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Nick Montemurro of Bogota, NJ, captured the February 16th World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Montemurro finished the contest with a bankroll of $682 after cashing in on three of his ten wagers. His largest score came in the eleventh race at the Meadowlands when his $30 to win on #7 Frankandjoanne banked him $594. Nick solidified his contest win with a $92 score in the final Meadowlands Race on #4 Tact Tate N. Montemurro has also qualified for the WHHC Final via DerbyWars. Gary Scogna of Carmel, NY, also qualified for the April 13th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest. Scogna hit on three of his ten wagers. The largest being a $612 score in the twelfth race at the Meadowlands with a $51 win bet on Ideal Son. The $200 Qualifier required contestants to place ten $10 minimum win wagers on Meadowlands races. The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 13, 2019], 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 $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. 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. Players can qualify for the WHHC for as low as $33 every night on DerbyWars.com. Next Saturday, February 23rd DerbyWars.com will host a WHHC Super-Qualifier with up to five spots gaining entry to the $150,000-estimated WHHC. Club Hawthorne's weekend qualifiers sent three winners into the WHHC Final. Steven Ginder, Stand Werner and Loretta Yablon will all travel to the Meadowlands on April 13th. Buffalo Raceway and TVG/4NJBets, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and Rosecroft are also hosting WHHC Qualifiers. Visit http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 for a complete qualifier schedule. 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. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Perfect conditions and ultra-competitive harness racing led to the biggest betting night of the year at the Meadowlands, as a total of $3,166,920 was pushed through the windows during the 13-race Saturday night program. It was the second time during 2019 that wagering exceeded $3 million. The night got off to a fast start at the industry's handle leader as $303,044 was wagered in the first race, with $79,108 of that poured into the 50-Cent Pick-5 pot. Not surprisingly, the second most money was wagered in the eighth race - $299,848 - with $115,218 wagered into the 50-Cent Pick-4 pool. The total bet in both the Pick-5 and Pick-4 were yearly bests. The month of February has seen six racing programs at the Big M. On those programs, a total of $17,529,832 has been wagered, for an average per card of $2,921,638. In the featured $21,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers, K Ryan Bluechip got back in the win column for the first time in six weeks, pulling off a surprise at odds of 7-1 in 1:50.4. The red-hot Tuxedo Bay, sent to the gate as the 4-5 favorite in search of a third straight score in the weekly feature, had a rough go of it. Pushed four-wide into the first turn, driver Eric Carlson had to use his horse hard to reach the quarter on the front end in :26. A rated second panel of :28 would follow, but K Ryan Bluechip, who was away early in fifth, was now making good progress while racing first over. KRB got to within a half-length of the public choice at three-quarters before powering past to lead by 1¼ lengths with three-sixteenths of a mile to go. Through the stretch, the Virgil Morgan-trained, Andy Miller-driven K Ryan Bluechip maintained his edge as Tuxedo Bay weakened, and after a leisurely final quarter of :28.4, K Ryan Bluechip had his second victory in the Preferred ranks in seven tries. It was 1¾ lengths back to Castle Flight in second. New Talent finished third while Tuxedo Bay was last in the field of six. K Ryan Bluechip, who is owned by Carl T Howard and Brian Witt, returned $17.60 as the fifth choice in the wagering. The 7-year-old gelded son of Art Major-Fool That I Am now has 32 wins in 104 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $410,484. A LITTLE MORE: Andy Miller drove three winners on the card while Corey Callahan and Dexter Dunn had two each. ... Two bettors cashed in for $6,103 after lasting seven legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. ... Mindtrip destroyed his foes as the 3-5 choice in the eighth race non-winners of $16,000 pace in a lifetime-best 1:50.1 for trainer Patti Harmon and driver Mitch Cushing. ... When racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., a carryover of $50,930 awaits those playing the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5). By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

