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East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands supports the inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in the 2020 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.   The Omnibus passed through both houses of Congress last week and was signed into law by President Trump on Sunday. "The HISA is important to all of horse racing to demonstrate that we are addressing the problems that have plagued the sport for the last several decades. It is clear the past and current policies do not work.   "Virtually all the horsemen that I have asked support trying to eliminate trainers that drug the horses. Having the Federal government involved will put some teeth into the effort to stop them as the indictments and subsequent arrests of last March showed.   "It seems inconceivable that in 2022 every thoroughbred racetrack will have uniform rules and be governed by this legislation while every standardbred racetrack will continue to be governed by the states despite the fact that 27 of the 29 people indicted earlier this year were associated with standardbred racing and only two were thoroughbred trainers.   "Hopefully we can work with the USTA to modify the law next year to meet our needs which are considerably different than the thoroughbreds. If the USTA continues to oppose the legislation it would be our intention to ask the Racing Commissions in New York and New Jersey to allow us to opt in to the legislation since it does provide that option.   "I remain confident that the majority of the issues that concern the Standardbred industry can be addressed and adjusted to where we can live with them," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. Details on the HISA and its passage are available by visiting the "WHOA" website and consider joining that organization while you're on the site. It is free to join. The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of like- minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing.    

East Rutherford, NJ - The always popular Meadowlands Winter Meet Survival Challenge powered by 123Racing returns Saturday, January 2, 2021. Cash prizes and World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars seats are up for grabs in this free online competition. Trackmaster will provide Platinum Past Performances for each night of the contest. The game covers the Meadowlands' Winter Meet and concludes on March 27, 2021. The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 "across the board" wager [win, place and show] on selections for three designated races each program. However, to continue in the game, entrants have to "survive" by finishing in-the-money [first through third] with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player's survival a "lucky horseshoe" is given. The lucky horseshoe is a "free pass" given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or all three of his selections fail to hit the board. The grand prize is $500 & $1,300 2021 WHHC Spot The second-place prize is $300 & $1,300 2021 WHHC Spot The third-place prize is $200 & $1,300 2021 WHHC Spot The free contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada 18 years and older, and all selections must be made through the format provided on the Survival Challenge website page. No selections will be accepted by phone, fax, e-mail or any other means. Trackmaster Platinum Past performances for the three designated races will be provided through the game board. The deadline for selections each day is 30 minutes before 6 p.m. post time for the first race through March 13th. Post time then switches to 7:15pm for March 19-27th. After 30 minutes to post, all selections are final. To login or to register as a first time player, visit www.survival-challenge.com. Meadowlands Racetrack

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The Meadowlands faithful was out in force with Christmas money in hand Saturday night, and at the conclusion of the 15-race card, all-source wagering topped the $3-million mark for the first time during the Fall Meeting on the last day of harness racing in 2020. Handle for the night totaled $3,718,250, an average per race of $247,883. The last time – other than Hambletonian Day and Meadowlands Pace Night – that business was as brisk on a per-race basis was on July 11 (Meadowlands Pace Eliminations Night) when a total of $3,440,248 was bet over 13 races, an average of $264,634 per dash. Things got rolling in the fifth race Saturday, when a night-best $366,063 was pushed through the windows with $117,910 in exacta action leading the way. Twenty minutes later, $85,859 in 50-cent Pick-4 play keyed total betting of $353,837 in race six. Race eight – which saw an exacta pool of $98,671 – was the third $300,000 or better race of the night, with total action of $302,405. ON THE TRACK: Warrior One took the $19,000 high-end conditioned trotting co-feature for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:52.3. The 4-year-old gelded son of Father Patrick-Yoga was on the go from the start, making the lead out of the first turn from post eight before yielding to Hill Of A Horse just after the quarter. Gingras moved his horse back to the top before the half and went down the road from there, recording an easy 3-length score over Cue Hall. Hill Of A Horse was third. Sent to the gate as the 5-2 favorite, Warrior One returned $7.40 to his backers in winning for the 13th time in 52 lifetime starts. He now has earnings of $221,146. In the co-featured high-end conditioned pace, Harambe Deo got back into the win column for trainer Jeff Cullipher and