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

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

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

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

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

Announcer Ken Warkentin exclaimed, "It doesn't get any better than that!" and you'd be hard pressed to argue. After doing virtually nothing wrong since arriving in North America, Shartin N is now the fastest female pacer in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping performance in the 2019 Lady Liberty Final on Hambletonian Day (August 3) at The Meadowlands. Driver Tim Tetrick was playing no games on Saturday afternoon, leaving alertly from the rail along with Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan). Sensing danger, Tetrick protected his position after Apple Bottom Jeans cleared and popped pocket to clear back to the lead through a :26 opening quarter. Post 10 starter Kissin In The Sand (David Miller) couldn't find a spot on the rail and was forced to press on, with Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) second over and Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) locked in third along the rail. The field continued in this order through a :53.4 half and 1:21 third station. At this point, Youaremycandygirl tipped three-wide with third over Shower Play (Dan Dube) following that move. Coming into the stretch, it would appear that Caviart Ally would get room to make a bid, and she did. However, at that moment Tetrick gave Shartin the word and she absolutely exploded with pace. After a mile without a real rest, Shartin shot home in :25.4 to trip the teletimer in a world record 1:46.4. Caviart Ally closed in futile chase of the leader but held second over a hard-charging Shower Play. The mile time shaved one-fifth of a second off the existing standard for distaff pacers, set by Shebestingin at The Red Mile in 2013. "If there's a freak out there, she's it," said a smiling Tetrick after the record win. "I don't know how fast she can go...she wasn't done there, I never untucked my whip. Right now she's just so much fun to drive, she's getting smarter and she's just on her game." Tetrick co-owns Shartin N (Tintin In America - Bagdarin) along with Richard Poillucci of North Easton, Mass. and Joann Looney King of Harrington, Del. The Jim King Jr.-trained six-year-old now boasts 12 wins in 13 seasonal outings, and the win pushes her purse earnings just shy of the double millionaire mark at $1,967,295. Courtesy of Standardbred Canada

East Rutherford, NJ — Hambletonian Day was to be a day to unfurl Swedish flags at The Meadowlands.   Why not? Rising star Marcus Melander started the day with a powerhouse four-horse contingent locked and loaded, taking dead aim at the 3-year-old trotting classic.   But when the dust settled, it was our friendly neighbors to the north celebrating, as Forbidden Trade pulled a 15-1 upset.   Canada’s champion 2-year-old showed the heart of a warrior to hold off 3-10 favorite Greenshoe by neck in a dramatic fight to the finish.   And it was the first Hambletonian victory for the Canadian trio of owner Serge Godin’s Determination Stable, trainer Luc Blais and driver Bob McClure.   Coming in, McClure said “the sky was the limit” for his colt. Forbidden Trade backed up that confidence with the race of his life.   Forbidden Trade, third in his Hambletonian elimination, was always in contention throughout the mile. McClure and his colt tracked Green Manalishi S, an elimination winner and a member of the Melander brigade, into the stretch. Forbidden Trade took charge, but danger was looming with Greenshoe uncorking a menacing rally.   For an instant, it appeared Greenshoe would blow on by. McClure admitted he was headed, but Forbidden Trade was not done. After all, this was the day of the Maple Leaf.   “It was two incredible colts fighting it out,” McClure said. “I don’t think there was a loser in that, but we’re really happy to get out on top.”   It’s also been a remarkable comeback for McClure, 28, who suffered a broken pelvis in a qualifier accident in April. He was back in action by May 23, using a hyperbaric chamber to hasten the recovery.   “I was really lucky to have a good physical trainer,” McClure said. “I probably rushed it back a little faster than I should have. I’m sure most drivers in this business have done this a time or two.”   Melander didn’t get the victory, but his trio of qualifiers for the final raced well. Gimpanzee rallied from far back to get third and Green Manalishi S held on for the fifth and final purse check.   Greenshoe never looked comfortable behind the starting gate for the final as driver Brian Sears held him together to prevent a break. That put him further back than expected, a loss of ground that proved costly.   The time was 1:51 on a warm sunny afternoon as the threatened showers never materialized to spoil the day. Forbidden Trade paid $33.80 to win.   It was the 12th win in 18 starts for the son of Kadabra. He was a $110,000 purchase at the Harrisburg sale.   The Hambletonian kicks off the Trotting Triple Crown. Next up is the Yonkers Trot on Aug. 31, followed by the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6.   Earlier in the day, a determined Green Manalishi S pulled a 9-1 upset in the first Hambo elimination. He left strongly from post eight, briefly dropped into fourth before ranging up first-over to wear down Osterc in a lifetime best 1:50.3.   Melander and Courant Inc. also won the second elimination. In a favorite’s delight, it was with Greenshoe, the 1-5 favorite, in 1:50.2.   by Mike Farrell, for the Associated Press

