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Do you have a son or daughter who enjoys harness racing as much as you do? Or perhaps you have the horse racing bug and would love to consider a career in the industry? Then look no further than the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP). Established in 1974, this Bachelor of Science degree program offers two different paths of study.  One prepares students for the business side of the industry, which includes careers in track management, regulation and pari-mutuel operations.  The other path is designed for students interested in working more directly with the horses and prepares them for careers in racing, training and bloodstock enterprises. The RTIP focuses both paths on quality education, emphasizing integrity and professionalism; the program offers personal mentoring and professional development opportunities and utilizes its deep ties to alumni working in the industry. While at the program, students gain invaluable hands-on experience through internships and create a network of industry professionals through their interaction with speakers brought to campus during each semester to lecture in the classroom. The most recent “guest professor” was Rachel Ryan, the Meadowlands’ head of public relations. The “who’s who” of the racing business who gather in Tucson each December for the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming (hosted by the RTIP) are also a great resource for the students. One of the most important industry gatherings in the racing industry, the Symposium attracts experts and officials from throughout the world, bringing them right to the student’s doorstep. What is most impressive is the list of graduates who have gone on to great positions working in the harness racing industry including Peter Koch, race secretary at the Meadowlands; Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah’s Philadelphia and Heather Belmonte, executive assistant at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. And on faculty at the RTIP is none other than Hall of Famer Dean Hoffman, former head of Hoof Beats at the USTA! Graduates from the Thoroughbred side of the roster include top trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher; Martin Panza, senior VP of racing operations at New York Racing Association; Thomas Ventura, president, Ocala Breeders' Sales Company; Peter Rotondo, VP – television, Breeders' Cup Limited and Jim Kostas, president, Daily Racing Form. The school’s rate for job placement within the industry is nearly flawless. This reporter can vouch for that having hired a graduate during my racetrack management days and working with numerous graduates over the years. Check out their website as it is full of information about the program, alumni, special services, grants, scholarships and more. The site is at http://ua-rtip.org/. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

East Rutherford, NJ - Russ Slader blew away the competition in the $400 World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier this past Saturday. The Nutley, NJ resident nailed four winners on the card and finished the tournament with a $1,320 bankroll, securing him the $3,840 top cash prize and an entry into the World Harness Handicapping Championship, to be held April 19, 2014 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Frank Palmer of Caldwell, NJ, John Golden of Drexel Hill, PA and Tedd Derian from the Bronx, NY also qualified for the WHHC Final. The qualifier format required players to bet 10 Meadowlands races of their choice, working from a $200 bankroll. Wagers had to meet a $20 minimum per race, with a $200 maximum. Contestants could only bet one horse per race and wagers could either be win, place or a combination of the two. Rank Name Bankroll Prize 1 Russ Slader $1,320.00 $3,840 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 2 Frank Palmer $896.00 $1,920 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 3 John Golden $845.10 $1,440 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 4 Tedd Derian $700.00 $960 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 5 Don Tiger $580.00 $480 6 Greg Lipinski $560.00 $192 7 Lester Block $532.00 $192 8 Don Morgan $475.00 $192 9 Nick Montemurro $417.00 $192 10 Joe Chuisano $425.60 $192 by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When the world's top horseplayers convene at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ on April 19 to compete in the World Harness Handicapping Championship, an estimated prize pool of more than $50,000 will be up for grabs. But one prominent player won't be playing for himself; he'll be playing for the health and care of retired racehorses. Rusty Nash, recently the runner-up in the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) harness handicapping tournament, was given a seat in the WHHC by the Meadowlands ($800 value) in exchange for agreeing to donate any winnings in the event to a standardbred rescue organization. The first place prize in the WHHC is $20,000. "Rusty Nash has been a valued player in previous Meadowlands contests and we are happy that he received the $800 charity buy-in to the WHHC Final, said Rachel Ryan, WHHC Contest Director. "The Meadowlands and HANA have enjoyed a strong partnership and have worked together to promote racing and wagering at the Meadowlands as well as supporting horse retirement and rescue charities. This event is the premier betting contest for Harness players in North America and we hope this sparks further interest in the World Harness Handicapping Championship." "The HANA Harness Handicapping Contest has raised - through its sponsors - over $7,000 for retired racehorses the past two years. The Meadowlands' stepping up to the plate to give one of its top handicappers the chance to earn even more for the horses is truly appreciated. We wish Rusty, as well as all the participants in the World Harness Handicapping Championship, good luck" said HANA Harness Director Allan Schott. The WHHC is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct $800 buy-in. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races from partner tracks. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with an estimated prize pool of $50,000. Registration deadline is 10 p.m. on Thursday, April 17. For the contest entry form and complete rules visit www.PlayMeadowlands.com. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