MANALAPAN, NJ - The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey would like to clarify to all horsemen how the $20 million appropriation will be utilized. The amounts will be allocated by the New Jersey Racing Commission equally between the thoroughbred industry and the standardbred industry. Of the funds allocated to the standardbred industry, 60 percent will be allocated to the Meadowlands overnight purses; 16 percent to Freehold overnight purses; 12 percent to the New Jersey Sire Stakes purses; 12 percent to purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses and for breeders awards programs. Additionally, the Meadowlands purse account will receive a minimum of $1 million per year from the Meadowlands sports betting revenue. The SBOANJ's breeders committee will be meeting shortly to determine the best way to fund the breeding programs. If you have any questions please feel free to call the office 732-462-2357. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Since returning from a four-week layoff on Jan. 25, Resita has been on a roll for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Friday night, the 5-year-old gelded son of Manofmanymissions-Winkys Magik won his third straight, scoring in the $15,750 conditioned trotting feature at the Meadowlands. Resita, who defeated non-winners of $5,000 and non-winners of $8,500 in his last two outings, respectively, took on one-rung below the Preferred Handicap types on Friday - the non-winners of $15,000 class - and passed the test with flying colors. The formful Derf Hanover was away quickly from post eight and had the lead at the quarter in :27.2. Resita rolled past that foe and had the point at the half in :56.4 as Pappy Go Go came after the leader and continued to press the issue at three-quarters in 1:24.4. The eventual winner shrugged off Pappy Go Go turning for home, but the horse Pappy towed into contention - 25-1 longshot Nows The Moment - tipped off cover and came after Resita. Nows The Moment was in position to pull off the upset, but as he inched to almost even with Resita in deep stretch, he went off stride, and Resita went on to a 1½-length win in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. Nows The Moment finished second, but was disqualified and placed fourth for being lapped on break to two other horses - Two Am and Derf Hanover - who were declared the official second- and third-place finishers, respectively. As the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, Resita returned $7.40 to win and stayed perfect in three starts this year. He's owned by Andrea Lea Racingstables and ASA Farm. Lifetime, he's won nine of 48 outings and banked $107,664. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras' remarkable February continued as the 39-year-old scored four times on the card, giving him 27 wins in 61 starts this month. ... A simulcast player in Montreal was the only bettor to last seven legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $15,161. ... Marcus Miller, Corey Callahan and Dexter Dunn all recorded driving doubles. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,661,109. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Tuxedo Bay seeks his third straight win in the weekly pacing feature, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ - As a result of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signing Senate Bill 2992 (containing the horse racing purse supplement) into law yesterday, The Meadowlands will raise overnight harness racing purses by $40,000 per card beginning the first weekend in March, then institute another $40,000 nightly increase the first weekend of April.   While it is a great help to be able to offer purses competitive with other tracks in the region, it is vitally important that horsemen support The Meadowlands with their entries as we must demonstrate improvement in the product to NJ legislators.   The continuation of the purse subsidy is contingent on their satisfaction that these monies are being well allocated to the horse racing industry in the Garden State.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

TRENTON, NJ -- February 14, 2019 -- The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) thanks Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for passing and signing into law an essential measure to propel New Jersey's horse racing and breeding industry. The $100 million over 5 years will be used for horse racing purse allocations and greatly increase the participation in this thriving industry in the Garden State. "The SBOANJ is grateful for the tremendous support the horse racing and breeding industry has received from the State and the continuous effort to ensure that the many careers and businesses created through the industry are protected," said Mark Ford, President of the SBOANJ. "The New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy have made it a priority to create a sound and reasonable appropriation in an effort to bring tremendous economic development to NJ," Ford added. "For these reasons, we thank the Sponsors and the Governor for their leadership on this issue. This measure guarantees New Jersey's position in the industry in order to compete with the surrounding states." The horse racing industry and breeding farms not only aid and protect the preservation of open space in New Jersey, they heavily support the agribusiness and ensure thousands of jobs around the state. The new law will encourage growth in these businesses and throughout the State's economy. The SBOANJ would like to express its gratitude for the remarkable work accomplished through our advocacy efforts. The relentless work of the Association in conjunction with the valiant efforts of the State will pay dividends for the horse racing and breeding industry and the economy as a whole, allowing us to continue to provide compelling purses that will undoubtedly attract unparalleled competitors back to the state. The SBOANJ is also appreciative of the support shown by their longstanding partners  the Meadowland Racetrack, Freehold Raceway, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association of New Jersey. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Yannick Gingras is having a record stretch for a harness racing driver while betting continues at a torrid clip during February at the Meadowlands. After winning 13 races over the span of Feb. 1-2, Gingras followed that up with 10 more wins last weekend (Feb. 8-9) at the Big M, giving him 23 victories in 49 starts, for an incredible win percentage of 47. Not surprisingly, trainer Ron Burke conditioned many of Gingras' winners. Over the course of the four race cards, Burke had 15 victories in 24 starts (63 percent), with all of the winners being driven by Gingras. Cold weather, hot handle: Big M betting is on a roll of late. The first weekend of February saw just over $6 million in action before last week saw all-source wagering total just short of $5.7 million. The Superfecta, which offers a 10-cent minimum bet and lowest in the game 20 percent takeout, has seen an average pool of $38,236 Since switching to a Race 1 start, betting in the 50-Cent Pick-5 has been strong, as an average of $58,213 has been poured into play on the wager with the low 15 percent takeout The Pick-3 ($1 minimum, 20 percent rake) has averaged $28,382 The 50-Cent Pick-4 (15 percent takeout), the track's signature wager, continues to be a hit with bettors, as $97,538 has been the average pool size. Saturdays have been especially good, with average action of $109,680 The 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 (15 percent takeout) saw its first $20,000 pool of the year last Saturday, when a total of $21,633 was wagered. One lucky bettor in Ohio walked away with more than $18,000 after being the lone holder of a ticket "surviving" eight legs THIS WEEKEND: Racing continues Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ... The Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five has a carryover of $40,545 awaiting players Friday. ... Free program pages for the Big M Pick-4 are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. WHHC QUALIFIER: The World Harness Handicapping Championship rolls on at the Meadowlands on Saturday (Feb. 16) with two spots to the April 6 WHHC final up for grabs. It's $200 to get in ($100 entry fee/$100 bankroll). Contest check-in and headquarters are at the main entrance to the Clubhouse, across from the Players Club Desk. Walk-ups are welcome, but must arrive between 5:30 and 7 p.m. For complete information, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/2019_February_WHHC_qualifier.pdf BRING YOUR SWEETIE: This Friday (Feb. 15), the Big M's Pink restaurant will offer a special Valentine's Day celebration with a $44.95 buffet that includes a glass of champagne and a red rose for the ladies. In addition, every time a driver with red in his colors wins, two lucky drawing winners will receive $50 betting vouchers in "Cupid's Cashout". The entry form will be in the live program. On Saturday (Feb. 16), the $44.95 buffet will be offered once again in Pink, and this time, a Florida vacation will be up for grabs, as one drawing winner will walk away with a trip to Orlando. Once again, entry forms will be in the live program. MADNESS IS COMING: It is upon us! March 19 marks the start of the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament. Come on out to the Big M and watch and wager on the games in the FanDuel Sports Book. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands slate of harness racing Grand Circuit stakes for 2019 has a nomination close of February 15.   All pertinent information is available on the track website. Questions may be directed to the Racing Office at 201-842-5130.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing trainer Mark Silva purchased Tuxedo Bay last fall and started out racing the 5-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Spring Break in middle of the road conditioned classes at Harrah's Philadelphia. Saturday night at the Meadowlands, Tuxedo Bay proved that Silva has a sharp eye for talent by winning the weekly pacing feature at the Big M, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap, for a second straight start in a lifetime-best 1:50. New Talent grabbed the track early and put Tuxedo Bay in the two-hole. After a quarter of :27, driver Eric Carlson hit the gas in an attempt to put Tuxedo Bay on top but was rebuffed by the leader and had to go back into the pocket. But his time would come. New Talent hit the half in :55.1 before being pressured by the first-over Odds On Lauderdale, which quickened the tempo and forced New Talent to go a :27.3 third fraction as three-quarters was reached in 