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East Rutherford, NJ - Harness racing fans can get in on the qualifying action this Saturday, February 22nd when the Meadowlands hosts its second World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier of 2020. 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/Place/Show or combo WPS bets on ten Meadowlands races of their choice. Players can wager more than $10 a race if they desire. DerbyWars hosts online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Hawthorne is hosting a WHHC Qualifier with two spots up for grabs on Saturday, February 29th and Buffalo Raceway's qualifier with one spot into the Final will be held on Saturday, March 21st. 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. All WHHC details can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 From the Meadowlands Media Department

Bob Quigley, a highly respected retired horse racing executive, who was best known for his role as the head of management when the Meadowlands opened, passed away Monday at age 90. He died of natural causes. His death was confirmed by Richard Orbann, who was the general manager at Garden State Park while Quigley was that track’s president. “He was a beloved man,” Orbann said. “I don’t know anybody he didn’t like and anybody that didn’t like him. In our business, where jealously prevails, that’s a remarkable thing.” Orbann said he spoke with Quigley Sunday and he seemed to be in good spirits, but he had a setback Monday and was rushed to Aventura Hospital in Aventura, FL, where he was pronounced dead. “I spoke with him yesterday as I did most days and Bob was Bob,” Orbann said. “To be honest with you, this is a tough one. We spoke almost every day. Bob was good to me.” Quigley was born in Atlantic City and started in racing at Atlantic City Race Course, first working there as a laborer before working his way up the ladder to became the track’s executive vice president and general manager. He was lured to Meadowlands prior to the track’s opening by CEO Sony Werblin and Executive Director Jack Krumpe. He started there in 1975 and was at the helm as the Meadowlands became the premier track in harness racing and an important Thoroughbred track. To read the rest of the story, click here

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Maybe the trip didn't go exactly as driver Yannick Gingras had hoped, but he made it work nonetheless in the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, scoring with I'm Some Graduate in a $31,250 high-end conditioned pace. The 7-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, dismissed by the bettors at odds of 14-1, was away in good order, sitting second to the quarter behind 9-5 second choice McThriller in :27.2. Brushing to the top before the half was Eddard Hanover, pushing I'm Some Graduate back into the three-hole, and as the train developed on the rim with Stonedust providing a live tow for 8-5 favorite Americanprimetime, I'm Some Graduate was in a tough spot approaching the head of the stretch. Off the far turn, Gingras guided I'm Some Graduate into the three-path as Eddard Hanover and Stonedust weakened. Americanprimetime tipped off his cover and grabbed the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and looked like the winner, but I'm Some Graduate swung to that one's outside late and with a final burst of speed, nailed the favorite by a head in 1:50.3 on a 28-degree night with a track variant of -1. Decision Day rallied to grab third.   I'm Some Graduate returned a healthy $31.40 to his backers as the fifth choice in the seven-horse field, but clearly belonged if you take Gingras' word for it. "I believe he won the last time he raced [at the Meadowlands] at a higher class." Gingras was right, of course, as I'm Some Graduate won the Preferred for pacers in his last Big M appearance in December of 2018. "They race him at Yonkers most of the time but he loves this track," said Gingras. "He's just a nice horse." The Ron Burke trainee, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr, has now won 21-of-98 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $453,383. A LITTLE MORE: It only took two weeks to create some 20-cent Pick-6 buzz. The new wager was not hit, creating a carryover of $14,376 heading into the next race card. Those who had five out of six cashed in for $165.24. ... Driver Andy Miller had a natural hat trick, winning the sixth, seventh and eighth races. Corey Callahan also recorded three wins on the card. ... The remarkable Preppy Art won the 13th and final race of the night, giving him 10 wins in his last 15 starts after registering zero victories in his previous 59 tries. He was claimed out of the race for $10,000 by trainer Nick Surick. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,665,111, marking the sixth time in the last seven cards that wagering exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Andy McCarthy put Elysium Lindy in play early, and the veteran trotter took care of the rest, pulling off a 10-1 surprise in the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 7-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall-Olympic Lindy displayed a burst of speed at the start from post six and had the lead around the first turn before yielding the front to 3-5 favorite Misslarose, who has been doing good things of late against the likes of Pappy Go Go and JL Cruze, as the quarter was reached in :28.4. The second quarter saw little in the way of action, but on the way to three-quarters the outer flow developed with Winning Lyric, Kenziesky Hanover and Eye Ofa Tiger As gaining ground on the rim. At the head of the stretch, Misslarose looked strong on the point with Kenziesky Hanover still going well on the outside as McCarthy waited for just the right moment to move Elysium Lindy from the pocket. That moment came at the sixteenth pole, when Elysium Lindy split rivals - Misslarose to his inside and Kenziesky Hanover to his outside - and got up on the wire to win by a hard-fought half-length over a game Misslarose. Kenziesky Hanover finished third.   "Paul Gagne and Anthony MacDonald sent me this horse," said winning trainer Andrew Harris. "And I can't thank them enough. He's been so good and the only reason he threw a couple of clunkers in his last two starts was he was hitting the bike. We got that sorted out. Andy Mac is just a magician. I love that guy." Elysium Lindy, making his first appearance at the Meadowlands since March 8 of last year, returned $22.60 to his backers as the fifth choice in the wagering in the seven-horse field. He completed the mile in 1:53.3, equaling his lifetime best on a chilly night when the track variant was -2. He's now won 28 of 133 lifetime starts and earned $428,467 for owners Panic Stable. A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan and Yannick Gingras both recorded driving triples on the program while McCarthy guided two to victory lane. ... Ron Burke and Harris, the top two trainers in the Big M standings, each had a pair of winners. ... Despite 3-5 shot Caviart Jane, 6-5 Obrigado and Misslarose all tasting defeat, six favorites still emerged victorious on the program. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,187,146. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

MANALAPAN, NJ -- February 14, 2020 -- Commencing this year, the New Jersey Sire Stakes is conducting races for four-year-olds with both open and mare harness racing divisions on the pace and the trot. To be eligible for these races, horses must have made the yearling nomination payment for the Premier Division and/or the Standardbred Development Fund. A nomination fee to remain eligible of $200 has been extended to February 20th. The first leg of the 4-year-old horse/gelding pace and the four-year-old mare pace will be held at The Meadowlands on March 20th with a final scheduled for March 27th. The trot races for four-year-old horse/gelding and the 4-year-old mare will be conducted on April 17th with a final slated for April 24th. A list of eligible horses can be found at http://sboanj.com/pictures/Eligibles.pdf Send payments to NJSS, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625 by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - In harness racing, it's not uncommon to see tracks with favorites that win at a rate of 45 percent and higher, but at the Meadowlands, the races play out more as they would at major thoroughbred tracks, meaning bigger payouts for the patrons. As of Monday (Feb. 10), the Big M's post-time choices have been clicking 36 percent of the time, which is the same rate as at Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park. Santa Anita favorites are winning 38 percent of the time. "The percentage of winning favorites at the Meadowlands shows that the racing office is doing a great job carding ultra-competitive races to wager on," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Last weekend (Feb. 7-8), there were only seven winning favorites out of 26 races (27 percent) at the Meadowlands. If you go down the list of what is important to horse players, I think the Big M is getting it done as well as any track right now, especially when one considers our low 15 percent takeout on all of our Pick-4s, Pick-5s and Pick-6s." Last week, the mile oval saw wholesale changes to its betting menu - not to mention its post time - and the track's faithful following responded in a big way. While the new earlier post time of 6:55 p.m. must have taken some by surprise, the majority were ready, betting with both fists. Handle on the first race both nights was vigorous, as $244,355 in bets were taken Friday before $293,871 was pushed through the windows Saturday. Saturday's total handle of $2,856,554 - third best of 2020 - saw an average per race of just under $220,000 and represented the fifth straight card where action exceeded $2.5 million. The first race Pick-5, which saw a reduced base bet of 20 cents (down from 50 cents), took in big play, with total pools of $55,082 Friday and a season-best $72,364 Saturday. Saturday's payout of $3,548 was particularly impressive when one considers the odds of the winners, which were 2-1, 5-2, 7-2, 5-1 and 5-2. The $1 payout of $17,740 was more than 13 times what the parlay returned. "Whether you are here for start of the card or can't get here until later on in the night, there is now a plethora of multi-race bets spaced out throughout the evening," said Settlemoir. One multi-leg bet now flows right into another on a typical 13-race card, as the 20-cent Pick-5 covers races one through five, the "signature" Early 50-cent Pick-4 races six through nine and the new Late 50-cent Pick-4 races 10 through 13. Another new wager that was popular with players was the 20-cent Pick-6, which saw its total pool increase 36 percent to over $24,000 on Saturday when compared to Friday. One Saturday sharpie took down the