East Rutherford, NJ -- Kapildeo Singh came to the Meadowlands as a kid, never imagining he might someday win one of the sport's top events. But he got to experience that feeling Saturday (Aug. 3) as When Dovescry, co-owned by Singh, captured the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters at the Big M.   When Dovescry, driven by Simon Allard, won the Hambletonian Oaks by two lengths over previously unbeaten Millies Possesion in 1:50.2. Asiago finished third.   "To be here as one of the owners, it's just amazing," said Singh, a 48-year-old Yorktown Heights, N.Y., resident who owns When Dovescry with the Bruce Soulsby-led Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin and Lawrence Dumain. "It's just awesome. I came here as a kid, 10 years old as a fan. We were reading the program and I learned about the breeding of horses. It's a great game. I love it. This is the icing on the cake. To win the Hambo Oaks, it's the best feeling."   When Dovescry got away second behind 55-1 shot Southwind Casha, who went to the front in a :26.4 opening quarter mile. Allard guided When Dovescry to the front on the backstretch, hitting the half in :54.4, and then faced a first-over challenge from Millies Possesion as they reached three-quarters in 1:23.   Millies Possesion was unable to get to When Dovescry as Allard, clutching the last whip ever used by his late idol Herve Filion, crossed the finish line in front.   "It still had power for one more race," Allard said about the whip, which he was given for the one-time use by Filion's son Brandon. "When I stepped on the gas coming out of the last turn, I said, 'I've still got something.' That's really good."   Allard, who drove When Dovescry for his brother, trainer Rene Allard, said the Oaks triumph meant "everything."   "This is the best place for big races, with a big crowd, and that's what harness racing is supposed to be," Allard said. "It's just such a great feeling. Sometimes you win big races at other tracks where the crowd is not so big but here it is packed today. It's the best drivers and the best horses in the country, it's just everything.   "It makes me think when we started with a $500 horse. (When Dovescry) was a $200,000 yearling, that's the most expensive yearling we ever bought. We got lucky, she made it, and she is what she was supposed to be.   "It's very emotional today."   When Dovescry, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cedar Dove, has won seven of 13 career races and earned $576,250. Her Oaks victory was her second in five races this season and followed a 1:51.3 score in her elimination last week.   "We babied her all year, ran her in some condition races, avoided some competition," Singh said. "We just let her out last week and Rene said she was awesome this week, had the best week of training. We knew we had the best horse this week. I just thank God for this day."   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Wagering on the Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands was up 14.6 percent over the 2018 program. Both cards saw 16 races, but this year's total of $6,501,778 was approximately $800,000 more than the year before. The $6.5 million in action was by far an industry 2019 best. Woodbine at Mohawk Park saw $4.4 million in wagers on March 30 when the track had a huge Super High-Five carryover on a mandatory payout night. The only other $4 million-plus handle this year was at the Big M on Meadowlands Pace Night ($4,044,303). THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT: Those who stayed with Forbidden Trade throughout the Hambletonian Future Wager cashed some nice tickets. With the exception of the first pool ($22.00), Forbidden Trade paid more in legs two ($103.60), three ($40.20) and four ($57.80) than he did in the actual race ($33.80). ... The action in the two 50-Cent Pick-4 pools was predictably vigorous. The pool that covered races eight through 11 saw a meet-best $155,558 put in play, while the second pool (races 13 through 16) had a total pool of $112,948. ... The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five pool on race 11 (the Hambletonian Oaks) took in a total of $180,236 after the $53,000 carryover was added to the "live" money. ... Harness racing returns to the Meadowlands on Oct. 11. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ -- Captain Crunch tracked down pacesetting Bettor's Wish in the final strides to win Saturday's (Aug. 3) $285,362 Cane Pace for 3-year-old harness racing pacers by a neck in 1:48 at the Meadowlands. Semi Tough finished third.   Captain Crunch, the slight 9-5 favorite over Bettor's Wish, was second throughout the mile as Bettor's Wish led the way through fractions of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:22. The two dueled down the lane with Captain Crunch sticking his neck in front at the wire.   "He's a good colt," winning trainer Nancy Johansson said about the Scott Zeron-driven Captain Crunch. "He gives 110 percent effort every time he races. He lays it out on the track for us every time.   The Cane Pace is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, followed by the Messenger Stakes on Aug. 31 at Yonkers Raceway, and the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio on Sept. 19.   Captain Crunch is not eligible to the Messenger but is eligible to the Jug.   "I think we're going to have to have a little bit of a discussion where we are going to go from here," Johansson said about Captain Crunch's future. "He has a few options and we have to pick the best one for him."   Captain Crunch, who captured the North America Cup in June, has won five of seven races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. The son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika has earned $1.26 million in his career for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