It was a parade of longshots at The Meadowlands on Friday night. The centerpiece of which was a shocking 90-1 upset in the third race. That win by Esteemed Members and driver Mike Pollio ensured a Pick 5 carryover into the Saturday program of $24,815.69. The last time a Pick 5 carried over into a Saturday program at The Meadowlands, it resulted in a pool of over $128,000 and that carryover was less than the carryover being offered into this Saturday's program. The win by Esteemed Members also played a big role in their being only one winning ticket in the Early Pick 4, which returned $39,951.70 for a $1 play. In addition a combination of 39-1 winner Canary Island (placed first via disqualification) and 24-1 winner Twin B Spike Man sparked a Late Pick 4 payout of $60,527.20 for a $1 minimum, again revealing just one winning ticket in the entire pool. The featured race on the program was the A-2/A-1/FFA Handicap for Filly and Mare Pacers. Lorrie Please made it back to back victories for the combination of Doug Lewis and Corey Callahan at the Free For All Handicap Level, pacing the mile in 1:50.4. The win was one of three on the night for driver Corey Callahan. The Meadowlands eclipsed $3 Million in handle once again Friday night, with a total handle of $3,040,178, which reflects a 6-percent increase from the same Friday one year ago. On-track handle was also up 7-percent. Racing resumes Saturday night, with first post time of 7:15 P.M., featuring a $24,815.69 Pick 5 Carryover which kicks off the program in race 1. For more information log onto PlayMeadowlands.com. Rachel Ryan  

East Rutherford, NJ - Due to the extreme cold that has caused many tracks to cancel racing, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and Winners Bayonne OTW will close for simulcasting at 6 pm tonight. Meadowlands & Winners will resume normal simulcasting operations tomorrow at 11 am. Updated simulcasting calendars can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands                  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will hold its 10th Annual Toys for Tots Collection Drive this Saturday, December 21st. The event was previously scheduled for this past Saturday, but was postponed when live racing was canceled due to the winter storm in the area. All are welcome to bring in new, unwrapped toys throughout the day and spread some magic and cheer this holiday season to a child in need. Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will be donating all collected toys to the local Marine Corps Toys for Tots. Since its approval to be an official activity of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1995, the mission of the Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year. The program then distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. In addition to spreading the holiday cheer, fans can also receive some holiday swag. The long-sleeve T-Shirt giveaway previously scheduled for last Saturday will also be held this Saturday, December 21st. Fans will receive one giveaway free while supplies last beginning at 5:00 p.m. inside the main grandstand entrance. But that's not all. Patrons can also enter the $2,500 Holiday Gift Card Sweepstakes. An entry form can be found in Saturday's live racing program and winners will be announced between Races 3 and 9 to win a gift card from one of their favorite department stores. Live racing resumes at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Friday, December 20th and continues Saturday night. First race post time is 7:15 p.m. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands  