entire pool, cashing in for $20,797. When compared to the "standard" 25 percent chop, that winner walked away with an extra $2,442 in his or her pocket given the Big M's low 15 percent rake. The move of the "signature" $50,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-4 to the sixth race was something bettors were ready for, as $68,473 and $86,015 were wagered Friday and Saturday, respectively, leading to payoffs of $758 and $291. Besides the Pick-6, a new Late 50-cent Pick-4 debuted to rave reviews, with $53,229 in action taken Friday (leading to a payoff of $1,130) before $61,834 was put in play Saturday ($700). "Our new multi-race menu offers four wagers on Friday and five on Saturday at the highly-reduced takeout of 15 percent," said Settlemoir. "The Early and Late Pick-4, Pick-5, Pick-6 and the Saturday only Can-Am Pick-4. The math says that with the added money now going to the players, small losers can now become small winners and small winners can become big winners. Of course, we are counting on the support of price-conscious players - regardless of the size of their bankrolls - to make these multi-race wagers a must play." Total play on last weekend's Pick-4s, Pick-5s and Pick-6s was almost $440,000, as $194,770 was wagered Friday before $244,787 was put in play Saturday. FREE FREE FREE: Free program pages for the Early 50-cent Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five are always available at playmeadowlands.com and ustrotting.com. GET READY WITH DAVE AND DAVE: The Big M TV team of Dave Brower and Dave Little are always there for players who want all the information needed to tackle a Meadowlands card. Analysis and selections by Brower, who also serves as track odds maker, are always available 48 hours before a race card at playmeadowlands.com. The duo can be seen nightly on the "Meadowlands Live" simulcast show beginning at 6:22 p.m., with whomever is in the co-host chair providing an in-depth look at that evening's Pick-5. The Daves provide best bets and value plays on the card - as well as a look at the night's featured races - before coming on-camera before race six to give out tickets for the night's Early 50-cent Pick-4. Both handicappers have done well of late, with Little - who gives out "Little's Late Double" before the 12th race every night - having given out three straight doubles, a streak that ended last Saturday, the same night that Brower gave out the Early Pick-4 that paid $291. TWITTER TALK: Connect with everyone on the Meadowlands' TV (and TVG) team on Twitter: Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Rich Mattei (@Richmattei16), Mike Bozich (@MikeBozich) and Peter Kleinhans (@PKleinhansMusic). And for selections and everything Meadowlands, go to #playbigm. COMING UP.... On Feb. 14, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. On Feb. 14, bring your sweetheart to the races and enjoy a fabulous Valentine's Day dinner in the Big M's Pink Restaurant. You might be one of three couples to win a gift certificate for a bed and breakfast stay in Cape May, NJ. For reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM. On Feb. 22, The Big M will host its February World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier. The top two finishers will qualify for the WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, check out the brochure at http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/2020%20February%20WHHC%20qualifier.pdf. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Trump Nation benefitted from aggressive Yannick Gingras handling Saturday night to take the $37,500 featured Preferred for harness racing pacers at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N was in a first-turn scrum with Sicily and Endeavor and raced second while parked to the quarter as Sicily led in a snappy :26.2. Trump Nation then sped to the top, but led only briefly, as Endeavor, the 3-5 favorite who was in search of a second straight score in the weekly feature, went past Trump Nation and hit the half in :54.1. The pocket trip worked to perfection for Gingras and Trump Nation, as the duo ducked to the inside nearing the wire to nail a super-game Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Franco Totem N was third. "He raced big," said Gingras of Trump Nation. "That's the trip I was looking for tonight, but he can win no matter what the trip. He's just a nice horse." Trump Nation, who races out of the Ron Burke barn, returned $7.80 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering. He's now won 14-of-38 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $414,246 for owners Burke Racing Stable, E. Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. Trump Nation CHANGES WORKING WELL Based on the big action that was taken on the 13-race program at the industry's handle leader, it appears that the new earlier 6:55 p.m. post time and extensive wagering menu changes will be around for some time to come. A total of $2,856,554 in bets were taken, the third-highest handle during 2020 at the mile oval. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5-million mark for five straight programs. The action was hot and heavy from the get-go as a season's-best $72,364 was put in play in the 20-cent Pick-5, serving as the catalyst for the first-race total pool of $293,871. The sequence saw but one 5-1 shot and four other winners that went off at 7-2 or less yet still came back a giant $3,548.36. The 20-cent Pick-6 pool saw an increase of 36 percent from its first offering Friday. Total play Saturday was $24,474, and one shrewd player who used 10-1 shot Americanfirewater in the payoff leg (race nine) walked away with $20,797.76. Adding a second 50-cent Pick-4 appears to be a hit with the racing faithful. The Early Pick-4 saw a total pool of $86,015 while the Late P4 saw $61,934 in action, meaning that a total of $147,949 in Pick-4 bets were taken. Big M TV's Dave Brower gave out the Early Pick-4 on the track's live in-house simulcast show, investing just $30 before cashing in for $291. The big action wasn't limited to the multi-leg wagers, as the fifth race was the only one on the evening to push past the $300,000 mark in total play. A huge exacta pool of $88,403 led the way to the total wager of $301,002. A LITTLE MORE Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony by scoring five times. Marcus Miller, Andy McCarthy and Corey Callahan all had two apiece. Dunn has 32 winners at the winter meeting, tops at the track. Callahan is next with 24. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A new post time of 6:55 p.m. and new betting choices highlighted the harness racing action at the Meadowlands Friday night, and despite no horse paying off at double-digit odds through the first nine races, the payoffs for the 20-cent Pick-5, 20-cent Pick-6 and Early 50-cent Pick-4 were all extremely attractive. The Pick-5, which saw its base bet decrease from 50 cents, saw a typical pool of $55,082, which is more than double the wager's $25,000 guarantee. But with bettors "spreading" their tickets further, the resulting payoff of $1,335.10 was superb given that the odds of the winners during the sequence were 4-1, 9-2, 3-2, 8-5 and 6-1. The horses in the third and fourth legs were the post-time favorites. The Pick-6, which will no doubt offer attractive carryovers on occasion in the coming weeks, paid off on six-for-six to the tune of $3,056.56. All the winners were 6-1 or less - with one exception - as Muscle Fashion won the seventh race, paying $20.80 to win. The Big M's "signature" wager - the Early 50-cent Pick-4 - now begins in race six, and after Say You Do sat a perfect pocket trip to surge past Rubber Duck to win at 5-1 in the payoff leg, those who hit cashed in for $758.90. The key to hitting was Leg One, when players included 4-1 shot Resita, who upset 2-5 favorite Max. Say You Do The Late 50-cent Pick-4 also yielded a solid payout despite favorites winning the last two legs. A 16-1 shot started the sequence followed by a 6-1 leading to another four-figure payoff, at $1,130.90. All-source wagering on the 13-race card surpassed the $2.5-million mark for a fourth straight program as $2,534,709 was put in play. A LITTLE MORE Corey Callahan, Andy Miller, Tyler Buter and Dexter Dunn all recorded driving doubles on the program. ... Windy conditions made things tough on horses racing on the front end all night long. Handicappers should take that into consideration when looking at those horses who raced on this card and showed speed. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Janine McIlvain laughs when discussing the names of her family's harness racing horses. That's exactly what Janine's daughter Leigh intended. Leigh was a teenager when she began naming the family's horses some number of years ago. It was her love of horses as a young girl that had helped prompt Janine's father, Bill Mears, and Janine's husband, Bob, to invest in their own passion and start racing and breeding Standardbreds. One of their homebreds, an 8-year-old pacing stallion, races Saturday in the first round of a Leap Year Series division at The Meadowlands. His name belies the fact he's hit the board in more than half of his 139 career starts and earned $240,862. He is Time Out I'm Tired. "She's got a little quirky sense of humor," Janine said about Leigh. "When she was a little girl, all she wanted to do was horses. Of course, my husband and father were thrilled. They just went headlong into these horses. She loved it. She grew up around horses, helped with the horses, jogged horses. "That's where the whole thing began, with a little girl about 4 years old wanting horses. That little 4-year-old grew up and decided to be funny with naming all of them. She is quite a character." Time Out I'm Tired is a son of Artiscape out of Badlands Laura. The mare, named by Janine's father after the oldest of the McIlvain's two girls, is out of Hollys Premium. Janine's father and husband bought Hollys Premium for $250 a little more than 20 years ago and all their homebreds are out of her or her daughters. Around the McIlvain house, Time Out I'm Tired is known as Timmy. So how did his name come about? "When Timmy was born, we had not had a lot of what my father would call world-beaters," Janine said. "They would get so far and that would be it. So, Leigh said maybe these horses just need a little timeout during the race. So, she named the horse Time Out I'm Tired. "We kind of laugh every time the announcer says the name because you would think he'd be at the rear of the pack. But he's doing OK. He's got a lot of heart. He doesn't like to lose. He likes to chase them at the end. Sometimes he's able to win, other times he's just a little bit short and we wish we had a couple more yards on that track." Leigh had already showed her budding penchant for offbeat names before Time Out I'm Tired was born. She named Timmy's older sister Some Brown Horse just so she could hear track announcers say, "Here comes Some Brown Horse." Another family favorite is Justa Ordinary Guy, who is now 17 and living the life of Riley on the McIlvains' property. Some of the names are related to family, such as Mean Janine. "She thought that was funny," Janine said. Janine, though, did laugh at the name, maybe because some years later there was a Jolly Janine. Hurricane Joyce was named as a reference to the temper possessed by Janine's mom. Pretty Patty Pat was named after Bob's mom, who will turn 88 on St. Patrick's Day. "There is a meaning behind all the horses' names," Janine said. "All from a quirky little girl who thinks it's funny to name these horses these names." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The opportunities will be plentiful for Meadowlands players interested in low takeout multi-race wagers effective with the race card of Friday, February 7, when, in addition to an extra Pick-4 and a brand new Pick-6, a new post time of 6:55 p.m. promises to get players home a little earlier after the last race hits the finish line. "All of us at the Meadowlands understand that lower takeouts attract horseplayers," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "That's why the Pick-4, Pick-5 and Pick-6 now have takeouts of 15 percent, which is a 40 percent reduction from the original takeout of 25 percent." How does that impact the bettor? For every $100 wagered, he or she gets back $113. That extra 13 percent in the players' pockets keeps them playing. Straight wagers are priced at 17 percent, exactas and doubles at 19 percent and the new rolling Pick-3s at 20 percent. The 10-cent superfecta is at 20 percent - which is a reduction of 20 percent - making the Big M's superfecta takeout one of the lowest in harness, or, for that matter, thoroughbred racing. "We understand that horseplayers are a major part of the racing industry," said Settlemoir. "They deserve our respect. One year ago, the State of New Jersey stepped up for the racing industry in the form of an appropriation that raised our purses significantly. The Meadowlands in turn has stepped up for our fans with lower takeouts, full fields and great racing, three major reasons that we had our second $3-million night of the year last Saturday (Feb. 1)." With regard to the new betting bonanza that goes into effect Friday, Settlemoir said: "There is no doubt that this is one of our most ambitious and value-conscious wagering menus ever implemented at the Meadowlands." These are the pertinent facts: 20-cent Pick-5 (Race 1): The wager - which will continue to offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool - still begins with the first race of the night, but now has a 20-cent minimum and can be played in 20-cent denominations (such as 20 cents, 40 cents, 60 cents, etc.). 20-cent Pick-6 (Race 4): A "traditional" Pick-6. Should no player select all six winners, there will be a carryover to the next racing program. The 20-cent minimum will enable bettors to "spread" further without a big investment. Early 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 6): The "signature" wager at the Meadowlands now moves from the eighth race to the sixth, which immediately follows the cashing out of the Pick-5. The $50,000 guaranteed pool remains, as does the 50-cent minimum. Free program pages for this wager are available at ustrotting.com and playmeadowlands.com. Late 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 10): Immediately following the payoff leg of both the Pick-6 and Early Pick-4, this additional Pick-4 will give Meadowlands' fans another big multi-race pool to shoot for before the end of the program. 20-cent Can-Am Pick-4: This wager - which is on Saturday nights - will see a shift once the earlier post time takes effect. The bet, which challenges players to select the winners of two races at both the Meadowlands and Woodbine Mohawk Park, will still begin with WMP's 10th race, but from there the sequence will be Meadowlands 11, WMP 11 and Meadowlands 12. The Pick-5, Pick-6, both Pick-4s and Can-Am Pick-4 will all offer a low 15 percent takeout. Rolling Pick-3s are returning: All races that do not have a Pick-4, Pick-5 or Pick-6 will offer a $1 Pick-3. On a typical 13-race card, the Pick-3s will be available on races 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11.  Daily Double players will get the same opportunities they had for many years as the traditional format of the first two and last two races will go back into effect. The 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 will be dropped. With the new earlier post time of 6:55 p.m., simulcast fans can now look for the "Racing from the Meadowlands" live in-house pre-game show to begin nightly at 6:22 p.m. The TV team of Dave Brower and Dave Little will add a segment to the pre-game show that takes an in-depth look at the 20-cent Pick-5. SERIOUS SATURDAY STATS: Saturday (Feb. 1) night's all-source total handle of $3,026,740 was highlighted by winter-meet-best pools in both the 50-cent Pick-5 ($71,830) and 50-cent Pick-4 ($117,502). Race eight - which marks the start of the Pick-4 - took in a total $306,163 while over the course of the 13-race program, 11 races saw total pools of $200,000 or more. GINGRAS' BIG WEEKEND: Yannick Gingras paced the driver's colony over the course of last weekend's racing, winning eight races. It will come as no shock to Big M regulars that trainer Ron