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Hanover, PA - It is with great excitement and pride that Hanover Shoe Farm’s announces the addition of three -year -old pacing colt phenom Tall Dark Stranger to its stallion roster for the 2021 harness racing breeding season. With a record of 1:49.1 at 2 and a current record of 1:47.1 at 3 and $1,741,645 earned thus far, Tall Dark Stranger has a remarkable slate of 16 wins and 1 second from 18 career starts.  Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin  and Lynn Katz, Caviart Farms, Marlene Taylor and Howard Taylor, trained by Nancy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, Tall Dark Stranger is the only horse in history to win the Metro Pace and Breeders Crown as a two year old and return to racing as a three year old and win both the Meadowlands Pace and North American Cup. Tall Dark Stranger also won the International Stallion Stakes at 2 in route to being voted 2 -Year -Old Colt Pacer of the Year in both the United States and Canada. This year at three, in addition to the Meadowlands Pace and North American Cup he has also captured The Cane Pace and The Kentucky Sire Stakes Final. Tall Dark Stranger is scheduled to start next at The Red Mile and then go on to the Breeders’ Crown at Hoosier Park.  Seemingly destined for greatness from his birth, Tall Dark Stranger was a $330,000 purchase from the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. He was considered by many to be the premier pacing colt offered at that venue that year. A stunning individual by the legendary stallion Bettors Delight ,Tall Dark Stranger hails from one of harness racing’s most prolific families. He is out of World Champion and Dan Patch and O’Brien Award Winning 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Precocious Beauty p,2,1:50.1 ($838,004), she a sister to successful pacing stallion Sportswriter and out of a sister to Swinging Beauty P,1:49.4 ($893,268) and the grandam of Downbytheseaside P,2,1:49, 3.1:48.3f ($2,179,558) whose eagerly awaited first crop of yearlings sell this fall. “Russell and I are thrilled and honored to have been given the chance to add such an illustrious pacing stallion to our roster, we believe he is the most accomplished pacer to enter the stallion ranks since Captaintreacherous. This will be the our first partnership with Crawford Farms, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor ,which is exciting ,and  the third stallion we stand that Marvin Katz  owns part of, Captiantreacherous and Bar Hopping being the two others. It is a pleasure to work with Marvin ,he has vast knowledge of the breeding business and a  terrific band of broodmares to support his stallions”,  says Hanover Executive Vice President Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky.  Trainer Nancy Takter calls Tall Dark Stranger “One of the best pacers we have seen. A champion at two and three, he’s done things that no horse has ever done. He’s a pleasure to train and knows that his job is to win”. Driver Yannick Gingras says that Tall Dark Stranger is the best pacing colt he has ever driven. “He has all the tools needed for greatness. Speed, gait, and looks but above all his desire to win races is truly unbelievable to me. He’s a champion in every sense of the word”. Tall Dark Stranger will stand in Pennsylvania His service fee and details concerning the Syndication will be forthcoming. From Hanover Shoe Farms      

ELORA, ON - SEPT. 4, 2020 - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras had a perfect night in Ontario Sires Stakes action at Grand River Raceway on Friday, Sept. 4, steering the winners of all three $72,267 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Gingras kicked off his driving hat trick with Twin B Sunkissed. Starting from Post 3, Twin B Sunkissed left smartly and then yielded to Game Of Shadows heading by the :27.4 quarter. Game Of Shadows continued to lead at the :57.2 half, but was under pressure from Voelz Delight by the 1:26 three-quarters. Circling the duelling leaders at the top of the stretch, Twin B Sunkissed battled Voelz Delight down the stretch and was able to get a head in front at the 1:54.3 finish. Game Of Shadows settled for third. "She actually raced really good. I'd never sat behind her, and I was really happy," said Gingras, who was making his first appearance in the Sunshine Beach daughter's race bike. "The trip worked out obviously, but I think she performed really good. It was a good mile here tonight." Embro, ON resident Frances Dumouchel trains Twin B Sunkissed for his co-owners Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy and 9174 7998 Quebec Inc. of St-Janvier-Mirabel, QC. The win was the filly's first in six career starts. In her two previous Gold Series appearances the filly had finished fifth and sixth, which gives her a total of 58 points and a spot in the top 10 heading into the last Gold Series leg. The top 10 point earners at the end of the regular season will advance to the $250,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 17. Gingras was back in the winner's circle after the second division with lightly rated City By The Bay. Also starting from Post 3, Gingras settled City By The Bay in fourth and watched fan favourite Postscript put up a :28 opening quarter. Heading for the :57.3 half, the reinsman tipped City By The Bay out behind Nightlife Seelster and tracked that filly as she challenged the pacesetter through the 1:26.3 three-quarters. Coming off the final turn Gingras gave City By The Bay a clear look at the wire and the filly powered down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:56. Shiatzu Seelster and Shes A Sassy