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East Rutherford, NJ - Given the current situation The Meadowlands and Tioga and Vernon Downs are doing whatever can be done to look after our employees and be a good harness racing neighbor in the community.   We also realize the plight of the horsemen that race at our tracks and the anxiety of not knowing what the near future might hold.   It is in this spirit that we try to shed a little light on what may be possible.   It is our hope that we may be able to resume live racing at The Meadowlands on May 1, 2020. That is of course contingent on many things, most of which we do not control.   Tioga and Vernon Downs will set to preparing for live racing as soon as the casinos are cleared to open.   Fortunately, our stakes at The Meadowlands would have barely begun on the original calendar. The only casualty thus far is the new 4-year-old NJSS Maturity stakes that were scheduled for March and April. We'll look to race those later in the season.   The first open stake scheduled is Leg #1 of the Graduate Series for pacers on May 2. If we get open, we would likely delay that race for a bit to give those horses a chance to get a start while looking for a logical spot to race it. The NJSS for 3-year-olds were to begin on May 15 and we might move them back a few weeks.   These ideas are contingent upon whether stakes at other tracks are raced when originally scheduled.   We are cautiously optimistic that as a result of the delay to the opening of their live meet that Monmouth Park will race a turf only meet at The Meadowlands in 2020 and not convert the main track. This potential development may give us some flexibility so far as making up live race dates in October and November.   "We are working to get the tracks open, but only when it's safe," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "I get that guys need to race, I'd like to race too. We must adhere to the guidelines set forth by Governors Murphy and Cuomo and we will follow their direction." The Meadowlands and Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ - With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Bergen County extremely hard the Meadowlands Racetrack wanted to help the community in any way possible. After learning the Meadowlands YMCA was working with Table to Table to distribute meals to families in need, the Meadowlands Racetrack and its restaurant partner Ark Meadowlands pitched in to help feed the local community. The racetrack donated over 500 meals along with fresh vegetables, cases of water, gatorade and soda to the Meadowlands YMCA. Employees volunteered their time to help pack up the meal boxes and bag the vegetables. "When we learned that our community was in need, we knew we could help immediately," said Jason Settlemoir, COO & GM of the Meadowlands Racetrack. "I'd like to thank Jennifer Jordan for organizing this food drive for us and Marianne Rotella, Marcello Esposito, Lisa Smoter, Rachel Ryan and Raul Perez for working so hard on getting this done." "We are looking forward to our return to racing when it is safe to do so," continued Settlemoir. "We encourage everyone to remain at home and stay healthy and we look forward to seeing everyone back at the track." For updates on the Meadowlands Racetrack visit http://playmeadowlands.com/ . For ways to help the Meadowlands YMCA visit https://www.meadowlandsymca.org/main/covid-19-updates-information/  

East Rutherford, NJ - Be advised that any horse that was being trained by a harness racing trainer named in the recent Federal indictments at the time those indictments were handed down will not be accepted to race at The Meadowlands, Tioga or Vernon Downs in overnights or stakes for 60 days from the date that the tracks reopen for live racing.    

East Rutherford, NJ - Due to the COVID-19 virus and the indefinite shutdown of harness racing at the Meadowlands Racetrack, the 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com has been rescheduled to July 25th, 2020. The Meadowlands will look to add an additional qualifier or two once it reopens for live racing. DerbyWars will host regular online Qualifiers for the WHHC through July. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament (now Saturday, July 25th) with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201-842-5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com. All WHHC details can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 Rachel Ryan Marketing Manager, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