driver Simon Allard. Racing in a softer spot than he had in his previous three outings, the 5-year-old gelded son of Woodstock-Tea Time held off the late-charging Bracken Storm A by a nose in 1:49.3. J M Mandamin was third. Harambe Deo was away well from post nine and made his way to the top at the half in a pulse-pounding :54.1 on the chilly evening that saw a wind chill of 19 degrees. He used a :27.2 third fraction to open a 2-length lead on the pocket-sitting Heza Real Diamond before holding off Bracken Storm A – who might have won had he found room just a moment or two earlier in deep stretch when in bad traffic – by an eyelash. As the 5-1 fourth choice, Harambe Deo returned $13.20 to win in scoring his 17th career win from 85 starts. His earnings stand at $263,369. $150,000 GUARANTEED: After longshots scored in the third, fourth and fifth races, the track’s 20-cent Pick-5 wager did not yield a winning ticket, setting up what could be a gigantic pool when racing resumes on Saturday, Jan. 2. Those who correctly selected four winners cashed in for $312.78. The bet started innocently enough as the 9-5 second choice and 2-1 favorite won the first two races, respectively, on the card. But then the bombs fell as 14-1, 50-1 and 36-1 outsiders took the final three legs of the sequence, leading to a carryover of $46,731.16. As a result, Big M management – in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering initiative – has guaranteed next Saturday’s pool at $150,000. Free past performances will be available for the Pick-5 at playmeadowlands.com. A LITTLE MORE: Cullipher was on fire all night long, winning four races on the night. … Dave Miller led the driver’s colony with four victories, three coming with Cullipher trainees. … There will be no racing at The Big M on Friday, Jan. 1. … Racing resumes Saturday, Jan. 2, with a first-race post time of 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - After longshots scored in the third, fourth and fifth races Saturday night at The Meadowlands, the track's 20-cent Pick-5 wager did not yield a winning ticket, setting up what could be a gigantic pool when harness racing resumes Saturday, Jan. 2. Those who correctly selected four winners cashed in for $312.78. The bet started innocently enough as the 9-5 second choice and 2-1 favorite won the first two races on the card. But then the bombs fell as 14-1, 50-1 and 36-1 outsiders took the final three legs of the sequence, leading to a carryover of $46,731.16. As a result, Big M management - in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative - has guaranteed next Saturday's pool at $150,000. Free past performances will be available for the Pick-5 at playmeadowlands.com. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – After The Meadowlands takes a break for the holiday – there is no harness racing or simulcasting on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – live action will return to The Big M with a bang this Saturday (Dec. 26) night with a gigantic 15-race program that will begin at the track’s new early post time of 6 p.m. Like a true holiday feast, the card comes with all the trimmings. All 15 races have full 10-horse fields and the track’s betting menu offers all the goodies Big M players have grown accustomed to, with a 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 (race three), 20-cent Pick-6 (race eight), 10-cent Pentafecta (race 15) and a pair of 50-cent Pick-4s (beginning in races six and 10). Both Pick-4s will have guaranteed pools of $50,000 and all the wagers offer a low 15 percent takeout. The wagering on the card figures to be fast and furious since the last two Saturday programs were compromised: Two weeks ago by heavy fog – which left all of who watched a limited view of the first eight races – and last week by an electrical malfunction that caused the cancelation of the entire 13-race card. “The Saturday card features 15 full 10-horse fields,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Which will give horseplayers many chances for the big score. The one-mile oval makes it possible for all vertical and horizontal players to shoot for the moon. “We think our product will do extraordinarily well this winter with our new 6 p.m. post time, which will be in effect through mid-March. We are hopeful that The Meadowlands with full fields and low takeout can cultivate even more horseplayers from around the world to wager on our signal.” Not only will harness fans get to overindulge on the races from the mile oval, but Thoroughbred fans will get an excellent nosh as well, as the day after Christmas The Big M will offer simulcasting of the Opening Day card from Arcadia, California’s Santa Anita Park. The 11-race program – which features five graded stakes events – has a post time of 2 p.m. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races 10 through 13 – the entire Late 50-cent Pick-4 – will be available for Saturday’s card. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower’s selections and commentary. Click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”. Additionally, track announcer Warkentin’s blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Be sure to watch the live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pre-game show, which will now begin on race nights at 5:27 p.m. On Saturday night, The Big M’s “A” team of Brower and Little will talk about what’s going on in harness racing and take a look at that evening’s featured races from the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set while Demsky will be the featured handicapper on the live presentation on the Television Games Network (tvg.com) all night long. CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home. Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW). THE MEADOWLANDS SCHEDULE: There is no live racing on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. There will be live racing Saturday, Dec. 26, with a post time of 6 p.m. In addition, The Big M will be closed for simulcasting on both Dec. 24 and 25. HOLIDAY AT FANDUEL: Football fans can get their fill at the FanDuel Sportsbook, located just inside the main entrance at The Meadowlands. On Saturday (Dec. 26), there will be four college football games that handicappers can play, and, in addition, the National Football League will have three contests: At 1 p.m., Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9½) travel to Detroit to take on the Lions; Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals (-5½) host the San Francisco 49ers at 4:30 p.m. before the final game of the day kicks off at 8:15 p.m. when Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (-3) travel to Sin City to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. This week for the Christmas holiday, there will be some changes to the schedule at the FanDuel Sports Book. On Dec. 24, bets will be taken until 6 p.m. The book will be closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. During a normal week, hours in the track’s FanDuel Sports Book are from 10 a.m. – midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Saturday.   Dave Little

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Saturday night's live harness racing program at The Meadowlands was canceled due to an electrical malfunction of the track's lighting system. The Big M will resume with live action on Saturday, Dec. 26, with a special early post time of 6 p.m. "We apologize for any inconvenience this caused," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "And we would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season." By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Some Chapter continued his impressive season by winning for the 10th time from just 14 starts in the Friday night harness racing  feature at The Meadowlands, a high-end $20,000 conditioned trot. But the road to the winner's circle at the mile oval has been a circuitous one to say the least for the Anette Lorentzon trainee, who did not race last year as a 2-year-old. "We always liked him," said Lorentzon. "But he had some soreness last year, so we turned him out in April. We gave him some time, brought him back at the end of last year and things started out well, but he ended up locking on a line, so we gave him some time off again. He could get lame on us, but we could not find out what was wrong with him." Lorentzon would have to wait until this summer to find out what she had in the 3-year-old gelded son of Chapter Seven-Some Kinda Special. "He actually had never seen a racetrack until he went to the fairs in June," said Lorentzon, whose prized pupil would win his first three outings on the Kentucky Fair circuit at Lebanon in 2:05, 2:08 and 2:02.3, respectively. "He had never even been in a qualifier. We've always babied him. He always showed talent and a great attitude." Lorentzon's patience certainly seems to be paying off. Some Chapter cleared to the top before the three-eighths with driver Dexter Dunn Friday night on the way to an easy 2¾-length score over Swan In Motion in 1:54.1. McMatters was third. Owned by ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson, Some Chapter, who now has lifetime earnings of $75,345, returned $3.60 as the 4-5 public choice in taking a second straight start at The Big M. Some Chapter "He still qualifies for non-winners of six and eight," said Lorentzon. "And I believe he can go with some of the better trotters at The Meadowlands. I'm hoping, at least. He's still learning." GET LEGS GOT GAME: Another trotter opening some eyes was the Julie Miller-trained, Andy Miller-driven 3-year-old colt Get Legs (Muscle Hill-Legzy), who remained unbeaten in four lifetime outings after taking a non-winners of four in 1:54.1 as the 3-5 public choice. Like Some Chapter, Get Legs was unraced at 2 and has looked superb since his debut on Nov. 13. All of his starts have come at The Big M. FAMILY MATTERS: Todd McCarthy and big-brother Andy finished 1-2 three times on the night, making exacta bettors very happy. The Brothers McCarthy exactas paid $167.60 (third race), $246.40 (fourth) and $12.40 (12th). Trainers Brett Derue and his mother-in-law Jackie Greene finished 1-2 in the fifth, with that exacta coming back $195.40. A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy guided two longshots to victory lane during the sequence, leading to a single-ticket winner in the 20-cent Pick-5 that paid $43,916. ... Dunn and Todd McCarthy both won three on the card, as the top two in the Fall-Meet driver standings upped their respective win totals to 46 and 40. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,196,781. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - One sharp player cashed in big - thanks to harness racing driver Todd McCarthy - just in time for Christmas at The Meadowlands Friday night by hitting the 20-cent Pick-5. He or she walked away with $43,916.06. A pair of heavy favorites who were likely singled on many tickets - Best Honey Hanover (2-5 in the first race) and Walks Of Life (3-5 in the third) - went down to defeat, setting the stage for the big payday for the winner, who was betting into the Oregon hub. McCarthy, second in the Big M driver standings at the Fall Meet with 37 wins entering the night, scored with 23-1 shot Genessee Seelster in race three and then came right back in the fourth with 13-1 chance Peppermint Mocha. The odds of the winners for the sequence were 9-2, 4-5, 23-1, 13-1 and 5-1. