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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The wins just keep on coming for harness racing driver Dexter Dunn. The 31-year-old New Zealand native, who was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second straight time last week, registered four winners on the Friday night card at The Meadowlands. Before the start of the program, Dunn was awarded The Big M's Driver of the Week after winning seven times last weekend (Jan. 15-16), and now sits atop the standings at the mile oval with 19 victories in the early stages of the Winter-Spring-Championship Meeting. Dunn's backers got to cash in some nice prices, as after winning with 1-5 public choice Billion Dollar Day ($2.60 to win in race one), the track's leading driver (with 131 wins) during 2020 scored with Smooth Aceleration ($11.40 in the fifth) and Tango Dancer N ($12.40 in the featured 10th) before completing his grand slam with Alexander Hanover ($14.40 in the 13th). Tango Dancer N Another Down Under standout, Australia native Andy McCarthy, had a big night as well, scoring three times during the night. His fans were smiling after those races as McCarthy's winners (Rockin Panda, Always Mindy, Sheikh Yabooty N) were sent to the gate at odds of 7-2, 7-1 and 10-1. Sheikh Yabooty N PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With a sequence that began with a 10-1 chance and a 27-1 long shot, no one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover for Saturday night's program of $7,293. Those who had five winners cashed in for $347.34. Free past performances for the entire Saturday card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. HIGHS AND LOWS: With three odds-on choices scoring during the sequence, the 20-cent Pick-5 returned $75.90. In sharp contrast, the Early 50-cent Pick-4 saw no winning favorites and a healthy payout of $8,987.35. A LITTLE MORE: Simon Allard drove two winners on the program while Kelvin Harrison registered a training double. ... Play in the two Pick-4s was predictably vigorous, as the two pools combined to see over $160,000 in action. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,806,228, the third consecutive Friday where at least $2.8 million was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Before the start of Saturday night's harness racing card at The Meadowlands, driver Dexter Dunn was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second consecutive season in a virtual Dan Patch Awards ceremony that the entire sport could view on the internet or at any simulcast venue. Then Dunn went out and showed why that considerable amount of hardware sits on his mantle. The 31-year-old New Zealand product, whose 131 wins during 2020 led all Big M drivers, registered four scores on the 15-race program - after winning three on Friday - to seize control of the top of the Meadowlands' standings with 15 victories in the early stages of the Winter-Spring-Championship Meeting. Dunn scored with 4-5 favorite Some Chapter in the opener, a high-end conditioned trot, and followed that up by guiding 7-1 shot On Accident to the winner's circle in the third in a low-end conditioned pace. Thndrfrmthethron N, the 9-5 second choice, was winner No. 3 in another low-end conditioned pace in the fourth, before Dunn capped his grand slam with 3-2 public choice Italian Delight N in a mid-range conditioned pace in the eighth. Thndrfrmthethron N HANDLE TOPS $3 MILLION AGAIN: For a fourth consecutive Saturday, all-source wagering surpassed $3.4 million, as a total of $3,458,896 was put in play. Over the last four Saturdays, betting at The BIg M has totaled $15,386,226, an average per card of $3,846,556 at the industry's handle leader. THARPS IS THE KING: Backers of provisional driver Devon Tharps may not have known that the 27-year-old Ohio native who works for Tony Alagna had never won a pari-mutuel race in his previous 52 tries, and when the second race was over, those who bet him didn't care either way. Tharps guided Acting Out to a victory from off the pace in the Martin Luther King Remembrance Race, an event that pays tribute to the civil rights leader that features African-American drivers. Tharps and Acting Out were fifth at the three-quarter-mile mark before pacing home in :28.3 to upset the field of $12,500 claimers at odds of 9-1, returning $21.60 to win after completing the mile in 1:54.4. Acting Out A LITTLE MORE: Shnitzledosomethin worked out a perfect pocket trip and took the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned pace in 1:49.4 for trainer Dylan Davis and driver Corey Callahan. The 12-1 outsider returned $26.80 to his backers in upping his win streak to three. ... Callahan finished the night with three winners. ... If you missed the Dan Patch Awards show, you can see it from start to finish by going to The Meadowlands YouTube channel. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Stellenbosch withstood bitter pressure in a dazzling harness racing effort on a rainy Friday night at The Meadowlands, taking the $18,000 featured high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in wire-to-wire fashion. Driver Scott Zeron, who raced Stellenbosch from off the pace after drawing outside posts in her previous two outings, fired away from post four in the nine-horse field, grabbing the lead on the first turn before hitting the quarter in :26.4. There was no spot for Callmequeenbee A, who left from post eight, and that one had to rough it uncovered on the rim. She engaged Stellenbosch in a cut-throat battle to the half over the track rated 'good' in an eye-popping :53.4. Enter 6-5 favorite Ivana Flybye N, a Woodbine at Mohawk Park shipper that hadn't raced in 26 days, who circled up three-wide around the far turn under a full head of steam on the way to an apparent score as Callmequeenbee A predictably faltered. But Stellenbosch wasn't having it. Zeron and the 2-1 second choice kept to their task as Ivana Flybye N flattened out and went on to a 2½-length win. The pocket-sitting She's Nun Bettor N out-finished Ivana Flybye N in the race for place. "Because I had driven her aggressively in the past," said Zeron. "I knew I could leave with her. We took back with her two weeks in a row and were waiting for the right spot. I definitely didn't think she would be that good for the final half-mile but if she was ever going to be at her best, it was going to be tonight. Everything led up to her putting forth a good effort." Despite the soggy conditions, Stellenbosch, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Catch A Wish who paid $6.00 to win, lowered her previous lifetime best by one-and-three-fifth seconds, hitting the wire in 1:50.2. The Scott Blackler trainee, who is owned by Millar Farms, now has 14 wins from 102 lifetime starts and earnings of $184,474. A LITTLE MORE: The off-going didn't alter the form as seven favorites scored on the 14-race card. Overall, winner's odds were 3-1 or less for 12 of the races. ... Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras led the driver's colony as both won three races on the program. ... Jeff Cullipher and Ron Burke had training doubles. ... All-source handle totaled $2,878,592. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. ... Check out the Dan Patch Awards show on the live Meadowlands feed. It gets underway at 5 p.m. after which Dave Brower will interview a special guest in another edition of "In the Sulky".   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Faithful fans of The Meadowlands product produced another huge night of harness racing action at mile oval, as for a third consecutive Saturday betting topped the $3.6-million mark. All-source wagering on the 15-race card totaled $3,646,603. Just like one week ago (Jan. 2), a big first race guaranteed 20-cent Pick-5 pool set the tone for the night. The wager carried not only a $100,000 pool promise but had a $25,000 seed as well, which was provided by track management and the Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey. In the end, the total P5 pool represented $195,759 of the $411,664 bet overall in the opener. Play was steady all night long, as three times single-race totals exceeded the $300,000 mark. The track's Pick-4s were predictably popular with players, as a total of $180,909 was pushed through the windows on the two wagers. Over the last three Saturdays, betting has totaled $11,927,330, an average per card of $3,975,776. NO REGULAR JOE Grizzled veteran Western Joe used a quick brush to grab the top before the half and flaunted his back class from there, crushing his foes in the featured $19,000 high-end conditioned pace. The 7-year-old gelding by Western Ideal-Ante Fay, who is trained by Chris Choate, stopped the clock in 1:50 with Dave Miller driving to win for the 30th time from 97 career starts. His earnings now stand at $712,908. As the 2-5 favorite, he returned $2.80 to his backers. Paduka N was 3¼ lengths back to finish second. Rockin The Aces was third. Western Joe   THAT'S EIGHT, MATE Driver Todd McCarthy capped a superb weekend with four winners on the card. The 27-year-old recent Australian transplant, who also won four times Friday night, was the key to the 20-cent Pick-5 payoff of $25,057, winning three times during the sequence, including a score at 29-1 with Effronte A in the fourth race. THAT'S A HALF-DOZEN, COUSIN Dave Miller matched McCarthy by winning four times Saturday after recording a driving double Friday. Fans of "The Buckeye" will have to do without the Hall of Famers talents for a while, as Miller is now heading to Florida for the winter. He plans to do some driving at Pompano Park. A LITTLE MORE There was something for everybody during the races, as seven favorites clicked during the night while four winners were sent to the gate at odds of 11-1 or more. Marcus Miller guided two of those, scoring at 11-1 and 39-1. Three of those long shots scored in the 12th, 13th and 14th races, leading to a $1 Pick-3 that returned $2,858.00. ... Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available at playmeadowlands.com. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a guy who didn't arrive until four months ago, Todd McCarthy continues to impress in harness racing's toughest driver colony. The 27-year-old McCarthy continued to do good things since his arrival from Australia, winning four times on the Friday night card at The Meadowlands. The five-time driving champion at Australia's Menangle Racetrack finished second at the recently concluded Fall Big M Meeting, ending up just four winners behind leading pilot Dexter Dunn, the native New Zealander who won 46 races. Break The Deal got McCarthy's big Friday off to a good start in the opener, taking a low-end fillies and mares pace in 1:52.4 as the 8-5 favorite for trainer Tom Shay before recording three more victories with non-chalks. The Double Deuce raced uncovered around the far turn on the way to taking the fourth race, a low-end conditioned distaff pace, for trainer Nancy Takter as the 5-1 third choice in 1:53.1 before another 5-1 chance, the Noel Daley-trained Darkrshadeofpale N, won the fifth race mid-range fillies and mares