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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Captain Barbossa and Papi Rob Hanover won in impressive fashion in Kindergarten Classic action Friday night as live harness racing  returned to the Meadowlands after a nine-week hiatus. A son of Captaintreacherous-Swinging Beauty, Captain Barbossa was an easy three-quarter length, wire-to-wire winner over Team Best in the first of two dashes for colts and geldings on the pace in the Kindergarten, which is for 2-year-olds. Andy McCarthy put the Tony Alagna trainee on the point early, then cut out all the fractions on the way to a 1:52 score, his third win in 12 lifetime starts. The lifetime earner of $113,079, who returned $2.60 to his backers as the 1-5 public choice, has hit the board nine times. In the other division for male pacers, 1-9 favorite Papi Rob Hanover was a dominant winner for driver David Miller and trainer Brett Pelling as the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover stopped the clock in 1:52. Miller had the lifetime earner of $315,358 sit a three-hole trip to the top of the stretch before swinging wide in the lane and easily powering past his foes to record a 2½-length score over Force N Fury. He’s won three-of-eight in his career, hitting the board in every start, and returned $2.10 to win. GETTING IT DUNN: Fresh off his superb week at Lexington’s Red Mile, where he was the leading Grand Circuit driver, Dexter Dunn had four winners on the card. Scott Zeron, Marcus Miller and David Miller had two apiece. A LITTLE MORE: The Linda Toscano-trained Rocknificent impressed from just off the pace as the 3-5 choice in a division of the Kindergarten for pacing fillies, stopping the clock in 1:54.1, one of two winners on the night for the Hall of Fame trainer. … Nifty Norman also conditioned a pair to victory lane. … All-source handle on the 13-race program totaled $2,294,061. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After a nine-week hiatus that began at the conclusion of a highly successful Hambletonian Day, live harness racing returns to the Meadowlands on Friday night (Oct. 11). During October and November, live action will be conducted on Fridays and Saturdays. December will see Thursdays added to the schedule. All live harness programs will have a post time of 7:15 p.m. There will be special racing "doubleheaders" during October as Monmouth Park will conduct turf racing on the Meadowlands' grass course. Racing fans can make it a full day at the Big M on October 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26, as the thoroughbreds will be in action with a 12:30 p.m. post before harness racing in the evening. JUICY STAKES: They'll be plenty of stakes action during the Big M's 2019 Fall Meeting as 2-year-olds will be in action in the Kindergarten Series. Preliminaries are slated for the first three weekends of the meet before four big-money finals - with purses totaling more than $700,000 - take place on Nov. 2. The action then heats up even more on Nov. 16, with eliminations for the Goldsmith Maid (2-year-old filly trot), Three Diamonds (2-year-old filly pace), Valley Victory (2-year-old colt trot) and Governor's Cup (2-year-old colt pace) before the biggest night of the fall takes place one week later with the finals for those four events - with purses in excess of $1.75 million - as well as the finals for four other huge contests, featuring some of the biggest equine stars in the game. The TVG Mare Trot (for a purse of $175,000), TVG Mare Pace ($175,000), TVG Open Trot ($350,000) and TVG Open Pace ($350,000) will also be offered on "Fall Final Four" Night on Nov. 23. Racing fans may recall the 2018 TVG Open Pace, which resulted in a dominant 1:48 score by McWicked to lock up Horse of the Year honors. SUPER SIMULCAST: The stars of every division will be on display at Woodbine at Mohawk Park as the 2019 Breeders Crown will be contested at Canada's top harness track. All Crown events will be simulcast to the Meadowlands. Eliminations will take place on Oct. 18 and 19 with the finals slated for Oct. 25 and 26. FREE POKER FRIDAY: Not only is live racing back, so are "Free Poker Fridays" at the Meadowlands. For those 21 years of age and older, free Texas Hold'em tournaments will be conducted in the Gallery, hosted by World Free Poker. Players can pre-register or walk-up. Games begin at 7 p.m. BET THE NFL, MLB PLAYOFFS: Bet all of the National Football League games as well as the Major League Baseball playoffs at the Big M in the FanDuel Sportsbook. Sit comfortably and watch all the action in the book or head over to Victory Sports Bar, where there are many places to watch the games while taking advantage of the many available drinking and dining options. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will kick off the 2019 Fall Meet on Friday, October 11 with live harness racing on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:15 pm.   The Kindergarten series will resume with leg #4 on Friday with legs on the following two Fridays, leading up to the November 2 finals.   The double draw condition sheet for the weekend is available online and the box will close on Tuesday, October 8 at 9:00 am.   A new racing application is required to race the fall meet. They can be downloaded here, signed and faxed to (201) 460-4042.   Horsemen are encouraged to sign up for the Meadowlands text service to receive all current info on draws, important racing updates and special announcements.   Next qualifiers are Saturday, October 12. Those will be drawn on Wednesday, October 9 with a box close of 10:00 am.   You may reach the Racing office at (877) 782-2537.   From the Meadowlands Media Department      