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On the final day of the Championship Meet at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras won four races to catch Dexter Dunn for the driver's title, defeating the defending United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year, 86 wins to 85. That's about the only time anything went wrong during 2020 for Dunn, who is an overwhelming favorite to win DOTY for a second straight season as 12 of the 13 USHWA chapters have nominated the native New Zealander to take home the award as the sport's top pilot. At the current Fall Meet at The Meadowlands - which kicked off Sept. 5 - Dunn is on his way to taking home the leading driver trophy. With just three race cards remaining in the calendar year, the 31-year-old reinsman has 43 wins, which puts him six ahead of Todd McCarthy in the standings. Dunn, not surprisingly, also sits atop the UDRS (.336, well ahead of Dave Miller's .275) and win percentage (.216 to McCarthy's .146) heaps among drivers with at least 100 starts. He also has 26 seconds and 28 thirds, giving him 97 on-the-board finishes (.487). Dunn's 128 overall Big M victories lead the way for the entire year. Some highlights from Dunn's spectacular 2020 include: Has earnings of $11 million, no other driver has $10 million Won four Breeders Crown finals at Harrah's Hoosier Park Won four times at The Big M on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night It's been a remarkable rise to stardom for Dunn, who is currently the game's top driver while participating in just his second full season in the U.S. since his arrival from Down Under in mid-November of 2018. DID YOU SEE? If you were playing Meadowlands races Saturday (Dec. 12) night, probably not. An incredibly resilient, thick fog shrouded the mile oval, allowing patrons a clear view of just the opening and closing 10 seconds of the first eight races on the card, no doubt reminding some of the 1988 NFL playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles known as the "Fog Bowl". DID YOU MAKE A SCORE? Whether it was Friday night (Dec. 11) or Fog Night (Saturday, Dec. 12), there were some healthy payouts to be had. The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 returned $5,568 Friday despite those who cashed in only needing six winners to do it. Twenty-four hours later, the wager returned $1,110. Those with winning 20-cent Pick-6 tickets also had a happy weekend, walking away with $3,331 and $1,786 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. A HOLIDAY WISH: "On behalf of myself and everyone in our Meadowlands family," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!" IF WEATHER IS AN ISSUE: If you can't make it out to The Meadowlands in the aftermath of the snowstorm that hit Northern New Jersey, you can watch and wager on all the action from the comfort of your own home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live. The Television Games Network (tvg.com) shows all Meadowlands action live and offers opportunities for those who want to bet on Big M races as well. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races one through five - the entire 20-cent Pick-5 - will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. THE SCHEDULE: Live racing at The Big M will be conducted this Friday and Saturday night with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m. There is no live racing on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. There will be live racing Saturday, Dec. 26, with a post time of 6 p.m. In addition, The Meadowlands will be closed for simulcasting on both Dec. 24 and 25. HOLIDAY AT FANDUEL: More football is a good thing. Faithful fans of The Big M's FanDuel Sports Book will have plenty of National Football League games on which to bet in the next five days. There will be one game on Thursday (Dec. 17), two on Saturday (Dec. 19), 12 on Sunday (Dec. 20) and one on Monday (Dec. 21). For those who like to bet a "Local-Team Parlay", the Jets (+17½) travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams Sunday at 4:05 p.m. while the Giants (+5) host the Cleveland Browns Sunday at 8:20 p.m. Next week for the Christmas holiday, there will be some changes to the schedule at the FanDuel Sports Book. On Dec. 24, bets will be taken until 6 p.m. The book will be closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. During a normal week, hours in the track's FanDuel Sports Book are from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. Meadowlands Media Relations

Joseph A. DeFrank Jr. (DeFrancesco) of Lake Pleasant NY passed away peacefully at home on the 12th of December, 2020; at the age of 87. He was born in Holley, NY on the 27th of August, 1933 to Joseph Sr. and Florence DeFrank. He was a proud member of the US army and a 50-year member of the American Legion Post 529 Holley, NY. He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Beryl DeFrank; his children Greg DeFrank (Beth), Doug DeFrank (Betsy), Michelle Goudreau (Mike), Terri Fanton (Gary); grandchildren Shelly Goudreau Jr. (Samantha), Jamie Fanton, Dani Fanton, Nicala Visscher, Scott Visscher (Tiffany); his great grandchildren Noah Goudreau, Taryn Fanton, Korban Goudreau, and his siblings Madelyn Welsh, Dale DeFrank (Ellen), Scott DeFrancesco, and Todd DeFrank.  