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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – In what is now unquestionably harness racing’s best rivalry, Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night’s $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at the Meadowlands in Round 2 of the rabid duel between the top two trotters in training. Two weeks ago, Manchego held off Atlanta by a nose in the Miss Versatility in the fastest trotting mile of the year of 1:50. Things panned out similarly this time around, except that Atlanta got the better of her foe this time around. Atlanta (post five) was the first away from the gate and led into the first turn. Driver Yannick Gingras was willing to yield to Manchego (post six) and Dexter Dunn, but not before extending that one ever so slightly into a sizzling opening quarter of :25.4. “Maybe not :25.4,” was Gingras’ response when asked about the fast opening fraction. “I didn’t think we’d be going that fast. I definitely wanted to stretch her out. I had drawn inside of her and wanted to take advantage of it.” That took just enough starch out of the even-money choice. While rating the middle half, Manchego took a stiff challenge from 17-1 longshot Chin Chin Hall, who was on even terms with the leader while parked at three-quarters in 1:23.1. Once straightened away in the stretch, Manchego and Atlanta – who opted to get behind Chin Chin Hall coming out of the far turn before swerving three-wide into the lane – would once again duke it out, just as they did on June 19. In deep stretch, it would be Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, prevailing by a half-length in 1:50.1, just a fifth-of-a-second slower than Round 1. Lindy The Great rallied to get third. “There were some anxious moments around the last turn,” said Gingras. “We were going pretty slow, and there was strategy on both sides. He was trying to keep me locked in. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze out. I thought I had it won at the top of the stretch when I cleared.” Atlanta The Ron Burke-trained Atlanta, a 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip, returned $5.40 as the 8-5 second choice in the wagering. She’s won 21 of 41 career starts for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, and became harness racing’s newest double millionaire, as her earnings swelled to $2,006,089. WHO WILL GRADUATE? Bettor’s Wish, harness racing’s top earner ($1.6 million) in 2019, won the third of three $50,000 divisions of the second and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers in 1:48.2. The Chris Ryder-trained, Dexter Dunn-driven son of Bettor’s Delight-Lifetime Star swung three-wide at three-quarters and stormed home in :25.3 to record a 2-length score over Workin Ona Mystery as the 1-5 favorite. Brassy Hanover came first over around the far turn to pull off an upset in the first division. Driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Jeff Cullipher, Brassy Hanover, sent to the gate at odds of 10-1, stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:48.1. Hurrikane Emperor was the 6-5 favorite and led at three-quarters before settling for the show dough. Division two was taken by 12-1 chance Bllack Hole. Tim Tetrick drove the winner for trainer Scott DiDomenico and paced the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48. Dancin Lou, the 3-5 favorite, yielded the front before three-quarters and finished third. The Graduate Finals for pacers and trotters will take place next Saturday (July 11). Each has a purse of $250,000. KEEPING PACE: Brett Pelling’s potent Meadowlands Pace pair did good things, as his Allywag Hanover was shot out of a cannon late to win in a lifetime-best 1:48, while Papi Rob Hanover, currently second-ranked in the track’s weekly Road to the Meadowlands Pace Top 10, went a tough 10-hole trip yet was still crisp late, finishing second to the sharp Tony Alagna-trained Capt Midnight, who won in a lifetime-best 1:49.3. The Meadowlands Pace Eliminations are next Saturday (July 11). A LITTLE MORE: Wagering surpassed the $3-million mark for the fifth time in 2020, as a total of $3,027,797 was pushed through the windows. …  The Late 50-cent Pick-4 took monster action, as $113,121 was put in play. The only Pick-4 to take more action during 2020 was on Feb. 1, when $117,502 in bets were taken. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. For the full results of tonight's program click here By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Meadowlands played host to four New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for 3-year-olds Friday night, and driver Tim Tetrick was on his game, grabbing two victories and a second on a night that saw him win four of the 13 races on the harness racing card. Tetrick's twosome began with Odds On Sarasota, who won the $160,000 Filly Pace in a lifetime-best 1:52.2 for trainer Ross Croghan. She returned $3.80 to win in scoring for the fifth time in seven lifetime starts, good for earnings of $131,200. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Odds On Charmaine, who also won the first two NJSS legs to complete a three-race sweep, followed live cover to get to the top at the half in :56. When even-money second choice Kelly's Champ went on a wild break scattering the field at the five-eighths, it was a walk in the park for the 4-5 public choice. At the wire, it was 4¾ lengths back to Thundra. Wynona Strided finished third. "She's been steppy off and on at times," said Tetrick. "But tonight, she was really good and got the job done pretty impressively. [After making the lead] I was pretty sure they would be happy to follow me. I worked my way to the lead, and after that, she kind of coasted and drew away from them. Last week, she got a real easy trip [winning in 1:55] and I didn't have to use her. So I thought tonight she could wear them out." Odds On Sarasota The completion of Tetrick's NJSS double came in the $160,000 Filly Trot, as the 38-year-old pilot guided Ab'sattitudexpress to a 1¾-length score over 7-5 favorite Dubai Princess in a lifetime-best 1:52.2. Common Sense S was third. Tetrick, driving the Lucas Wallin trainee for the first