East Rutherford, NJ -- Pacing and trotting harness racing mares met at The Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 3) in respective stakes on the Hambletonian Day program.   In the mares trot, the $186,000 Dr. John Steele Memorial, Manchego won her second straight, taking her foes wire-to-wire in a stakes record 1:50.   Dexter Dunn took Manchego to the top off the gate, while Hannelore Hanover settled in second and Top Expectation followed in third. There was no movement behind the leader as Manchego cut fractions of :26, :55.2 and 1:23.1 and Darling Mearas S rushed up first-over, attempting a duel.   Manchego held strongly to pass the wire first, with Hannelore Hanover getting some late foot to finish second over Darling Mearas S.   Manchego is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners Black Horse Racing.   In the mares pace, the $183,000 Lady Liberty, Shartin N continued to dominate the division while setting a world record of 1:46.4 with Tim Tetrick in the bike.   It was never in doubt that Shartin N was in control, taking the top over a quick-leaving Apple Bottom Jeans and paving the path to victory with a :26 first quarter. Kissin In The Sand led the second tier with a slight challenge, as Youaremycandygirl made a move and swung three-wide as the half went in :53.4 and three-quarters was posted in 1:21.   Then, Shartin N sprinted away from the field, with Caviart Ally closing on the rest to follow, while Shower Play passed tired ones to pick up the third spot.   Shartin N is trained by Jim King Jr. for owners Richard Pollucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC.   by Frank Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ -- Crystal Fashion drove by race favorites Six Pack and Guardian Angel As in the final strides to capture the $280,000 John Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 3).   David Miller had Crystal Fashion away alertly from post seven in the field of 10 and swept to the lead quickly, hitting the opening quarter in :26.3. Six Pack, the betting favorite at post time, had to work hard to go past Crystal Fashion and cleared past the quarter. Six Pack controlled the pace nicely with a half in :55 for trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt as Crystal Fashion sat patiently in the pocket.   Action picked up on the far turn, when second choice Guardian Angel As and Tim Tetrick got into gear and put pressure on the leader through three-quarters in 1:23.1. As the top pair battled head-to-head, Miller was fortunate to find room to angle off the rail with Crystal Fashion entering the homestretch. The Jim Campbell-trained 4-year-old picked up the bit and rallied gamely in the late stages to wear down the field and score in 1:50, a Cashman Memorial stakes record-equaling time.   Guardian Angel As finished second with Six Pack back in third.   Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms LLC own Crystal Fashion, a gelded son of Cantab Hall that won for the fourth time in eight starts in 2019.   "It was his first step against older horses," Campbell said following the race. "You give him a chance and he'll go right to the wire."   "I was happy the way the trip worked out," said Miller. "When I got room, he had plenty of horse."   Crystal Fashion was racing for the first time since winning the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity as a 23-1 shot. On Saturday, he faced older competition for the first time and returned $18.80 to his backers.   by Jay Bergman, for the Hambletonian Society  

East Rutherford, NJ -- Green Manalishi S ($20.60) outlasted a first-over grind to collar Osterc in 1:50.3 in the first $70,000 Hambletonian harness racing elimination on Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands, while fourth-place finisher Gimpanzee suffered defeat for the first time after winning the first 12 races of his career.   Now an eight-time winner, the son of Muscle Hill commenced his uncovered bid out of fourth just beyond a :54.4 half mile, advancing steadily on the far turn in line to Tim Tetrick to engage 30-1 long shot Osterc (Yannick Gingras) at the midpoint of the far turn. The pair dueled the length of the stretch, with Green Manalishi S just reaching in the final strides. Osterc was a game runner-up, while Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) launched a belated rally down the grandstand side to finish third.   Gimpanzee (Brian Sears), sent off the 2-5 favorite, gapped third-over cover but finished evenly to save fourth, and Cantab Fashion (Scott Zeron) finished fifth.   Marcus Melander trains Green Manalishi S for Courant Inc.   The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final, carded as race 12 at The Meadowlands.   by James Witherite, for the Hambletonian Society  