pace in 1:51.4 as the fourth choice in the betting. The "Todd Squad" were smiling once again at the conclusion of race eight, when Godspell Hall tipped off perfect cover to score as the 9-2 third choice in a mid-range conditioned trot in 1:53.2 for trainer Nifty Norman. Darkrshadeofpale N JOEY UPSETS IN FEATURE: Driver Dave Miller put 13-1 long shot Joey on the front early, and the 6-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide-Jodi's Jayme went all the way to take the featured $19,000 high-end conditioned trot in 1:53.1. Seeking his third consecutive win, 4-5 favorite Some Chapter used a huge brush down the backside to challenge the eventual winner, but flattened out on the far turn before coming back to battle Joey through the stretch, only to come up a neck short in a superb try. A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn guided three winners on the card while Dave Miller had a pair. ... The Julie Miller-trained, Andy Miller-driven Get Legs stayed perfect in five lifetime starts after winning the 11th race non-winners of three trot in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. ... All-source handle totaled $2,804,088. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. when the first race 20-cent Pick-5 kicks off. The Meadowlands and the Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey have teamed up to seed the pool with $25,000. The wager sports a $100,000 guaranteed pool. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Handle reached remarkable heights and Let It Ride N stamped himself as the top harness racing horse currently in training on an eventful Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Wagering on the 15-race program totaled $4,562,477, which topped the "non-event" 2020 best of $4.1 million on June 20, when there were 18 races on the card. The average per race was $304,165, a number not seen since Hambletonian Day, when an average of $358,163 was put in play. From the get-go Saturday, the action was fast and furious, as $565,076 was bet in the first race, thanks to $314,217 in "new money" wagered into the 20-cent Pick-5, which saw a total pool of $360,948 after the carryover of $46,731 was added in. Another $468,040 was wagered on the sixth race, due in large part to an Early 50-cent Pick-4 pool of $120,947. The Late 50-cent Pick-4 was predictably popular as well, with $102,248 in action leading to $351,354 in total play. The single-race $350,000 barrier would be broken four times during the night. RIDE, RIDE, RIDE: The incredible early success of the Nifty Norman-trained Let It Ride N continued in the featured $28,000 Open/Preferred Handicap for pacers, as the 8-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Love A Gamble stayed perfect in five North American starts since his arrival from Australia in late November. Driver Dexter Dunn didn't ask Let It Ride N for big speed at the start, settling in seventh along the rail from post nine in the nine-horse field around the first turn. Searching for a second consecutive score, Harambe Deo set a fast pace, hitting the quarter in :26.1. Before the half, Dunn had Let It Ride N racing on the rim, following the first-over Rock Diamonds N as Harambe Deo paced the half in :53.2. Nearing the five-eighths, Rock Diamonds N started to back up in the 1-2 favorite's face, so Dunn had to move three-wide likely earlier than he would have liked. It didn't matter. "He had no choice [but to move him]," said Norman of Dunn's aggressiveness. "But the horse has a huge kick and seems to be able to carry his speed a long way." Let It Ride N Let It Ride N gobbled up ground while three-wide around the far turn and collared Harambe Deo shortly after they straightened up in the stretch before blowing his foes away in a thoroughly dominant performance, scoring by 2 lengths over the late-rallying Hesa Kingslayer N after pacing his final quarter in :26.1. Vettel N closed for third. Highalator, the 9-2 second choice, finished seventh, with Harambe Deo (7-1) eighth. "He really amazed me," said Norman of his prized pupil. "He doesn't seem to have any bottom in him. I'm in shock again tonight. He's got an amazing brush. What impressed me the most, is once he passed Harambe Deo, he kicked off again like he had another gear." Let It Ride N, who won at The Meadowlands on Dec. 12 in 1:48.4 and now has three wins at the mile oval, lowered his lifetime best to 1:48.1. He's now won 23-of-59 lifetime starts and earned $360,958 for owners Enzed Racing Stable Inc. "He's 8 years old," said Norman. "You don't expect 8-year-olds to do this. All I've done is put him on Lasix, so he must have been bleeding back home. Next, I'll take him to Yonkers to see if he can get around a half-mile track. We might try the [Borgata] series there. I'm going to have to stake him to some races this year. He looks like he can be a Grand Circuit horse. I have to give him that chance." A LITTLE MORE: Dunn and Yannick Gingras picked up right where they left off in 2020, as each won three times on the card. ... Norman had a training double, as did Stacy Chiodo. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. ... The Big M will race every Friday and Saturday from now through Hambletonian Day, Aug. 7. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The Meadowlands faithful was out in force with Christmas money in hand Saturday night, and at the conclusion of the 15-race card, all-source wagering topped the $3-million mark for the first time during the Fall Meeting on the last day of harness racing in 2020. Handle for the night totaled $3,718,250, an average per race of $247,883. The last time – other than Hambletonian Day and Meadowlands Pace Night – that business was as brisk on a per-race basis was on July 11 (Meadowlands Pace Eliminations Night) when a total of $3,440,248 was bet over 13 races, an average of $264,634 per dash. Things got rolling in the fifth race Saturday, when a night-best $366,063 was pushed through the windows with $117,910 in exacta action leading the way. Twenty minutes later, $85,859 in 50-cent Pick-4 play keyed total betting of $353,837 in race six. Race eight – which saw an exacta pool of $98,671 – was the third $300,000 or better race of the night, with total action of $302,405. ON THE TRACK: Warrior One took the $19,000 high-end conditioned trotting co-feature for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:52.3. The 4-year-old gelded son of Father Patrick-Yoga was on the go from the start, making the lead out of the first turn from post eight before yielding to Hill Of A Horse just after the quarter. Gingras moved his horse back to the top before the half and went down the road from there, recording an easy 3-length score over Cue Hall. Hill Of A Horse was third. Sent to the gate as the 5-2 favorite, Warrior One returned $7.40 to his backers in winning for the 13th time in 52 lifetime starts. He now has earnings of $221,146. In the co-featured high-end conditioned pace, Harambe Deo got back into the win column for trainer Jeff Cullipher and driver Simon Allard. Racing in a softer spot than he had in his previous three outings, the 5-year-old gelded son of Woodstock-Tea Time held off the late-charging Bracken Storm A by a nose in 1:49.3. J M Mandamin was third. Harambe Deo was away well from post nine and made his way to the top at the half in a pulse-pounding :54.1 on the chilly evening that saw a wind chill of 19 degrees. He used a :27.2 third fraction to open a 2-length lead on the pocket-sitting Heza Real Diamond before holding off Bracken Storm A – who might have won had he found room just a moment or two earlier in deep stretch when in bad traffic – by an eyelash. As the 5-1 fourth choice, Harambe Deo returned $13.20 to win in scoring his 17th career win from 85 starts. His earnings stand at $263,369. $150,000 GUARANTEED: After longshots scored in the third, fourth and fifth races, the track’s 20-cent Pick-5 wager did not yield a winning ticket, setting up what could be a gigantic pool when racing resumes on Saturday, Jan. 2. Those who correctly selected four winners cashed in for $312.78. The bet started innocently enough as the 9-5 second choice and 2-1 favorite won the first two races, respectively, on the card. But then the bombs fell as 14-1, 50-1 and 36-1 outsiders took the final three legs of the sequence, leading to a carryover of $46,731.16. As a result, Big M management – in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering initiative – has guaranteed next Saturday’s pool at $150,000. Free past performances will be available for the Pick-5 at playmeadowlands.com. A LITTLE MORE: Cullipher was on fire all night long, winning four races on the night. … Dave Miller led the driver’s colony with four victories, three coming with Cullipher trainees. … There will be no racing at The Big M on Friday, Jan. 1. … Racing resumes Saturday, Jan. 2, with a first-race post time of 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - After longshots scored in the third, fourth and fifth races Saturday night at The Meadowlands, the track's 20-cent Pick-5 wager did not yield a winning ticket, setting up what could be a gigantic pool when harness racing resumes Saturday, Jan. 2. Those who correctly selected four winners cashed in for $312.78. The bet started innocently enough as the 9-5 second choice and 2-1 favorite won the first two races on the card. But then the bombs fell as 14-1, 50-1 and 36-1 outsiders took the final three legs of the sequence, leading to a carryover of $46,731.16. As a result, Big M management - in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative - has guaranteed next Saturday's pool at $150,000. Free past performances will be available for the Pick-5 at playmeadowlands.com. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – After The Meadowlands takes a break for the holiday – there is no harness racing or simulcasting on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – live action will return to The Big M with a bang this Saturday (Dec. 26) night with a gigantic 15-race program that will begin at the track’s new early post time of 6 p.m. Like a true holiday feast, the card comes with all the trimmings. All 15 races have full 10-horse fields and the track’s betting menu offers all the goodies Big M players have grown accustomed to, with a 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 (race three), 20-cent Pick-6 (race eight), 10-cent Pentafecta (race 15) and a pair of 50-cent Pick-4s (beginning in races six and 10). Both Pick-4s will have guaranteed pools of $50,000 and all the wagers offer a low 15 percent takeout. The wagering on the card figures to be fast and furious since the last two Saturday programs were compromised: Two weeks ago by heavy fog – which left all of who watched a limited view of the first eight races – and last week by an electrical malfunction that caused the cancelation of the entire 13-race card. “The Saturday card features 15 full 10-horse fields,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Which will give horseplayers many chances for the big score. The one-mile oval makes it possible for all vertical and horizontal players to shoot for the moon. “We think our product will do extraordinarily well this winter with our new 6 p.m. post time, which will be in effect through mid-March. We are hopeful that The Meadowlands with full fields and low takeout can cultivate even more horseplayers from around the world to wager on our signal.” Not only will harness fans get to overindulge on the races from the mile oval, but Thoroughbred fans will get an excellent nosh as well, as the day after Christmas The Big M will offer simulcasting of the Opening Day card from Arcadia, California’s Santa Anita Park. The 11-race program – which features five graded stakes events – has a post time of 2 p.m. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races 10 through 13 – the entire Late 50-cent Pick-4 – will be available for Saturday’s card. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. 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 Brower’s selections and commentary. Click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”. Additionally, track announcer Warkentin’s blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Be sure to watch the live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pre-game show, which will now begin on race nights at 5:27 p.m. On Saturday night, The Big M’s “A” team of Brower and Little will talk about what’s going on in harness racing and take a look at that evening’s featured races from the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set while Demsky will be the featured handicapper on the live presentation on the Television Games Network (tvg.com) all night long. CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home. Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW). THE MEADOWLANDS SCHEDULE: There is no live racing on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. There will be live racing Saturday, Dec. 26, with a post time of 6 p.m. In addition, The Big M will be closed for simulcasting on both Dec. 24 and 25. HOLIDAY AT FANDUEL: Football fans can get their fill at the FanDuel Sportsbook, located just inside the main entrance at The Meadowlands. On Saturday (Dec. 26), there will be four college football games that handicappers can play, and, in addition, the National Football League will have three contests: At 1 p.m., Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9½) travel to Detroit to take on the Lions; Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals (-5½) host the San Francisco 49ers at 4:30 p.m. before the final game of the day kicks off at 8:15 p.m. when Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (-3) travel to Sin City to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. This week for the Christmas holiday, there will be some changes to the schedule at the FanDuel Sports Book. On Dec. 24, bets will be taken until 6 p.m. The book will be closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. During a normal week, hours in the track’s FanDuel Sports Book are from 10 a.m. – midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Saturday.   Dave Little

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Saturday night's live harness racing program at The Meadowlands was canceled due to an electrical malfunction of the track's lighting system. The Big M will resume with live action on Saturday, Dec. 26, with a special early post time of 6 p.m. "We apologize for any inconvenience this caused," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "And we would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season." By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Some Chapter continued his impressive season by winning for the 10th time from just 14 starts in the Friday night harness racing  feature at The Meadowlands, a high-end $20,000 conditioned trot. But the road to the winner's circle at the mile oval has been a circuitous one to say the least for the Anette Lorentzon trainee, who did not race last year as a 2-year-old. "We always liked him," said Lorentzon. "But he had some soreness last year, so we turned him out in April. We gave him some time, brought him back at the end of last year and things started out well, but he ended up locking on a line, so we gave him some time off again. He could get lame on us, but we could not find out what was wrong with him." Lorentzon would have to wait until this summer to find out what she had in the 3-year-old gelded son of Chapter Seven-Some Kinda Special. "He actually had never seen a racetrack until he went to the fairs in June," said Lorentzon, whose prized pupil would win his first three outings on the Kentucky Fair circuit at Lebanon in 2:05, 2:08 and 2:02.3, respectively. "He had never even been in a qualifier. We've always babied him. He always showed talent and a great attitude." Lorentzon's patience certainly seems to be paying off. Some Chapter cleared to the top before the three-eighths with driver Dexter Dunn Friday night on the way to an easy 2¾-length score over Swan In Motion in 1:54.1. McMatters was third. Owned by ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson, Some Chapter, who now has lifetime earnings of $75,345, returned $3.60 as the 4-5 public choice in taking a second straight start at The Big M. Some Chapter "He still qualifies for non-winners of six and eight," said Lorentzon. "And I believe he can go with some of the better trotters at The Meadowlands. I'm hoping, at least. He's still learning." GET LEGS GOT GAME: Another trotter opening some eyes was the Julie Miller-trained, Andy Miller-driven 3-year-old colt Get Legs (Muscle Hill-Legzy), who remained unbeaten in four