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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Displaying a remarkable closing kick, Major Occasion A was airborne through a final quarter of :26 in her seasonal harness racing debut to become the second straight Friday night feature winner to do it in last to first fashion, taking the $22,500 Winners Over $50,000 Lifetime for pacing fillies and mares in 1:52.4 at The Meadowlands. "She's a good mare," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "Her [1:54.4] qualifier last week was a good one." And it proved to be more than enough to get her ready for the assignment at hand. It appeared that the race belonged to Betalady, who was on the lead through soft fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4. Major Occasion A opted to race from last in the six-horse field for most of the mile, picking up live cover at the five-eighths from 9-5 favorite Sweet Lucy Lou, who was last week's come-from-behind winner. Off the far turn, the 'Major' tipped off her cover before rocketing home to record a 1-length win over Betalady. Sweet Lucy Lou was third. MAJOR OCCASION A REPLAY   "When you're sitting back last and you're chasing good mares, it's going to be hard to catch them," said Dunn. "But she really knocked it down through the stretch. She was good off the helmet and should have a good season." Trained by Nifty Norman for owners Enzed Racing Stable, Major Occasion A, a 7-year-old daughter of Art Major-Fake Occasion, returned $6.40 to win as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering. She now has 21 wins from just 68 career outings, good for earnings of $415,273. HE'S A GRAND OLD MAN: Even though he was making the 293rd start of his career, 14-year-old Statesman N looked like a kid out there in the $12,500 Play Meadowlands Final for $7,500 claimers, scoring by a determined head in 1:53.3. Owned and trained by Yogi Sheridan, Statesman N completed a two-race sweep of the series by brushing to the lead before the half and holding off the pocket-sitting Northern Rock after the pair duked it out toe-to-toe through the stretch. Statesman N, a gelded son of Christian Cullen-Club Sport who was driven by Dunn, now has 58 career wins and lifetime earnings of $949,483. As the heavy 2-5 public choice, he returned $2.80 to win. A LITTLE MORE: Mark MacDonald continued his winning ways by pacing the driving colony with three winners on the card, giving him eight victories over the last five programs. ... There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $7,384. Those with five correct collected $96.14. ... All-source handle totaled $2,701,155. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. by Dae Little, for The Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A loaded older trotting division got a little bit deeper Saturday night at The Meadowlands, as Get Legs, from harness racing driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller - the duo known as "Team Orange Crush" - put a beating on six overmatched foes in the $18,500 high-end conditioned trotting feature. "We are really excited about him," said Andy. "Right now, and for the future as well." They should be. Because if all goes as hoped, 'Legs' could end up facing such standouts as Manchego, Atlanta and Amigo Volo during what is his sophomore campaign after having not raced as a 2-year-old. The still relatively inexperienced 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Legzy, known heading into the night for his late rallies, was put on the point this time around, and continued his winning ways switching from being a pursuer to the persued. Get Legs, whose every lifetime start has come at The Big M, was away quickly from post four in the seven-horse (which had two scratches) field along with 5-2 second choice Mission Accepted and 3-1 chance Pikachu Hanover, and when they settled in at the quarter, the even-money favorite Get Legs hit the beam in :27.4 with Pikachu Hanover and Mission Accepted willing to sit behind along the rail. "I just thought it was a good spot to be a little more aggressive with him," said Andy. "He's been taken back enough." Miller was able to rate the second fraction in a leisurely :29 on a night where the front end is where you wanted to be, before Pikachu Hanover popped out the two-hole at three-quarters to take his shot, and just as it seemed he might threaten as they straightened away, Get Legs got serious. "When he felt them move up on him," said Andy. "He just took off all the way to the wire." The margin may have been just a half-length, but Get Legs reported home a safe winner in 1:53, just two-fifths of a second slower than two weeks ago, when he established his lifetime best. Mission Accepted outlasted Pikachu Hanover in the race for place.   Get Legs, who returned $4.20 to his backers, now has eight wins from just nine lifetime starts and earnings of $63,610 for owners Andy Miller Stable and Michael Anderson. A 'NIFTY' SCORE: Colossal Stride A, driven by Dexter Dunn and trained by Nifty Norman, wore down speedy 70-1 shot Yacht Seelster in deep stretch to take the high-end conditioned pacing feature by a neck in 1:50.3, giving him three wins in four North American starts since shipping in from Australia less than two months ago. "He's a pretty powerful horse," said Dunn, whose horse sprinted home in :26. "The fractions weren't strong but he paced hard through the stretch." As the 3-5 public choice, Colossal Stride A, who won despite going parked for the final half-mile, paid $3.20 to win. HANDLE ROLLS A "YO-LEVEN": The Meadowlands' streak of seeing the $3-million handle barrier busted on Saturday nights stayed intact, as all-source wagering totaled $3,155,578. There have been 11 Saturday programs at The Big M thus far in 2021, and all 11 have seen a handle of over $3 million. A PAIR OF FOURS: Yannick Gingras and Andy McCarthy had the hot hands on the 13-race card, as both drove four winners on the program. A LITTLE MORE: One shrewd player wagering into the Oregon Express hub raked the pot in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 and collected $12,059. The sequence saw four winning favorites, including a pair of 3-5 shots in the final two legs. ... There will be a bit more time for players to handicap the first race 20-cent Pick-5 starting Friday, as racing resumes with a new post time of 