Surveillance Firm Played Role in Federal Indictments The Jockey Club, Meadowlands employ 5 Stones intelligence. During the past four years, The Jockey Club and Meadowlands Racetrack have retained the services of a leading international investigative company, and that association might have paid a dividend in the recent federal indictments of Thoroughbred trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro as well as several harness racing trainers in a doping scheme. Through the recommendation of officials from the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, The Jockey Club turned to 5 Stones intelligence in 2016 to provide confidential investigative services.  "It is vitally important to the sport that it is regulated competently and by authorities that are independent," said James Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer for The Jockey Club. "That is a hallmark of the Horseracing Integrity Act, and it has never been more important to the sport, given the events of this week." Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural, who operates a harness racing meet at the New Jersey racetrack, said he also employed 5 Stones and that information from 5 Stones played a role in the federal indictments of 29 people that were announced March 9-11 by the United States District Attorney, Southern District of New York. "We participated with The Jockey Club in retaining (5 Stones) to help lead the FBI in the right direction," Gural said. Gagliano said The Jockey Club is continuing its engagement with 5 Stones. He added that the indictments illustrate horse racing's urgent need to support passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which calls for a single non-governmental, anti-doping authority to oversee medication rules and testing. "This crisis has to be a rallying point for the sport," Gagliano said. "In my view, passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act will lay the foundation for a once-in-a-century system change that puts welfare and integrity as the guiding principles of how the sport is regulated." Gural echoed the call for passage of the HIA, saying racetracks have been turning a blind eye to cheaters for far too long. "All the racetrack owners in the country who said they cared about this didn't care. They had to know the only way to catch these guys was through undercover and surveillance companies. Without them, you were just giving lip service that you cared," Gural said. "There's no gray area when it comes to honesty. Everyone knew the system was broken, but no one cared about it. There's no way we can tell people in politics that we care if we don't let the USADA take over. The funny thing is that when I would talk to people who oppose the government taking over, the next thing I would ask is if the current system is working, and 100% would say no. I don't understand that. They knew the system wasn't working, and they were happy with it.  "If we don't bring in the USADA now and get behind the (HIA), we should shut down the sport. It would say we really don't care." According to the company website, "5 Stones intelligence is a leading intelligence and investigative company based in Miami, with offices throughout the world. 5Si possesses the world's largest private HUMINT intelligence network and supports intelligence collection and analysis, global investigations, and operations support for Governments and corporations." Servis, who trains recent Saudi Cup winner Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first to 17th in last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), and Navarro, the seven-time leading trainer at Monmouth Park, are scheduled to be arraigned March 23 on charges of a misbranding conspiracy.  BloodHorse reported March 14 that Servis and Navarro could appear before the New York federal court for arraignment and initial conference either in person or by telephone conference in a concession to travel difficulties because of COVID-19. The indictment charged that Servis had performance-enhancing drugs administered to "virtually all of the racehorses under his care" and that Navarro orchestrated "a widespread scheme of covertly obtaining and administering various adulterated and misbranded PEDs to horses under his control." Navarro is facing two counts of the misbranding charge, each carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Servis was charged with one count and could be imprisoned for up to five years if found guilty. Among the harness trainers indicted are Rene Allard, who was third in North American earnings last year, Richard Banca, Nick Surick, Chris Oakes, Chris Marino, Rick Dane Jr., and assistant trainer Conor Flynn. Allard, Banca, Oakes and Marino were barred by Gural from racing at Meadowlands prior to the indictments. Banca and Allard are the runaway leaders at the current Yonkers Raceway meet, combining for 367 wins in 2020 before racing was suspended due to COVID-19 after the March 9 card. Gural believes there will be more indictments in the weeks and months to come. "People will (provide information to authorities)," Gural said. "Anyone who used these people who were indicted cannot be sleeping well." By Bob Ehalt Reprinted with permission of bloodhorse.com

MANALAPAN, NJ - March 15, 2020 - The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey has announced purse increases for the following 2020 races. The purse for the New Jersey Garden State Trot #2 for both 3-year-old colt and fillies at Freehold Raceway has been increased to $80,000. The purse for the New Jersey Garden State Trot #3 for both 2-year-old colt and fillies at the Meadowlands increased to $90,000. All other SBOANJ sponsored races remain as advertised in the USTA stake guide. If you have any questions please call the office at 732-462-2357. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

