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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meadowlands Stakes Information

The Meadowlands has added several important new stakes to its existing menu for 2015 with the nomination payment due by February 17 (February 15 falls on a Sunday, so postmarked by the 17th is acceptable) on the whole slate.

Leading the parade of new races is the return of the $1,000,000E Graduate Series, resurrected to provide an opportunity for four year old trotters and pacers to compete against horses of their own age before taking on older. The series opens at Tioga Downs on Monday, May 25 then moves to The Meadowlands for legs two and three in June with the $250,000G finals at The Meadowlands on July 3 (Pace) and July 11 (Trot).

Mare divisions have been added to the TVG FFA Championships for 2015 with each purse (Trot & Pace) set at a Guaranteed $200,000. The trotting mares also pick up another big purse opportunity with the Fresh Yankee set to go on Hambletonian Day for $175,000E.

The fall meet will see the addition of a pair of new races for three year old fillies with the purse for each estimated at $175,000. These  stakes have been named for a couple of the greatest mares in Meadowlands history, Continentalvictory and Tarport Hap.

A new web page has been added to The Meadowlands site with all pertinent stakes information and nomination forms available. Questions may be directed to the Racing Office at 201-460-4214.

Melady’s Monet Returns In Style

The trotter that had stolen the show this winter at The Meadowlands had been conspicuous by his absence for the last four weeks.  Melady's Monet had not been seen since winning the top-level trot on January 2nd.  Trainer Kevin McDermott reported the gelding suffered a quarter crack and was given time to heal and freshen up.  There was no evidence of any lingering affects of that quarter crack Friday night at The Meadowlands.

Sent off as the 4/5 favorite, Melady's Monet was allowed to settle in last in the field of seven and remained there as the field rolled through tepid fractions of 28.2 and 57.1, established by Modest Prince.  Still last turning for home through three-quarters of 1:25.1, Melady's Monet saw Lindy's Tru Grit, who he was tracking the outer flow go off-stride directly in front of him.  That was no problem either as the Tim Tetrick driven trotter towered up and powered home through the stretch while Tetrick remained motionless at all times to win going away into extremely strong headwinds, completing the mile in 1:55.1.  Take My Picture rallied to be second while Team Six raced well uncovered finishing third.  Melady's Monet is trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises LLC.

The Dash For The "C" Notes for trotters returned Friday night at The Meadowlands as well, featuring six divisions, providing very competitive racing as only a win in your division guaranteed a spot in the $25,000 Final next week.  The remaining four finalists are to be drawn by lot from the second place finishers in the six divisions.

The divisional winners were Captain Primeau (1:57.3 - Pierce), Perfect Picture (1:57.3 - Pierce), My Muscleman (1:55.3 - B. Miller),  Bluebird Kidsqueen (1:56.4 – Abbatiello), Rock Of Cashel (1:55.3 – Richardson) and Scorcher Hall (1:56 – A. Miller).

The second place finishers were comprised of Walltocousins, Mr Fenwick, Grey Ice, Worth The Money As, Most Wanted Lindy and Lauderdale.  Four of these six runner-up trotters will complete the field of 10 for the $25,000 “C” Note Final next week, with the four being drawn by lot.

Both Jackpot Super Hi-5’s went unclaimed, with the fifth race carryover at $4,611.57 and the last race carryover standing at $76,077.56.

Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time at 7:15 P.M.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 23, 2015—Favored Carolsideal (Dan Dube, $5.40) offered up some first-over fisticuffs Friday night, handily winning Yonkers Raceway’s $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

            Sitting chilly (literally and figuratively early from post position No. 5, “Carol” saw Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) stepped over Palm Patrol (Mark MacDonald) before a :28.3 opening quarter-mile. After a wind-compromised :59.1 intermission, Carolsideal moved from fourth…and did so with purpose.
She busted the race wide open before the 1:26.3 three-quarters, opening up 6½ lengths entering the lane. The final margin was sixth lengths in 1:55.2. Palm Patrol, stuck behind a tiring leader, won the “other” race for second, with last week’s victress, Set Me Up (George Brennan), Spirit of Desire (Jason Bartlett) and Robin Cruiser earned the smaller pay envelopes. Note that scheduled outside assignee Voelz Hanover was a judges’ scratch for a second time this month as the millionairess has not made her 2015 parimutuel debut.  