6:20 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It's hard to imagine anyone feeling confident about Sweet Lucy Lou's chances down the backstretch in the Friday night harness racing feature at The Meadowlands, a high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares. After all, the 5-year-old by Sweet Lou-Ultimate Bet, was sent to the gate as a 17-1 outsider and was sitting 10th and last as the field went past the half-mile marker with apparently no chance. But then things picked up for her connections, not to mention her backers. Driver Todd McCarthy put Sweet Lucy Lou into a fourth-over flow, a train that was led by a resilient Betalady, who went parked the mile while in search of a third straight win at The Big M. At three-quarters - which was timed in 1:22.2 - Dover Downs shipper Going Gone Hanover was calling the shots with 5-2 favorite Wingding Hanover in the pocket and Betalady still grinding away on the rim in third. "I thought she had a shot," said winning trainer Bob Cleary of Sweet Lucy Lou. "I thought a lot of them wouldn't like the wind in their faces in the stretch." Cleary was spot on, as his prized pupil roared home after tipping off cover for the stretch drive to score by 1¼ lengths in 1:51.3 and return a handsome $36.60 to win. Golden Quest N rallied after going second-over to grab the place spot. A game Betalady hung in there for third.   "She's a big closer," said Cleary, as Sweet Lucy Lou raised her lifetime stats to 10 wins from 50 starts. "It was a big class drop for her. Last year, she was fourth in the Breeders Crown [won by Kissin In The Sand]. Hopefully, she can be a stakes filly this year. She's a big-track horse and is staked to all of the big races at The Meadowlands and Mohawk." "I looked at her lines and that cemented in my mind that she's crazy good off cover," said McCarthy. "I was hoping she'd be good enough and she was." Owned by Royal Wire Products, Sweet Lucy Lou recorded her first win since October 9 of last year and lifted her lifetime bank account to $245,602. A LITTLE MORE: Leading driver Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras both won three races on the card, while Andy Miller, McCarthy and Mark MacDonald all won two apiece. ... Jeff Cullipher had a training double. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,706,688. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Management at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment announced Wednesday morning that post time will move to 6:20 p.m., effective Friday, March 19. "This is in response to our fans who want to bet our entire card but appreciate getting home a little bit earlier," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir of the track shifting post time 20 minutes later than what has been the norm since Dec. 26. "We have seen solid wagering on our early races that have been taking place in the before-7 p.m. window. Those races have, in effect, replaced the races in the after-11 p.m. window, where wagering had not been as strong when we had our post time at 7:15 p.m." Racing will be conducted on the usual Friday and Saturday basis all the way through Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 7. Post time for this weekend's races (March 12-13) will be 6 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Ana Afreet N and JL Cruze made quick work of their foes Saturday night at The Meadowlands, as each won their respective harness racing co-featured $25,000 Winners Over/Junior Opens with ease on a chilly night at the mile oval. Ana Afreet N, making just his second start back after a two-month layoff, showed that he is all the way back in the groove, as the Jeff Cullipher trainee crushed nine overmatched foes in the marquee event for pacers. Departing from post nine provided little in the way of trouble for the 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Anna Livia, as driver Andy McCarthy left the gate sharply, moving swiftly around the first turn while four-wide before clearing to the top at the quarter in :27.1. It was over right then and there. After being permitted to rate a second fraction in :28.2 with nobody close on the rim, Ana Afreet N then shrugged off token first-over pressure around the far turn from the horse who won this race last week, Shnitzledosomethin, before sprinting home in :26.4 to win by 1¾ lengths over a rail-sitting Gods Spirit N in 1:50.2. Shnitzledosomethin held third.   "He was terrific tonight," said McCarthy. "He really doesn't love the front end but he's going to have to get used to it racing over a half-mile track [in the March 15 Borgata Series] at Yonkers. He's probably better with a target, but he paced home strong. I think if a horse had been nearby, he would have shown even more." Ana Afreet N paid $5.80 to win as the 9-5 favorite and upped his lifetime numbers to 23 victories from just 46 starts. Owned by Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher, his lifetime earnings now stand at $180,072. JL Cruze showed no rust after a two-week break, blasting down the pike in the featured trot in 1:53.2 as the 1-2 public choice. "He takes me around the track," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "He makes my job easy." The 10-year-old son of Crazed-Topcat Hall backed up his pilot's words by having an easy time of it on the front end. "That's what makes him so good," said Dunn, referring to his horse's last start, which he won from off the pace. "He's so versatile, so good out of the gate." JL Cruze, who was assigned post seven in the seven-horse field, exploded away from the gate, made the top out of the first turn, and cut out fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.3, before sprinting home in :27.4 to win by 1½ lengths over a fast-closing Pikachu Hanover. Winnerup was third.   Trained by Eric Ell and owned by W. Kenneth Wood, W.J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta, JL Cruze lifted his lifetime statistics to 44 wins from 128 starts, good for an overflowing bank account of $1,584,892. He returned $3.00 to win and has now won four of his last five Big M starts. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy won three races on the card to finish with five victories over the weekend. ... The 20-cent Pick-6 carryover of $6,225 blossomed into a total pool of $35,136, and those who had winning tickets cashed in for $3,422. ... All-source wagering totaled $3,114,494. There have been 10 Saturday programs conducted at The Big M thus far in 2021, and each has seen the $3-million-handle barrier busted. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Machnhope had not been seen at The Meadowlands for almost four months heading into Friday night's harness racing featured high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares, but she displayed no ill effects of having not raced at the mile oval since Nov. 13 when she was second to Caviart Ally, dominating her foes on a clear but chilly evening in 1:52. Sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice, driver Andy McCarthy had Machnhope on the go early from post three in the seven-horse field. She followed 5-2 second choice Wingding Hanover around the first turn and finally cleared to the lead just before the three-eighths and clicked off a soft :57 half, leaving plenty of gas in the tank. Twenty-two to one long shot Sheikh Yabooty N rushed up to go after the leader at three-quarters as the cadence quickened during a third fraction that was timed in :27.3 as Wingding Hanover stayed patient in the pocket. Then, Machnhope turned it on. After opening a 2-length edge at the head of the stretch, Machnhope sprinted the final quarter in :27.2, and despite the late rally of second-place finisher Golden Quest N, she hit the wire a never-in-doubt three-quarter-length winner. Stellenbosch was third as Wingding Hanover weakened to fourth. "She got around the mile track good," said McCarthy of his horse, who had been racing steadily of late in the open ranks at Dover Downs. "I was actually thinking I'd like to trip her out. She finished the mile up strong. She's a little bit of a funny mare. Some nights she's better gaited than others. She was giving me a little bit of a hard time tonight. She's tricky but she definitely has plenty of go." Machnhope, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Hope For Life who is trained by Noel Daley, returned $3.40 to her backers. After winning for the first time in six tries this year, she now has 27 victories from 99 lifetime starts and earnings of $357,044 for owners Deo Volente Farms, Thomas Pontone, L.A. Express Stable and Noel Daley. A LITTLE MORE: Scott Zeron led the driver colony with three winners on the card. Mark MacDonald, Dexter Dunn and McCarthy all had two wins apiece. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,765,650. ... No one had a winning ticket in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $6,225. Those with five correct collected $296.48. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With precisely zero races being won on the front end during the first nine dashes on the harness racing card, trainer Bruce Saunders must have liked his chances with his Betalady in the 10th race, the featured $22,500 winners-over $11,500 for fillies and mares on the pace Friday night at The Meadowlands. After all, in her Big M return a week ago, the 4-year daughter of Bettor's Delight-Lady Jake swung four-wide into the stretch to gun down favorite Tango Dancer N at the wire. It worked so well, in fact, she tried the same tactic this time around. Betalady got away from the gate fifth from post position six in the seven-horse field as Bye Bye Felicia sprinted the opening panel in :27.1. Yannick Gingras made an aggressive move soon thereafter with Wingding Hanover at the three-eighths to grab the lead and was sailing along on the point at the half in :55.4. Tango Dancer N, the 3-1 second choice, was now in play first-over with Betalady following the tow of the second-over She's Nun Bettor N on the rim. When the field hit the top of the stretch, Wingding Hanover was still moving well on the lead as Corey Callahan swung Betalady off her third-over journey four-wide for the stretch drive. At the eighth pole, Wingding Hanover was clear by about 2 lengths, but Betalady just kept on coming, and in a thrilling finish, got up by a nose in 1:51.2 after pacing her final quarter in :26.1. She's Nun Bettor N was third. "Last week, she was explosive as well," said Saunders. "I've only had her short term, but she's been sensational. We debated putting her in the Blue Chip Matchmaker [at Yonkers] but she made breaks in her last two starts there. She's a very good filly." Betalady, owed by M&L of Delaware, returned $4.80 to win as the 7-5 favorite. She's won eight of 33 career starts - including three of her last four at The Big M - and now has earnings of $191,786. "I would prefer to race against her own age group," said Saunders. "But we have seen mares step up and do well against older foes. If we find our spots, in today's world, with The Meadowlands, Pocono and [Harrah's Philadelphia], hopefully, she can have a six-figure season and then we'll have a nice 5-year-old next year. I wouldn't trade her for any 4-year-old racing right now." Betalady A LITTLE MORE: Simon Allard pulled off a natural hat trick by taking the seventh, eighth and ninth races to lead the driver colony with three winners on the program while the red-hot Jeff Cullipher had a training triple. ... Driver Tony Beltrami piloted the winners of both divisions of Leg Three of the GSY Series for amateur drivers for trainer Williams Hernandez. ... Betting topped the $3-million mark for an eighth straight card, as a total of $3,073,616 was put in play. The sixth race took the most action, with $395,624 pushed through the windows, highlighted by big pools in the Exacta ($110,920) and 50-cent Pick-4 ($92,918). ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - According to the past performances, Lyons Steel would need a lot of things to go his way bumping up in class to emerge victorious in Saturday night's harness racing co-featured $22,500 winners-over $11,500 conditioned pace at The Meadowlands. And as it turned out, they did. Following a perfect second-over trip, the razor sharp 6-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Lyons Luck blasted home off cover to pull off a 6-1 surprise, and in the process, upped his winning streak to three. After floating away from the gate from post five in the seven-horse field, driver Corey Callahan had Lyons Steel in sixth at the quarter. Early leader, and 5-2 second choice, Italian Delight N, yielded to My Pal Joe at the half (:55.3) as the flow started to develop on the rim. Rockin The Aces went first-over to press My Pal Joe as Lyons Steel drafted in behind with 4-5 favorite Springsteen third-up while Italian Delight N stayed patient in the pocket. In the stretch, the scramble was on as Lyons Steel tipped three wide and flew home to record a 1½-length win over a fast-closing No Easy Day in 1:51. Rockin The Aces held third. Italian Delight N was fourth with Springsteen a no-excuse sixth after not firing through the lane. "He's a nice horse," said Callahan. "Maybe he's not the same horse as Springsteen, but Springsteen is in and out. I was worried about him being on my back, but when I moved my horse off his cover, he paced hard to the wire. Tonight, he got the trip and it worked out well." Lyons Steel returned $15.40 to his backers in winning for the 26th time from 116 lifetime starts. Trained by Dennis Watson and owned by BD Racing, he now has a lifetime bank account worth $371,224. Lyons Steel In the $22,500 co-featured winners-over $11,500 trot, Scirocco Rob scored as the 2-1 favorite for driver Daniel Dube and trainer Mark Silva in 1:53.2. The 6-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties made the top while parked at the quarter, putting 4-1 third choice Kenziesky Hanover in the pocket. They raced that way into the stretch, when Kenziesky Hanover emerged from the two-hole to take a short lead, but Scirocco Rob found more and out-gamed his foe to the wire to record a neck win, denying Callahan a sweep of the top two events on the card. Rich And Miserable was third. "The other horse went by us," said Dube. "But my horse fought back. He's got a big heart." Scirocco Rob returned $6.00 in recording his 25th lifetime victory from 77 starts. His earnings now stand at $515,004 for owners Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker. Scirocco Rob BETTING BIG AGAIN: All-source wagering totaled $3,871,820 on the 15-race card, with the most action on a single race being the first, when $389,159 was pushed through the windows. Betting came up just short of topping the $7-million mark for a fourth consecutive weekend, with a total of $6,952,141 put in play. The sixth race 50-cent Pick-4 was the biggest single pool of the night with $112,023 in bets taken. A LITTLE MORE: Western Fame rocked the clock in the sixth race high-end conditioned pace, hitting the wire in 1:48.4 after leading at every call for Dube and trainer Shane Tritton. The only horse to go faster this year is Let It Ride N, who went 1:48.1 on Jan. 2 at The Big M. ... Dexter Dunn had a driving triple for a second consecutive night to up his track-leading driver dash-win total to 45. ... Tritton trained three to victory lane. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was one for the harness racing chalk players and one for those who like bombs in the two $17,500 Play Meadowlands Series Finals at The Meadowlands Friday night. In the division for pacing fillies and mares, Its Mesmerise N completed a two-race sweep of the event for trainer Darran Cassar and driver Scott Zeron. Sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice for a second straight start despite facing a tougher field this time around, Zeron had the 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Cullens Charm in the three-hole early before brushing to the top at the half, which was clocked in a quick :54.2. Windsong Parisian, the 10-1 fourth choice in the 10-horse field, applied pressure to the leader while first-over past the half and three-quarters (1:22.1) and appeared to be done off the turn as they straightened away in the stretch, but she kept on digging all the way to the wire through a slow final quarter of :30.2 to come up a neck short of pulling off an upset. Misty Memory N was third.   "I wish I could have bided my time a little more," said Zeron of moving Its Mesmerise N to the lead. "She raced unbelievably given the pressure and the fractions. When I had to move as early as I did at the half, it was a bit of a concern and the immediate pressure didn't help. [Windsong Parisian] raced well. Both fillies cruised around the last turn and both hung in there down the lane. I think my horse is classier than these horses. I had been racing her from off the pace because she likes a target but had been a victim of being too far back. She showed tonight she can do it any which way." Its Mesmerise N paid $2.60 to win after completing the mile in 1:52.3 for her 18th lifetime win from 69 starts. She now has earnings of $117,364. Longshot lovers got their way in the Play Meadowlands for trotters as driver Steve Smith saved ground with Take A Wish from start to finish before bursting through between rivals late to score at 30-1 in 1:55.2. After racing Take A Wish at the rail in eighth in the 10-horse field in the early going, as the flow developed on the rim, Smith advanced the Dawn Anderson trainee to the four-hole along the inside at the half. Remaining glued to the cones around the far turn, Smith waited until there was room and came with a rush in deep stretch to score the upset by a head and return $62.40. Life Well Lived closed well on the far outside to get second while third-place finisher Gruden, the 2-1 favorite, failed in a second straight attempt to go wire-to-wire.   Take A Wish, a 6-year-old mare by Wishing Stone-Take A Taste, won for the 12th time from 85 lifetime outings and upped her earnings to $210,836. A LITTLE MORE: Handle topped the $3-million mark again as a total of $3,080,321 was put in play on a 13-race card conducted over a sloppy track that saw snowy conditions for the first third of the program. Wagering has now surpassed $3 million on three straight Fridays, and 10 times overall for the 14 cards conducted thus far in 2021. ... Driver of the Week Dexter Dunn kept on rolling, racking up three winners to up his Big M leading-driver victory tally to 42. He's scored 15 times over the last four programs. ... No one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up Saturday's wager with a carryover of $7,222. .... First-race post time on Saturday is 6 p.m. The Pick-6 begins in race eight. Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. For full race results, click here. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Wagering on harness racing at The Meadowlands continued to bustle Saturday night, as betting blasted past the $4-million barrier for a third time in 2021, the same number of times that was accomplished during all of 2020. Action was huge from the get-go on the 15-race card as a total of $367,134 was pushed through the windows on the opener, $86,011 of which was bet on the 20-cent Pick-5. Action was at least $330,000 on races six, seven and nine before the 10th race took in the most play of the night, with $370,062. The sixth race 50-cent Pick-4 saw $105,648 pushed through the windows and resulted in the wager’s biggest payout of the meeting. Twenty-to-one long shots won the opening and payoff legs of the bet, resulting in a payoff of $17,959. In sharp contrast, the 10th race Pick-4, which saw a total pool of $94,171, saw two even-money shots, a 5-2 and a 3-1 combine for a payout of $78.55. The all-source total wagered on the card was $4,082,528, an average per race of $272,168. Betting has exceeded $7 million for the last three weekends at The Big M. That plateau was reached three times during all of 2020. THAT’S A HALF-DOZEN COUSIN: Driver Dexter Dunn continued his brilliance in the bike at the current Big M meeting by winning six times on the program. The 31-year-old native of New Zealand, the two-time defending United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year, won a total of eight races over the weekend, upping his Big M driver-colony leading win total to 39. ‘JOE’ BEATEN, ‘JL’ CRUISES: A pair of fan favorites sat atop the marquee in the co-featured $22,500 winners-over $11,500 events, one on the pace and the other on the trot. Tulhurstsantanna A worked out an ideal trip in pulling off a 21-1 upset in the pace. The driver of the 8-year-old gelded son of Santanna Blue Chip-Ballroom Belle had designs on leaving the gate, but Andy McCarthy thought better of it. “I put his nose on the gate and thought about stepping out,” said McCarthy. “But I aborted that mission when I saw everybody else had the same idea and managed to work out a sweet second-over trip.” Western Joe, the 4-5 favorite who was seeking his second straight score in the weekly feature, brushed to the lead while parked past the half in :54.2, but was pressured by long shot Points North shortly thereafter, which set it up for a closer. McCarthy tipped Tulhurstsantanna A off the cover provided by Points North as they straightened up in the stretch but still had one major player to worry about. “I knew [3-1 second choice] Springsteen was on my back,” said McCarthy. “He’s very fast, that horse, but my horse, he keeps horses at bay. He knows what to do.” In winning a third straight at The Big M, Tulhurstsantanna A returned $44.20 to his backers after completing the mile in a lifetime-best equaling 1:49.4 on a night with a feel-like temperature of 19 degrees. Springsteen finished a half-length back in second, with Italian Delight N third and Western Joe fourth in the eight-horse field. Trained by Andrew Harris and owned by Douglas Overhiser, Tulhurstsantanna A raised his lifetime stats to 24 wins from 144 starts, good for earnings of $191,454. In the marquee trot, JL Cruze chalked up his third win in his last four Meadowlands outings, scoring by a half-length over Scirocco Rob in 1:52.4. Rich And Miserable was third. “He’s a classy old horse,” said winning driver Dunn of the 10-year-old gelding by Crazed-Topcat Hall. “And it’s a pleasure to sit behind him every week.” JL Cruze left alertly from post eight in the eight-horse field and opted to race in the five-hole early on. “I got him out of there and we took a seat,” said Dunn. “It’s not usually the way he races, but I was pretty confident we would run them down.” The even-money favorite followed the live tow of 7-1 third choice Scirocco Rob down the backstretch, and once leader Winnerup was done, it was down to those two. Under confident handling from Dunn, JL Cruze reported home an easy winner after tipping off cover, scoring for the 43rd time from 127 career starts for trainer Eric Ell and owners W. Kenneth Wood, J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta. His lifetime bank account now stands at a gaudy $1,572,392. A LITTLE MORE: Scott Zeron and Corey Callahan both recorded driving doubles while the red-hot Jeff Cullipher trained a pair of winners. … Shrewd 20-cent Pick-6 players made a big score, as with only one long shot (22-1) winning during the sequence, those with winning tickets walked away with $12,891. Of the other five winning horses, two were favored, while the other three went off at 5-1, 5-2 and 3-1. … Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – In what was a frantic finish to a fabulous Friday night harness racing feature at The Meadowlands, Get Legs went another powerhouse mile in scoring from off the pace in the $19,000 marquee dash for non-winners of nine races lifetime on the trot, upping his lifetime stats to six wins in seven starts, all taking place at The Big M. “You can’t map out the trip,” said winning trainer Julie Miller. “But you hope it works out in the end. We were very fortunate.” Maybe so, but Get Legs was also very good. Get Legs was away quickly from post seven, as was 7-5 favorite Some Chapter from post eight in the eight-horse field. The problem was, virtually all the horses to their inside also left the gate, leaving Get Legs and Some Chapter, who was seeking his fifth win in six starts, extremely wide around the first turn. With the two favorites resigned to having to come from the back of the pack, HL Revadon had the lead at the quarter while parked out by Cool Clifford, but soon thereafter, Gotwuteverittakes made a bold move to the top only to be pressed by 29-10 third choice Swan In Motion. The quick action down the backstretch assured a closer would get the money, and at three-quarters, Magical Winner K tipped off his cover and was first-up leading a three-wide flow as 27-10 second choice Get Legs followed that live tow with Some Chapter tracking from third-over as three-quarters was timed in 1:25.3. Andy Miller steered Get Legs to the outside for the stretch drive, and after trotting a final quarter in :27.2, grabbed the victory by a half-length over Magical Winner K, who raced well beyond his 44-1 odds. Some Chapter was a valiant third. “I just have so much confidence in my horse and driver,” said Julie, the better half of team ‘Orange Crush’. “My horse was supposed to race last week at Pocono but the card got canceled, so I was afraid we might be a little