time, had the 4-1 third choice in the wagering right where he wanted him: Tracking the public choice. "Last week, my horse looked really impressive [winning in 1:52.4]," said Tetrick. "But it was going to be tough beating Dubai Princess. We got a great trip and my horse trotted well to the finish line." Tetrick's formula for success was to sit a pocket trip and strike late. "Lucas said I could do whatever I wanted," said Tetrick. "That gave me a lot of options, so I got out of there and followed the favorite. That mare [Dubai Princess] came up a little off nearing the wire and run out a little bit, so I had to go up the inside. She shot right through there and we got our picture taken." Ab'sattitudexpress, a daughter of Trixton-Abbie'sgotattitude, paid $10.60 to win and now has four wins from six lifetime outings and earnings of $111,000. Ab'sattitudexpress Tetrick's bid for a Sire Stakes triple was foiled by Rockin The Aces, who gunned down Tetrick and even-money public choice Rock Me Hard by a half-length in a lifetime-best 1:49.4 in the $160,000 Colts and Geldings Pace. Rockin The Gates was third. Rockin The Aces, driven by Brian Sears and trained by Robert Cleary, went a perfect second-over trip around the far turn, getting a perfect tow from the first-over favorite, before ducking inside late to record the score. The gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Mattaroni won for the fourth time in nine lifetime outings. His earnings stand at $176,278. Rockin The Aces Chalk players were no doubt nervous in the early going but Play Trix On Me lived up to his 1-9 post-time odds promise in taking the $128,000 Colts and Geldings Trot. "That's not what I expected," said winning trainer Toscano of her prized pupil's trip. "Last year, he was much the best in this division, so he was winning on the front end. It's important for him to go both ways. He is learning well." Play Trix On Me, who is now a two-time NJSS champion, was pushed extremely wide into the first turn and had to take back to fifth at the quarter before driver Scott Zeron moved the son of Trixton-Lima Playmate to the outside at the three-eighths to start his march toward the leaders. 'Trix' was still 2½ lengths behind leader Toccoa Falls at three-quarters, but once straightened away in the stretch, it was no match, as Play Trix On Me stormed home to record a three-quarter-length win in 1:53.3. Jula Trix Treasure rallied for second with AP Hall Of Trix grabbing the show dough. Play Trix On Me paid $2.20 to win while winning for the seventh time in nine lifetime starts. His bankroll now stands at $204,850. Play Trix On Me A LITTLE MORE: The Meadowlands welcomed back fans into the track for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown, with the grandstand available to 25 percent capacity. Many others watched and wagered on the races outdoors. ... Volatile weather, which saw lightning strikes close by, caused a lengthy delay before the third race, which made it necessary to move quickly from post parade to race for the rest of the night, causing handle numbers to suffer. The total wager of $2,451,141 ended the Big M's streak of 15 straight racing programs with at least $2.5 million in action. ... The night got off to a big start as a season's-best $98,037 was poured into the 20-cent Pick-5 pool. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ - Harness racing fans will be in the grandstand for live racing tonight and tomorrow at the Meadowlands. The grandstand will open to 25 percent capacity indoors. The Apron area will also be open (at 500 social gathering limit) with teller machines available for wagering. Once capacity is reached guests will be asked to wait in their cars until space becomes available. Guests are encouraged to make dining reservations for guaranteed seating. The West Deck will be open for dining with a $29.95 pre-fixed menu featuring a variety of cold salads, grilled chicken, burgers and hot dogs, New York Strip steak and baked cod. A selection of pre-packaged desserts will also be available. The Backyard BBQ & Grill is also open for dinner with waitress. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201.842.5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. All racing and dining information can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com and the health questionnaire can be downloaded and filled out prior to From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - During the four weeks since the end of the coronavirus shutdown at the Meadowlands, the racing has offered its usual high-octane action. What's been different is that arguably the sport's best driver colony has managed to get even better, as with Yonkers not racing - for the time being - on Fridays and Saturdays, some of The Hilltop's best drivers have come over the George Washington Bridge to race at the mile oval just off the New Jersey Turnpike. Jason Bartlett, Jordan Stratton, Jim Marohn Jr., Mark MacDonald, Scott Zeron, Brian Sears, Joe Bongiorno and George Brennan have been seen at the Big M recently, in addition to the track's already all-star lineup that includes Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick, Dave Miller, Dexter Dunn, Andy McCarthy, Corey Callahan, Marcus Miller and Andy Miller. One could argue that not since the days of the early 2000s, when drivers John Campbell, Mike Lachance, Luc Ouellette, Ron Pierce and Cat Manzi were joined by young guns like the aforementioned Dave Miller, Gingras, Tetrick, Brennan and Sears, has the Big M colony been as talent-laden. Derick Giwner of DRF Harness wrote about the strength of the driver colony in his column earlier this week, and spoke with Campbell, the all-time leading pilot in Big M history. "I think the driving colony [at The Meadowlands] right now is as strong as ever," said Campbell. "I'm a firm believer that the top drivers from any era would make the adjustment and be competitive in any style of racing." "It's a competitive field of drivers," said the six-time Hambletonian and seven-time Meadowlands Pace winner. "You see some talented drivers who are racing just two or three horses a night, when, in the past, they would have a full card." Last week