Beach finished second and third. "I raced her last week and she really didn't give me, I think, her best effort, but they changed the bridle on her and then I think maybe the smaller track probably played in her favour as well," said Gingras, who calls New Jersey home, but is currently in Ontario for six weeks of stakes action. "She had a good trip, but she really exploded home. I was really happy with how she raced tonight. Last week she didn't have that, but tonight she had a real good kick." Ashleigh Hensley trains City By The Bay for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, William Switala and James Martin of Clarence Center, NY and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. The win was the Bettors Delight daughter's first after finishing fourth, second and seventh in the first three legs, giving her 85 points and a share of fourth in the standings. The final division saw Gingras partner up with Battle Of The Belles champion Scarlett Hanover and the filly once again delivered a dominant performance over the Grand River half-mile. Starting from Post 7, Scarlett Hanover had to dodge a breaking Alumni Seelster on her way to the front, but still reached the quarter in :28.2. From there it was all Scarlett Hanover as she rang up a :59 half and a 1:27.1 three-quarters before pulling away to a five length victory in 1:54.4. Fan favourite Best Head West had to settle for second and Sportsdrink completed the top three. "This one was really, really good, she won super easy. I mean she was really the one I thought that had a good chance to do some good tonight, and she showed up for sure," said Gingras. "She gets around this track so good and she won really easy." A stablemate to City By The Bay in the Ashleigh Hensley barn, Scarlett Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Frank Baldachino of Clarksburg, NJ, J And T Silva - Purnel & Libby of Delray Beach, FL and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. The Bettors Delight daughter has a flawless record of three wins in three appearances at Grand River Raceway. Her first Gold Series win boosted Scarlett Hanover into third spot in the standings with 88 points. The filly finished fourth, second and fifth in the first three legs. The two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 5. Complete results from Friday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. Current point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON -  August 29, 2020 - Harness racing three-year-old pacer Tall Dark Stranger looked like a million dollars in taking the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trained by Nancy Takter, Tall Dark Stranger and Yannick Gingras were content to let Tattoo Artist make his mark on the lead, as the latter powered from post seven to strike front early in the proceedings. With Bob McClure in the bike, Tattoo Artist took his nine rivals through an opening mile carved out in a snappy :25.4, with Tall Dark Stranger settling in second. Longshots Moneyman Hill, in third, and Mayhem Hanover, sitting fourth, watch the pacesetting duo set the tone early. Soon after the quarter-mile mark, Gingras, contesting his ninth Cup, powered his 3-5 favourite to the outside and to the lead, as they cut a half in :53.3. It was Tall Dark Stranger still calling the shots as the field geared up for the stretch drive. McClure pulled Tattoo Artist to the outside looking to track down the frontunner. For a brief moment, it appeared as though they were cutting into the lead of Tall Dark Stranger, but he pulled away down the lane for another impressive score. Tattoo Artist was second, while 127-1 Moneyman Hill finished third. Odds on Osiris, leaving from post 10, rallied to take fourth. There was plenty of emotion in the aftermath of the victory, including a teary-eyed Gingras, and an elated Marvin Katz, who co-owns Tall Dark Stranger with Crawford Farms Racing, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. It was the second straight Cup title for Takter, who won last year with Captain Crunch. And it was also a historic triumph. "I'm overjoyed, I really am," said Katz. "I've been doing this for a very long time and I've been fortunate to have many great horses, but I think this guy really rates up with some of the greatest horses we've ever seen. This is historic. What he's done tonight has never been done before. He won the Metro as a two-year-old, he won the Breeders Crown - he's come back to win the Meadowlands Pace and he's won the North America Cup. Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous... they couldn't do it, but he's done it." The enormity of the accomplishment wasn't lost on Takter, who wasn't able to watch the race in-person. "This is an extra-special colt in extraordinary circumstances," she told Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I'm so proud of the horse and my team." Gingras had ample praise for the competitive spirit shown by the sophomore superstar. "I rolled him to three-quarters pretty hard but he just never quits. He's just a tremendous horse - the best pacing colt I've ever driven, there's no doubt in my mind. He's just an amazing animal. I feel awesome, there's no doubt about it. This means so much. I couldn't be any happier right now." Winning trainer Tony Alagna was also represented by Captain Kirk and Captain Barbossa. All of his starters were sired by Captaintreacherous, who won the NA Cup in 2013. A son of 2001 Cup winner Bettors Delight, Tall Dark Stranger, closing in on $2 millions in earnings, is now 14 for 16 lifetime. "I think he's just stronger than they are right now, and he can get them tired just by trying to keep up with him," said Gingras. Tall Dark Stranger paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.40, combining with Tattoo Artist ($4.30, $3.50) for a $16.20 exactor. Moneyman Hill ($20.70) completed a $2 triactor worth $476.40. Odds On Osiris rounded out a $1 superfecta worth $2,596.30. Saturday evening's Pepsi North America Cup card established a new Pepsi North America Cup handle record of $5,619,402. The handle was headlined by $1.1 million in new money wagered on the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout. by Chris Lomon, for Woodbine Communications  