East Rutherford, NJ - Due to recent developments in the area related to health concerns, The Meadowlands has decided to cancel live racing this weekend, March 13 & 14.   "It's become impossible to provide the needed protection for those racing and those attending the races,"said Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "We wanted to go and get everyone raced but you get to a point where the possible negative consequences outweigh the positive aspects. So we'll follow all developments closely and keep everyone informed of the status of live racing in the near future." From the Meadowlands Racetrack  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Fans of harness racing driver Pat Berry undoubtedly have plenty of money burning a hole in their pockets after the exploits of the 44-year-old former Chicagoland pilot last weekend (March 6-7) at the Meadowlands. It started innocently enough on Friday, when Berry guided Muscle Fashion ($22.80) to the winner's circle. His only winner of the night from 10 drives was still enough to show a flat-bet profit for the night, but the man also known as "The Blue Berry Bomber" was just getting started. He got serious on Saturday, guiding three winners on the card, all of which went off at odds of at least 11-1. Berry kept on driving when it appeared Another Daily Copy had the eighth race wrapped up and gunned down the 8-5 second choice with 11-1 chance Keep On Rocking A ($25.80). Then Berry swept the Late Daily Double with 47-1 shot Barefoot Bluejeans ($96.40) and the 27-1 Jumping Jake ($57.00). Barefoot Bluejeans' win payoff was the largest of 2020 at the Big M as was the double, which returned $2,700.40. Barefoot Bluejeans topped a $927 exacta, $4,302 trifecta and $1,918 ten-cent superfecta, completed a Pick-3 that returned $4,969 and the Late 50-cent Pick-4 that paid off a whopping $18,466, another 2020 high. A $20 win bet on Berry's 19 weekend drives resulted in an investment of $380 and a return of $2,020, a profit of $1,640. Other big weekend payoffs included the Friday 20-cent Pick-6 ($1,251) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($2,915) and Saturday's Pick-6 ($2,217). The Big M's new "Fab Four" wagers have been well received since the track updated the wagering menu on Feb. 7 to offer $130,000 in guaranteed pools every night. The 20-cent Pick-5 (race one) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 (race 10) offer $40,000 promises, while the 50-cent Early Pick-4 (race six) has a $50,000 guarantee. The 20-cent Pick-6 (race four) offers no guarantee but does promise big carryovers - which have already occurred twice - in the event no one picks all six winners. Free program pages for the Early Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five are available at playmeadowlands.com and ustrotting.com. "The Strategic Wagering division of the United States Trotting Association has been a big part of not only growing pool size and wagering interest here at the Meadowlands," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "But at other tracks all over the United States. The partnership of the tracks, USTA and TrackMaster that provide free program pages and promote these low 15 percent takeout wagers has been essential to the growth of these guaranteed pools, which creates added interest in our sport every night." BERRY GOES IN THE SULKY: Tune in to the Meadowlands' live in-house simulcast show Friday night at 6:22 p.m. when Berry will be the guest on the track's "In the Sulky" interview segment. CONTINUING CARRYOVERS: This Friday night (post time 6:55 p.m.), fans of the 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five will be shooting for some serious green. The fifth race carryover stands at $43,653, while the 13th race is at $47,953. MAC AND BURKE: Andy McCarthy swept both co-features last Friday and finished the weekend atop the driver colony with five wins. Ron Burke had the most training victories with three. WHHC RECAP: James Sidor captured Saturday night's World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier, presented by DerbyWars.com, at the Big M. He and second-place finisher Joe Barre will now move on the WHHC Final at the Meadowlands on April 18. TIME FOR MAYHEM: The NCAA Basketball Tournament is almost here, and you can get a front row seat to the action - while getting your action - in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. The selection show is at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 when all conference tournament play is concluded. Then, the 68-team tournament - known for its upsets and Cinderella stories - gets underway on Tuesday, March 17. WHAT'S GOING ON.... On March 13, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. Every live racing night place a win bet on the fourth race, and if you win, get the "winning experience" and have your picture taken in the winner's circle. Those who qualify should proceed to the winner's circle immediately after the race. On Saturday (March 14), head to the Big M's Pink Restaurant for a fantastic St. Paddy's Day dinner. Enjoy Potato and Leek soup, bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and a roasted prime rib carving station. The cost is only $39.95 and you can make reservations by calling 201-THE-BIGM. In addition, anytime a driver with green in his colors wins, two lucky patrons will receive $50 betting vouchers. Meadowlands Media Relations      

