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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Rockin Ron is Back at the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Rockin Ron is back in town and the $20,000 Preferred Pace just got a lot tougher on Saturday at The Meadowlands.

The millionaire son of Real Desire was as good as any and better than most FFA pacers last summer, amassing over $500,000 in earnings while winning several top class Grand Circuit events and taking a 1:47.2 mark at Mohawk along the way.

Now embarking on his 2018 campaign, Rockin Ron qualified in a sharp 1:52.3 with a 26.1 final quarter last week, He begins from a handicapped outside post 7 for Yannick Gingras on Saturday. Ron Burke trains for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stable.

Tim Tetrick is in for the night and has the drive on race favorite Christen Me N, who was a winner in his last Meadowlands appearance two months ago. He's had a brief freshening and one under his belt coming in to Saturday's race for trainer Jim King, Jr and owner Richard Poillucci. That combination has an interesting prospect in the opener where they'll send recent import Shartin N out against the evening's top pacing mare class.

In the building there is another World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier and the usual array of guaranteed pools along with a six figure carry-over in the Jackpot Super Hi-5. Free program pages may be downloaded for the Late Pick 4 and Hi-5.

Come on out and win some cash. Post time is 6:35 p.m


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Anthony Napolitano and Eric Carlson had the hot hands Friday night at the Meadowlands, as each driver found their way to the winner’s circle three times.
After winning five times last Friday, “ANap” kept the winners coming by scoring with Flamingo Pete ($12.60 to win, 1:58.1 for the mile) in the second race conditioned trot, Northern Assassin A ($7.00 as the favorite, 1:53.3) in the ninth race conditioned pace and Star Studded Cast ($6.60 as the favorite, 1:58) in the 12th race conditioned trot.
Carlson’s winners came with Joyful Game ($15.80, 1:54.2) in the third race fillies and mares conditioned pace, Rossini ($5.20 as the favorite, 1:57.3) in the eighth race conditioned trot and It Really Matters ($29.80, 1:57.1) in the 10th race conditioned trot.
A LITTLE MORE: One lucky player hit big in the Pick-5 (Races 3 through 7), as the one ticket that had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7 was worth $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. … The Pick-4 remained popular as many winners shared in the total pool of $70,580, with each cashing in for $560.85 for a 50-cent wager, despite two favorites and one 5-2 shot winning during the sequence. … The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five once again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, swelling the carryover to $108,155. … All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,601,550. … Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday night at 6:35 p.m.


FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 16, 2018—Tepid choice Safe from Terror (Eric Goodell, $5.80) was safe from her seven rivals Friday night (Feb. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Wanting no part of an early pocket, Safe from Terror—from assigned post position No. 2—took over from pole-given Juxta Cowgirl (Mark MacDonald) in what turned out to a paceless race.

Early intervals of :28 and :57.3 gave Safe from Terror the hammer, and she not above using it. Jewel Lehigh A tried it first-up from third, offering a mild bid in and out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters. Motu Moonbeam N (George Brennan) was behind that one, not getting close to the leader, either.

Safe from Terror, with a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, never saw a serious threat. She won by a length in 1:55.2. Juxta Cowgirl did grab second as the 34-1 rank outsider, with a ground-saving All About Madi (Dan Dube), Jewel Lehigh A and Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) settling for the balance.    

For Safe from Terror, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror owned by Big Bad DT Racing and trained by Rob Harmon, it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $98.50, the triple returned $898 and the superfecta paid $4,314.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Manley Stanley is standing tall

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Manley Stanley is coming off back-to-back wins for owner/trainer Lisa Caposio and driver Rene Goulet, on both occasions defeating heavily-favored Deeply.

A 7-year-old homebred son of Panama Hanover out of the Sacramento mare Finale, Manley Stanley was a 1:59 4/5 winner here last season and it looks like his best work is still to come.

“Manley is a small, nice looking horse just over 14 hands, but he’s strong and energetic,” Lisa related. “He is smart, and full of personality. He has a beautiful gait, and is nice to handle in a race or training trip.

“He has overcome several serious illnesses and injuries. On the farm as a 2-year-old, he completely ripped his eyelid off and it was ugly and hard for me to look at. I really didn’t think the eye could be saved, but Dr. Kathy Jones amazingly stitched him up saving his eye.”

More drama was to come into the Manley Stanley story, according to Caposio.

“When he was gelded, Dr. Schloeder quickly noticed a complication, and we shipped Manley for emergency surgery by Dr. Muller at Caballos Equine Clinic.

“Then when he was 4, in his third start in a California Sire Stakes, he cut the half in 58 and a piece not finishing well as I thought he should, and the next morning he had 106 temperature.