The Monmouth at Meadowlands thoroughbred meet kicks off the first of seven all-turf race cards this Friday, October 4, with 62 horses entered across the six-race program. The turf meet runs Fridays & Saturdays (Oct 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26) with a 12:30pm first post. Starting Friday, Oct 11 the Meadowlands Racetrack will host racing double headers each Friday and Saturday when the fall harness meet opens with a 7:15pm post time. A full slate of activities and dining options will be available throughout the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet, with racing fans having a chance to win cash and other prizes each race day. In addition, guests can also "Rock Out for The Cure" on Saturday, October 5 with Enough Said on Victory Terrace. Tickets are $20 at the door with $10 donated to Susan G Komen in support of breast cancer awareness month. More information can be found at http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16486 The Lounge will be open for the all-grass meet with a full bar and lunch menu along with Victory Sports Bar. Trotters will be open for horsemen to sit and watch the afternoon races (no food service). There's free parking, free admission and free seating, both inside and out at the Meadowlands. Live turf programs will be $2, simulcast books $4. For more information visit www.monmouthpark.com or www.playmeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will hold harness racing qualifying races on Thursday, October 3 at 10am.   You may enter electronically until 10am on Wednesday, October 2 or by calling the Racing Office at 201-842-5130 on Wednesday morning.   Live racing for the fall starts on Friday, October 11 with the fourth leg of the Kindergarten Series. The Kindergarten will race legs each Friday for the subsequent weeks leading up to the finals on Saturday, November 2.   Information on the first condition sheet and draw schedule will be available soon.   From the Meadowlands Media Department    

East Rutherford, NJ - With the major yearling sales coming up, we felt it necessary to have those with an interest in harness racing be made aware of a few recent developments involving The Meadowlands for 2020 listed below. On Wednesday, September 18 at a meeting of the New Jersey Racing Commission, a request by The Meadowlands to eliminate Lasix for 2-year-old Standardbreds racing in New Jersey for 2020 and 2021 and for the 2021 Meadowlands Pace was rejected. This request was opposed unanimously by the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and by some practicing veterinarians. It is our intention to re-submit this request within the next six to eight months once we have a better understanding of how the public is going to react to the negative press that the thoroughbred industry has recently received. In addition, we have been officially notified by the Monmouth Park Thoroughbreds that they intend to exercise their option to convert the surface of the racetrack and race on the Meadowlands main track from October 2 through December 5 next fall. While it is still possible that they will reconsider based on the costs, we must assume that there will be no live harness meet next fall at the Meadowlands. Should that occur, The Meadowlands would extend the 2020 live meet beyond Hambletonian Day, racing until mid-September. Regarding a few of the important stakes that have historically been raced during the fall meet, our intention would be to race the Kindergarten Classic Finals and TVG Finals right after the Little Brown Jug and prior to the beginning of the Lexington meet. It is as of now unclear what will be done with the Fall Freshman Final Four stakes which have annually taken place at the end of November. In any case, we thought it important that everyone be aware of these developments so you may plan accordingly. From the Meadowlands Media Department