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands would like to clarify its position regarding the sustaining payments to stakes and Early Closers due by March 16 on horses that are currently in the care of those affected by the recent indictments and arrests. It is suggested by The Meadowlands that you make those payments by the deadline as required if you desire to continue eligibility. If you do not make the March 16 sustaining payments the horses in question will lose eligibility to the stakes to which they were nominated in February. The stakes conditions provide for a trainer change within a stated time frame, with the stipulation that the change be accepted and approved by The Meadowlands. Those situations will be evaluated by the stakes administrators on a case by case basis and that decision shall be final. The same policy is in effect for stakes and Early Closers at Tioga & Vernon Downs that have a March 16 close of nomination. Horses trained by any of the accused will continue to be excluded from overnight races until further notice. Questions should be directed to the stakes department for the tracks at 607-972-5500. From The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands intends to race live harness racing cards on Friday and Saturday as scheduled and drawn. To accomplish this as safely as possible, horsemen competing will be required to comply with guidelines as set by NJ State officials.   Part of this initiative is self quarantine, take that to mean that if you have been in the presence of a person that you are aware has been diagnosed with COVID-19 you should not be on The Meadowlands property this weekend and beyond.   Be advised that those caretakers of who were in the paddock at Freehold over the past weekend or have recently been in the paddock at Yonkers will not be permitted on the property of the Meadowlands Racetrack for two weeks.   "We recognize the gravity of the situation with COVID-19," said Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "We also realize the plight of our horsemen who have horses to race, so we will do everything we can to see the weekend's racing through as safely as possible. To accomplish this we will need the cooperation of those horsemen coming to The Meadowlands to race. Be thoughtful, considerate and aware of the guidelines set by those charged with managing this situation."   For additional information about COVID-19, please read the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, or your local health department website. Post time Friday and Saturday will be 6:55 PM. From the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is celebrating St. Patrick's Day all weekend long with special buffet offerings and voucher drawings. Live harness racing kicks off at 6:55 pm both Friday & Saturday night. On Friday, March 13 guests can enjoy the $29.95 Irish themed buffet in Pink. Potato & leek soup, Irish soda bread, corned beef & cabbage and pork chop murphy are menu highlights. Homemade cupcakes and brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream are perfect sweet ends to the night. For those wanting more Irish -themed fare on Saturday, March 14, diners can enjoy the $39.95 Pink St. Patrick's buffet. The menu features hand-carved NY strip steak, Guinness battered cod & chips, corned beef & cabbage and creamy pesto fettuccini. On Saturday guests have a chance to leave with a little more green in their pockets in the "Go Green for Greenbacks" promotion. Every time a driver with green in his colors wins two lucky fans win $50 betting vouchers. Entry forms are available in the live racing program and at the Players Club Desk. Reservations for dining can be made by calling 201-TheBigM. For full menus, racing and event information visit http://playmeadowlands.com/dining/frimarch13-st-pats.html From The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is in complete support of the Federal indictments against those who would use and distribute Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) that came to light yesterday.   As a result, no horses that have been recently trained by any of those named in the indictments will be accepted for entry in Meadowlands races until further notice.   From the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - James Sidor of Bloomfield, New Jersey, captured the March 7th World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Sidor started out strong cashing for $235 in the Meadowlands' first race with a $50 win wager on #3 Sports Vision. He solidified his lead with a $440 score in race 5 with $40 to win on #2 Vettel N. Sidor finished the contest with $674, $168 more than his closest competitor. With this win he is qualified for the 2020 WHHC Final at the Meadowlands on April 18th. Joe Barre of Waretown, NJ, also qualified for the April 18th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest with $506. His largest score was for $482 in race twelve with $10 to win on long-shot Barefoot Bluejeans. The $200 Qualifier required contestants to place a minimum of ten $10 win, wagers on Meadowlands races. The top ten finishers from this qualifier were: First Last Bankroll Prize $ James Sidor $674 $945 + WHHC Seat Joe Barre $506 $675 + WHHC Seat Ira Sobel $399 $540 Mike Petrucelli $252 $270 Justin Sobel $219 $135 Guy Gerber $176 $27 E. Howland $126 $27 Alan Hirschberg $118 $27 H. Frenkel $112 $27 Michael Kanter $79 $27 The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 18, 2020], with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. DerbyWars hosts online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Buffalo Raceway's qualifier with one spot into the Final will be held on Saturday, March 21st. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201-842-5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com. All WHHC details can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 From The Meadowlands