On April 19, 2014 the top horseplayers in North America will compete for over $60,000 in prize money* in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Championship, at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ. The WHHC qualifiers at the newly opened Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment are set for January 11, February 22 and March 15. The Meadowlands January 11 qualifier has a $200 total fee ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to bet a minimum of $10 ($100 maximum) on 10 Meadowlands races. Complete rules and entry form are available at PlayMeadowlands.com. The top two finishers will earn spots in the WHHC with prize money to be paid out to the Top 10 finishers. The World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) is the partnership between Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and the United States Trotting Association formed to create the industry's ultimate tournament experience. Standardbred Canada supports the project by facilitating the participation of Canadian racing and wagering outlets. The WHHC is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct buy-in ($800). In addition to the Meadowlands, the United States Trotting Association, The Meadows and Buffalo are conducting WHHC qualifiers. A complete list of participating outlets and qualifier dates can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com or by clicking here. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@newmracing.com) or Kathy Wade Vlaar, Standardbred Canada (kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca). *estimated final prize pool, based on 120 entries        

East Rutherford, NJ - The Grand Opening of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment on November 23rd is scheduled to include a pair of $50,000 preliminary legs for the TVG Free For All Pace and Trot. This is the last chance for horsemen to have their respective horses earn points to gain a spot in the $500,000 Pacing and Trotting Finals. The current point standings can be found here. The entry box for Opening Night, Saturday November 23rd closes at 9:00 AM Tuesday November 19th and the condition sheet is available by clicking here. Additionally, the Race Office at the Meadowlands encourages trainers and owners to enter their horses in the $500,000 Final of both the TVG FFA Pace and Trot on November 30th, regardless of their place in the point standings as the possibility of a horse ranked higher than theirs not entering could open up a spot in the Final. Full conditions for the TVG FFA Championships can be found here. If you have any questions regarding the series, please contact the Meadowlands race office. Rachel Ryan

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands and Winners Bayonne held the $12,000 Breeders Crown Pick 13 Challenge on Saturday night.  While no one walked away with the $12,000 Grand Prize, Rich Christianson did win $5,000.  Christianson, of Belleville, NJ managed to select 9 of 12 winners on the Breeders Crown card.   The contest was sponsored by Jeff Gural’s Allerage Farms.  Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will run a Pick 13 Challenge on Opening Night, Saturday, November 23.  The $1 Million Pick 13 Contest challenges guests to select the winners of all 13 races that Saturday.  Anyone that picks all 13 winners will win $1 million.  If no contestant correctly picks all 13 winners, runner-up prizes are offered: ·         Pick 12 winners - $10,000 ·         Pick 11 winners - $7,500 ·         Pick 10 winners - $5,000 ·         Pick 9 winners - $2,500 ·         Pick 8 winners - $100 betting voucher Official contest rules can be found at by clicking here. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands  

With harness racing’s championship night, The Breeders Crown, nearly upon us, New Meadowlands Racing LLC has put together a promotion to make the night even better.  The event will take place at both of its properties, the Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne.  The promotion, a free handicapping contest, is sponsored by Jeff Gural’s Allerage Farms.  The handicapping contest could send someone home $12,000 richer and the best part, it's entirely free to enter. The Meadowlands and Winners Bayonne will offer the contest in which contestants will attempt to pick the winner of all 12 Breeders Crown races.  If any contestant is successful in doing so, they will the win $12,000 grand prize.  If multiple contestants are successful, they will split the grand prize.  If no one is successful in selecting all 12 winners, the contestant with the most winners from the 12 Breeders Crown races will win $5,000.  In the event of a tie, the prize money will be equally divided among entrants involved in the tie. The contest will be available at both the Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne.  The winner will either be the contestant that has all 12 winners correct, or the contestant with the most winners at either the Meadowlands Racetrack or Winners Bayonne.   Hopefully, there is a contestant that selects all 12 winners and takes home the $12,000 Grand Prize.  At the very least a $5,000 prize is being given away.  For a free entry, that beats any parlay in racing! by Rachel Ryan for New Meadowlands Racing, LLC  