lifetime outings after taking a non-winners of four in 1:54.1 as the 3-5 public choice. Like Some Chapter, Get Legs was unraced at 2 and has looked superb since his debut on Nov. 13. All of his starts have come at The Big M. FAMILY MATTERS: Todd McCarthy and big-brother Andy finished 1-2 three times on the night, making exacta bettors very happy. The Brothers McCarthy exactas paid $167.60 (third race), $246.40 (fourth) and $12.40 (12th). Trainers Brett Derue and his mother-in-law Jackie Greene finished 1-2 in the fifth, with that exacta coming back $195.40. A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy guided two longshots to victory lane during the sequence, leading to a single-ticket winner in the 20-cent Pick-5 that paid $43,916. ... Dunn and Todd McCarthy both won three on the card, as the top two in the Fall-Meet driver standings upped their respective win totals to 46 and 40. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,196,781. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - One sharp player cashed in big - thanks to harness racing driver Todd McCarthy - just in time for Christmas at The Meadowlands Friday night by hitting the 20-cent Pick-5. He or she walked away with $43,916.06. A pair of heavy favorites who were likely singled on many tickets - Best Honey Hanover (2-5 in the first race) and Walks Of Life (3-5 in the third) - went down to defeat, setting the stage for the big payday for the winner, who was betting into the Oregon hub. McCarthy, second in the Big M driver standings at the Fall Meet with 37 wins entering the night, scored with 23-1 shot Genessee Seelster in race three and then came right back in the fourth with 13-1 chance Peppermint Mocha. The odds of the winners for the sequence were 9-2, 4-5, 23-1, 13-1 and 5-1. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On a Saturday evening that looked more like a scene out of the Stephen King novel "The Mist" than a night at the races, Ana Afreet N came blazing out of the pocket to gun down American History in the $28,000 Preferred Handicap for harness racing pacers at The Meadowlands. The weather was anything but cooperative for what was supposed to be a 13-race card, as after the first race where the horses were visible for only the first and final sixteenths of the mile, races two and three were canceled and race four did not go until 90 minutes after the first hit the finish. When racing resumed, it was much of the same as far as seeing - or not seeing - the races. Until the ninth race, that is. The feature had not only Ana Afreet N and American History, but also fan favorite Highalator, who was seeking his sixth Big M win of the year from only eight starts. It was too good to miss. And the weather gods agreed. The fog lifted to reveal the first race of the night that could be viewed from start to finish, and after the three headliners all left the gate alertly, Ana Afreet N had a slight advantage out of the first turn before Highalator hustled up to take the top at the quarter. Driver George Napolitano Jr. used Ana Afreet N once again, immediately moving back to the point, and as he did, even-money choice American History - seeking his fourth straight score - followed that foe and cleared the top at the half in :54.3. American History led the field to the head of the stretch and looked strong on the point, but with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Ana Afreet N came calling one last time from out of the pocket and wore down the leader nearing the wire to record a 1-length score in 1:49.3. Highalator held on for third. Ana Afreet N "This horse amazes me," said Napolitano. "When I started driving him, he really wasn't that good. I was told he was really lazy but he had plenty of late pace in a race when I first started driving him and thought he had some talent. So I had a little talk with him, and then the next week we started rattling off wins because I started feeding him racetrack. "I knew he was a special horse, but I didn't know how special until tonight. He beat good horses and he did it the right way. I have a lot of confidence in this horse. He felt so good around the far turn. [Trainer] Jeff [Cullipher] actually texted me and said, 'Wow, what a fun race to watch.' I love driving for that guy." Ana Afreet N and driver George Napolitano Jr. take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. Ana Afreet N, a 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Anna Livia who is owned by Pollack Racing and Cullipher, returned $6.60 to win as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering. He's won four of his last six at The Big M, with a nose separating him from victory in the two defeats. Lifetime, he's won 22-of-43 starts, good for earnings of $164,220. The fog made things difficult on the judges, horsemen and fans alike, and track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir voiced his appreciation: "I have never quite seen fog like I saw tonight in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After the first race, I never thought we would get any more races in. Due to the timing issues with Lasix we canceled races two and three and set a post time of 9 p.m. for the fourth race and we were able to get the balance of the race card in. I want to extend my extreme gratitude and appreciation to the New Jersey Racing Commission judges, the horsemen and women, along with our employees for tonight's herculean effort to work together and get the races in." A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Nifty Norman's Let It Ride N made it three wins in as many starts since arriving from Australia. The 7-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Love A Gamble crushed a solid high-end field of conditioned pacers in a night's-fastest - and lifetime best - 1:48.4 as the 1-5 favorite with Dexter Dunn doing the driving. ... All-source handle totaled $1,282,387 on the fog-marred shortened program. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – It’s been five years since JL Cruze became the first harness racing trotter to break the 1:50 barrier at The Meadowlands, and while the 9-year-old Eric Ell trainee may have lost a step or two over the years, he once again found his way to the mile-oval’s winner’s circle Friday night in the featured $20,000 high-end conditioned trot. After getting gunned down a week ago when encountering bitter pressure while on the lead, driver Dexter Dunn opted to race in the pocket behind confirmed speedball Warrior One, who four starts ago was positively electric in a wire-to-wire 1:51.4 lifetime score. Sent to the gate as the 3-1 second choice, Warrior One put JL Cruze in the pocket out of the first turn and cut out fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.4 on the point. JL Cruze gradually made his way off the rail on the far turn and steadily wore down Warrior One through the lane on the way to a 1¾-length score in 1:51.4. The consistent gelded son of Crazed -Topcat Hall won for the fifth time in 2020 from 21 starts while hitting the board 17 times. “He’s unbelievable,” said Ell. “He still loves what he’s doing. I didn’t think he left as well last week, so we injected his hocks, which is like putting some grease in his joints. It allows him to move a bit better.” Owned by William Kenneth Wood, William J. Dittmar Jr. and Stephen J. Iaquinta, JL Cruze paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite in recording his 40th win from 122 lifetime starts to up his bulging bank account to $1,534,267. “Honestly, I think he’s a better horse from behind but he’s got great gate speed and it seems he ends up on the point a lot,” said Ell. “Tonight, out of the two-hole he was raging, but can do it either way. I’d like to keep racing him at The Meadowlands if there’s a race for him. We’re going to keep trying.” JL Cruze A LITTLE MORE: Dunn upped his driver-colony leading win total at the Fall Meeting to 41 after scoring three times on the card. … Todd McCarthy, Andy McCarthy and Scott Zeron all had driving doubles. … All it took for two sharp players was six out of seven to cash in for $5,568 in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7. … Chalk players ruled the night as eight post-time choices hit victory lane. … All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,446,627. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Temperatures may be falling, but many popular harness racing wagers at The Meadowlands have seen payoffs on the rise of late, much to the delight of those playing at the mile oval. The 20-cent Pick-5 did not pay anything special - $141.10 - on Nov. 27, when the first three winners in the sequence went off at odds of 3-5, 8-5 and 5-2, but since then, it has been a big-payoff bonanza in the multi-leg wager that begins the card on a nightly basis. On Saturday, Nov. 28, one sharp player raked the pot (being the only winner), cashing in for $55,157. That bettor may have been helped by the "all" button in the fourth race when a 75-1 shot scored, but the other four legs - despite none being won by the favorite - did not have any winner score at odds in excess of 9-2. Last weekend (Dec. 4-5), the Pick-5s came back $1,444 and $5,886 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but P5 players were not the only ones able to check everything off their respective Christmas gift lists after making some big scores at The Big M. Recent action - and returns - on the track's "signature" Pick-4 wagers have been strong as well. Over the last four race cards, nightly handle on the bets that begin in races six and 10, respectively, has been at least $132,000, with a high of $170,822 put in play last Saturday. The Early Pick-4 on Nov. 27 paid a handsome $5,960 despite two 3-1 shots and an 8-5 favorite scoring. An 80-1 chance proved to be the key for those cashing tickets. The Late P4 came back $3,558 on Dec. 4 when a pair of 4-1 chances and a 1-2 chalk were joined in the sequence by a 39-1 bomb. Clearly, there are Big M bets where windfalls can result if players can find that one race that drives the big return. "We are extremely pleased at how the wagering public has responded to the low [15 percent] takeout wagers," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The Meadowlands has always tried to have the most exciting and price-conscious wagering menu in the sport, and the current betting lineup has made all kinds of big scores possible for Big M players around the world." Some other recent noteworthy payouts include the $15,163 on Nov. 21 and $7,930 on Nov. 28 that 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 players enjoyed. The 20-cent Pick-6 has been creating a stir for about a month with carryovers on the last four Saturday programs. Two recent payouts stand far above the rest, as on Nov. 14, the return was $5,642, while on Nov. 28 - when the final two legs were won by favorites - two winners walked away with $14,143. "The growing interest in our wagering product resulted in the biggest handle of the Fall Meeting on Saturday [Dec. 5]," said Settlemoir. Indeed, the $2,894,040 pushed through the windows was a meet best and pushed the streak of Saturdays with at least $2.5 million in handle to five. In addition, The Big M has seen wagering exceed the $5-million level for four consecutive weekends. Historically, Meadowlands' bettors love the track for its vulnerable favorites, but a look at recent returns reveal total handle is brisk whether there's chalk or not. Over the last four race cards, 17 public choices have scored from 52 races for a win percentage of just 32. The four programs prior to that saw 25 chalks take 52 dashes for a cool 48 percent, yet all eight programs were part of the current $5-million weekend streak. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. The pre-game presentation begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. If you can't make it out to the track, you can watch and wager on all the action at home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live. The Television Games Network (tvg.com) shows all Meadowlands action live and offers opportunities for those who want to bet on Big M races as well. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races one through five - the entire 20-cent Pick-5 - will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards. 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 Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. THE SCHEDULE: Live racing will continue every Friday and Saturday night through the end of 2020. The one exception is Christmas Day. Post time every night is 7:15 p.m. except for December 26, when the first race will go at 6 p.m. PROLIFIC PIGSKIN PARLAY: Fans of local National Football League teams had a winning Sunday (Dec. 6) last week. For those sharp enough to play the point spreads and use the Giants and Jets on a two-team parlay walked away winners. Can they do it again? The answer will come on Sunday (Dec. 13) when the Giants (+2½) host the Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. and the Jets (+13½) travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks at 4 p.m. The week will kick off Thursday (Dec. 10) when the New England Patriots (+5) visit the Los Angeles Rams at 8:20 p.m. You can wager on all the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. One can wager on a full slate of college football games as well. There are also other sports available to bet on in the book from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday.   Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Heading into Saturday night’s featured $28,000 Preferred for pacers at The Meadowlands, American History had won two in a row by a combined 10¼ lengths, and while the veteran harness racing earner of over $1.1 million might have been bumping up in class, the narrative remained the same. On a night where the feels-like temperature was 30 degrees with a stiff wind into the horses faces in the stretch, American History upped his win streak to three with a powerhouse 1:48.4 performance. “He had a terrible bunch of bad luck this summer,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “But we thought he was coming around in his last few starts. He’s been in spots where he can use his speed. We worked hard on that. He trained well off the pace as well, so he can do that, too.” All night long the track played to speed in a big way, so there was no need for the 2019 Breeders Crown champion to race from behind. This Is The Plan, with his impressive lifetime bankroll of $1.7 million, was sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice. He showed high speed from the start, as did American History, Harambe Deo and Western Joe. Grabbing the top at the opening quarter while parked was This Is The Plan, but only led briefly, as American History wrestled the lead away from the chalk as he sprinted the second quarter in :26.4 to hit the half in :54.1. Around the far turn, driver Andy McCarthy asked American History for more, and he responded by opening a 1½-length edge on the pocket-sitter at three-quarters in 1:21. Through the stretch, American History would have to deal with This Is The Plan after that one popped the pocket inside the eighth pole. But as the pair neared the wire, American History had little trouble holding sway to score by a half-length. Western Joe was third. A 5-year-old son of American Ideal-Perfect Touch who is owned by Brad Grant, American History paid $7.20 as the second choice in the betting to up his lifetime stats to 21 wins from just 58 starts and earnings of $1,172,753. “We are going to pick and choose his starts in the weeks ahead,” said Alagna. “We are not opposed to racing him [during the winter] a little bit. He can go with the best horses when he’s on his game.” MEET-HIGH HANDLE: Wagering was vigorous from start to finish on the 13-race card, as a total of $2,894,040 was bet on the program, a Fall-Meet best. … 50-cent Pick-4 action was fast and furious as the two “signature” mile-oval wagers saw total action of $170,822. … A carryover of $6,205 fueled a total pool in the 20-cent Pick-6 of $51,741, the fourth consecutive Saturday that saw a P6 carryover. Those with six winners cashed in for $1,469.58. A LITTLE MORE: George Napolitano Jr. continued his winning ways at the meeting by scoring three times on the card. He made a big move to the lead at the half with Ruthless Hanover in the ninth race high-end conditioned pace on the way to a dominant 5¼-score in 1:48.4, pacing the night’s fastest mile until American History stopped the clock in the same time 23 minutes later. … McCarthy equaled Napolitano by visiting the winner’s circle three times. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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