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

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just 48 hours after arch-rival - and 2019 Horse of the Year - Shartin N won in 1:50 at Dover Downs in her seasonal debut, Caviart Ally sizzled over a sloppy strip at the Meadowlands Friday night in her first start of 2020, taking the co-featured $30,000 Preferred for harness racing pacing fillies and mares in 1:49.4 in rainy and chilly conditions over a sloppy track with a -2 variant. "I'm very proud of her," said Caviart Ally's trainer Brett Pelling. "She is reasonably fit and race ready but there's nothing like a race to get her on her game." Let the rivalry resume. "Racing Shartin N always presents a dilemma since they both share the same racing style," said Pelling. "No matter what, posts at Yonkers will dictate [when the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series gets underway next week]." JK American Beauty, spectacular two weeks ago when she won her first start of the year in a lifetime-best 1:50.2, was on the go early and grabbed the top. After taking a brief tuck, Caviart Ally was up after the lead and cleared at the three-eighths before hitting the half in :55.1. 'Ally' was clear of JK American Beauty as Odds On St Lucie inched her way into the fray at three-quarters while first-over, but through the stretch, after some coaxing from driver Andy McCarthy, Caviart Ally hit the wire a safe neck in front of JK American Beauty. Odds On St Lucie was third.   "She was terrific," said McCarthy. "I was hoping to [come from off the pace] but I had to put her in the race. I wanted to give her a good tightener and we were in a bit of a soft bunch, so I figured we had to be close to the front anyway." Caviart Ally, a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool who is owned by Caviart Farms, returned $3.40 to win as the 3-5 public choice. She's now won 26-of-73 lifetime starts and earned $1,839,516. ANDY MAC-NIFICENT: Winning one of the features on the card wasn't enough for McCarthy, who also scored in the $30,000 Preferred for trotters, with Joey Bats, in 1:53.1. Joey Bats went parked past the quarter but eventually got around a head-strong Muscle Diamond soon thereafter before reaching the half in :55.4. Pappy Go Go, who along with Joey Bats comprised a power-packed uncoupled 1-2 punch for trainer Andrew Harris, raced fifth to the half before uncorking a burst of speed to get into contention on the far turn, but faded soon thereafter. The pocket-sitting Muscle Diamond took his shot in deep stretch but would come up a neck short. Misslarose finished third but was disqualified and placed last in the field of six for interference. Pappy Go Go finished fourth, then placed third.   "He was good," said McCarthy of Joey Bats. "I think he needs to sit off a helmet, but if I didn't go to the lead tonight, I knew I would have to come first-over. I knew I had to win tonight. I know they staked him up pretty good, so I wanted to make sure he won." "Joey is just a phenomenal horse who is still developing," said Harris. "I think he has every bit of what it takes to become a stakes winner at some point. Andy Mac just knows how to manage him." Joey Bats, a 5-year-old gelded son of Holiday Road-JN Daytona who is owned by Scott Dillon, Michele Nelson and Marc Reynolds, returned $5.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite. He's now won 18-of-58 lifetime outings and earned $329,962. Pappy Go Go, who was in search of a fifth straight Meadowlands win, did not bring his best effort. "Pappy was a little disappointing," said Harris. "He's a very talented horse and when he didn't get better position off the gate, in short fields, everyone is protecting. I knew he was going to be stuck with a tough journey." A LITTLE MORE: Drew Monti, the 25-year-old driver regularly seen on the Buffalo-Batavia circuit, upped his win total at the meeting to 12 after winning three races on the card. ... All-source handle on the 13-race program totaled $2,503,586. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5 million mark in 11 of the last 12 Big M cards. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has processed the February nomination payments for the extensive Grand Circuit program of stakes and Early Closers. The lists of horses paid into those races is now posted on the track's website.   The number of horses nominated was down slightly, just 4% from the 2019 payments. Several older horse divisions saw a remarkable uptick with the Graduate Pace and Trot both at an all time high while the WR Haughton and Sam McKee Memorials rose to levels that haven't been seen for years.   Be reminded that the sustaining payments come due (postmarked by) March 16.   Also two brand new Early Closers have been added for Older Pacing Horses & Mares with a single payment of $1,000 due by March 16. They will serve as supporting stakes to the Cutler Memorial on the May 16 nationally televised broadcast for an estimated purse of $85,000.   Information on the stakes process is available on the web or by calling the Meadowlands Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.   From The Meadowlands

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