Burke was far and away the top trainer, with seven wins (from just 18 starts, 39 percent), all piloted by his go-to driver Gingras. Feb. 7, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. Feb. 7, come to the track and enjoy a "Brunch for Love" from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The event benefits non-profits from the Meadowlands Chamber. Feb. 14, bring your sweetheart to the races and enjoy a fabulous Valentine's Day dinner in the Big M's Pink Restaurant. You might be one of three couples to win a gift certificate for a bed and breakfast stay in Cape May, NJ. For reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM. Feb. 22, The Big M will host its February World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier. The top two finishers will qualify for the WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, check out the brochure at http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/2020%20February%20WHHC%20qualifier.pdf. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

  East Rutherford, NJ - Horsemen should be aware of the following details as the nomination deadline for the 2020 Grand Circuit stakes at The Meadowlands draws near.   Payments will be accepted with a February 18 postmark as per USTA guidelines, what with the 15th falling on a Saturday and Monday the 17th a holiday.   The conditions for top money winning stakes format has been revised with the top eleven (11) money winners for 2019-2020 (per USTA conversion) accepted and all Meadowlands administered/sponsored stakes raced at the distance of one mile.   It is important to note that The Meadowlands conditions contain specific language regarding eligibility to participate in Meadowlands administered stakes. As you consider nominating your horses, be aware of these two articles: Disputes: All owners, trainers and drivers of horses nominated to this event must be accepted to participate at the Host Track or the nomination/entry may be denied without refund of previous payments. Any change of trainers made fewer than 30 days or within four starts of the date of this race will be reviewed by the sponsor and if not accepted, may result in refusal of entry. Sponsors reserve the right to amend conditions as deemed necessary without liability. Rules: A minimum of seven (7) separate interests may be required in any event or the event may be canceled. All starters are subject to the detention policy of the Host Track. The rules of the Host Track and its state Racing Commission along with the USTA shall govern unless otherwise specified in these conditions. These races are subject to the Stallion Restriction Condition (SRC); see Meadowlands website for details. Any horse nominated to any Meadowlands stakes/event must be in the care of an approved trainer by April 15, 2020 for any stake/event raced during the month of May and by May 15 for all other 2020 stakes/events. In addition, any owner who participates in a Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event (with added money greater than $25,000) with a trainer who has an outstanding Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test having occurred on or after January 1, 2019 and under appeal in any jurisdiction will be declared ineligible to participate in any Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event for 12 months following the conviction if such trainer is subsequently found guilty relating to the Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test. Nominator also agrees that any horse paid into any Meadowlands stake/event may be required to be stabled for up to 14 days at an approved facility within a 150 mile radius of The Meadowlands or the Tioga or Vernon Downs stable area or an approved facility in a state that agrees to cooperate in an out of competition testing protocol by the date set by The Meadowlands for that stake/event for the purpose of out of competition testing. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in any agreement created by the acceptance of any stakes payment to be declared void at the discretion of The Meadowlands rendering the horse(s) in question ineligible to race in those stakes/events with no liability to The Meadowlands and no assurance of a refund of payments previously made to the stake/event in question. A nomination to these events is an agreement to the above terms and conditions. Questions regarding the status of any potential nominator or trainer will be answered by the Racing Department at (201) 842-5130.   All pertinent information on The Meadowlands $15 million stakes program including schedules and payments is available on the web.   New Jersey Sires Stakes information may be found here.   SBOANJ stakes information may be found here.   Hambletonian Society administered stakes information may be found here.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 3, 2020 -- Final Breath and Icanflylikeanangel staged a stirring harness racing duel for the final five-eighths before Final Breath finally surged ahead to capture Monday's $20,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Icanflylikeanangel grabbed the early lead for Mike Wilder in a demanding 26.1, prompting Tony Hall to send Final Breath after them at the quarter. When Icanflylikeanangel refused to release Final Breath, the battle was on. Only in the shadow of the wire did Final Breath get his head in front to score in 1:53. Perlucky, hard used himself from post 8, was a good third.   