“I had blood work done, and had him scoped. Dr Schloeder pulled him through a difficult pneumonia that really affected him for about eight months.

“Last year coming out of his first win, he had a wall separation that closed the season for us. This meet Manley has pulled himself together, and we are enjoying our track time.”

It turns out Manley Stanley also has a second career going as he accompanies Lisa to her job as a teacher.

“He goes to school with me. Yes, he’s a teacher too! He teaches kids how to groom, wash, walk, lunge and hug a horse. It’s called extreme elective day, a day where we teach students about something we love, instead of the everyday Math, English, science or history curriculum.

“So of course, I load up Manley, along with Poncho the donkey, Dazzle the goat, Roxy the potbelly pig, Max the 106 pound dog and other animal ambassadors... shipping them to where I teach on the edge of the tough part of town.

“These kids haven’t ever touched a horse, but by the time they leave that one day many of them have a new passion for horses. You can see him on our Facebook Page called Camp Norwood Animals.”

You can also see Manley Stanley in action here at Cal Expo on a weekly basis, the last two times ending up in a photo session with Capioso in the charmed circle.  

Contention runs deep in pair of Opens

A $6,600 Open Pace and a $5,500 Filly and Mare Open Pace are the main events on Saturday night’s 12-race card at Cal Expo.

First post for the Watch and Wager LLC program is 6:10 p.m.

The Open Pace has lured a field of eight and racing secretary Robin Schadt had I’m An Athlete, Bettor’s Promise and Gorgeous for Real draw for the outside three posts and they will leave the starting gate in that order.

Last week’s clash at the top rung saw Bettor’s Promise posting a 10-1 upset for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco and pilot Chip Lackey while doing his work from the rail.

Bettor’s Promise brushed to command before the half, withstood a strong challenge in the lane and came away for a length and half score in a lifetime-best 1:52 flat performance that evening.

I’m An Athlete came into that event having won back-to-back Opens, but found himself with too work to do from the assigned No. 10 post that night. He has a much better draw this time around and looms large for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, trainer Jessie Pacheco and driver James Kennedy.

Looking at the co-featured Distaff Open, the Kathie Plested-trained pair of Boozier Bruiser and Capitol Hill have been assigned the outside slots in the field of seven with Steve Wiseman and Mooney Svendsen guiding, respectively.

Host Tracks Confirmed For 2018 Driving Championships

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2018  Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the 2019 World Driving Championship.

The 2018 National Driving Championship will take place at Grand River Raceway, in Elora, Ont., on Wednesday, September 26.

"Grand River Raceway is truly thrilled to host, for the first time, the National Driving Championship," said the track's Marketing Manager, Kelly Spencer. "We're keen to showcase our beautiful community and facility on the national stage and welcome the country's finest reinsmen in what is sure to be a first-class event. We're riding the momentum of James MacDonald's WDC win in 2017 which will only elevate the already prestigious spirit of the event. Oh Canada!"

Grand River Raceway has hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship several times, including the most recent event in 2016.

Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship.

In addition to a first time host for the National event, there are also two first time hosts for the Regionals – Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Ont., will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship and Truro Raceway in Truro, NS, will host the Atlantic Regional event.   Century Downs near Calgary, Alta., will host the Western Regional and The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont., will be the site of the Ontario Regional.

“Standardbred Canada is looking forwarding to partnering with our host tracks to present four exciting and competitive Regional Driving Championships which will lead into the National Driving Championship.  We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting these events, including our two first time track partners this year for Regional events, Kawartha Downs and Truro Raceway,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada.  “We are also looking forward to working with the team at Grand River Raceway to deliver an exceptional National Driving Championship experience for both the drivers and the fans.”

Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events:

Western Regional -- Century Downs; Saturday, June 23
(Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)   This will mark the second time that Century Downs will host the Western Regional.  They were the host track for the 2016 event.

Ontario Regional – The Raceway at Western Fair District, Wednesday, May 16                         (Includes drivers from Ontario) The Raceway hosted the 2016 National Driving Championship and the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship.

Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional – Kawartha Downs, Saturday, June 30                                 (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R)

Atlantic Regional – Truro Raceway, Friday, June 29                                                             (Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)

Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National.Past winners of the NDC title include Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007).

The winner of the 2018 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden.
SC hosted the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in August and MacDonald’s victory earned him an automatic invitation to the 2019 event in which he will become the representative for the International Trotting Association.

Canada was invited to send a second driver to the 2019 event and Standardbred Canada accepted the invitation.


Unique virtual tour helps showcase venue thanks to partnership with Metropolitan Area-based 360SiteVisit

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 15, 2018) – Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has partnered with Metropolitan Area-based 360SiteVisit to give potential visitors and clients the ultimate virtual tour of the East Rutherford racetrack and event space.