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment encourages fans to come out to eat, drink and rock out in support of breast cancer awareness month on Saturday, October 5th. There will be live harness racing that evening. "Enough Said" will perform on Victory Terrace with great views of the New York City skyline. Local residents and diehard jammers, Victor Nichols, Russell Nichols, Craig Just, Maryellen Butera Just, Domenic Maffei and Tom O'Rourke will showcase their diverse mix of classic tunes from the 60's-present and unique blend of musicianship. Delicious BBQ will be available for purchase along with full bar and signature cocktails. Doors open at 6:30pm with music starting at 8:30 pm. Tickets are$20 at the door with $10 per ticket going to Susan G. Komen to help fight breast cancer. In case of inclement weather event will be held inside the racetrack in the Gallery. Guests that wear pink will receive a Susan G. Komen scented pink bracelet. More event night information can be found at http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=16486 For more information on Susan G. Komen and to donate visit https://ww5.komen.org/ by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

The Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Sire Stakes has announced that it will institute four new events for four-year-old harness racing trotters and pacers beginning in the spring of 2020. The new races, called the New Jersey Breeders' Maturity, will be open to all horses that were nominated as yearlings to either the New Jersey Sire Stakes Premier Division or the New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund. It is expected that the races will be conducted at The Meadowlands in late March or early April and will consist of a preliminary leg and a final. Preliminary legs will go for $12,500 or $15,000 depending upon the number of entries, with the top ten point earners advancing to the finals. All preliminary legs will be contested, regardless of the number of entries. Purses for the finals shall be tiered based upon the number of entries. If less than five horses enter the purse for the final will be $30,000; if five to seven horses are entered the purse will be $40,000, and if more than seven enter the purse will increase to $50,000. To remain eligible, a nomination fee of $200 must be made for each horse by January 15, 2020. A $200 starting fee will be required to enter the preliminary leg. There will be no additional starting fees for horses that qualify for the finals. From the New Jersey Sire Stakes

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and DerbyWars.com are proud to announce the 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com - offering a record $150,000 prize pool - is set for Saturday, April 18th, 2020. 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% of entries going to player prizes and bankrolls. "Our partnership with DerbyWars.com has allowed the WHHC prize pool to increase each year and return 100% of the entry fees as prizes," said Rachel Ryan, Marketing Manager at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "We hope to see participation by both the players and industry also continue to increase." "Last year's WHHC prize pool topped $100,000 for the first time," said Mark Midland, CEO of DerbyWars. "We're excited to be part of this growing contest." The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. 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 Meadowland's 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier schedule is as follows: November 2, 2019: $100 Qualifier with 2 WHHC seats Saturday, December 21- Free Handicapping Contest - 1 seat January 3, 2020 - March 28, 2020: Free Online Survival Challenge - 3 WHHC seats Saturday, January 11: $400 Qualifier with 4 WHHC seats Saturday, February 22 - $200 contest with top 2 WHHC seats Saturday, March 7- $200 contest with 2 WHHC seats DerbyWars will host regular online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night beginning September 21. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Leroy Kelly of Hickory Hills, NY, Scot Strong of Parma Heights, Ohio and Stan Jocz of Clay, NY; winners of the Meadowlands Summer Survival Challenge, have already qualified for the 2020 WHHC Final. "We are looking forward to the 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars," said Jason Settlemoir, COO & GM of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "DerbyWars is a terrific partner for both the contest and the industry." 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. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. (Sept. 3, 2019) - Peter Grandich and Company announced today that it will be providing several of its team members, each of whom are beloved former professional athletes in the Tri-State Area, over the course of two nights at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In addition to the athlete appearances, Peter Grandich and Company will also provide numerous sports memorabilia items for drawing on those two evenings. "As a fan of harness racing for almost 50 years and involved with professional athletes for two decades, co-hosting an event with the good people at the Meadowlands Racetrack was a natural for me," said Peter Grandich, Managing Member of Peter Grandich and Company. "I am most grateful that members of my Advisory Board are making themselves available for these two great events." The first date is set for Saturday, November 9, when three former National Hockey League (NHL) standouts will be signing autographs and taking photos from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM as part of a