Norm Parker trains Final Breath, a 10-year-old Victory Sam-First Breath gelding who soared over $600,000 in career earnings, for Duane Lowe. Jim Pantaleano and Hall each collected three wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6) and a $4,821.69 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Top Flight Angel, the winner of the 2017 Yonkers Trot, is ready to return to the races this week and his connections hope he will be continuing his ascent to the million-dollar level. A 6-year-old stallion, Top Flight Angel has won 14 of 65 career races and $902,820 for breeder/owner Alan Hainsworth, a New Yorker who races under the name Legendary Standardbred Farm. Hainsworth has a special bond with the horse because he owns Top Flight Angel's sire, the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, and dam, Top Photo. "It's fantastic," Hainsworth said. "He's grown up into a beautiful horse, so perfectly gaited, and he's very easy to drive. He's got a lot of brains. I want to race him until he makes a million dollars, then we'll see where we are with him. He's been a great horse." Top Flight Angel is beginning his fourth season in the barn of trainer Julie Miller. He battled sickness last year, limiting him to three victories, but after a nearly two-month respite won a qualifier last Friday at The Meadowlands in 1:54.2 and has been entered to race this weekend. "We gave him a lot of TLC and time to get over (his illness)," Miller said. "I thought that was a pretty decent qualifier the other day up there at The Meadowlands. "He's always been a pleasure to be around. He's a beautiful horse and he loves his job. You're not supposed to fall in love with them, but he would definitely be on my list of favorites. When he goes on the track, you know that no matter what, he's going to give it his all." Winning the Yonkers Trot with Archangel provided Hainsworth with a great memory. Capturing the Trotting Triple Crown event a second time with Top Flight Angel might even have topped the first. "Winning it once is like a miracle, and then to win it twice with the father and son and same owner, that was big," Hainsworth said. "To win it twice, there are hardly any words. If I ever got there again, I would probably be crying. I haven't given that thought up, either." Eleven days after Top Flight Angel won the Yonkers Trot, he rolled into Batavia Downs for a division of the New York Sire Stakes. He won in 1:54.3, equaling the track record set five years earlier by his father, Archangel. "That was another unbelievable night," Hainsworth said. "I was impressed with how he got around all those tracks in New York," Miller said. "You could send him anywhere and I knew he could handle those half-mile tracks and handle that grind. He was just that class of horse." Top Flight Angel, who finished second in the 2018 Breeders Crown Open Trot and was runner-up in the Harry Harvey Invitational the same year, will likely spend a good amount of time this season competing at The Meadowlands and Yonkers. "Hopefully he can make a couple hundred thousand this year," Hainsworth said. "I'd like to get him to the million-dollar mark," Miller said. "That's always a nice accomplishment for any horse to make it to that point." If Top Flight Angel reaches that level, he would join his father in the million-dollar club (Archangel banked $1.14 million) and become his father's second offspring to surpass the barrier (joining Guardian Angel AS). And while Hainsworth will be watching Top Flight Angel, he will also be keeping tabs on Archangel-sired newcomers heading to the races later this season. Hainsworth's own Angel Nation, purchased under the name Stable Genius for $60,000 at the 2018 Standardbred Horse Sale, is among them. He did not race last year as a 2-year-old. "He's a beautifully gaited horse, that's what is so nice about him, and he looks terrific," Hainsworth said. "It's exciting to have the stallion and watch these owners that have their new Archangel babies come on board. I spend quite a lot of time in Canada (where Archangel stands) watching these new ones come up. I get a big kick out of it. That's pretty exciting to me." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The action at the Meadowlands has heated up in a big way of late, and the trend continued Saturday night. Wagering on the 13-race harness racing card pushed past the $3-million mark for the second time this year as $3,026,740 was put in play. The other time betting went past the magic $3-million mark was on Jan. 3, when $3,069,967 was pushed through the windows. Saturday night got off to a good start, as in the first race, $250,382 in action was taken. A total of $71,830 was pumped into the 50-cent Pick-5 pool, outdoing the previous 2020 best of $63,798 (on Jan. 4) by 12.5 percent. Betting on the 50-cent Pick-4 also reached a season high with a total pool of $117,502, which is just over $8,000 more than was pushed through the windows on Jan. 3. Total wagering on the eighth race - which is the start of the Pick-4 - was a night-best $306,163. Betting has now surpassed the $2.5-million mark for three straight racing programs at the Big M. PAPPY KEEPS GO GO GOING  Pappy Go Go ran his winning streak to four facing his toughest test yet, taking the co-featured $37,500 Preferred for trotters. The Andrew Harris-trained 6-year-old son of Tad The Stud-Paging Willy left the gate quickly, along with Nows The Moment and JL Cruze while Misslarose