in addition to the son of Korean, Sebastian K. Jimmy Takter and Yannick Gingras started right off with a winner in the first with $102,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS) graduate I'm Outstanding. The Donato Hanover filly was sent up for the lead as the field neared the 1:01.2 half then coasted in for the 2:00.1 score over pocket-sitter Margarita M with Posterity lasting for third after a long uncovered bid. Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman share ownership. Another well-regarded trotting duo hooked up to win the second race. Dave Miller drove Ready Any Time ($62,000 Standardbred Horse Sales) to an impressive 1:58.4 win for trainer "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Dave McDuffee, Little E, LLC and breeder Herb Liverman. Miller settled the Kadabra lass in behind eventual third place finisher Lindy's On Fire through the 1:30.2 three quarters then tipped off that one while closing in 28.2 for the comfortable win. Silent Blessings impressed with good late trot to be second for the Johanssons. Takter took the lines, but no prisoners with the Marvin Katz / Al Libfeld homebred Muscle Hill filly All The Time, leading all the way from post nine to win in 1:58.1 with a 27.3 final quarter under her own power. Encore Gold tracked the winner throughout and held well to be second for Charlie Norris. "All The Time was very good," Takter said. "She was just babied last week; I sat back with her. Today, she flew out of the gate like a rocket. She was strong." Miller and Norman again combined to win race four with Levitator, coming first over in 1:58.4 / 28.1. Nifty has had a remarkable run of success with fillies by Kadabra and by the looks of today's winning pair that run is going to continue. The winner was a $120,000 SHS buy for the same partnership as the above mentioned Ready Any Time. Gifted Lady made a late gain to be second in this one for Takter. "Nifty has got some nice fillies there," Miller said. "They went well last week and they came back and were stronger this week. It looks good for him. Right now their manners and gait is a big thing. So far, both of them have got that; real good manners, real good gait. It's good." More Katz & Libfeld home cookin' in the fifth race with the grand looking Donato Hanover filly Womans Will winning easily after leading all the way for Andy Miller in 1:58 / :28. Trained in the Julie Miller barn, Womans Will had a Gaitway 1:59 romp on her resume and bears watching. Colts came up after the break and Stayin Strong parlayed a pocket trip into a 2:00.1 win for Andy and Julie Miller, holding off the late charge of Boyz N Guitars and Sliding Home through the 28.4 final panel. He is a Muscles Yankee bought by Jason and Doug Allen at SHS last fall for the bargain price of $15,000. "Andy and I have been pretty high on them all winter long training down, but when you finally get to the baby races that kind of separates the men from the boys," Julie Miller said about Womans Will and Stayin Strong. "Andy was real pleased with Womans Will. She's two fingers to drive and a pleasure to be around. That was a nice last quarter and Andy said he didn't even ask her. I think she was well within herself. "If things keep going in the right direction I think she'll be a top filly. Coming up her and being at the Meadowlands, it was a new venue for her and she handled it well. She wasn't stressed out, she remained a professional, and I was real pleased with her." Just For Today took over before the half for Mark MacDonald and led the rest of the way to win the seventh in 1:59.3 with a 28.2 close. He's a Credit Winner trained by Paul Kelley for Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco and Bud Hatfield who paid $85,000 for him at Harrisburg. Dave McDuffee's homebred Donato colt Granite State from his good race mare Bella Dolce closed will into the fast last quarter here. Gingras drove Takter's Muscle Massive colt Dominus Hanover to a 1:59 / 28.3 win, taking over before the half and opening a long lead before coasting in over the late closing Brooklyn Hill and Dominion Beach. He is a SHS graduate at a cost of $60,000 to Christina Takter, Black Horse Racing and RAW Equine. Goin To The Limit left quickly from the outside and set all the numbers, winning in 1:58.3 / 28.1 for Tim Tetrick. This Donato Hanover colt from Azalea Gal was another $15,000 bargain, this time selected from the Lexington sale by trainer Tony Alagna for his interests along with partners Jodi Siamis, John Fodera and Tangie Massey. Jack Vernon showed grit in holding off the determined bid of Brownie Hanover in the stretch for John Campbell in 1:59.3 with a 28 second close. Randy Beeckman selected the Muscle Hill colt from Vernon Blue Chip at the SHS for $50,000 for owners the Miller's Stable of Kentucky. Pacing fillies came up in the eleventh and the Diamond Creek homebred Somebeachsomewhere filly Pure Country dazzled the crowd with a 1:54.4 win, setting all the pace and sprinting home in 26.4 for Brett Miller and Takter. Blue Moon Stride stayed on well for second in this one. "So far she's very special, really good," Takter said. "She's powerful." The $5,500 SHS chestnut Shadow Play filly Miss Read won her third baby race for Tyler and Leigh Raymer with Corey Callahan steering her to a front running 1:56 win with a 27.1 final quarter. She came in with a pair of Pocono scores and answered affirmatively when faced with this royally bred field of competitors in her Meadowlands debut. Bank Shot Hanover made it a consecutive double for chestnuts, winning in 1:55.2 for Scott Zeron. The Panderosa colt set all the fractions and used a 27.2 final quarter to hold Headforthebeach a length. It was the second start for Bob Di Nozzi's freshman who flashed some talent with the owner driving last week. He is trained by Daniel Renaud. Trainer Steve Elliott is on some roll this year and he sent out Boston Red Socks by Rocknroll Hanover, a winner in 1:54.2 this morning for Peter Blood and Rick Berks, the same connections as last night's Graduate leg winner Doo Wop Hanover. John Campbell was the driver in both instances, putting Boston Red Socks into the race from post ten going right to the top, releasing Fast And Victorious for the middle half then powering by in the 27.4 last panel. He was a $50,000 Harrisburg buy. Capital Builder was a good second for Alagna and Zeron. Another winner came from post ten in the very next race in the Rocknroll Hanover colt Ideal Rocky for Callahan. He got a tuck in third early, moved up a spot when Highlandbeachycove broke on the lead by the half then closed inside JJ Flynn through the 27.1 final quarter for the 1:54.4 win. John Butenschoen trains the $47,000 SHS buy for mid-west owners W. Wiswell, J. Goehlen & E. Schick. Other older horses to post qualifier wins Saturday were 3-year-old male trotter Guess Whos Back, who won in 1:54.2 for trainer Nik Drennan and driver Brian Sears, as well as 3-year-old male pacer Lyons Levi Lewis, who won in 1:50.4 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Race 1 - I'm Outstanding by Donato Hanover Race 2 - Ready Any Time by Kadabra Race 3 - All The Time by Muscle Hill Race 4 - Levitator by Kadabra Race 5 - Womans Will by Donato Hanover  Race 6 - Stayin Strong by Muscles Yankee Race 7 - Just For Today by Credit Winner Race 8 - Dominus Hanover by Muscle Massive Race 9 - Goin To The Limit by Donato Hanover Race 10 - Jack Vernon by Muscle Hill Race 11 - Pure Country by Somebeachsomewhere Race 12 - Miss Read by Shadow Play Race 13 - Bank Shot Hanover by The Panderosa Race 14 - Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover Race 15 - Ideal Rocky by Rocknroll Hanover Sebastian KS By Nick Salvi and Ken Weingartner

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