special Hockey Night. The three players will be New York Rangers great Nick Fotiu, New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup champion Bruce Driver and Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Famer Brian Propp. In addition to the meet-and-greet, the three athletes will also take part in a race presentation later that evening. Peter Grandich and Company will then return to Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment for Football Night on Saturday, December 7. All-time New York Jets great Joe Klecko, along with his son and three-time Super Bowl champion Dan Klecko, will be signing autographs and taking photos with fans from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Later in the evening, the Kleckos will head to the winner's circle for a special race presentation. "We value our partnership with Peter Grandich and Company and would like to thank the members of his board that are attending these two great events, said Jason Settlemoir, GM and COO of Meadowlands Racing Entertainment. "We are excited to host these two nights and encourage all of our racing and sports fans to come out and meet these accomplished athletes." To learn more about Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, and to view their upcoming schedule, make sure to visit their official website: PlayMeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Omar Acosta-Cabrera of Hackensack, New Jersey, walked away with a 2019 Toyota C-HR as the grand prize winner of Meadowlands Racetrack's Championship Meet Horseplay promotion. From Friday, May 3rd through August 2nd, Horseplay participants attempted to throw their numbered horse into the window of a moving car. A winner, randomly chosen from all the horses that make it into the car, received a $100 betting voucher. Each night's winner was entered into a grand prize drawing to win the brand new 2019 Toyota C-HR on, Friday, August 2nd. Cabrera, who comes to the track every Friday night during the summer was ecstatic to win the Toyota C-HR. "This is so awesome," Cabrera exclaimed after his name was drawn. "I was looking for a new car so this came at the perfect time!" For every horse that made it into the Horseplay car, Meadowlands Racetrack donated $10 to the designated monthly charity. For the 2019 season, a total of $8,020 was donated to three local charities. The May donation recipient was A Lot to Grow: https://www.alottogrow.org/index.html  The June donation recipient was Humane Society of Bergen County Lost Pet, Inc: http://www.humanesocietybergen.org/ The July/August donation recipient was Horse Rescue United - http://horserescueunited.org/ Since 2015 Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has donated over $34,000 to local charities through Horseplay. For the most up-to-date Meadowlands Racetrack racing, event and promotions visit PlayMeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Although live racing at The Meadowlands is currently on hiatus, the quest to continue to improve the best product harness racing has to offer never sleeps.   Playing a large role in that pursuit of excellence is the competitiveness of the races, which is a compilation of many and various elements. It is obvious that Standardbred racing has evolved into a speed favoring style of racing with horses being able to win from off the pace becoming a far less frequent occurrence.   Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural has long championed a more competitive style of racing and actively seeks answers to the question of how to make the track play more fairly to horses rallying from behind as they head into the stretch.   In a July meeting with the Meadowlands regular drivers, the case was made by several of them that were the track turns banked more steeply it would reduce the momentum lost while racing on the outside through the final bend. European tracks were cited for their elevated turns and it was the opinion of those drivers that a more steeply banked turn may allow the horses racing two to three wide to sustain and even gain speed as they come out of the turn and straighten up into the stretch.   Gural agreed at that meeting to bank the Meadowlands turns to the suggested angle. That task will be undertaken by track superintendent Ryan Napierala and his crew during the dark period and changes will be in place when live racing resumes.   "It's frustrating to see so many races won by horses that make the front early and hold up," said Gural. "I am always wanting the races to be more competitive and horses able to close into a win. The drivers said banking the turns would help, so I'm banking the turns. It should also make it easier on the horses as there won't be the stress on their legs as there is without much bank and maybe they won't tire as badly."   "I'm also hopeful this will remove another reason they use to give each other holes early in the races. Those "professional courtesy" tucks change the complexion of the races completely. The drivers must recognize that they are accountable to more than just themselves and the people connected to the horse; they are also responsible to the bettor to give their horse the best chance to win. Just like everybody says, without the horseplayers there is no racing and I expect them to take this seriously."   