1:22.4. For a second straight start, New Talent was game to the wire, but in deep stretch, he could not hold off an explosive Tuxedo Bay, who sped up the inside once clear to record a 1½-length win. New Talent held second with Mindtrip third. As the 4-5 favorite, Tuxedo Bay paid $3.60 to win and now has 13 lifetime victories in 61 starts, good for earnings of $167,018. Since being acquired by Silva, Tuxedo Bay has won five of eight starts and banked $49,160. HO-HUM, FIVE FOR GINGRAS: The amazing Yannick Gingras kept winning at a breath-taking pace, scoring five times on the program. According to the Meadowlands' Bob "Hollywood" Heyden, Gingras' 23 winners (in only 49 starts) over the last four race cards are easily a Big M all-time best for such a span. ... Dexter Dunn won three times on the card while Carlson scored twice. A LITTLE MORE: Betting in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 pool was a 2019-best $21,633, and one lucky simulcast player in Ohio raked the pot. After surviving eight legs, he or she walked away with $18,388.12. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 was a big hit with bettors for a second straight Saturday, as $108,063 was poured into the pool. Last week, the number was just over $110,000. ... Overall wagering remained strong, as all-source betting totaled $2,751,957. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Next Saturday, February 16th the Meadowlands hosts a World Harness Handicapper Chamionship (WHHC) Qualifier. Two spots are up for grabs in the $200 Qualifier ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to make $10 Win bets on ten Meadowlands races of their choice. Players can wager more than $10 a race if they desire. Players can register on-site Saturday up until 7:15 pm. DerbyWars hosts regular online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday through March. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Upcoming partner track qualifiers include: Club Hawthorne: WHHC Qualifiers on February 15 & 16 with two seats into the World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com TVG/4NJBets: 2 WHHC Qualifiers (one each in February & March) with four total spots for the Final Vernon Downs: 2 WHHC spots up for grabs in their March 1st and 16th contests Tioga Downs: 2 WHHC spots up for grabs in their March 8th and 23rd contests Buffalo Raceway: 1 WHHC seat given away in their March 16th contest Qualifier information can be found at http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 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. - Trolley continued his reign as the harness racing trotting "King of the Meadowlands" by winning a third straight Preferred Handicap at the Meadowlands Racetrack Friday night. The red-hot 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride, who benefited from great driver Marcus Miller handling, won his fourth feature in his last five tries and sixth race in his last seven overall. Sent off as the 2-5 public choice, Miller had Trolley on the go from the start but was pushed wide into the first turn. Miller opted to settle his horse into the five-hole instead of going on with it, and that may have made the difference. Misslarose, up in the Preferred ranks off consecutive wins with high-class conditioned foes, moved past early leader Derf Hanover after the quarter and hit the half in :57. Cash Me Out was racing first over at the half, providing a perfect second-over trip for Trolley, who stayed with that cover into the stretch before tipping with a little more than an eighth of a mile to go. The Erv Miller trainee needed every inch of the stretch to get past a stubborn Misslarose, but he collared the leader nearing the wire, before going on to a half-length win in 1:55.1 on an extremely windy East Rutherford night. Cash Me Out finished third. Trolley returned $2.80 to his backers while staying perfect in three starts this year. Overall, he's won half of his 28 lifetime outings and earned $323,951 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. GINGRAS STAYS HOT: Driver Yannick Gingras continued his winning ways, scoring five times on the program. After 13 winner's circle visits last weekend (Feb. 1-2), 'The Green Hornet' has now won 18 of his last 38 Meadowlands' drives. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering stayed strong at the industry's handle leader as all-source action totaled $2,927,806 on the 13-race card. The last four Big M cards have seen the top four handles this year, topped by last Saturday's $3.1 million. ... One shrewd simulcast player wagering into the Fairmount hub used 35-1 shot Buckeye In Charge on top in the 13th race, and in the process, raked the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five pot to the tune of $23,467.26. The winning combination was 7-4-3-2-8. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