saw Big M regulars do the most winning, as McCarthy led the way with five winners. Next up with four scores apiece were Dunn and Gingras. WELCOME BACK: For the first time since early March, fans will be permitted for live and simulcast racing - and betting on sports in the FanDuel Sportsbook - at the Meadowlands. Patrons can come to the track on Thursday (July 2) for simulcasting before this weekend's live action. The grandstand will be open to 25 percent capacity. For complete details and what you need to know to attend, please read the following: http://playmeadowlands.com/News.aspx?id=20388. FEATURED ACTION: This weekend's Big M's programs are stakes stacked. Friday features four New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-olds, where a total of $474,000 in purse money will be up for grabs. On Saturday, all eyes will be on the second matchup of the year between Manchego and Atlanta - Manchego won Round 1 by a nose - in the $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-all trotters, while Bettor's Wish, the top 3-year-old pacing colt from a year ago, headlines the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds, which will have three $50,000 divisions. Both 13-race programs get underway at 7:15 p.m. CIRCLE THE DATES: The track's signature event, The Meadowlands Pace, is coming up soon. Eliminations for the 3-year-old pacing classic are on July 11 and the final is on July 18. STREAK'S ALIVE: Last weekend saw the usual strong wagering at the industry's handle leader, as $2,837,178 and $2,863,730 was bet last Friday and Saturday, respectively. Action at the races has now reached the $2.5-million mark on 15 straight race cards. No other North American harness track has wagered $2.5 million on any card during 2020. The average play per race last weekend was $219,265 after $5,700,908 in action was taken over the 26 races. FREE CONTEST SATURDAY: The United States Harness Writers Association will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page on Saturday at the Big M. One special race will be selected from the Meadowlands' program and contestants can enter free of charge. All one must do is select the correct exacta. To enter the contest, go to facebook.com/scott.alberg.3. Alberg will run the contest, just as he has in the past. All winners will have their name posted after the event with their ranking. HOW TO WATCH, HOW TO BET: For those fans who prefer to not attend the races but are still anxious to be a part of the action, they can watch the races on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv) or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races go to 4njbets.com, tvg.com or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform. BIG SCORE FOR BETTORS: According to a release from the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants New Jersey's horse racing industry to keep up with the times. His bill (A-2355) would give residents of The Garden State the ability to place wagers on horse races, even when they are out of state. Dancer's bill passed the Assembly with a 73-0 vote. PENTA-FABULOUS CARRYOVERS: This Friday, players have a pot of gold to shoot for in the Big M's two 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Fives. The 5th-race carryover stands at $57,438, while the 13th race has a starting point that has swelled to $69,791. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com. On Friday, the four NJSS Finals plus the Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10) will be available while on Saturday, the Late Pick-4 plus the Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (race 13) will be available. CHECK OUT THE TEAM: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. This weekend's pre-game shows - which feature commentary by Brower and Dave Little - get underway at 6:45 p.m., and the team - which includes Jessica Otten - will give out best bets and value plays. During the evening, look for Otten's interviews with horsemen from the back paddock after race replays. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Otten (@JessicaOtten1) anytime, but especially on race night. Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as at @TheMeadowlands. From the Meadowlands Media Department    

This Week: Cutler Memorial and Graduate Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: This week's Grand Circuit racing will take place on Saturday (July 4) at The Meadowlands with the $170,900 Cutler Memorial for older trotters and three $50,000 divisions in the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. The mares Atlanta and Manchego will battle again as part of an 11-horse field in the Cutler. Also on Saturday, The Meadows will host the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters and a pair of $32,297 divisions of the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: It wasn't easy, but Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg for 4-year-old trotters on Saturday (June 27) at The Meadowlands in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Lisa photo. Driver Brian Sears opted to race the two-time Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion from off the pace after a highly contentious several-horse scrum into the first turn had him take back to seventh at the quarter. "I knew the horse to beat was Chin Chin Hall and I wasn't going to press my horse early," said Sears. The son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows was sixth in a third-over flow at three-quarters as Chin Chin Hall was sailing along on the lead. But Gimpanzee still had plenty of fuel in the tank. Despite having 4-1/2 lengths to make up through the final three-sixteenths, the Marcus Melander trainee was up to the task, rocketing home in :27 to best Chin Chin Hall by a half-length. Kings County was third. "Gimpanzee is everything you want in a racehorse," said Sears. "I thought (Chin Chin Hall) was going to be spent (in the latter stages) and I thought we had a chance. My horse is a gamer and knows what we are trying to accomplish. He put his head down and did what he had to do." Gimpanzee paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 favorite in raising his lifetime numbers to 19 wins from 25 starts, good for earnings of $1,770,111 for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Southwind Avenger won the other Graduate division in 1:51.3 at odds of 22-1, for driver Andy McCarthy. Don't Let'em, the 4-5 favorite, broke at the start and finished last in the field of nine. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Brian Sears - 40; 2. Tim Tetrick - 32; 3. Dexter Dunn - 27; 4t. Aaron Merriman - 20; 4t. Dave Palone - 20. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 55; 2. Marcus Melander - 34; 3t. Nifty Norman - 20; 3t. Norm Parker - 20; 5t. (seven trainers are tied with 10 points). Owners: 1t. Burke Racing Stable - 11.3; 1t. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 11.3; 1t. Weaver Bruscemi - 11.3. 4t. Black Horse Racing - 10; 4t. Oldford Racing - 10. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands. The July 10 Meadowlands program will feature the second leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares, while the massive July 11 Meadowlands card will offer the finals of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

East Rutherford, NJ – Top three remain the same (Amigo Volo, Real Cool Sam & Hypnotic AM) in Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian Week 5.  Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Amigo Volo  (Father Patrick) Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman, Pinske Stables, David J. Miller Breeders Crown winner at two finished sixth [1:52.3] when forced wide off a slow pace & trotted home in :26.2 as the beaten favorite in a $25,000 overnight @ Big M on June 27 2 Real Cool Sam (Muscle Hill)  Dave Miller, Jim Campbell, Fashion Farms LLC Dan Patch Award & Peter Haughton Memorial winner broke in his first Big M qualifier on June 20, rebounded with a second [1:53.1] in a Big M qualifier on June 27 with a final quarter in :26.3, back in to qualify @ Big M on July 3 3 Hypnotic AM (Chapter Seven)  Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, Courant Inc. NYSS champion & Jim Doherty Memorial winner unleashed an ultra impressive 1:51.1 [:27.3] in her 3YO debut on June 12, cruised in a NYSS @ Tioga Downs on June 21 in 1:54.2, drew post 9 in EBC @ Vernon Downs on July 4 4 Back Of The Neck (Ready Cash) Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Judith Taylor Son of two-time Prix D’Amerique winner Ready Cash now with Team Svanstedt, won a Big M qualifier on June 20 in 1:53.4, set the pace & second by a nose in 1:51.2 [:26] in a $25,000 overnight @ Big M on June 27  5 Synergy (Father Patrick) Andrew McCarthy, Per Engblom, Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman & David Anderson  Qualified three times, the latest a second by a head in 1:54 [:26.2] @ Big M on June 20, third [1:52.1] in a $25,000 overnight @ Big M on June 27 in his 3YO debut 6 Big Oil (Father Patrick) Andy & Julie Miller, Jason, Doug & Ron Allen  First in a deadheat with Real Cool Sam in 1:52.1 @ The Red Mile at two, 1:53.3 winner in a Big M qualifier on June 12, wire-to-wire in 1:55 in his 3YO debut in an overnight @ Harrah’s Philadelphia on June 28 7 Capricornus (Cantab Hall)  Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander, JJ Racing Stable, Inc Second in the William Wellwood Memorial at two, second [1:52.4] in his 2020 debut on June 5, finished second [1:53.4] in an overnight @ Harrah’s Philadelphia on June 25 8 Third Shift (Chapter Seven) Ake Svanstedt, Mellby Gard, Inc., Ake Svanstedt  Set a stakes & Batavia Downs track record of 1:56 in the NYSS Final at two, won a Big M qualifier in 1:55 on May 30, won a NYSS division @ Vernon Downs on June 24 in 1:54.2, has the rail in EBC division @ Vernon Downs on July 4 9 Chestnut Hill (Muscle Hill) Dave Miller, Nifty Norman, Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, Little E LLC Stablemate to Amigo Volo finished third in the PASS Final, Breeders Crown & Valley Victory at two, won his 2020 debut @ The Big M on June 19 in 1:53.1 [:26.1] 10 Maesteraemon (Andover Hall) Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, S R F Stable  Gives Melander three in the Top Ten, took a mark of 1:52.4 @ The Red Mile, won two Big M qualifiers in 1:53.3 [:26.4]  and in 1:54 [:26.3], fifth [1:52.2] in a $25,000 overnight @ Big M on June 27 KEY PREP RACES Hambletonian Eligibles in Caps Date Stakes Site Winner Driver Trainer 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time June 19 NJSS M JULA TRIX TREASURE Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Play Trix On Me Barley 1:54 June 21 NYSS TD HYPNOTIC AM Brian Sears Marcus Melander REBA BLUE CHIP Munster 1:54.2 June 24 NYSS V THIRD SHIFT Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Take The Credit Ballcapsnbluejeans 1:54.2 June 24 NYSS V BERKERY J Scott Zeron George Ducharme Chaptiana Barn Holden 1:54.2 June 26 NJSS M Play Trix On Me Scott Zeron Linda Toscano Barley JULA TRIX TREASURE 1:53.2 June 27 $25,000 M SORELLA Yannick Gingras Nancy Takter BACK OF THE NECK SYNERGY 1:51.2 July 3 NJSS Final M             July 4 E. Breeders Classic V             July 4 Currier & Ives Mea             July 4 $25,000 M             July 11 Reynolds M             July 11 Reynolds M             July 17 NYSS TD             July 17 NYSS TD             July 18 Stanley Dancer M             July 18 Stanley Dancer M             July 25 Tompkins-Geers M             Aug. 1 Hambo Elim M             Aug. 1 Hambo Elim M                

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast With The Babies takes place this Friday, July 3 with 9 am post at the Meadowlands. The New Jersey SBOA is again generously sponsoring the bagels, muffins and refreshments provided for all those in attendance. Baby race proofs will be provided to all guests. The East Deck will be open to owners at 8:30 am with all tables properly social distanced and the races will get underway at 9:00 am with an announcer calling the action. All owners will have access to hand sanitizer and restrooms. Reservations are needed and can be made by emailing Marianne Rotella at MRotella@playmeadowlands.com. All owners must enter from the open gate located on the east side of the building. Owners will have their temperature taken upon entrance and must have a mask on when not seated at a table. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed entrance. No outside food and beverage is allowed on property. The grandstand will remain open following qualifiers for day and night simulcasting and live racing at 7:15pm. Capacity remains at 25%. Details at PlayMeadowlands.com From the Meadowlands Media Department