short. He rose to the occasion.” Get Legs, a 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Legzy, returned $7.40 to his backers after completing the mile in 1:53.4. He now has earnings of $46,610, and if all goes as hoped, there will be a lot more to come. “We’ve staked him to the 4-year-old races this year,” said Julie. “I would love to take on the big dogs, but he’s kind of behind the eight ball with his limited experience. I think my slow play game will benefit him. When we have to race the better horses, we hope to be prepared.” The game plan is to be ready for the Graduate Series in May. “I’m not going to feed him to the wolves unless he’s ready. If we think he is, we’ll be there,” said Julie. View the Meadowlands results click here A LITTLE MORE: Julie and Andy have another potential good one on their hands. Earlier on the card, their Hipster K, another 4-year-old trotter, made it three wins in as many lifetime starts in a non-winners of two. The son of Sebastian K S-Riley’s Dream became the first 1-9 winner of the meeting, returning $2.20 for a $2 wager after finishing his mile in 1:55.4. … Despite four favorites winning during the sequence, the 20-cent Pick-6 returned $825.40 thanks to Waterway, who scored from off the pace with Corey Callahan driving in the 12th race at odds of 23-1. … Andy McCarthy led the driver’s colony with three victories on the card. … All-source wagering totaled $3,131,740, the second consecutive Friday where wagering exceeded the $3-million mark. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It appeared not to be Western Joe's night in the featured $22,500 winners-over $11,500 pace Saturday night at The Meadowlands after getting passed at the three-quarter-mile marker, but the veteran warhorse showed his class through the stretch in a thoroughly dominant harness racing performance to chalk up a second win in his last three Big M starts. "I wasn't surprised that he came back to win," said winning trainer Chris Choate. "When he hits that last turn, it looks like he's going to finish fifth, but then he kicks in." Driver Simon Allard had 'Joe' - a 7-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal-Ante Fay - on the go from the get-go, barreling four-wide into the first turn from post eight in the 10-horse field and taking over the top just after quarter, which was set by Western Fame in :27.3. As the 3-5 favorite, Western Joe was sailing along on the engine after a rated second fraction of :28.4, when shortly thereafter, Paduka N popped out the three-hole and came after the leader hard, grabbing the lead at three-quarters by three-quarters of a length while parked after a furious backside brush. Then Western Joe got serious, finding another gear off the far turn and exploding clear at the eighth pole, powering away from a weary Paduka N on the way to a 1¾-length score in 1:51.3. Hudson Phil and Decision Day rallied to get second and third, respectively. Paduka N weakened and finished last. "He raced very well last week," said Choate of Western Joe's third-place finish to Springsteen and No Easy Day at The Big M. "I didn't want to see him come first-up, but the two horses that beat him weren't there tonight. He's a hard knocker. "He stalls somewhat on the turns. I don't know why. Ninety percent of the time he does that. Why, I'm not sure. But as long as he keeps on winning......." Now victorious in 31 of his 99 lifetime starts, Western Joe, who established his lifetime-best of 1:47.3 in taking the 2018 Sam McKee Memorial at The Meadowlands, returned $3.20 to his backers in lifting his earnings to $726,858 for owners Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies. "I'm not sure if he can go with the big boys anymore," said Choate. "We'll stay at The Meadowlands as long as there are races for him. The Borgata Series at Yonkers is an option. We have a week to decide, but that's up to the owners." BETTING CLOSE TO $4 MILLION: With four races seeing action that exceeded the $300,000 mark, all-source wagering came close to topping the $4-million mark for a second consecutive Saturday night. Total action on the 15-race card was $3,966,231 to cap a second consecutive weekend that saw over $7 million pushed through the windows. Through the first 11 race cards of 2021, wagering has been at least $3 million on seven occasions and over $4 million twice. During all of 2020, the $3-million barrier was busted 11 times while action exceeded $4 million on three programs. BIG GAME WINNERS: Forevernalways completed a two-race sweep of the Big Game Series for $12,500 claimers for trainer Nick Sodano in 1:52.3 as the 9-5 favorite. Dexter Dunn was in the sulky. In the Big Game for non-winners of $11,500, Tulhurstsantanna A and driver Andy McCarthy scored in 1:51.1 as the 7-2 second choice, giving the Andrew Harris trainee a sweep of the two-race event. A LITTLE MORE: A carryover of $21,961 led to a total pool of $79,254 in the 15th race 10-cent Hi-5/Pentafecta, and those lucky enough to have tickets with the winning combination of 2-6-3-4-10 cashed in for $10,094.20. ... Dunn paced the driver colony with four winners, lifting his Big M leading dash-win total to 31. Scott Zeron and Todd McCarthy had two apiece. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Alexa Skye maintained her spot as the hottest horse in all of harness racing, blowing away a solid field in the Friday night featured $22,500 winners-over $11,500 pace for fillies and mares at The Meadowlands. “She’s made a believer out of me,” said her trainer Brett Pelling. And everybody else, for that matter. Sent to the gate as the 3-5 favorite, driver Todd McCarthy asked for speed from Alexa Skye from post eight in the 10-horse field, and speed is what he got, as after Dbldelitebrigade N led at the quarter, McCarthy moved his 4-year-old mare to the top well before the three-eighths. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Pirouette Hanover led by 1½ lengths at the half despite a rated fraction of :28.4. Then, Alexa Skye sprinted the third panel in :26.4 to extend her lead to 3½ at three-quarters. But she still had more. Her final quarter of :27.3 saw her hit the wire in 1:51, 4¼ lengths in front of second-place finisher The Bandit Queen N. Dbldelitebrigade N held third. “She’s always been a really great-gaited filly,” said Pelling. “But when I look back now, in her defense, when she started off in her 3-year-old year she was driven hard and used hard and I don’t think she liked that. In the latter part of the year [during a season when she went seven-for-17 and earned $63,430], Todd started driving her but she drew bad posts. She closed in three or four races in a row, and ever since then, she has been strong. “We do sometimes not consider how young they really are. She was a June 12 foal so she was three months behind a lot of the horses she raced against. That’s how I see it.” Alexa Skye’s strength has been unquestioned of late, as she’s won six of her last eight and eight of her last 11. “Her start at Yonkers [when she missed a head after going parked the mile one week ago] had to be seen to be believed,” said Pelling. “But she bounced back and looked even better tonight.” Alexa Skye, who returned $3.20 to her backers, has now won 12 of 33 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $149,890 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock and John Lengacher. The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older pacing mares at Yonkers Raceway – which begins March 12 – is what Pelling has his eye on for his prized pupil. “That’s a very tough series for a 4-year-old,” said Pelling. “That’s going to be very tough on her.” Maybe so, but the way she’s going right now, Alexa Skye is the one with the target on her back. THAT’S A ‘HI’ CARRYOVER: No one correctly selected all five finishers in the 13th race 10-cent Hi-Five, creating a $21,961 carryover for Saturday’s 15th race. A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy led the driver’s colony with three winners, while Andy McCarthy, Yannick Gingras and Simon Allard all had two apiece. … One shrewd player betting into the Belmont Park hub had the only winning ticket in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 and walked away with $10,886. … All-source wagering totaled $3,116,295, the first time on a Friday this year that betting broke the $3-million barrier. … Wagering has been at least $3 million six times thus far in 2021. During all of 2020, that magic number was reached on 11 occasions. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.   BIG M SATURDAY HI-5 HAS $60,000 GUARANTEE At the conclusion of a stretch-long scramble in the 13th and final race at The Meadowlands Friday night, no one had a winning ticket in the track’s 10-cent Hi-Five, which will no doubt create much interest in the wager Saturday evening. With 9-1 shot Imageofarocker scoring from off the pace, and 23-1, 91-1 and 74-1 chances finishing second, third and fifth, respectively, there were no winners in the wager that requires one to correctly select the top five in the official order of finish. As a result, there was a carryover of $21,961, leading Big M management – in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering initiative – to guarantee the pool at $60,000 for Saturday night’s 15th race. Free program pages for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Powered by a pair of races that featured huge harness racing action, all-source handle totaled $4,083,026 Saturday night at The Meadowlands, the second time this month where wagering blew past the $4-million plateau. During all of 2020, the $4-million barrier was broken three times, the first of which did not occur until June 20. Saturday's play marked the second-best night of the year, topped only by Jan. 2, when wagering reached $4.5 million. All five Saturday programs during the month of January have seen action of at least $3.4 million. The 20-cent Pick-5 got things off to a big start, with $105,890 put in the hat, keying the first race grand total of $379,815. The sixth race 50-cent Early Pick-4 took in a 2020-best $135,815 as a total of $417,983 was pushed through the windows on that dash. Rarely will wagering top $300,000 on the last race of the night, but that's just what the Big M faithful put in play (actually $300,670) in the 14th event, keyed by an exacta pool that topped $95,000. The Late Pick-4 saw $107,428 pushed through the windows, marking the second time this year where both Pick-4s reached six figures. The other night (Jan. 2), Pick-4 betting totaled a little more than $223,000 while on Saturday, the total wager was $243,243. JL 'CRUZES': Fan favorite JL Cruze came back to his favorite track and took the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned trot in impressive fashion. JL Cruze The Eric Ell-trainee rebounded off a sixth-place finish in the Open Handicap at Dover Downs 18 days ago with a crisp performance to get back into the win column for a second consecutive start at The Big M, hitting the wire in 1:54.4 on a night where the real-feel temperature was 19 degrees. A 10-year-old gelded son of Crazed-Topcat Hall, driver Dexter Dunn guided JL Cruze away quickly from the rail in the nine-horse field with designs on sitting right in behind speed-burner Warrior One. It worked to perfection. After Warrior One cut out fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.4, Dunn moved JL Cruze from the pocket well before they completed the far turn, took a 1-length lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to go, and drew clear to 2-length win over Buck Dancer. Scirocco Rob was third. Warrior One weakened to finish seventh. "We had his knees done," said Ell. "I thought he was about 80 percent heading into the race. He flipped a palate [in his last race] at Dover. The five-eighths mile track doesn't suit him, but I took him there to put a line on his card so he wouldn't have to qualify." JL Cruze, who was the first trotter to break the 1:50 barrier at The Big M when he went 1:49.4 six years ago, returned $6.80 to his backers as the lukewarm 2-1 favorite. He now has 42 wins from 125 career starts and a bulky bankroll of $1,555,517 for owners W Kenneth Wood, J Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. "I hope The Meadowlands keeps filling races for him to go in," said Ell. "When Dexter pulled him on the turn and he opened up, I said to myself 'He's an unbelievable horse. He loves what he does'." A LITTLE MORE: Springsteen took the $22,500 featured pace for Todd McCarthy and trainer Brett Pelling from off the pace in 1:51.2 as the 5-1 third choice. ... Dunn and Andy McCarthy both recorded driving triples on the card, while Corey Callahan, Todd McCarthy and Yannick Gingras won two apiece. ... For a second straight night, the red-hot Jeff Cullipher barn sent two to the winner's circle. ... Chalk players finally had a good night. After only 10 post-time choices had emerged victorious over the three previous race cards, a total of six chalks scored on the program. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With so many accolades having come his way over the last two years, driver Dexter Dunn can be forgiven for not being aware he had reached a big harness racing career milestone Friday night at The Meadowlands. The 31-year-old New Zealander, who dreamed as a youngster of playing for the All Blacks, a famous rugby club back in his homeland, was his usual aw shucks self after winning his 1,000th career North American race in the second with Roger Rabbit on a frigid night at The Big M. "I didn't know I was close," Dunn said. If that's the case, he probably does not remember that his first win came in June of 2011 with McClelland in a high-end conditioned pace at The Big M. Dunn returned home after that season and was not seen back in the States again until 2017. He won 93 races in 2018 before rising to the top of the sport in 2019, winning 460 times for earnings of over $12 million. Then came his remarkable 2020, when he was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second consecutive season, winning 395 times in a COVID-shortened season while being the only pilot to earn over $10 million, with a bank account that swelled to $11,163,638 by year's end. And he wants to do even more in 2021. "It's a new season and we'll start all over again," Dunn told the United States Trotting Association's Ken Weingartner. "I always want to do better. It will be hard, but I'm going to try. I'm always up for a challenge. I love a challenge." Dexter Dunn guides Roger Rabbit to victory lane Friday night at The Meadowlands Dunn swept the early double Friday to give his backers a handsome return of $120.00. His two victories gave him 23 at the current meeting, tops in the driver standings. A year ago, he led all Big M pilots with 131 trips to the winner's circle. A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy and Simon Allard led the driver's colony with three winners apiece. ... Despite having last raced on Nov. 28, the Shane Tritton-trained Lady Dela Renta A hit the wire first in the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in 1:54.1 with McCarthy in the bike as the 7-2 second choice in the betting Lady Dela Renta A . ... Corey Callahan equaled Dunn by winning twice. ... The red-hot Jeff Cullipher recorded a training double. ... One sharp player raked the pot in the 20-cent Pick-6, cashing in for $10,352 after a sequence that saw winner's odds of 1-1, 2-1, 7-2, 8-5, 3-2 and 9-1. ... Favorites continued to come up short as only three scored on the card. Over the last 41 races, post-time choices have won but 10 times, for a win percentage of 24. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,938,681. All four Friday programs in January have seen wagering of at least $2.8 million. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With real-feel temperatures that got as low as 12 degrees, it was tough to stay warm at The Meadowlands Saturday night, but harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and The Big M betting faithful were unaffected by the winter chill. The 41-year-old Gingras was scalding hot at the start of the card, winning four of the first five races. While Gingras has had many four-winner nights at the mile oval it's hard to imagine he's had very many with the kind of prices his followers collected Saturday. Ollie's Ztam got Gingras' night off to a good start with a wire-to-wire win at odds of 9-1 in the opener before 8-1 chance Big City Bud came from off the pace to complete the Gingras Early Daily Double that returned $163.40. "The Green Hornet" guided Pogey Beach to a 10-hole score to complete a natural hat trick at odds of 11-1, before Gingras completed his grand slam with 5-2 Warrawee Unique, who went gate-to-wire in race five. Three of Gingras' winners hailed from the Ron Burke barn. All-source wagering continued to show huge Saturday night returns, as a total of $3,404,537 was put in play, marking the fourth consecutive Saturday in 2021 (and fifth straight dating back to 2020) where betting topped the $3.4-million mark. During all of last year, betting reached the $3-million plateau 11 times, only once during January. Warrawee Unique As usual, the two Pick-4 wagers proved popular, as a total of $182,844 was put in play on the preferred puzzles. The 20-cent Pick-6 had a carryover of just under $7,300, which led to a total pool of $36,159. The sharpies who had all half-dozen correct collected $6,365.90. ONTARIO STANDOUTS  While the COVID-19 shutdown continues at Woodbine at Mohawk Park, trainer Carmen Auciello won twice on the card with a pair of Ontario shippers. Buck Dancer, who last raced on Dec. 21 at WMP, impressed going wire-to-wire in the $15,500 featured trot for non-winners of $11,500 in their last five starts. Andy McCarthy guided the 7-2 second choice, a 5-year-old gelded son of Guccio-Shaken Not Stirred, who stopped the clock in 1:53.4. Auciello's Points North took the $22,500 pacing feature for non-winners of $15,000 in their last five outings. Mark MacDonald, who broke an oh-fer at the meeting with a driving double, guided the 6-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Northwest Hanover - who was sent to the gate as the 6-1 sixth choice - to his fourth straight score after hitting the wire in 1:51.3. The Jeff Cullipher barn is out of its early-meet slump. The Big M's second-leading barn at the Fall Meeting equaled the "Burke Brigade's" three wins on the Saturday card. A LITTLE MORE Simon Allard recorded his second consecutive driving double. ... Dexter Dunn also won twice, giving him six winners for the weekend and 21 at the current meeting, which leads all Big M drivers. ... George Napolitano Jr. also guided a pair to victory lane. ... Chalk players took it on the chin, as only three public choices emerged victorious on the card. Before both favorites took the Late Daily Double, only two chalks had won over a 21-race span. ... Free past performances for every race of every Big M card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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