Celebrate Valentine's Day all weekend long at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment next Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th. Live racing begins at 7:15 pm on both nights. On both Friday and Saturday, PINK has a special lavish buffet, perfect for a couple's night out. For $44.95 per person, you can dine on a sumptuous buffet menu that includes New Orleans-style crab bisque, tortellini with asparagus in pomegranate vinaigrette, Icelandic cod with scallions and snow peas, pan roasted chicken breast with wild mushrooms in a champagne reduction and fresh fruit with chocolate sauce. To add more passion to the night, diners will enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling champagne and a red rose for the ladies. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM (201-843-2446) The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment also has two great promotions planned for the weekend. On Friday customers can enter to win a $50 betting voucher every time a driver with red in his colors wins a race. Then on Saturday fans can enter the Get Lucky Getaway Sweepstakes. One lucky contestant will win a trip for two to Orlando, FL. Hotel and airfare are included in the prize. Visit PlayMeadowlands.com for live racing and event information. by Rachel Ryam, from the Meadowlands  

East Rutherford, NJ - In response to Tuesday's announcement regarding the cancellation of the Governor's Cup and Three Diamonds stakes, several of last year's contributing sponsors have indicated that they would renew their support for the 2019 harness racing season.   As a result and with the February 15 deadline looming, The Meadowlands will accept nomination payments on those stakes while continuing to seek sponsorships. A decision on the fate of the stakes will then be made by early March.   The unfortunate truth is that the entire stakes sponsorship program is down significantly from 2018 and the purse supplement granted by the NJ Legislature does not allocate any funds for the Grand Circuit stakes.   The Meadowlands welcomes those who may be interested in becoming stakes sponsors for 2019. Please contact Vice President of Sponsorships Sales Jason Hall who may be reached via email at JHall@TiogaDowns.com or by phone at 607-972-6526 .   In the interest of clarity as to the distribution of the allocation and the measures that will be used to determine if the subsidy will be continued beyond the current fiscal year, NJ Senate Bill 2992 is available in its entirety from this link: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S3000/2992_R2.HTM   The language directing the use of the supplement is clear;   "There shall be appropriated out of the General Fund of the State in the current fiscal year 2019 and in each of the four fiscal years thereafter $20,000,000 annually to the New Jersey Racing Commission to be used for horse racing purse subsidies. These amounts shall be allocated by the New Jersey Racing Commission equally between the thoroughbred industry and the standardbred industry. Of the funds allocated to the thoroughbred industry, 100 percent shall be allocated to Monmouth Park overnight purses. Of the funds allocated to the standardbred industry, 60 percent shall be allocated to Meadowlands overnight purses; 16 percent to Freehold overnight purses; 12 percent to the New Jersey Sire Stakes purses; 6 percent to purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses; and 6 percent for breeders awards purses." by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

February 7, 2019 -- The deadline for the New Jersey Sire Stakes and Standardbred Development Fund's first sustaining payments is the last chance for owners of two-year-old and three-year-old pacers and trotters to be kept eligible to the 2019 Premier Division and Standardbred Development Fund racing programs. The NJSS Premier Division will be contested exclusively again at The Meadowlands in 2019 starting in May/early June for three-year-olds and in late June/July for two-year-olds. In the fall the competition will switch to the New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund series of races. The SDF is open to all horses sired by a New Jersey-based stallion as well as the offspring of mares who have resided in New Jersey for a minimum of 150 days, regardless of where the sire stands. Previous registration of the mare while she was in foal and a yearling nomination are required to establish eligibility. The SDF races will be held beginning in late August with the opening of the fall meet at Freehold Raceway , the location of all races in the series. The NJSS Premier Division's first sustaining payment remains $300 for both two-year-olds and three-year-olds. The initial Standardbred Development Fund sustaining payment for both two-year-olds and three-year-olds continues at $100. Also on February 15, a $650 supplemental 2018 yearling nomination (for foals of 2017) can be made for eligibility to the New Jersey Sire Stakes Premier Division and the SDF. Those fees are in addition to the sustaining payments for two-year-olds also due on February 15. The supplemental fee for the Sire Stakes Premier division is $700 if the foal was produced by an out-of-state breeding. The first two-year-old sustaining payments must be made in order to keep the horse eligible as a three-year-old in 2020 to both the Premier Division and the Standardbred Development Fund, even if the horse does not race in 2019 as a two-year-old. Horsemen are also reminded of the upcoming nomination for the Renaissance Pace for two-year-old pacers-open and filly divisions. The Renaissances will be raced in September at Freehold Raceway and is open to all horses that have been nominated to the Standardbred Development Fund. Sustaining fees of $700 for the Open Division and $400 for the Filly Division are due March 15. Sustaining payment and supplemental nomination forms, as well as race dates and other information, may be found on the NJSS website at www.newjerseysirestakes.com. All payments must be in U. S. funds. No late payments will be accepted and no billing notices will be mailed. Certified mail is strongly recommended to NJSS, P.O. Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. From Christopher Castens, for the NJS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke and big action highlighted a huge weekend of harness racing at the Meadowlands last Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1-2). Formal records aren't available, but when it comes to what Burke and Gingras combined to do last week, they likely aren't necessary. Since the inception of the Big M racing primarily twice a week in 2013, it's hard to imagine any trainer-driver team winning 11 times (in only 13 starts) over the course of a weekend, as Burke and Gingras did a week ago, combining to win five times Friday before taking a half-dozen winner's circle trips Saturday. "Yannick thought we had won six in a night once before," said Burke, "but to go back-to-back like we did is really hard to do." Burke won't be able to equal his win output during this weekend's action at the Big M, however - he only has 10 horses entered. "The more you win with conditioned horses there's more of a chance the next losing streak is coming," said Burke, "because they are up in class after winning. I don't need to win that many in any weekend anyway, I just need to be consistent." Gingras won twice driving horses for someone other than Burke on Friday to total seven victories, one short of the single-card record shared by Brett Miller and Mike Lachance. Again, with formal records unavailable, it's not known if after winning six more on Saturday that his 13 wins (25 starts) over the weekend are a Big M best, but it's extremely likely. While Burke and Gingras were winning at a white-hot pace, betting was like a wildfire in high winds during the two 13-race programs. All-source wagering on Friday was $2,874,831, the second-highest total of 2019. The next night, play reached the magic $3 million mark for the first time this year, as $3,147,209 was pushed through the windows. "What a great weekend of racing it was," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, "and we are grateful to our fans, who supported us in a big way by betting over $6 million during the two cards." The Big M's popular 50-Cent Pick-4 wager took in a meet-high $110,700 on Saturday, and those who were sharp enough to cash a winning ticket walked away with $1,083.80. Free program pages for the upcoming Pick-4s this Friday and Saturday are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. The wager is offered on races eight through 11 and sports a low 15 percent takeout. STUDY YOUR FIVE COURSES: On Saturday (Feb. 9), come on out to the Big M's Pink restaurant and enjoy an incredible Italian feast. All five dinner courses will be paired with a wine that compliments each course perfectly. The cost is $70. To make reservations, call 201-460-4079. STUDY FOR THE WHHC: The World Harness Handicapping Championship rolls on at the Meadowlands on Saturday (Feb. 16) with a $200 entry fee and two spots to the April 6 WHHC Final on the line. Based on 100 entries, there will be $10,000 in prize money. For complete information, go to http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/2019_February_WHHC_qualifier.pdf. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

MANALAPAN, NJ -- February 6, 2019 -- Yesterday the Meadowlands canceled the Governor's Cup and the Three Diamonds, fall races for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies, respectively, with nominations due next week on Feb. 15. The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) had not been notified of these cancellations prior to the announcement, and to clarify the Meadowlands release, while the $6 million earmarked for the Meadowlands from the proposed New Jersey state $10 million appropriation cannot be used for stakes events, that is not the case for the minimum of $1 million guaranteed to be received from sports betting revenues as that would be part of the general purse account, and can, in fact, be used for stakes and added money events. The $4 million balance of the purse allocation will be directed to Freehold Raceway overnight purses and the New Jersey Sire Stakes and other breeding related programs. The SBOA plans to communicate this to the Meadowlands for further discussion, with the hope that these two important events can be reinstated. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

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