Calculating the final all-sources handle for Hambletonian Day is a lengthy and complicated process due to foreign, non-commingled partners. The actual final tally is not known for several months. However, with some foreign outlets still in the process of reporting/finalizing their numbers, the total handle is projected to be very close to $8 Million, which will be an increase from 2012. Unlike a typical race day, Hambletonian Day handle is comprised of much more than on-track handle and North American Export. In addition, there is wagering in the form of commingled and non-commingled (separate pool) foreign dollars. Some of these outlets include France, Sweden, Finland and Australia. Despite rain falling through the first 5 races, the live handle in 2013 of $1,648,015 was virtually flat compared to the $1,649,385 wagered in 2012. The 2013 commingled export of $5,252,302 marked an increase of 15-percent from the $4,577,832 wagered through commingled export in 2012. In addition, there was $2,261,405 wagered on the Hambletonian Eliminations and Final, not including non-commingled foreign wagering. That total, when compared to the $1,637,993 wagered on the Eliminations (held the week prior) and Final in 2012, yields an increase of 38-percent. Without the non-commingled foreign dollars factored in, this was the 5th highest total wagered on the Hambletonian in its history. Furthermore, when the non-commingled wagers are calculated, the total could come very close to record Hambletonian handle of $2,583,857 set in 2001. In order to gauge the success of the 2013 Hambletonian, it is important to compare the event to the last time it was held in a heat-format, which was in 1996. On that day, there was a total all-sources handle of $6,115,765 with $1,237,692 wagered on the Eliminations and the Hambletonian Final. Therefore a total handle increase of over $1.8 Million and a Hambletonian total handle nearly double that of the last time the event was held in heats makes the 2013 edition a rousing success. While there will always be more money wagered on a single Hambletonian Final when the field is known for the entire week leading up to the race, heat-racing produces a much more exciting event and a larger total handle on the Eliminations and the Final combined. The 2013 Hambletonian handle figures show that heat racing can be successful on the biggest stage in the modern-era. Rachel Ryan  

Real Babe handed the heavily favored Maven her first defeat of the 2013 harness racing campaign in the first $20,000 leg of the Ima Lula trotting series for four year old mares. Joe Bongiorno was in from Saratoga for the card and picked up the drive on Real Babe for trainer Mark Harder. Joe got the mare away second and when the dust settled moved her to the front through a comfortable 56.1 half. The pair would face no pressure until very late and Real Babe required minimal encouragement from Bongiorno. Maven meanwhile followed stablemate D'Orsay up into striking position off the final bend but could not track the winner down through a 28.1 end to a 1:53.2 mile. The mile is a career best for the regally bred daughter of Donato Hanover from Housethatruthbuilt and sets her up nicely for the balance of the series which concludes on #Hambo13 Day, August 3. Emilio and Maria Rosati of New South Wales, Australia are the proud owners. It was one of three wins on the night for Bongiorno. Personal Style finished third while Check Me Out rallied boldly from last at the top of the stretch to finish a very fast-closing fourth. The Ima Lula Final on Hambletonian Day is shaping up to be a classic. Thanks to large fields and competitive racing, total handle showed an increase of 25-percent when compared to the same Saturday program one year ago, despite the Meadowlands regular drivers being scattered around North America due to major stakes action. Racing returns on Friday with the Eliminations for The Merrie Annabelle and Peter Haughton Memorial. Saturday features Eliminations for The Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Lady Liberty, New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey as well as the second leg of The Ima Lula Series. Post Time for both programs is 7:15 P.M. Rachel Ryan

The weekend for harness racing driver Corey Callahan could not have started any better. On the eve of his first drive in The Meadowlands Pace, behind Beach Memories, Callahan lit the track on fire in East Rutherford, to the tune of six winners.

Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden ranks Art Official's upset of Somebeachsomewhere in 2008 as his greatest Meadowlands Pace moment. Heyden has seen them all, as a harness racing fan and as the Meadowlands Racetrack's statistician, television personality and unofficial historian.

Thanks to a partnership agreement between Trackmaster and the Meadowlands Racetrack, the Trackmaster program pages for the entire 14-race Meadowlands Pace harness racing program on Saturday are available for download, free of charge on the Meadowlands website.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - John Campbell delivered a emphatic message when he accepted the Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, a tribute to his extraordinary career as the all-time leading driver in harness racing.

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