MILTON, ON -  August 29, 2020 - An untouchable Warrawee Ubeaut flexed her harness racing muscles in an impressive $290,000 Roses Are Red score on Saturday evening at Mohawk Park. The four-year-old Sweet Lou mare rejected an opportunity to tuck in the pocket entering the first turn and drove on, hitting the quarter in :26.3. She was never headed again, as Yannick Gingras managed fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.2 before kicking away to a two-length 1:49.3 win. Trillions Hanover, who sat second most of the way, mounted a valiant late charge, but ultimately fell short. So Much More grinded out a nightmare first-over trip to take a deserving third, and Soho Burning Love A emerged from a throng of horses for fourth. To see the race replay click here. Gingras commented that his mare was on a mission. "It was more her gameplan," he said. "She was on go tonight. She was a little bit anxious in the post parade and going to the gate too, and when she was like that I wasn't going to fight with her - I let her do her thing. But once she got to the front, at least she was able to relax a little bit; she wasn't a runaway or anything like that. I got a decent middle half, and she finished it off." The millionaire Ron Burke trainee took her second victory of the season from six starts and 21st win lifetime on 36 outings; she also nears $2 million in earnings with the $145,000 payday from the contest. Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, Jandt Silva Purnel & Libb, and Weaver Bruschemi LLC own the Pennsylvania-sired mare that had previously been off to a slow beginning to 2020. Gingras applauded his charge's improvement throughout the year and expressed his belief in further improvement. "She deserves to be winning, and there's no doubt in my mind horses know when they win and when they don't," he said. "So yes, it was a little bit like that, it's a tough jump from three to four and there's some great mares this year, so it was a little tough for her at the beginning. But she's a big, strong horse, and I think until the end of the year she's gonna keep getting stronger, and next year as well." Warrawee Ubeaut was favoured for the duration of wagering and paid $5.90 to win. By Nicholas Barnsdale, for Woodbine Communications  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras came from "off the pace" to best Dexter Dunn in the hotly contested battle for top driver at the Meadowlands meeting that came down to Saturday's Hambletonian Day card. By winning three races Friday and four more Saturday, Gingras overcame Dunn's 82-79 lead in the standings entering the final weekend of racing. After Dunn won the final race of the meet - with 19-1 shot Starvin Marvin - he stood one behind Gingras, who won the title by a count of 86 to 85. Gingras and Dunn also finished 1-2 in money earnings. Ron Burke, the winner of 12 consecutive national trainer titles, topped the Big M trainer colony in wins with 50. Nancy Takter was the leading money-earning trainer. She had just over $1 million in earnings heading into Hambo Day. Leading owners at the meeting were Pollack Racing LLC and Jeffrey Cullipher. HANDLE HIGHLIGHTS: All-source North American wagering on the 16-race Hambo Day card totaled $5,730,615, by far the highest total in the industry in 2020. It marked the second time during the 41-program meeting where wagering topped the $5-million plateau. On 33 occasions, wagering went past the $2.5-million mark, while the $3-million barrier was busted 10 times. Wagering on the Hambletonian was red hot, as a total of $845,469 was pushed through the windows on the 11th race Saturday, an increase of $322,305 over last year (61 percent). Wagering totals from international outlets will not be known for several days. A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy not only won his first Hambletonian, but was the top driver on Hambo Day, winning five times. ... Tony Alagna trained three to victory lane, all were driven by McCarthy. ... Live racing at The Meadowlands resumes on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7:15 p.m., and with the exception of Christmas Day, will be conducted on the normal Friday-Saturday schedule through the end of the year. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trainer Nancy Takter continued something of a family tradition Saturday (Aug. 8), winning the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies with Sorella at The Meadowlands.   Takter, whose father Jimmy won a record eight editions of the Oaks, became the first female trainer to ever win the race, which began in 1971.   Sorella and driver Yannick Gingras rolled to the front in the first turn and cruised to victory by 1-3/4 lengths over Hypnotic AM in 1:51. Panem, also trained by Takter, finished third. Hypnotic AM and Panem both started from the second tier, with Hypnotic AM in post 12 and Panem in post 11.   It is the sixth time in seven years the Oaks was won by a Takter and Gingras, who extended his record for wins by a driver to six.       “It certainly doesn’t get old,” Gingras said. “With any of these big races, you win them once and you want to win them again. I think it’s a pretty good accomplishment to have six of them. Definitely I’m proud of it.”   Gingras and Sorella started from post seven and saw Whose Blues leave for the front from post six. Whose Blues settled in the top spot, but only briefly, as Gingras pushed forward to claim the lead in a :26.1 opening quarter. From there, Sorella hit the half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.3.   “I thought there were three horses in the race that really stood out and the other two had posts 11 and 12,” Gingras said. “When I left the gate, I saw they were going to get away somewhere in mid-pack. They weren’t going to get away too close, so I was taking no prisoners from there. I figured she was the one to beat at that point and took no chances.”   Said Takter, “I thought my horses both raced super. I wish Panem would have gotten up a little bit more, but they were both really good. It kind of worked out the way I expected, so that’s good when things go that way.”   She added that Sorella’s next start would most likely come in the Zweig Memorial on Aug. 21 at Vernon Downs.   Sorella, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Kadealia, has won four of five races this year and six of 14 lifetime with earnings of $503,376. She is owned by breeder Elmer Fannin, Crawford Farms Racing and Brent Fannin. Elmer Fannin named the filly after a bottle of wine.   “We’re very excited about Sorella,” said Brent Fannin, Elmer’s son. “We knew one day (Kadealia) was going to throw a good one, and we just kept being patient and bred her to one of the better sires we could. And along comes Sorella and we’re real excited. We lost her mom earlier this year, who was in foal to Father Patrick, and hopefully Sorella can carry the torch from here.”   by Ken Weingartner with Derwick Giwner

Under most circumstances, trainer Nancy Takter would have watched the stretch drive of this past Saturday's Meadowlands Pace and been overcome with a sinking feeling. In those instances, though, she would not have been watching Tall Dark Stranger. Tall Dark Stranger and driver Yannick Gingras captured Saturday's $636,650 Meadowlands Pace in dramatic fashion, giving up the lead to rival Papi Rob Hanover in the stretch before fighting back to win by a neck in 1:47.2. Few people - including Gingras, co-owner Buck Chaffee, and Takter's father Jimmy - thought Tall Dark Stranger would be the winner as the horses began their battle on the final turn. Takter, however, was undaunted as the scene unfolded. "Usually when a horse kind of halfway clears, your heart sinks," Takter said. "I never got that feeling. I never had the feel that I was the loser. It was the weirdest thing ever. I watched the stretch and I had so much confidence in Tall Dark Stranger and knew he would come back. "What a champion he is. He just doesn't want to lose. He's just a great horse." Takter won her first Meadowlands Pace in her second try. In 2019, she finished fourth with favorite Captain Crunch. She also gave the Takter family its first Pace trophy; Jimmy sent out 10 horses in the event for 3-year-old pacers with a best finish of second with Vintage Master in 2009. As is a Takter tradition, the winner's blanket was placed on a bronze horse statue near the entrance of the family's central New Jersey farm. "There have been a lot of great blankets out there, so it was about time that one got on," the 39-year-old Takter said. "When I was growing up, a little kid, Meadowlands Pace night was always a big event. My dad didn't have a lot of pacers at that time, but I remember all these great horses and we would talk about them. I knew it was special to win the Meadowlands Pace." Tall Dark Stranger was the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For his career, he has won 11 of 12 races and earned $1.05 million for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor. The colt, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Precocious Beauty, is Gingras' second Meadowlands Pace winner. Gingras got his first Pace victory with A Rocknroll Dance in 2012. "I have a connection with Tall Dark Stranger that makes it a little different than with A Rocknroll Dance," said Gingras, who has driven Tall Dark Stranger in all his qualifiers and races as well as spent time with the horse at Takter's stable. "Then, you have the expectations. A Rocknroll Dance was 9-2 and things worked out on that day, but you don't have the pressure. "Tall Dark Stranger, he's the champ, he's the one that has to be dethroned. He was 1-2 (odds), it was a lot of pressure. And I know Papi Rob Hanover is a great horse. I knew he would show up. Everyone saw Allywag Hanover, he's super fast too. You put all that together, to be able to get the job done, in that fashion too, is a great, great feeling." Papi Rob Hanover and Allywag Hanover both looked poised to defeat Tall Dark Stranger after the latter went for the lead in a :25.4 opening quarter-mile, then reached the half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:20.4. Around the last turn, Papi Rob Hanover pulled even with Tall Dark Stranger, with Allywag Hanover following Papi Rob Hanover's cover. "When Papi Rob came, I really didn't feel like I was a winner there," Gingras said. "I thought I was beat. I knew (Allywag Hanover) was in a perfect spot; I thought I was in trouble with both of them. I thought I would be second or third at that point. I just kept trying to keep my horse alive and he just fought. "Halfway down the stretch, I thought I had a chance. Maybe like a hundred feet before the wire, I knew I had (Papi Rob Hanover) even though I wasn't back in front of him yet. I knew I