East Rutherford, NJ - Fans can return to the Meadowlands Racetrack this Thursday, July 2 when onsite simulcasting and sports wagering is permitted to resume in New Jersey. The grandstand will open to 25% capacity. The Backyard and Apron areas will also be open with teller machines available for wagering. To adhere to all COVID-19 protocols the Meadowlands has instituted the following measures: All guest seating has been 6 ft social distanced Hand sanitizer has been placed throughout the grandstand All high touch surfaces will be frequently wiped down throughout the day including all self-service machines, door handles and counter-tops No food or beverage is permitted inside the grandstand. Guests are able to order from a waitress and eat and drink outside on the apron tables. Smoking is only permitted on the outdoor apron All guests will be required to enter via the simulcast entrance on the west side of the grandstand. All are required to wear a face covering, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. There will be no valet parking available for live racing this weekend. Outdoor dining will also resume on Friday and Saturday nights for live racing (7:15 pm post). The West Deck will be open for dining with a $29.95 pre fixe menu featuring a variety of cold salads, grilled chicken, burgers and hot dogs, NY Strip steak and baked cod. A selection of pre-packaged desserts will also be available. The full menu can be viewed at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/dining/backyarddining-copy-copy.html. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. The Backyard BBQ & Grill along with the Rooftop Terrace will also be open weather permitting. Grilled items including burgers, sausage and hot dogs will be available at both areas and the Backyard BBQ will also have brisket, ribs along with mac and cheese. All racing and dining information can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com and the health questionnaire can be downloaded and filled out prior to arrival at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/Home/M1_Revised_Questionnaire_Procedure_Patrons.pdf From the Meadowlands Media Department

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4 at The Meadowlands. One special race will be selected from the Meadowlands Saturday program and contestants can enter free of charge. All you have to do is select the correct exacta (first two official finishers in the race, either by their starting post position number or by the name of the horse). The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame have arranged for the three Swag Bag prizes that will be given away in this week's contest. If more than three correct answers are submitted, then a drawing will take place with all the correct winners and the first three names drawn will win a swag bag prize package. This week's prizes come from the Harness Racing Museum and includes a copy of the USTA's Care & Training of the Trotter and Pacer book, a copy of Bill Heller's novel on Billy Haughton, plus other surprise items. Scott Alberg, the 2006 National Harness Handicapping Champion, who also has numerous other handicapping titles, has been a Standardbred owner in the past, and has agreed to partner with USHWA as the contests new title sponsor. "Since USHWA came on board with this contest, we are setting records with every event," said Alberg, "Our last contest set the bar now at 287 people entering. We have never had that many people enter before. This contest is all about having fun and we hope even more people will enter this week." To enter the contest, fans must go to Scott Alberg's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3,, where the contest will be prominently displayed. Alberg, as he has done in the past, will run the contests. All contest winners will have their name posted after the event and the ranking they finished in from the prize drawings. As soon as the draw takes place at the Meadowlands this week, the program proof page for the race selected will be posted for race fans to handicap from. For more information check out Scott Alberg's Facebook Page, USHWA's Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or the new USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Racetrack will re-open its doors to fans this Thursday, July 2 when onsite simulcasting and sports wagering is allowed to resume in New Jersey. Per the Executive Order 157, the grandstand will open to 25% capacity. The Backyard and Apron areas will also be open. All guests will be required to wear a face covering, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All guests will be required to enter via the simulcast entrance and valet parking will not be available at this time. Dining will also resume on Friday and Saturday nights for live racing (7:15 pm post). Trotters will be open to horse owners and members and the West Deck will be open for all other reservations. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. The Backyard BBQ & Grill along with the Rooftop Terrace will also be open weather permitting. Further details regarding the re-opening will be posted on PlayMeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For Tall Dark Stranger, it's all systems go for The Meadowlands Pace. Harness racing trainer Nancy Takter had her prized colt in a less-than-ideal spot for his 3-year-old debut at the Meadowlands, facing older foes in a high-end conditioned pace, but in this post-coronavirus reality where many plans have had to be re-worked, everything turned out as well as she could have hoped. "I wasn't shocked," said Takter. "I knew he had that in him. He did it very easily without much effort. The fact that he did it in his first start, that surprised me." What Tall Dark Stranger did was win in 1:47.4 to equal the fastest mile in the sport this year. The Bettor's Delight-Precocious Beauty product was in a live cover flow past the half, getting a perfect tow from Western Joe, who won a week ago in 1:48.2. But just after the five-eighths, Western Joe started to slow, causing driver Yannick Gingras to swing three-wide a little earlier than he would have liked, midway through the far turn, with Tall Dark Stranger. "[The trip] didn't concern me," said Takter. "He's a racehorse. He knows what he's supposed to do." What he did was explode through the stretch, pacing his final quarter in :25.4 to record a 1½-length win in lowering his previous lifetime best by one-and-one-fifth seconds. Escapetothebeach was second, The Devils Own N third and Western Joe fourth. The top-ranked horse in the Big M's weekly "Road to the Meadowlands Pace" Top 10 looks more than ready to go. "He's got a blowout mile in him now," said Takter. "He's going to get next week off before the [July 11] Pace eliminations. He's right where I want him to be." Tall Dark Stranger Tall Dark Stranger ($3.80 to win as the 4-5 public choice) has now won nine of 10 lifetime starts and has earnings of $726,889 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The $682,650 Meadowlands Pace Final takes place on July 18. GIMPANZEE AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS It wasn't easy, but Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg for 4-year-old trotters in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Driver Brian Sears opted to race the two-time Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion from off the pace after a highly contentious several-horse scrum into the first turn had him take back to seventh at the quarter. "I knew the horse to beat was Chin Chin Hall and I wasn't going to press my horse early," said Sears. The son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows was sixth in a third-over flow at three-quarters as Chin Chin Hall was sailing along on the lead. But Gimpanzee still had plenty of fuel in the tank. Despite having 4½ lengths to make up through the final three-sixteenths, the Marcus Melander trainee was up to the task, rocketing home in :27 to best Chin Chin Hall by a half-length. Kings County was third. "Gimpanzee is everything you want in a racehorse," said Sears. "I thought [Chin Chin Hall] was going to be spent [in the latter stages] and I thought we had a chance. My horse is a gamer and knows what we are trying to accomplish. He put his head down and did what he had to do." Gimpanzee paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 favorite in raising his lifetime numbers to 19 wins from 25 starts, good for earnings of $1,770,111 for owners Courant Inc and S R F Stable. A LITTLE MORE Southwind Avenger won the other Graduate division in 1:51.3 at odds of 22-1, one of four victories on the night for driver Andy McCarthy. Don't Let'em, the 4-5 favorite, broke at the start and finished last in the field of nine. ... Geez Joe gunned down 3-5 favorite Sintra for a second straight week in taking the overnight feature, the Preferred for pacers, in 1:48.2 as the 9-2 second choice. ... Wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,863,730. Betting has now exceeded the $2.5-million mark the last 15 racing programs. ... The season's mark that Tall Dark Stranger equaled was Kissin In The Sand's, who is trained by Takter and driven by Gingras. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. Patrons will be welcomed back into the Meadowlands at 25 percent capacity. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Chrome was sent on a mission by his driver Scott Zeron in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands. And he completed it in spectacular fashion. The 5-year-old son of Chapter Seven-Counter Pointe won a second straight start in the Preferred for trotters, as the razor-sharp Jeff Cullipher trainee scored in 1:50.4 after going a less-than-ideal trip. There were horses leaving the gate from the outside, so Zeron had a decision to make early on from post eight. "I think given the circumstances, it worked out the way it had to," said Zeron. "There were not a lot of leavers mid-pack, so it was either sneak into the four-hole or go to the front. Midway around the first turn, I decided to go to the lead. He was so good tonight. I figured I'd make the front and then rate from there." But it would not be easy. JL Cruze, the 5-2 favorite, grabbed the lead at the quarter in a wicked :26.3 as Southwind Chrome continued his march to the top while uncovered. He did not clear until the three-eighths. The half was reached in :55 and Southwind Chrome was moving well on the point, then Zeron asked for more in an effort to seal the victory on the far turn. "I figured if I put space between Dex [Dunn, driving JL Cruze] and I at the five-eighths, I would be able to cruise down the lane." He did just that. Southwind Chrome opened up a 1¾-length edge at three-quarters after rating the third fraction in :28 and upped his lead to 2½ at the head of the stretch. Southwind Chrome's advantage diminished in deep stretch as JL Cruze was closing in, but still held on by a safe neck. Kenziesky Hanover was third. "When you have a good horse, you just want to know the other horses' form," said Zeron. "I knew my horse was at the top of his game." Southwind Chrome, who is heading for next week's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Big M, paid $9.20 to win as the second choice in the betting and now has 13 wins from 36 career starts and earnings of $230,210 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher. NJSS WRAP UP The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds saw four divisions on the Friday card, and filly pacer Odds On Sarasota (Rock N Roll Heaven-Odds On Charmaine) stayed perfect in two sire stakes starts this year by finding room late along the pylons to win in 1:55 as the 4-5 favorite for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ross Croghan. Odds On Sarasota Rockin The Aces (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mattaroni) came from way back at odds of 17-1 to gun down 1-9 public choice Rock Me Hard in deep stretch in the colts and geldings pace in a