was also away alertly to protect rail position. Pappy Go Go marched to the top at the three-eighths and took the field past the half before taking pressure from JL Cruze, who backed off just a bit on the far turn before coming back on late, only to be out-kicked for second by Muscle Diamond, who was explosive in the latter stages to miss by a neck. Corey Callahan drove the winner, who covered the mile in 1:52.3, to his 33rd win from 84 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $268,297 for owners Michael Goldberg Racing. He returned $4.20 as the even-money favorite. Pappy Go Go "It's the Pappy-lands," joked Harris. "He's as good as he's ever been. He beat a solid group tonight. In this class, you can't expect a blowout every week. Corey is driving him smart." THE CAPTAIN COMMANDS BOTH FEATURES Callahan, aka The Captain, was the driver colony's top gun Saturday, winning four times on the night. The 41-year-old pilot swept both features, as after winning with Pappy Go Go, he guided Endeavor to the winner's circle in the $37,500 Preferred for pacers. Working out a pocket trip behind 8-5 favorite Italian Delight N - who was looking for his third win in as many starts since arriving in North America from Australia - Endeavor vacated the pocket in mid-stretch and rolled right by the public choice to record an authoritative 3½-length victory in 1:49.1. Sicily out-kicked Italian Delight N for second. Endeavor, a 7-year-old gelded son of American Ideal-Jett Diamond who is trained by Jeff Cullipher, won for the 33rd from 112 lifetime starts, and now has earnings of $702,062 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher. As the third choice in the betting, he paid $8.20 to win. Endeavor REMINDER  When racing resumes Friday (Feb. 7), post time will change to 6:55 p.m. A LITTLE MORE Woodbine Mohawk Park TV personality Monique Vag correctly selected the Can-Am Pick-4 that returned $260 for a 20-cent bet. ... Yannick Gingras matched Callahan, driving four winners on the card. Not surprisingly, trainer Ron Burke conditioned all of Gingras' winners ... One sharp player betting into the Oregon hub held the only ticket to last six legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and cashed in for $10,026. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras drove four winners Friday night at the Meadowlands, and among them was Dayson, who took the featured $20,000 conditioned trot. "He's such a nice horse that tries his best every time," said Gingras. Sure, Dayson did his job, no doubt, but so did Gingras, who gave his horse a perfect steer. The first turn looked like a rugby scrum as Lagerfeld had rail position, Dayson was to that one's outside and Obrigado was three wide and winging. Gingras opted to back Dayson off into the three-hole as Lagerfeld yielded to Obrigado, who hit the quarter while parked in :27.4. "There was definitely more action than I thought there would be in the first turn," said Gingras. "But I figured Dayson was the best and he proved it." Showing little patience, Gingras moved swiftly with Dayson to the top after vacating the rail at the three-eighths and cleared before the half as Obrigado was put in the pocket. Max was now on the move, gaining on the leader from first-over, but Dayson - who was able to rate the middle half in :58 - still had a length on that foe both at three-quarters and the head of the stretch. Through the final three-sixteenths, Dayson showed his class, fending off a pesky Max to his outside and Obrigado to his inside, holding on determinedly to defeat Max by a neck in 1:54.1. Obrigado was third. Dayson, a 7-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.20 to his backers as the odds-on favorite. He has now won 37-of-87 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $1,167,377 for owners Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and L. Karr. A LITTLE MORE: If Gingras wins four, it's a good bet Burke has had a good night, and the Big M's leading trainer did just that, winning three on the card, all driven by Gingras. ... The 50-cent Pick-4 saw big play with a total pool of $92,561, its biggest since Jan. 4, when $94,701 was pushed through the windows. ... All-source handle was vigorous at $2,591,628, surpassing the $2.5-million mark for a second straight card. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - In response to a possible case of respiratory EHV-1 at Saratoga Harness track, all horses entered to race this weekend at The Meadowlands that are stabled at that track have been scratched as a precaution.   When he became aware of the situation this morning, Meadowlands Race Secretary Scott Warren contacted Presiding Judge Pete Koch to discuss how they might best protect horses and horsemen racing at The Meadowlands.   After consulting with the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) veterinarians it was decided to eliminate the risk of allowing horses from Saratoga to be brought into the paddock, thus the scratches which number 15 on Friday and 3 on Saturday. Affected horsemen were notified immediately.   "We hope to get more information this weekend and will communicate to the affected horsemen about entering on Tuesday for next weekend," said Warren. "Only those horses stables on the grounds at Saratoga are affected by the exclusion until the problem is controlled to the satisfaction of the NJRC vets." From the Meadowlands      

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