Joe was predeceased by son-in- law Shelly Goudreau, daughter Beverley Visscher, and siblings Gary DeFrank and Roger DeFrancesco (Kathy). Beyond the racing world, Joe’s main priority was his family which he loved wholeheartedly. Joe and Beryl loved gardening and cooking together. They spent their retirement years enjoying the beauty of the Adirondacks, from their lovely home Butternut Hill in Lake Pleasant. From the garden came many vegetables and herbs to complete the home cooked pasta dishes the family enjoyed so much. Joe fell in love with harness racing at Batavia Downs and that is where he met his mentor and lifelong friend, Don D’Andrea. In 1956 Don recommended to the late Hall of Famer Jim Lynch, that Joe be given a chance as an assistant in the race office at Hilliard Raceway in Ohio. That 40-day “gig” was the start of a long career that took him to the race offices at many other tracks, including Baltimore Raceway, Green Mountain Park, Grandview Raceway, Painesville Raceway, Northfield Park, Windsor Raceway, Freehold, Brandywine and Ponce DeLeon. Joe was hired by the late Delvin Miller to help start The Meadows in 1963. In 1976 general manager Bob Quigley and hiring chief Jack Feketie were on the hunt to staff a newly-built east coast racetrack with rising stars and the sharpest racing minds they could find. Joe was director of racing at Windsor Raceway and Quigley came calling with the offer of the same position at the new racetrack located across the Hudson River from New York City; The Meadowlands, which came under the auspices of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. Joe took the job and convinced several of Windsor’s up-and-coming drivers to relocate as well – Lew Williams, Shelly Goudreau, Greg Wright and Ray Remmen among them – along with a young driver named John Campbell, who along with Joe fast-tracked to eventual induction into harness racing’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. While at the Meadowlands, Joe created innovative stakes and early-closers as well as $100,000 claimers, events like Million Dollar Babies and the internationally renowned Statue of Liberty Trot. His legacy includes high-priced races such as the Meadowlands Pace and Woodrow Wilson, both of which offered purses of more than $1 million. The Woodrow Wilson purse reached as high as $2 million, the most ever offered in the sport. He was also instrumental in bringing the Hambletonian from the Midwest to the Meadowlands, where it has been raced since 1981. In addition to his duties at the Meadowlands, when Garden State Park Racetrack in Cherry Hill, New Jersey opened in 1985, Joe was named director of racing. One of the major races he brought to that track was the 1988 March of Dimes Trot. The field included the North American star Mack Lobell and foreign standout Ourasi, with the event turning out to be what many consider to be the sport’s greatest race ever. Joe was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, with presenter Stan Bergstein, a former race secretary himself, noting, “I realized quickly and instinctively that he was going places. I simply underestimated how far he was going, how fast he was going, and how impressively he would get there.” “No one in our business has mastered his craft more completely, elevated its power and stature, introduced more new ideas, commanded more respect or ruled with such absolute power as the man we how honor.” Throughout the years Joe received many awards, including the Good Guy of the Year in 1991 by the US Harness Writers, and in 2001 was given the Van Lennep Award by the Hambletonian Society which honored his talent and innovative style for the sport of Harness Racing which he loved so much. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Joe may be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation (Parkinson’s Research) and The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Goshen NY. Funeral Home: William J. Burke & Sons Bussing & Cunniff, INC. Funeral Home located at 628 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518)584-5373. Date of funeral: Saturday, December, 19, 2020 Visiting hours: 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm Funeral Service: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm A private interment service will be held in the Spring at Lake Pleasant, New York.  Steven Wolf

East Rutherford, NJ - With the impending winter storm, Meadowlands Harness Racing & Entertainment will close for simulcasting today, Wednesday, December 16 at 6pm. Winners Bayonne will also close at 6pm. Please check PlayMeadowlands.com for simulcasting schedule updates. Live racing is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday with 7:15pm post. Meadowlands Racetrack Media

East Rutherford, NJ — Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and DerbyWars.com are proud to announce the 2021 World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com — offering a $150,000 prize pool — is set for Nov. 13, 2021. On that date, the top horseplayers in North America will compete for an estimated $150,000 prize pool. The total prize pool is based on 150 entries, with 100 percent of entries going to player prizes and bankrolls. With the cancellation of the 2020 WHHC final due to COVID-19, a number of players made the decision to roll their spot over to the 2021 final. “We are anticipating being back to normal operating capacities in mid-summer,” said Rachel Ryan, Marketing & Event Operations Director at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. “This will allow us to run some feeder tournaments during our fall meet and host the final in mid-November. We are anxious to get our onsite contests back up and running.” The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. The Meadowlands and DerbyWars.com reserve the right to host the final online if Covid protocols do not allow an onsite event. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the top 10. The Meadowlands’ 2021 World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier schedule is as follows: • Jan. 21, 2021–March 27, 2021: Free Online Survival Challenge – 3 WHHC seats • May 1, 2021–Aug. 7, 2021: Free Online Survival Challenge – 3 WHHC seats • Saturday (Nov. 6) – Free Handicapping Contest – 1 seat DerbyWars will host regular online qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday starting in January. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201.842.5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com.   Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On a Saturday evening that looked more like a scene out of the Stephen King novel "The Mist" than a night at the races, Ana Afreet N came blazing out of the pocket to gun down American History in the $28,000 Preferred Handicap for harness racing pacers at The Meadowlands. The weather was anything but cooperative for what was supposed to be a 13-race card, as after the first race where the horses were visible for only the first and final sixteenths of the mile, races two and three were canceled and race four did not go until 90 minutes after the first hit the finish. When racing resumed, it was much of the same as far as seeing - or not seeing - the races. Until the ninth race, that is. The feature had not only Ana Afreet N and American History, but also fan favorite Highalator, who was seeking his sixth Big M win of the year from only eight starts. It was too good to miss. And the weather gods agreed. The fog lifted to reveal the first race of the night that could be viewed from start to finish, and after the three headliners all left the gate alertly, Ana Afreet N had a slight advantage out of the first turn before Highalator hustled up to take the top at the quarter. Driver George Napolitano Jr. used Ana Afreet N once again, immediately moving back to the point, and as he did, even-money choice American History - seeking his fourth straight score - followed that foe and cleared the top at the half in :54.3. American History led the field to the head of the stretch and looked strong on the point, but with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Ana Afreet N came calling one last time from out of the pocket and wore down the leader nearing the wire to record a 1-length score in 1:49.3. Highalator held on for third. Ana Afreet N "This horse amazes me," said Napolitano. "When I started driving him, he really wasn't that good. I was told he was really lazy but he had plenty of late pace in a race when I first started driving him and thought he had some talent. So I had a little talk with him, and then the next week we started rattling off wins because I started feeding him racetrack. "I knew he was a special horse, but I didn't know how special until tonight. He beat good horses and he did it the right way. I have a lot of confidence in this horse. He felt so good around the far turn. [Trainer] Jeff [Cullipher] actually texted me and said, 'Wow, what a fun race to watch.' I love driving for that guy." Ana Afreet N and driver George Napolitano Jr. take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. Ana Afreet N, a 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Anna Livia who is owned by Pollack Racing and Cullipher, returned $6.60 to win as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering. He's won four of his last six at The Big M, with a nose separating him from victory in the two defeats. Lifetime, he's won 22-of-43 starts, good for earnings of $164,220. The fog made things difficult on the judges, horsemen and fans alike, and track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir voiced his appreciation: "I have never quite seen fog like I saw tonight in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After the first race, I never thought we would get any more races in. Due to the timing issues with Lasix we canceled races two and three and set a post time of 9 p.m. for the fourth race and we were able to get the balance of the race card in. I want to extend my extreme gratitude and appreciation to the New Jersey Racing Commission judges, the horsemen and women, along with our employees for tonight's herculean effort to work together and get the races in." A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Nifty Norman's Let It Ride N made it three wins in as many starts since arriving from Australia. The 7-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Love A Gamble crushed a solid high-end field of conditioned pacers in a night's-fastest - and lifetime best - 1:48.4 as the 1-5 favorite with Dexter Dunn doing the driving. ... All-source handle totaled $1,282,387 on the fog-marred shortened program. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – It’s been five years since JL Cruze became the first harness racing trotter to break the 1:50 barrier at The Meadowlands, and while the 9-year-old Eric Ell trainee may have lost a step or two over the years, he once again found his way to the mile-oval’s winner’s circle Friday night in the featured $20,000 high-end conditioned trot. After getting gunned down a week ago when encountering bitter pressure while on the lead, driver Dexter Dunn opted to race in the pocket behind confirmed speedball Warrior One, who four starts ago was positively electric in a wire-to-wire 1:51.4 lifetime score. Sent to the gate as the 3-1 second choice, Warrior One put JL Cruze in the pocket out of the first turn and cut out fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.4 on the point. JL Cruze gradually made his way off the rail on the far turn and steadily wore down Warrior One through the lane on the way to a 1¾-length score in 1:51.4. The consistent gelded son of Crazed -Topcat Hall won for the fifth time in 2020 from 21 starts while hitting the board 17 times. “He’s unbelievable,” said Ell. “He still loves what he’s doing. I didn’t think he left as well last week, so we injected his hocks, which is like putting some grease in his joints. It allows him to move a bit better.” Owned by William Kenneth Wood, William J. Dittmar Jr. and Stephen J. Iaquinta, JL Cruze paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite in recording his 40th win from 122 lifetime starts to up his bulging bank account to $1,534,267. “Honestly, I think he’s a better horse from behind but he’s got great gate speed and it seems he ends up on the point a lot,” said Ell. “Tonight, out of the two-hole he was raging, but can do it either way. I’d like to keep racing him at The Meadowlands if there’s a race for him. We’re going to keep trying.” JL Cruze A LITTLE MORE: Dunn upped his driver-colony leading win total at the Fall Meeting to 41 after scoring three times on the card. … Todd McCarthy, Andy McCarthy and Scott Zeron all had driving doubles. … All it took for two sharp players was six out of seven to cash in for $5,568 in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7. … Chalk players ruled the night as eight post-time choices hit victory lane. … All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,446,627. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Temperatures may be falling, but many popular harness racing wagers at The Meadowlands have seen payoffs on the rise of late, much to the delight of those playing at the mile oval. The 20-cent Pick-5 did not pay anything special - $141.10 - on Nov. 27, when the first three winners in the sequence went off at odds of 3-5, 8-5 and 5-2, but since then, it has been a big-payoff bonanza in the multi-leg wager that begins the card on a nightly basis. On Saturday, Nov. 28, one sharp player raked the pot (being the only winner), cashing in for $55,157. That bettor may have been helped by the "all" button in the fourth race when a 75-1 shot scored, but the other four legs - despite none being won by the favorite - did not have any winner score at odds in excess of 9-2. Last weekend (Dec. 4-5), the Pick-5s came back $1,444 and $5,886 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but P5 players were not the only ones able to check everything off their respective Christmas gift lists after making some big scores at The Big M. Recent action - and returns - on the track's "signature" Pick-4 wagers have been strong as well. Over the last four race cards, nightly handle on the bets that begin in races six and 10, respectively, has been at least $132,000, with a high of $170,822 put in play last Saturday. The Early Pick-4 on Nov. 27 paid a handsome $5,960 despite two 3-1 shots and an 8-5 favorite scoring. An 80-1 chance proved to be the key for those cashing tickets. The Late P4 came back $3,558 on Dec. 4 when a pair of 4-1 chances and a 1-2 chalk were joined in the sequence by a 39-1 bomb. Clearly, there are Big M bets where windfalls can result if players can find that one race that drives the big return. "We are extremely pleased at how the wagering public has responded to the low [15 percent] takeout wagers," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The Meadowlands has always tried to have the most exciting and price-conscious wagering menu in the sport, and the current betting lineup has made all kinds of big scores possible for Big M players around the world." Some other recent noteworthy payouts include the $15,163 on Nov. 21 and $7,930 on Nov. 28 that 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 players enjoyed. The 20-cent Pick-6 has been creating a stir for about a month with carryovers on the last four Saturday programs. Two recent payouts stand far above the rest, as on Nov. 14, the return was $5,642, while on Nov. 28 - when the final two legs were won by favorites - two winners walked away with $14,143. "The growing interest in our wagering product resulted in the biggest handle of the Fall Meeting on Saturday [Dec. 5]," said Settlemoir. Indeed, the $2,894,040 pushed through the windows was a meet best and pushed the streak of Saturdays with at least $2.5 million in handle to five. In addition, The Big M has seen wagering exceed the $5-million level for four consecutive weekends. Historically, Meadowlands' bettors love the track for its vulnerable favorites, but a look at recent returns reveal total handle is brisk whether there's chalk or not. Over the last four race cards, 17 public choices have scored from 52 races for a win percentage of just 32. The four programs prior to that saw 25 chalks take 52 dashes for a cool 48 percent, yet all eight programs were part of the current $5-million weekend streak. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. The pre-game presentation begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. If you can't make it out to the track, you can watch and wager on all the action at home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live. The Television Games Network (tvg.com) shows all Meadowlands action live and offers opportunities for those who want to bet on Big M races as well. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races one through five - the entire 20-cent Pick-5 - will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. THE SCHEDULE: Live racing will continue every Friday and Saturday night through the end of 2020. The one exception is Christmas Day. Post time every night is 7:15 p.m. except for December 26, when the first race will go at 6 p.m. PROLIFIC PIGSKIN PARLAY: Fans of local National Football League teams had a winning Sunday (Dec. 6) last week. For those sharp enough to play the point spreads and use the Giants and Jets on a two-team parlay walked away winners. Can they do it again? The answer will come on Sunday (Dec. 13) when the Giants (+2½) host the Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. and the Jets (+13½) travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks at 4 p.m. The week will kick off Thursday (Dec. 10) when the New England Patriots (+5) visit the Los Angeles Rams at 8:20 p.m. You can wager on all the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. One can wager on a full slate of college football games as well. There are also other sports available to bet on in the book from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday.   Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that stakes purses for the 2021 harness racing season will total more than $20 million.  Spearheaded by the return of the $6.5 million Breeders Crown to the prolific New Jersey oval for the first time since 2016, the stakes opportunities abound from March through November.   Important seasonal highlights include the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $700,000 Meadowlands Pace and well over $1 million in New Jersey bred events.  The stakes will begin with the second edition of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for 4-year-old pacers and trotters in March and April, respectively.  The Meadowlands Championship Meet and Grand Circuit (GC) racing begins with the first of three Graduate Series legs for the pacers on May 1. The first Graduate leg for the trotters goes on May 22, leg #2 for both is at Woodbine at Mohawk Park (WMP) on June 5 then a return to The Meadowlands for leg #3 on June 26 precedes the $250,000e finals on July 10.  The first leg of the Versatility goes on May 8 at Meadowlands, WMP hosts leg #2 on May 28, the third leg on Pace night, leg #4 on July 31 and the fifth leg on September 10 are all at The Meadowlands, with the $100,000e final at Delaware on Jug Day.  The $180,000e Arthur Cutler Memorial maintains its customary position as the first major GC stake for older trotters on May 15. May will also bring two legs and the rich finals of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for the sophomore set. The first 2-year-old Grand Circuit event of the season will be the Tompkins-Geers on June 18. The NJSS freshman stakes will race two legs and a final through the month of July and the SBOA of NJ sponsored Homegrown 2-year-old pace goes on June 26 while the baby trotters will race in the Garden State on August 6. The popular Kindergarten series for freshman trotters and pacers have the first leg on Friday, July 23, resume in September with legs on September 17 and 24 then wrap up with the fourth and last leg on November 6 leading into the $200,000e finals on November 13.  The month of July is filled with an embarrassment of riches beginning on July 3 with the Roll With Joe Open Pace, Crawford Farms Open Trot, Artiscape Open Mare Pace and Joie De Vie Open Mare Trot, all of which had previously been raced at Tioga Downs moving to The Meadowlands. The purse for each is estimated at $175,000.  The track's signature event, The Meadowlands Pace, highlights "The Greatest Night In Harness Racing" a $2.5 million extravaganza that counts the Mistletoe Shalee, Hambletonian Maturity, WR & Dorothy Haughton (formerly known as the Golden Girls) Memorials for FFA pacers and important Hambletonian preps, the Stanley Dancer and Del Miller on July 17.  Hambletonian Day falls on Saturday, August 7 in 2021 and the sport's marquee day of racing will boast $3.5 million in purses led by the $1 million trotting classic and its $500,000 filly companion stake.  The supporting stakes include a preview of prospects for the 2022 Hambo as the baby trotters see their first major tests of the season in the Peter Haughton & Jim Doherty. Adding further intrigue is the expected All Star cast of important stakes consisting of the Cane Pace & Shady Daisy 3-year-old pacing stakes, the John Cashman &, Dr. John Steele and the Sam McKee and Lady Liberty respectively will field the best older trotters and pacers racing. The Fall Meet is heavy with important Grand Circuit stakes led of course by the $6.5 million Breeders Crown. The eliminations will be held on the weekend of October 22 & 23 with the rich finals on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30. But wait, there's more!  As the calendar turns to November and the Kindergarten series concludes on November 13, the very next weekend will see the return of the sport's top 2-year-olds in the $2 million Freshman Fall Final Four and the best older horses will sort out the order for seasonal awards in the $1 million TVG Championships.   "We look forward to the 2021 stakes season at The Meadowlands with great anticipation," said Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "The stakes roster is incredible and the return of the Breeders Crown is the cherry on top. Owners, breeders, trainers and drivers will have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their prized colts and fillies at the mecca of Standardbred racing over the finest racetrack in North America and The Meadowlands is thrilled to play host."   The entire 2021 stakes schedule will be posted to the internet soon.     Nick Salvi

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