The Meadowlands kicks off the Fall Meet on October 11 with legs of the Kindergarten series followed by the TVG Fall Championships and the Freshman Fall Final Four.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Goshen, NY - The harness racing community once again showed robust support for two of the sport's most important charities - The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) - at a casino-themed fundraiser held Hambletonian eve at The New Meadowlands in East Rutherford. .The August 2nd event, with dinner sponsorship from the connections of Atlanta, featured nearly 200 people playing casino games and vying in a poker tournament to win prizes that included an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas sponsored by Roberts Communications and The New Meadowlands. The silent auction which was sponsored by Marvin Katz included Rolling Stones tickets and New York Yankees tickets as well as Prix d'Amerique items, harness racing art and a beautiful bronze of mares and foals. Raffle prize winners won harness racing art, high tech devices, jewelry, autographed Yankees baseballs and themed baskets such as vintage Hambletonian items, Italian food and beverages, and of course, Foiled Again. Charles Keller III and Yankeeland Farm sponsored the raffle items. Approximately $80,000 was raised and will be shared equally by the two organizations after expenses. A buffet dinner and an open bar were provided throughout the evening to go along with blackjack, roulette and a great night of racing. Arden Homestead Stable sponsored the bar, and Brittany Farms and the American Ideal Syndicate underwrote dessert. Table sponsors included Arch Madness, Cameo Hills Farm, Diamond Creek Farms, Jay Farrar, Ted Gewertz & Claire Chappell in memory of Charles Iannazzo, Hambletonian Society, Max Hempt, Mary Ellen & David McDuffee, Freehold Raceway, Marion Marauder Group, McWicked, Marcus Melander Stable, David Miller, Preferred Equine, Seelster Farms, Southwind Frank, Standardbred Horse Sales, Svanstedt Stable, Sweet Lou and the United States Trottting Association. Table co-sponsors were Tony Alagna, Jenn Bongiorno, George Brennan, Corey Callahan, Daniel Dube Stable, Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras, Erv Miller Stable, Julie & Andy Miller, Brian Sears, Nick Surick Stable, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano and Paula Wellwood. Raffle and auction items were donated by Murray Brown, Bob Boni/Bluestone Farms, Brian Cashman, Tom Charters, Callie Davies-Gooch, Mary Lou Dondarski, Moira Fanning, John Polvinale, The Hambletonian Society, The New Meadowlands, Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum. Monetary donations were received from Suzie Dupler-Telle, Sugar Valley Farms and Todd Buter. The Museum is planning a major expansion project and the SRF is caring for nearly 400 horses. The money raised on August 2nd will be an important first step in achieving goals for both groups. This exceptional level of generosity by so many in the harness racing industry is profoundly appreciated by all those involved with the Museum and the SRF. A charitable event has been part of the Hambletonian festivities since 1991 and has raised a total of $1.4 million. by Janet Terhune, for the Harness Racing Museum  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The curtain came down on the Meadowlands' 2019 harness racing meet on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3), ending a seven-month run that would be the envy of any track operator. Total handle on Hambo Day was up nearly 15 percent over the year before as $6.5 million was pushed through the windows, approximately $800,000 more than the year before. The $6.5 million was by far the best single-day handle in the entire sport in 2019. Next up was the $4.4 million bet by players at Woodbine at Mohawk Park on March 30 when the track had a huge Super High-Five carryover on a mandatory payout night. The only other $4 million-plus handle this year was at the Big M on Meadowlands Pace Night ($4,044,303). The wagering trend was a positive one for the 62 Big M programs presented from the first of the year through the first Saturday in August, as a total of $174.2 million was put in play, good for an average of $2,811,179 per card. Over the same 2018 span, 58 race cards saw total wagering of $137.3 million, an average of $2,367,260. Thus, total wagering was up 27 percent at the industry's handle leader, while per-card betting increased 18 percent. One of the keys to increased handle is to card more races, and that was clearly the case this year as compared to last. During 2018, a total of 671 races were contested at the Meadowlands, an average per night of 11.56. This year, 790 races took place, good for an average of 12.74, an increase of 10.2 percent. With the additional races, there were 1,515 more starters in 2019 Big M races than