lifetime-best 1:51.2 for Brian Sears and Robert Cleary. Ab'sattitudexpress was sent to the top by Yannick Gingras and blew away the field at odds of 7-1 for Lucas Wallin in the filly trot. The daughter of Trixton-Abbie'sgotattidtude stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:52.4. Abbie'sgotattidtude After racing wide around the first turn, 2-5 favorite Play Trix On Me was a dominant winner in the colts and geldings trot. The son of Trixton-Lima Playmate equaled his lifetime best of 1:53.2 for Zeron and Linda Toscano, the Hall of Famer who was celebrating a birthday. A LITTLE MORE Former Meadowlands leading drivers Sears and George Brennan, who were winless in 39 and 22 starts, respectively, both won for the first time at the meet. ... The Big M's "Big 4" multi-leg wagers were popular, as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($74,907), 20-cent Pick-6 ($32,872 with some help from a $8,948 carryover), Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,906) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,087) all took big play. Wagering for the 13-race card totaled $2,837,178, upping the Big M's streak of at least $2.5 million in handle to 14. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - The popular Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB) endeavor of enjoying the future harness racing stars of the sport while having coffee and bagels with other fans returns this Saturday morning at nine o'clock.   The New Jersey SBOA will again generously sponsor the bagels, muffins and refreshments provided for those who enjoy watching the freshman pacers and trotters get their early lessons. Baby race proofs will be provided to all guests.   The East Deck will be open to owners at 8:30 a.m. with all tables properly social distanced and the races will get underway at 9 a.m. with an announcer calling the action. All owners will have access to hand sanitizer and restrooms.   All owners must enter from the open gate located on the east side of the building. Owners will have their temperature taken upon entrance and must have a mask on when not seated at a table. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed entrance. No outside food and beverage is allowed on the property.   Reservations are needed and can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at (201) 842-5059 or email her at MRotella@playmeadowlands.com. At the conclusion of qualifiers all guests must exit the grandstand and adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was neither Hambletonian Day nor Meadowlands Pace Night, but you couldn't tell that from the betting at the Mecca of harness racing The Big M last Saturday night. Wagering surpassed the $4-million mark for the first time on a "non-event" card since March 1st of 2014, as a total of $4,100,386 was pushed through the windows on June 20. The track did program 18 races - five more than usual - to get some horses raced who had been on the sidelines during the coronavirus shutdown, but the average action per race was still a rock-solid $227,789. "Last weekend was a good one for us," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "It was gratifying to be able to afford our horsemen more opportunities to race and make some much-needed money for their connections as we waited for some of the neighboring states to open up. We were also happy to see the response of our fans, who bet vigorously throughout the weekend." The total wager for last Friday (June 19) and Saturday was $7,582,203 for 36 races, good for an average per race of $210,616. This weekend, when racing will be conducted on the usual Friday (June 26) and Saturday (June 27) at the usual post time of 7:15 p.m. with the usual 13 races, bettors will be shooting for a pool that figures to be far bigger than usual in the 20-cent Pick-6. Pick-6 players will be adding to a pot that will start out with a carryover of $8,948 Friday night. The Pick-6 is one of the track's betting "Big 4". The wagers, which all offer a low 15 percent takeout and will also have $160,000 in guaranteed pools, are the 20-cent Pick-5 (race one, $40,000 guaranteed pool), the aforementioned Pick-6 (race four, $30,000), the Early 50-cent Pick-4 (race six, $50,000) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10, $40,000). Twenty-cent Jackpot Super High-Five players will no doubt continue to chase their pot of gold, given some serious carryovers. Friday's fifth race will begin with $54,154 in the hat, while the 13th and final has a carryover of $65,202. Last Saturday, despite nine winning favorites on the card, Pick-5 players hit big, cashing in for $32,943 when two double-digit-odds winning horses scored during the sequence, including a 38-1 chance in the opening leg (race one). TIM ON TOP: Tim Tetrick led the way last week in the driver's colony, scoring nine times. Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Jordan Stratton were next with four winners apiece. Nancy Takter and Shane Tritton were the leading trainers, as each sent three to victory lane. FAST, FASTER, FASTEST: Saturday night saw eight of the 17 pacing events go in sub-1:50. On Friday, when Manchego nosed Atlanta in 1:50 in the first leg of the Miss Versatility Series, she established the fastest mile on the trot in the sport this year. She bested her own mark - set on June 5 - by three-fifths of a second. COMING UP: This weekend, there will be plenty of good racing to go around, as the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds rolls on. In addition, 4-year-old trotters will go at it in "harness racing's traveling road show", the Graduate Series. There will also be a 3-year-old open trot, where some Hambletonian contenders will get in behind the gate. HOW TO WATCH, HOW TO BET: Since fans are still not allowed to attend the races, for those anxious to be a part of the Big M action, they can watch the races on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv) or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races in New Jersey, go to 4njbets.com, and if out of state, go to tvg.com or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform. FREE STUFF: For free past performances of some key wagers, go to