For Carolsideal, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal trained by Shawn Christner for co-owners Allard Racing, Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her third win (each in same time) in as many seasonal starts (and purchase/barn change). The exacta paid $24, with the triple returning $128.50.

            The Raceway’s live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM). After that, it’s Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note the next Sunday matinee is Feb. 22 (post time TBA). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily (all provided Mother Nature cooperates). 

Legerdepan Fastest In Niatross Prep Races At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The popular Niatross Knockout Claiming Series begins next Saturday at Buffalo Raceway and some of the pacers slated to participate got to eyeball their competition in four divisions of prep races on a frigid Friday night (January 30).

Legerdepan  ($4.90) produced the best time of all four winners as he went gate-to-wire for driver Billy Dobson in 1:59 over the fast track. 

Emmys Junior Grin posted a popular $3.40 victory for Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Kevin Cummings in 1:59.2 to take a leg.

Donegal Jim ($5.50) remained razor-sharp with a 2:00.1 decision. It was the second win in three starts this year for Donegal Jim, a 14-time winner in 2014.

Dave Panlone ($5.80) captured his prep race with a nose victory in 2:01 for Dobson.

Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 13-race program scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m. The $10,500 Open Pace will go as the eighth race. Youwillwishyouhad has been installed as the 2-1 morning line choice from the seven post with John Cummings Jr. in the sulky.

For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to

Friday, January 30, 2015

Upsets Abound Thursday Night at The Meadowlands

The first of the Dash For The "C" Notes mini-series this week at The Meadowlands got underway on Thursday night with the filly and mare pacers. It was contested in four divisions requiring a horse finish first or second to guarantee a spot in the $25,000 Final next week.  The word of the night was upset.

The first division saw a mild upset as SGT Molly Pitcher (9/2), who led early in the mile, yielded to pressure and re-rallied to score the win in a lifetime best 1:51.2 for driver Vincent Ginsburg.  The winner was trained and owned by Robert Ginsburg Jr.

Next up was another upset as Antigua Hanover overcame post 10 to score a sharp first over victory at 8-1. Forced to press the pace uncovered after leaving smartly from the outside post, Antigua Hanover just kept on coming wearing down favored Best Boss to win in 1:52.1.  Antigua Hanover was driven to victory by Andy Miller for Amber Buter and owners Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter.

The third division was captured by 11-1 Weekend Getaway and Yannick Gingras. Entering the contest off a seven week layoff, Weekend Getaway went first over, wearing down Marty Party on the far turn and then holding that mare at bay through the stretch to win in 1:51.2, easily a lifetime mark. Weekend Getaway is trained by Phil Fluet who co-owns the mare with Keith Franklin.

The final division also featured an upset winner as Deliciouslynaughty worked out a perfect second over trip to score the victory at 12-1.  The race became wide open when 3/5 favorite, Bring Them Home, broke on the first turn. Deliciouslynaughty tracked cover and chased down Rhapsody Rose who did the work on the lead to score in 1:52.4 for John Campbell. The winner was trained by Mark Ford who also owns the mare.

The $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 in both races went unclaimed.  The fifth race carryover stands at $1,797.86 while the last race carryover has grown to $71,788.83.  Post Time for the Friday program is 7:15 P.M.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cal Expo Saturday Barn Notes

Vanessa Gilliam believes in a Second Wind 

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Vanessa Gilliam is the owner of the promising 3-year-old pacing colt Hi Ho’s Little Rev, the Bob Johnson trainee who was runner-up in the first stakes race for his division earlier this month and will suit up once again in Saturday night’s opener.

She is also the operator of Second Wind Rescue, Inc., doing a terrific job giving horses the second chance they deserve.

”I didn't grow up with horses,” Vanessa explained. “I was a competitive volleyball player, and my parents encouraged me to pursue athletics instead of equines, because they felt horses were not only dangerous, but wouldn’t pay for college.”

Gilliam ended up playing college volleyball for five years and for a short period some professional volleyball in Greece, eventually buying her first horse in 2007.