there were in 2018. The track averaged 8.92 starters per race in 2019. The Meadowlands' faithful fan base bet with both hands on a consistent basis. Total handle reached $2.5 million 47 times over the 62-card span. On 12 occasions, the magic $3 million mark was achieved, while the Meadowlands Pace and Hambo accounted for the two $4 million-plus cards. "All of us at the Meadowlands are appreciative of the purse appropriation earmarked for the horse racing industry that was approved by New Jersey legislators, Gov. Phil Murphy, President of the New Jersey Senate Stephen Sweeney and Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Craig Coughlin," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "With that money in our purse account, it created more of a level playing field in the competition for horses from nearby states. "We appreciate how our horsemen have supported our entry box - we couldn't do it without them - and how our fans played our races all meeting long. We've seen consistently bigger fields at the Meadowlands, and big fields are what our fans like most when betting on our product. Competitive racing with large fields and less winning favorites at the sport's top facility is a recipe for wagering success." On the track, new fastest-ever Big M marks were established for horses of both gaits on July 6. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian champion, exploded home in :26.3 in the Graduate Final for trotters on the way to stopping the clock in 1:49.1 while Lather Up set a new mark of 1:46 in the Graduate Final for pacers, and in the process, equaled Always B Miki's fastest mile ever in the history of the sport. Grabbing headlines - as usual - was the superstar mare Shartin N, who became the fastest female in harness racing history after taking the Lady Liberty on Hambo Day in 1:46.4. It was another great year for conditioner Ron Burke, as well as his go-to driver, Yannick Gingras. Burke took his eighth straight Big M training title with 73 victories and earnings of $1.85 million while Marcus Melander had the second-highest bank account at $1.29 million. Burke, 49, also reached a remarkable milestone, becoming the first trainer in history to record 10,000 lifetime wins after his student Crucial won a Jim Doherty Memorial elimination on July 26 at the mile oval. Gingras, 40, killed it all meeting long and used a fabulous February as the catalyst for his fifth Meadowlands driving title. During those 28 days, Gingras established meet highs for wins on a single program (seven, on the 1st) and in a month (33) on the way to visiting the winner's circle a total of 127 times. He was also tops in earnings with $2.25 million. Dexter Dunn was nothing short of superb in his first full season of racing in the U.S., as the New Zealand native opened many eyes with his 86 wins, which was easily second best in the standings. Tim Tetrick's earnings of $2.18 million nosed out Dunn's ($2.14 million) in the race for second-highest driver bankroll. THE SKED: Simulcasting from Saratoga and a host of other tracks will continue every day, but there will be no live racing at the Meadowlands for eight straight weekends, beginning Aug. 9-10. Monmouth Park will conduct thoroughbred racing over the Big M's turf course on Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26. The Meadowlands will be back with live harness action on Oct. 11, and then conduct racing on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 30 before adding Thursdays in December. There will be both thoroughbred and harness racing on the same day on Oct. 11, 12, 18, 25 and 26. Post time for harness racing is 7:15 p.m. Post time for thoroughbred racing will be announced at a later date. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

The Hambletonian Future wager proved to be an extreme value play for those following and cashing in on the race winner Forbidden Trade.   The son of Kadabra captured the $1 million event at The Meadowlands in dramatic style returning $33.80 to win for those placing wagers close to post time. In the four separate Future wagers heading into the first jewel in Trotting's Triple Crown sharp players saw profits rise from the opening wager until the last. Forbidden Trade returned $22 in the first pool that closed with just $1,810 wagered in total. Price shoppers struck gold in the second pool when Forbidden Trade's backers were rewarded with a $103.60 payout, more than triple his post time odds. Forbidden Trade was still an overlay in the third Future wager with a $40.20 payout. The Hambletonian Future wager got significantly more traction as the race got closer to post time with $13,304 wagered in the fourth pool. Sharp players who backed the Ontario-sired colt trained by Luc Blais and driven most ably by Bob McClure took in $57.80 for a $2 wager nearly double the post time payoff. by Jay Bergman for the Hambletonian Society