The 360-degree virtual tour gives visitors an interactive view of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and allows them to see what their trade show, special event or bar/bat mitzvah could look like in one of the venue’s restaurants or event spaces.   “Having a virtual tour of our 155,000sq ft facility offers clients more than just photos of various rooms.  It gives them a much bigger picture of the environment and a great introduction of what hosting an event at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has to offer. “ states Andrea Lokshin, VP of Marketing & Sales.  

Each room of the virtual tour took less than 10 minutes to shoot using one camera equipped with a specialized lens and bracket. Utilizing five separate pieces of software, 360SiteVisit was then able to enhance, combine, stitch and create the ultra high-resolution virtual tour in the span of three days.“Somebody who is looking for event space would need to take the time to visit multiple locations.   We make this process easier and hassle-free by allowing venues to showcase the versatility of their spaces 24/7, 365 days a year so that clients can review at their leisure ,” explained Greg Riccardi, CEO of 360SiteVisit.

As Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment continues to grow its event and trade show business, the newly created 360-degree virtual tour will be a major selling tool,” added Lokshin.

Friday at the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ -  The Meadowlands returns with another live racing weekend beginning Friday night. Thirteen races with plenty of entries populate both the Friday and Saturday cards and the Friday feature is the eighth race, a 10 horse conditioned trot for a purse of $13,000.

The feature field is an interesting mix of young and old led by grizzled veteran 9-year-old Up Front Billy who has amassed more than $800,000 over his racing career for owner/trainer Mark Ford and partner Up Front Racing. A winner three back against lesser, “Billy” will be driven on Friday by Jim Pantaleano.

Explosive Ridge (PP#2 Marcus Johansson) and Di Oggi (PP#10 Marcus Miller) are a talented pair of 4-year olds in the field.

Explosive Matter has been away from the races since last summer and comes in off an impressive qualifying win last week. Trainer Nancy Johansson owns him with Kenneth Ross.

Do Oggi on the other hand is in razor sharp form, having set a brand new 1:54 career record in his most recent start. Archie Kohr trains this one for Whiskey Trails Stable. He’s got speed enough to shop for an early forward placement to counter his unfortunate draw.

Friday is Asian Fusion night in Pink and on the wagering front, the last race Super Hi-5 Jackpot pool is now in excess of $100,000.

Post time is 6:35 p.m.


Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A big wave was created last Saturday (Feb. 10) at the Meadowlands when the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five resulted in a payoff of over $15,000.

This Friday, or whenever the Late JSH5 is finally hit, the payoff will pack a tsunami-like punch, as the next time there is a “jackpot” winner, that lucky patron will walk away with an extraordinary payoff of over $100,000.

Meadowlands die-hards will certainly stick it out to the 13th and final race Friday night, as the carryover for the bet that requires one to select the first five finishers in the official order of finish – and be the only one to do so – now stands at $101,270. Last Saturday’s pool took in over $20,000 in “new” money, so one can surmise that a similar amount would be pumped into the pool this Friday as well.

“Now that the carryover is over $100,000,” said Jason Settlemoir, the track chief operating officer and general manager. “It creates more interest in our signal. When you have a Pick-4 pool that is pushing $100,000 followed by a Jackpot High Five pool that is over $100,000, we believe these pools are large enough to bring new night-time players into the system. We are also confident that they will now start wading into the other Meadowlands pools.”

Those who want to take a shot at the six-figure payoff need not bet a lot given the bet’s low 20-cent base. Here are some ways to play the JSH5 and stay within your budget:

Boxing: Playing a 5-horse box costs $24, a 6-horse box is $144
Keying: Playing one horse in the win position….
·         with four horses to finish second through fifth costs $4.80
·         with five horses to finish second through fifth costs $24
·         with six horses to finish second through fifth costs $72
Wheeling: (numbers show how to make bets only, they do not reflect Friday selections)
·         1 with 2 with 345 costs $1.20
·         1 with 2 with 3456 costs $4.80
·         1 with 2 with 34567 costs $12
·         1 with 2 with 345678 costs $24
·         1 with 2 with 3456789 costs $42
·         1 with 2 with 345678910 costs $67.20
Partial Wheeling: (numbers show how to make bets only, they do not reflect Friday selections)
·         1 with 234 with 234 with 234 with 567 costs $3.60
·         12 with 123 with 1234 with 12345 with 123456 costs $6.40
·         1 with 234 with 234 with 234 with 5678910 costs $7.20
·         1 with 2345 with 2345 with 2345 with 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 costs $28.80
·         1 with 234 with 2345 with 23456 with 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 costs $32.40

DAVE AND DAVE’S OPINIONS: The Meadowlands TV duo of Dave Brower and Dave Little each have a ticket for your consideration for Friday night’s 13th race, 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five:

Dave Brower (investment-$57.60):

1st: 1,5,9
2nd: 1,4,5,7,9
3rd: 1,4,5,6,7,9
4th: 1,4,5,6,7,9
5th: 1,4,5,6,7,9

Dave Little (investment-$48):

1st: 1,5
2nd: 1,2,3,4,5,7
3rd: 1,2,3,4,5,7
4th: 1,2,3,4,5,7
5th: 1,2,3,4,5,7

POKER NIGHT: If you like Pick-4s and full houses, then the Big M has what you need. On Friday nights, the track has free poker with host Gary DiLeo. Players can also participate in a group Pick-4 (a wager that carries a guaranteed pool of $50,000). The poker is held in the gallery and starts at 7 p.m. 

LIVE ON SNY: Friday night on SNY will see another edition of “Meadowlands Harness Live” shown from 9-10 p.m. with coverage of three live races, features, interviews and handicapping segments. As always, the Big M TV team of Brower, Little and Bob "Hollywood" Heyden will have features, interviews, handicapping segments and post-race analysis.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jim Grundy Final headed by Silverlode

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Silverlode, who saved her best for last to capture the Prep two weeks ago, gets the top billing in Friday night’s featured $8,400 Jim Grundy Trot.

There will be 12 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:10 p.m. The Jim Grundy Final will occupy the 5th-race slot on the evening.

Silverlode is a 9-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling out of the Website mare Charlotte’s Web who is owned by Desomer Stables, takes her lessons from Vickie Desomer and will once again have Steve Wiseman at the controls.

The hard-knocking mare comes into this assignment with $168,000 in her account and proved a punctual even-money favorite in the Grundy Prep two weeks ago, as she was reserved early and flew home in :27 2/5 to prevail by a length over Silverhill Volo that night.

The latter is a Muscle Hill gelding who is owned by Chip Lacky and Roland Dekeyster Jr. and is reined and trained by Lackey. He carved out all the fractions in that mile and could not quite hold Silverlode’s closing kick in a solid effort.

Windsun Galaxie was third in the Prep after sitting a tracking trip. Jessie Pacheco conditions the 11-year-old for Ronald Rettig-Zucchi. Completing the field are Franks Best, Franky Provolone,; Cadet, Livid Luke and The Evictor.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s program, a $6,600 Open Pace featuring I’m An Athlete and another contentious renewal of the $5,500 Filly and Mare Open Pace are on tap.

Jim Grundy Trot Honors outstanding horseman
Friday night’s feature at Cal Expo is named for Jim Grundy, a fixture in California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in 2009 at the age of 74.
Jim Grundy’s nephew, Glenn, will be in the winner’s circle to present the trophy to the winning connections.

“I worked for Uncle Jim in California and New York and always respected and appreciated what I could learn from him,” Glenn related. “We had a good working relationship and I’d train horses for Jim in western Canada.

“One of the highlights is when he gave me the opportunity to train the great Hug A Bear for three weeks in Alberta.

“Even though he was my uncle, he was more like a big brother. I never received any more praises than any of  his other employees, however, if I didn’t meet his standards, I’d be in twice as much trouble as anyone else!

“Jim also always made sure that no kids at the track ever went hungry. A big thank-you to everyone for taking the time to show their respect for my uncle.”

Jim Grundy’s 36-year-old great nephew Ryan Grundy is competing at this meet, adding to the family legacy

Jim Grundy made 2,617 trips to the charmed enclosure as a driver, with more than $10.3 million in earnings and was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2007.
Originally a hockey player in his native Canada, a knee injury forced Grundy to hang up his skates and stick in 1958. Going into the family business of harness racing, he found his second niche in life as a top trainer/driver.

Grundy apprenticed under famed horsemen Eddie Cobb, Clint Hodges and Frank Popfinger before going out on his own in the early 1960s. He was the leading driver at Monticello Raceway for three straight years between 1971 and 1973 before heading west with his wife, Deborah, a former schoolteacher and bookkeeper for the stable.

It was at Cal Expo where Grundy blossomed into one of the state’s top harness horsemen. Teaming with owners like Chris Bardis, Lloyd Arnold and Ron Zumbrun, he won countless stakes with the likes of Googie, Hugabear, Steam and Easel. He was especially noted as an outstanding conditioner of young trotters.

Steve Desomer, Gene Vallandingham and Rick Kuebler competed against Grundy for many years and had high praise for his skills. “Jim was not only our friend, but partners with us on many memorable horses,” said Desomer. “He was an exceptional horseman and this resulted in a long and successful career.”

“I knew Jim from the time he came to California in the early '70s,” stated Vallandingham. “He was a nice guy and a great horseman, and I always enjoyed his company.”