was getting to him and I had time to get him too. It felt pretty good then. "Tall Dark Stranger is a winner and he knows what he has to do to get the job done. He has the desire to dig down deep and give you that little more that's needed." After winning eight of nine races last season, Tall Dark Stranger is 3-for-3 in 2020 and has two sub-1:48 miles already this year. His 1:47.2 clocking in the Meadowlands Pace ranks tied for eighth best by a 3-year-old pacer in history. Gingras believes the horse's strong start this year is in part due to the way he finished last season. Tall Dark Stranger's connections decided to quit with the colt following his win in the Breeders Crown rather than pursue nearly $600,000 in purses in the Matron Stakes and Governor's Cup. "They could have kept on going last year, but they quit with him after having a great year with him," Gingras said. "They decided they were going to focus on trying to put all the chances on our side for his 3-year-old season, and it paid off. They got rewarded for their patience. I think the credit goes to them and Nancy for doing a good job bringing him back." Tall Dark Stranger's next start is expected to be in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 1 at The Meadowlands. Then comes the Cane Pace the following Saturday at The Big M. In the meantime, Takter will savor the Pace triumph. "I was a little disappointed about last year, so it was nice to come back and get it done this year," she said. "It's a very special accomplishment." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

CHESTER, PA - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras won four races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, all of them with frontsteppers, including his last three starts before heading north to fulfill evening commitments at The Meadowlands. Two of his victories came with pacers for trainer Ron Burke. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Lifeonthebeach A fronted his field home in 1:51.3 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC; the Yankee Cruiser gelding Ginger Tree Marty went just a tick slower in finishing first for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr. Pit Master, a sophomore gelded son by Father Patrick out of Graceful Kelly, who is a full sister to Muscle Mass and Muscle Massive, made his career debut in stylish fashion, stepping home in 1:56.4. Greg Peck, the trainer of the immortal Muscle Hill, conditions the promising youngster for Wllbourne Farms SE LLC. Gingras's fourth winner also came on the trot, with the Andover Hall gelding Carrick, who drew clear through the last quarter while stopping the timer in 1:54.4 for a new mark. Kevin McDermott trains Carrick for owner Joseph Zicchino. Moon Bridge, an E L Titan sophomore colt who won $157,202 at two, posted his first win of 2020 in dominant fashion. Like Gingras's quarter a frontstepper, Moon Bridge went down the road in :27.4, :56.3, and 1:24.2, finishing out the mile in 1:52.2, just a tick behind the divisional track record of Googoo Gaagaa. Andy Miller was behind the impressive victory for trainer Ãke Svanstedt and owners Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpe, and Jussi Hietalanti. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The "Biggest Night in Harness Racing" takes place Saturday (July 18) at the track known as the Big M. And for bettors, Meadowlands Pace Night 2020 is now even bigger. The action and stakes racing will be excessive Saturday at North America's top venue, with the marquee event - The Meadowlands Pace, a 3-year-old open for a purse of $636,650 - scheduled as Race 9, with a post time of 9:55 p.m. "Every year, Meadowlands Pace Night sports one of the truly special race cards of the year," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The 13-race program has many stakes events, and the wagering opportunities are numerous. On Saturday, we will be offering a mandatory payout on our 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five, so the total pool should be huge." This Friday night's Early 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five will not be offered so that Saturday's can start out with a carryover of $65,089 in the 11th race. "It is our hope that our players will go after the Saturday Super High-Five in a big way," said Settlemoir. "Hopefully, we can get $200,000 into that pool and get one - or several - players a nice score." Saturday's wagering menu will be expanded. Here is a look at what - and when - players will be playing the track's popular puzzles, all of which offer a low 15 percent takeout: 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 1-5, $50,000 guaranteed pool) 50-cent All Stakes Pick-4 (Races 6-9, $100,000 guarantee) 20-cent Pick-6 (Races 8-13) 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 9-13) 50-cent Pick-4 (Races 10-13) 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 11, $65,089 carryover, mandatory payout, estimated pool $200,000) The Big M has good momentum heading into this weekend's racing, with $3,440,248 having been wagered last Saturday, the high at the mile oval this year for a 13-race card, on which the track set a per-race average best of $264,634. Despite the absence of the Early 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five on Friday, fans of the wager will still have a big opportunity in the 13th race, as that JSH5 will start out with a carryover of $80,368. Friday's program begins at the usual 7:15 p.m. STAKES-STACKED CARD: Saturday's Meadowlands Pace Night program gets underway a little earlier than usual, with a first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. In addition