Prior to Saturday (Aug. 3) afternoon, Luc Blais' fondest memories of a Hambletonian were from a race 24 years earlier, when Tagliabue won America's Trotting Classic at The Meadowlands. By Saturday evening, the events of the prior 24 hours would change that. Blais, who was a groom visiting the Meadowlands when Tagliabue captured the 1995 Hambletonian, watched Saturday at the Big M as his colt Forbidden Trade won the $1 million Hambletonian final, upsetting 1-5 favorite Greenshoe by a neck. Forbidden Trade, trained by Blais and driven by 28-year-old Bob McClure, was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and became the first Canadian champ to win the Hambletonian in the award's 30-year history. "It's amazing," Blais said. "I used to watch the race before, when I was not in it, and it was always exciting. And now, just to be in the race, it is exciting. To win, it's, I don't even know how to say it. It's a good, good, good feeling." Blais had started a horse in the Hambletonian once previously, sending Jake to the race in 2017. Jake finished sixth in his elimination and did not advance to the final. This time, Forbidden Trade was a strong-finishing third in his elimination before returning 90 minutes later to win the final. "I had confidence; I had a good feeling," said Blais, who conditions the son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory for Serge Godin's Detirmination Stable. "But we needed to be in the final first." The 57-year-old Blais is a native of western Quebec, not far from Ottawa. He got hooked on racing at an early age, watching his father, a salesman, race his own horses on the Quebec fair circuit. He worked for several stables, including Canadian Hall of Famer Yves Filion's Bayama Farms, before going on his own. "I always liked horses," Blais said. "My father had horses. He bought a classy horse with big legs. We needed to tub him and put time on him. You need to put time on the horse. A classy horse, if you put time on the horse, they're going to give back to you. That's my thinking." Blais' pick of Tagliabue's win in the Hambletonian as a favorite was due in part to the horse being unraced at 2 and brought to peak for the race. "I like that kind of story," he said. Blais said he planned to celebrate the Hambletonian win with his brother and friends before returning to work on Sunday. "Maybe we'll drink a few beers and just relax," Blais said. "After (Saturday) you have to go back to work. I think that's the only way you can be there, it's the work. You need to be there and work. And you need to have the passion, both work and passion." Blais and McClure have forged a successful relationship in the two years since McClure left Canada's 'B' tracks for the main stage of Woodbine-Mohawk. McClure's Hambletonian victory marked the third time in four years that a driver younger than 30 captured the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Scott Zeron won in 2016 with Marion Marauder at age 27 and two years later with Atlanta. "We were looking for a regular driver for the barn and he had just come from the 'B' tracks, where he was very good," Blais said. "He's a young guy, but he is a very mature guy. Very professional. He's got the talent to be a good driver. It's been a good partnership. To me, to have success, you need to work together." McClure, an Ontario native, finished second in purses in Canada in 2018 and third in wins. He led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016 and was third in 2015. He was making his Hambletonian debut with Forbidden Trade. "It hasn't sunk in yet, maybe in a few days it will," McClure said Saturday about the win. "It's certainly been career changing in the last four years. I have a lot of people to thank for that, I've had a lot of support behind me. The icing on the cake was the Determination Stable, I owe them a lot. I couldn't have done it without the people who supported me along the way." McClure admitted to some anxiety prior to the Hambletonian but was at ease when he hit the track with Forbidden Trade. "It probably didn't show on the outside in the paddock, but there were nerves," McClure said. "But whenever I hit the track, they all go away. And he's such a quiet horse, a push-button horse to drive, which makes it a lot easier on me being kind of green to this. "I would say he definitely led me. He did a very good job for me." McClure, who missed a month of action in the spring because of a broken pelvis, gave credit to Blais for having Forbidden Trade in top form for the Hambletonian. The colt entered the Hambletonian off three consecutive wins, including a prep against older foes on July 22 at Woodbine-Mohawk Park. "I do think he was underrated," McClure said about Forbidden Trade, who has won 12 of 19 career races and finished off the board only once in his past 14 races. "I think it's pretty great that the Meadowlands Pace winner (Best In Show) and the Hambo winner are Ontario-sired horses. It's really great for Ontario and Ontario racing. I think we do fly under the radar somewhat, but I think this shows we are competitive on the world stage. "Maybe we flew under the radar. I don't think we'll get away with that anymore." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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