East Rutherford, NJ -- The $230,000 Sam McKee Memorial for free-for-all pacers on Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands was one more sizzling showcase for Lather Up as the pacer broke the 1-1/8 mile record, winning in a world record 1:59.2.   Driver Montrell Teague wasted no time getting his charge to the top to set fractions of :25.1, :53 and 1:20.2 before receiving a slight challenge from McWicked on the outside, while This Is The Plan rolled on the inside lane.   McWicked attempted to keep pace as the mile mark came up 1:46.3, but he could not stay with This Is The Plan, no less close on Lather Up. The mile marker alone tied the winning mark of Always B Miki at The Meadowlands.   Drawing off, Lather Up broke the nine-furlong win record of 2:00.3, set by Lady Shadow in 2016.   This Is The Plan finished second; McWicked took third.   Teague said, "I was just hoping to be the last one to the front and try to rate the speed as best I can. I saw McWicked come to my side and I was a little nervous, but right when he straightens up off that last turn, it's just like he's leaving out of the gate again. He's unbelievable."   Teague said he is never surprised about a race result. "Anything can happen in a race," he said. "It usually doesn't go as planned as easy as [this race] did."   He said Lather Up going as he did against older horses was "definitely making his point."   Clyde Francis trains Lather Up, whose career earnings are approaching $1.5 million, for owners Gary and Barbara Iles.   by Frank Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ -- Tall Drink Hanover and driver Andy McCarthy were dominant in capturing the $100,362 Shady Daisy for sophomore pacing fillies at The Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 3). McCarthy used two moves to control the race and sprinted off in a track record-setting 1:48 performance.   Stonebridge Soul and Tall Drink Hanover exchanged the lead through the :26.4 opening quarter. McCarthy cleverly backed down the half to :54.3 with Tall Drink Hanover, and when Treacherous Reign and Dexter Dunn came on the offensive to try it first-over, McCarthy was cool in the bike keeping his rival at bay with a rated 1:22 three-quarter clocking.   Tall Drink Hanover was put into high gear turning the corner. Favorite Stonebridge Soul lost contact from the pocket, and second choice Warrawee Ubeaut circled off her cover but was unable to make up ground. A final-quarter sprint of :26 did the trick for Tony Alagna trainee Tall Drink Hanover, and she needed a light drive to hold off long shot Trillions Hanover. Warrawee Ubeaut settled for third and favorite Stonebridge Soul was fourth.   Owned by Alagna Racing, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing, Tall Drink Hanover scored for the fourth time in eight starts as a 3-year-old. Tall Drink Hanover returned $9.20 with the win.   "I had all the cards in my hand," said McCarthy following the race. "I wanted to control the race and I got a breather in the third quarter."   "She's been good all year," said Alagna. "We beat a good filly in Warrawee Ubeaut last week and I was expecting a good race out of her today."   by Jay Bergman

East Rutherford, NJ -- Real Cool Sam iced the field in Saturday's (Aug. 3) $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters, beating Rome Pays Off by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:53.1 at The Meadowlands for his fifth victory in as many starts. Expectations was third.   Real Cool Sam's time was a track record and equaled the world record for a 2-year-old gelded trotter.   Real Cool Sam, the 1-2 favorite, took his time getting to the front in the Haughton. Rome Pays Off was the early leader, but saw Synergy take the top spot prior to the half. Real Cool Sam and driver David Miller were fifth at the half and followed the first-over cover of Expectations around the final turn before drawing off in the stretch.   Fashion Farms bred and owns Real Cool Sam, a son of Muscle Hill out of Cooler Schooner, trained by Jim Campbell. He has earned $216,998 this season. The horse was named in honor of late Meadowlands Racetrack announcer and broadcaster Sam McKee by Fashion Farms' owner Jules Siegel, who credited McKee with keeping him cool during nervous moments prior to his horses racing.   "He was a real good friend of mine," Siegel said. "He used to come down to the apron and watch me walking around as nervous as I was.   "I really appreciated what Sam did. I realize he did things for a lot of people, but to me it was a very personal thing. I know other people have done the same thing (naming horses in McKee's honor), but for me it was something special."   In the $310,700 James Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters, Hypnotic AM remained undefeated with a two-length win over Sherry Lyns Lady in 1:53. Hello Tomorrow finished third.   Hypnotic AM, bred and owned by Anders Strom's Courant Inc., is 4-for-4. She is trained by Marcus Melander and was driven to victory by Brian Sears.   The 2-5 favorite Hypnotic AM was fourth through the first half of the race, which saw Hello Tomorrow led to the first quarter before yielding to Crucial at the midpoint. Sears moved with Hypnotic AM and was alongside Crucial at three-quarters before kicking home to victory.   "It's a fantastic group of fillies this year, and for her to win first-over like that in 1:53 is fantastic," Strom said.   Hypnotic AM, by Chapter Seven out of Daydream AM S, has earned $196,932.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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