to The Pace, the card also offers the $40,000 Miss Versatility (featuring Manchego), $253,500 Del Miller Memorial (Hypnotic AM), $284,500 Stanley Dancer Memorial-two divisions (Amigo Volo and Beads), $194,400 Mistletoe Shalee (JK First Lady), $391,300 William Haughton Memorial (Dancin Lou), $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity (Gimpanzee), $172,850 Dorothy Haughton (Shartin N) and $123,100 William Haughton Memorial Consolation (Sintra). OWNERS BACK IN THE WC: For the first time since before the coronavirus shutdown in early March, owners will be welcome back in the winner's circle on Saturday night, with masks and social distancing strictly enforced. PACE CARD LIVE ON FACEBOOK: The entire Meadowlands Pace card can be seen live on the Meadowlands' Facebook page. The races can also be seen 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. "We are looking forward to an international viewing audience on TVG on Pace Night," said Settlemoir. "But we also look forward to seeing our fans at the track as well." For those who want to come out to the races, grandstand capacity is 25 percent with more patrons allowed outside on the apron. Theweatherchannel.com is forecasting fabulous conditions for Saturday night, with temperatures in the mid-70s, a few clouds and light winds. ASHLEY RETURNS: The Meadowlands' Dave Brower, Dave Little, Ken Warkentin and Jessica Otten will be joined for a second straight weekend by Ashley Mailloux, the paddock analyst and handicapper at Ft. Erie Racetrack, who will be on hand to bolster the Big M's TV presence. Mailloux also contributes - and freelances - for Post Time with Mike and Mike, America's Best Racing, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN). Otten spent the early part of the week out at the farms of some of The Pace contenders, and her reports will be shown throughout the weekend. On Friday, Mailloux will sit beside Brower and serve as co-host of the live simulcast presentation at 6:45 p.m. Saturday's show will have Brower and Little on set, with an earlier-than-usual start time of 5:45 p.m. Otten and Mailloux will have features and interviews all weekend long, and, of course, Warkentin, the voice of The Big M, will call all 26 races. Due to the cancellation of racing at Del Mar, Meadowlands management is anticipating more coverage on TVG's live presentation of the races. Little will be on TVG duty Friday, and Mike Bozich, the track announcer at Harrah's Philadelphia, will take the microphone Saturday. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com. Friday night, the Late 50-cent Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (races 10-13) will be available. On Saturday, bettors can access the entire Meadowlands Pace Night card. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: 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. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Otten (@JessicaOtten1) and Mailloux (@ashley_mailloux). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands, #playbigm and #paceyourself20. FOLLOW THE FAVORITES: Want to know what the trainer and driver of Meadowlands Pace 7-5 morning-line favorite Tall Dark Stranger are saying? Follow trainer Nancy Takter (@NancyTakter) and driver Yannick Gingras (@Gingras3) on Twitter. READ ALL ABOUT IT: Check the following harness racing outlets on the internet for everything Meadowlands Pace, before and after the race: playmeadowlands.com, ustrotting.com, drf.com/harness/, harnessracing.com, standardbredcanada.ca, harnessracingupdate.com and harnesslink.com. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 4, 2020 -- Heavily favored It's Academic cruised to a 5-3/4-length victory in Saturday's $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadows. When Sister Sledge and Crucial waltzed to similarly easy wins in the $64,594 filly division -- each in stake-record time -- they gave harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke a Currier & Ives sweep. Burke's big day didn't end there. He started horses in 11 of the card's 15 races and won a remarkable nine of them. It's Academic entered the Currier & Ives off two strong place finishes in Ohio Sires Stakes legs and looked to lay over the field. In this case, looks weren't deceiving, as the son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis floated to the lead and widened at will, even after Gingras had shut him down. Harley K and Coventry Hall completed the ticket. "He's just a real gentleman -- perfect to drive," Gingras said. "Down by the wire, I left him alone. He's a little bit lazy, but he's a nice horse. To be a top colt, he'll have to go a lot faster, but for Ohio and here, he's the perfect horse." Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables campaign It's Academic, who vaulted over $200,000 in lifetime earnings. Following last week's facile victory in her season's debut, Sister Sledge continued to roll through the soft part of her schedule, quarter-poling to the point and scoring in 1:53.2. That eclipsed the stake mark of 1:53.4 established about 15 minutes earlier by Crucial. Last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behind Closedoors will begin a tougher stretch with the July 15 PA Sires Stake leg at Harrah's Philadelphia. Is Sister Sledge where she needs to be to handle more competitive fillies? "She couldn't have been any better today, that's for sure," Gingras said. "It will get tougher; that's coming for sure. There are a lot of good fillies that weren't here today. But her timing is right. She's really good right now." Sister Sledge Sans Defaut (trained by Burke) and Perth Angel De Vie finished second and third, respectively. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Sister Sledge, who now boasts a career bankroll of $584,843. Although Crucial's stake record was fleeting, her win after a quarter-pole move signaled that she might be ready for more. "She had a class edge on these horses for sure," Gingras said. "She's grown since last year, of course, and she's stronger. I thought she was very professional today." Petey Sarah and Dune Hill rounded out the ticket. In keeping with Burke's huge day, he swept the top three spots in this split. Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, now has banked $159,587 for Burke Racing Stable, Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. Dave Palone collected four wins Saturday while Dan Charlino and Jim Pantaleano enjoyed triples. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when 59 freshman filly trotters will make their stakes debut in a pair of events: a $210,221 PASS and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake. In addition, the 15-race card will feature a $9,712.33 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Covered Bridge has been so good early on in his 4-year-old harness racing campaign, he's even surprised his trainer, Ron Burke. "He has been even better than we had hoped," said Burke of the gelded son of American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses, who was a dominant winner of the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $27,500 high-end conditioned pace. "We couldn't be happier with him," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "He's getting stronger every week." A scary thought for all the other 4-year-olds who will take him on this season. Covered Bridge remained unbeaten in three starts this year - all at the Meadowlands - facing his toughest test of the season. He was in against Sintra, the "Terror from Toronto" who had won all four of his starts this season facing the best on the grounds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the super-formful Bell I No, who had finished second or better in seven straight Big M outings. Unlike a week ago, Gingras opted to put Covered Bridge on the engine, making a second move to the top after yielding briefly to Sintra just after the quarter. Given the caliber of the combatants, the half was reached in a lazy :56.1, and when one considers that Covered Bridge had won his first two outings of 2020 in 1:48.3 and 1:49.2, it was going to take a lot to catch him. As it turned out, it could not be done. After three-quarters was clocked in 1:24, Covered Bridge had a :26.3 kicker in his tank to easily beat Sintra, who is presumably on his way to Yonkers next week for the Borgata Series, by 1½ lengths in 1:50.3. Bell I No finished third.   "Mostly 4-year-old races," said Burke when asked what the plan is for Covered Bridge. "But we will be re-evaluate soon." Is he the type of horse you'd put into the Graduate, which gets underway May 2 at the Meadowlands? "I think for sure." Covered Bridge, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Mortgage Boys Stable, returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 favorite and has now won 10-of-36 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $273,837. BOMBS AWAY! Pat Berry, aka "The Blue Berry Bomber", put a big smile on his fans' faces when he guided 47-1 shot Barefoot Bluejeans to victory lane in the 12th race. The win price of $96.40 was the largest of 2020 at the Big M. Apparently unsatisfied with one huge longshot, Berry came right back in the 13th race and scored with 27-1 chance Jumping Jake, giving the 44-year-old pilot a sweep of the Late Double that paid $2,700.40. Berry scored earlier on the card with an 11-1 shot and his one Friday winner went off at 10-1. With Berry's bombs hitting their targets in the final two races, the Late Pick-4 returned $18,446.90 after driver Andy Miller and trainer Nick Surick teamed up to take legs one and two at odds of 5-1. A LITTLE MORE: Betting surpassed the $2.5-million plateau for the 12th time in the last 13 race cards, as a total of $2,845,232 was pushed through the windows on the 13 races. ... Berry, Gingras and Andy McCarthy had driving triples on the program. After scoring in both co-features Friday, McCarthy finished the weekend with five winner's circle trips. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras recorded five wins and won the feature at the Meadowlands, as he scored with Trump Nation in Saturday night's Preferred Handicap for pacers. Trump Nation, sent to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, blasted away from post seven in the field of eight along with Atta Boy Dan and Americanprimetime. Endeavor was in the early scrum but driver Corey Callahan decided to back off into the four-hole as Atta Boy Dan led at the quarter. Trump Nation continued on until surging to the top at the three-eighths. Endeavor, the 2-1 second choice, was on the move at the half racing on the rim and chipped away at the leader's edge, drawing to within a length at the head of the stretch. The rivals battled through the lane as Endeavor continued to inch closer, but at the wire, it was an ultra-determined Trump Nation out-gaming Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Harambe Deo was third.   