playmeadowlands.com. On Friday, the 20-cent Pick-6 (race four) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10) will be available. The Late Pick-4 will be available for Saturday's races. CHECK OUT THE TEAM: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. Last week, Big M handicappers did good things, as Brower led the way with 15 winners. Dave Little and Warkentin tabbed 13 and 12, respectively. This weekend's pre-game shows get underway at 6:45 p.m., and the team - which includes Jessica Otten - will give out best bets and value plays. Little and Brower will do some news and notes and will also look at each evening's feature races. They will give out Pick-4 selections during the evening before saying good night after the 11th-race replay with the segment "Little's Late Double", where the former Daily News handicapper tries to send everybody home a winner. During the evening, look for Otten's interviews with horsemen from the back paddock after race replays. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Otten (@JessicaOtten1) anytime, but especially on race night. Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as at @TheMeadowlands. Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ - Due to the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty many harness racing players had about traveling to the Meadowlands Racetrack, the 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com has been cancelled. Players that qualified for a seat through the Meadowlands or DerbyWars.com will be refunded the $1,300 tournament seat as a prize payout. Players can also choose to have their qualifying seat held for the 2021 contest. "This was a tough decision for us," said Rachel Ryan, Marketing Manager for the Meadowlands Racetrack. "With so many unknowns remaining for the Meadowlands regarding permitted onsite attendance and COVID protocols we (along with DerbyWars) made the call to cancel for this year. We want all players to feel comfortable traveling to the track and safe while onsite wagering. Not holding the WHHC this year was our best option." DerbyWars has announced a $25,000 online game with an estimated $10,000 first prize for Meadowlands Pace Night on Saturday, July 18. Players can qualify every week on DerbyWars.com.   The WHHC will return in 2021 and updates can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Meadowlands faithful were given plenty of opportunity, and they took advantage by betting with both hands throughout Saturday night's 18-race harness racing program. When the dust cleared, wagering totaled $4,100,386, the highest for a non-Hambletonian Day or Meadowlands Pace Night in memory. In fact, other than the $6,501,778 wagered on Hambletonian Day 2019, the only other $4-million handle last year was on Meadowlands Pace Night, when a total of $4,044,303 was pushed through the windows. Wagering was steady throughout Saturday's card, with the $300,000 barrier busted only once (on the third race). There were two other races on the card that saw betting of at least $290,000. The tally for the weekend was impressive, as a total of $7,582,203 was wagered on the 36 races, good for an average per race of $210,616. 'ANGEL' BEDEVILS FOES Guardian Angel As was a dominant winner in the co-feature on the Saturday card, the Preferred for trotters. The 6-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As never had an anxious moment scoring as the 3-5 public choice, as after Obrigado took the field past the quarter in a snappy :26.2, driver Tim Tetrick moved the Anette Lorentzon trainee to the top soon thereafter. A rated middle half of :56.4 saw Guardian Angel As open up what would turn out to be an insurmountable 2½-length lead at the head of the stretch on the way to a sparkling 4¼-length triumph over JL Cruze in a lifetime-best 1:50.1. Phaetosive was third. Guardian Angel As ($3.20 to win), who earned $798,294 a year ago during a campaign that was highlighted by a win over Atlanta in the Maple Leaf Trot, now has 24 career victories from 58 starts and a bank account that stands at $1,328,540 for owners ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. Guardian Angel As   GEEZ, JOE SCORES Geez Joe benefitted from a patient Marcus Miller drive and some racing luck to win the co-featured Preferred for pacers in 1:48.1. Trapped at the rail sitting in the four-hole in sixth place, Miller found some space coming off the far turn, and once clear, sprinted past Sintra nearing the wire to record a three-quarter-length score, upping his lifetime stats to 22 wins in 68 starts, with earnings of $294,120 for trainer Erv Miller and owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Geez Joe, whose lifetime mark is 1:47.4, paid $10.60 as the third choice in the wagering. HOT STUFF Trainers Ray Schnittker and Shane Tritton are raising eyebrows in the first few weeks back since the coronavirus shutdown. Schnittker has a pair of impressive 3-year-old pacing males who figure to be heard from as the stakes season comes into focus. His Captain Groovy (Captaintreacherous-Lets Groove Tonite) made it two straight Meadowlands wins when he stopped the clock in 1:48 for driver Mark MacDonald. The time was just a tick off the fastest mile of the year in the sport. Splash Brother completed the Schnittker parlay by scoring in 1:48.2. The gelded son of So Surreal-Sugarcoated made the lead from the 10 hole at the quarter in :27.3 and sailed down the road with Tyler Buter calling the shots. Tritton, the champion Down Under trainer who has relocated to the States, kept his red-hot barn rolling, scoring with 8-year-old gelding Lespndnitetogeta N (Washington Vc-The Moth) in 1:51 and 11-year-old horse Flaming Flutter N (Bettor's Delight-Twice As Hot N), who won his North American debut from post nine in 1:49.1. Both were driven by Jordan Stratton. A LITTLE MORE The clock got rocked all night Saturday, as eight of the 17 pacing events went in sub-1:50. ... Stratton and Tetrick led the way in the driver's colony with three wins apiece. ... The 20-cent Pick-6 resulted in a carryover of $8,948 for the next racing program. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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