Gingras wasn't worried as his primary foe was closing in. "I was pretty confident I was going to be able to hold him off," said Gingras. "This horse was super again." Trump Nation, a 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.80 to his backers. He's now won 15 of 40 lifetime starts and earned $432,446 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Evan Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. THE NEED FOR SPEED: A fast track and comfortable-for-the-time-of-year temperatures in the 40s on a clear night led to some rock-the-clock times on the program. The red-hot Bell I No, who won a week ago in 1:49.1 despite cold conditions and a -1 track variant, recorded the second fastest mile in North America of 2020 when he ripped through fractions of :26.4, :54.1 and 1:22 before completing the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48.4 to record his third win in four starts in the sixth race high-end conditioned pace. Andy Miller drove the Andrew Harris trainee. Just two races later, the Ron-Burke trained Covered Bridge equaled Effronte A's national season's-best of 1:48.3 by coming from off the pace in taking another high-end conditioned pace. Driven by Gingras, Covered Bridge lowered his previous lifetime mark by two-and-one-fifth seconds while making his seasonal debut. A LITTLE MORE: Chalk players ruled the night, as eight winning favorites scored on the card. ... Wagering on the track's four popular multi-leg puzzles was vigorous as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544), 20-cent Pick-6 ($29,150), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($89,159) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($74,289) accounted for total bets of $268,142. ... Gingras, Dexter Dunn (three winners), Andy McCarthy (two) and Marcus Miller (two) combined to win 12 of the 13 races. ... Burke recorded three wins on the night. ... All-source handle on the card totaled $2,687,050, the eighth time in the last nine programs that wagering has exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

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 - 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 - 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 - The Meadowlands is known as a track with a driver colony that's got big-time talent from top to bottom, but last weekend, two harness racing standouts stood far above the rest of the crowd. Over the course of the two-day race week at the Big M on Jan. 17-18, Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras were both at the top of their respective games, to say the least. Of the 28 races contested, the prolific pair won 18 times, with each pilot hitting the winner's circle four times Friday and five times Saturday. Dunn, a 30-year-old New Zealand native, took both features with Down Under breds, winning Friday with Major Occasion A and then Saturday with Franco Totem N. His fans were especially thrilled with Dunn's Friday success as the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year scored with longshots Bold Goddess ($43.80) and Auteur Hanover ($54.60). In addition, DD swept the $348.20 daily double that covered races seven and eight. Gingras, whose $13.4 million in earnings was good for second in North America during 2019, maintained his place as one of the most popular drivers at the Big M by scoring a half-dozen times over the weekend with non-favorites as both he and Dunn - not surprisingly - showed a flat-bet profit by the time the dust cleared Saturday night. Racing fans won't get the chance to play Gingras or Dunn this weekend, however, as neither is listed to drive. Gingras will be in France attending - not participating in - the Prix d'Amerique while Dunn has a previous commitment. Racing fans can look forward to another ace being in the fold, however, as Tim Tetrick, the leading money-earning driver from 2019 with over $15.6 million, will be in the sulky at the Big M this Friday and Saturday night. Post time is the usual 7:15 p.m. PICK-4 REPORT: The Meadowlands' signature wager, the 50-cent Pick-4, saw its usual big play last weekend, as a total of $81,661 was bet Friday and $91,480 was in the pool Saturday. Friday's final leg saw a 25-1 shot score, leading to a payoff of $3,155.05. Chalk players hit the $55.85 return Saturday as Dunn and Gingras each won twice during the sequence. FREE PPs: When it comes to the 50-cent Pick-4, the Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five and the 20-cent Can-Am Pick-4, if you want to play, but prefer not to pay for past performances, all you have to do is go to playmeadowlands.com or ustrotting.com where you can access them for free. GIANT SCORE: One sharp handicapper made the score a lifetime Friday. Betting into the Oregon Express hub, that player held the only 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five ticket with the winning combination of 1-7-3-6-4 and cashed in for $118,148.72. The race was won by 2-1 favorite Lily Hammer and driver Corey Callahan. Finishing second through fifth, respectively, were Northern Swift (25-1), Moonshinecharleigh (8-1), Manhattan Play (3-1) and Justabitofcharm (30-1). MARK YOUR CALENDARS On Jan. 24, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. On Jan. 25, the Big M hosts it's annual "Chili Cook Off", which will have its usual "Homestyle Chili" division. This year, a "Chili Verde" contest has been added to the festivities. In addition, there will also be a competition for the best salsa. For complete information and registration, go to https://chilicookoff.com/cookoffs/list. On Feb. 2, professional football's championship game - that pits the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers - kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to watch and wager in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. On 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. 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 in Cape May, NJ. For reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM. Meadowlands Media Relations  

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