“It was a 4- year-old Overo APHA mare,” she related. “In March of 2008, I starting rescuing by purchasing three unbroken 2 year olds Quarter Horse type horses for $150 apiece.”

Fast forward to the summer of 2010, when Vanessa met veterinarian Dr. Audrey Clifton in Paso Robles at a restaurant where she was working a couple of nights a week. “ She vacations at Lake Nacimento every summer with her family.  We got to talking about our occupations and instantly become friends.  She offered to help me with dental work and stock me with essential medical supplies at cost when she was down here. 

“We stayed in touch and I went up to Cal Expo to visit her in 2011.  During my visit, I got to jog two horses around the track on a Saturday morning and I was hooked!  Later that year she called me to see if I had room for three pregnant mares at my ranch.  I was able to take two of them, Prettylittlerebel and Sharps and Flats.  Both mares were bred to Hi Ho Silverheels.”

Hi Ho's Little Rev, who is out of Prettylittlerebel, was born at Second Wind Rescue, Inc. in 2012.  When he was getting close to turning 2, Gilliam contacted Clifton to help her get the ball rolling with his harness training.

“Audrey has been very instrumental in making this journey possible,” Vanessa noted.   “She got him a spot in Leon Smith's barn for the first half of training. With all the groundwork I did with him at my place, Rev was ground driven his first day there and hooked up to a cart by the end of the week. It also goes to show the great minds that this breed possesses.

”Being part of this process has been a huge learning experience which will help me better understand the industry and also the horses that are involved.  It's stressful being a racehorse owner, but I'm enjoying the excitement of the journey.”

As for Second Wind, it has been a 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 2011.  Vanessa has had 62 horses, representing 20 different breeds, come through the rescue facility over the last seven years. 

“After owning a few Standardbreds,” she noted, “I'd put them as one of my top three favorite breeds, along with Friesians and Mustangs. “

In addition, she currently owns a cleaning business called Mo Betta Cleaning Services, waits tables a couple nights a week, and runs the rescue. 

“ I care for 15 horses, four llamas, two sheep, two goats, a potbelly pig, three dogs, two cats, nine chickens and 14 ducks, pretty much all by myself.  On occasion, I have volunteers here helping with ranch chores and training. 

“Our goal at Second Wind is to take unwanted, abused, and/or neglected horses, get them healthy, add value to them with training, and adopt them out to forever homes.”

Noble work, indeed.

Open Pace, sophomore Sire Stakes in spotlight

An Open Pace that rematches St Lads Lotto and China King and a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts get the marquee treatment Saturday night at Cal Expo.

The Sire Stakes goes as the first and the Open Pace as the fourth event on a 14-race card that is scheduled to get underway at 6:10 p.m. Four wagers are offered at a reduced 16% takeout rate, including the Pick 4 that comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool.

Looking at the Sire Stakes, Urungoodhands, a powerful winner of the first added-money event for the 3-year-old males pacers; and Hi Ho’s Little Rev, his most immediate victim that evening, loom the major players.

Uringoodhands is a homebred son of Kent’s On Nuke who campaigns for Mark Anderson, is trained by Gordie Graham and will once again have the services of James Kennedy.After finishing second in his debut, the dark-hued performer suited up for the first stakes engagement for the division two weeks ago. He sat a tracking trip for Kennedy, exploded off the final bend and won going away by three lengths in a 1:57 1/5 mile.

Hi Ho’s Little Rev is a son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s who is owned by Vanessa Gilliam with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen in his usual position in the sulky. He was a powerful winner of his second trip to the post on January 4, then had to settle for second in the aforementioned January 17 Sire Stakes after looming large at midstretch.


Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. Next week, there will be Saturday and Sunday night programs, February 7 and 8.

Following that, there will be back-to-back three-night weeks with cards on Friday through Sunday, February 13, 14, 15; and Friday through Sunday, February 20, 21, 22.

Justgottogetthere, Bazooka Terror Victorious At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Justgottogetthere pulled the surprise while Bazooka Terror used a new tactic to highlight their victories in the co-featured events at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (January 28).

In the $10,500 Open Trot, Justgottogetthere was thinking that down the stretch and 'just got there' in time in holding off a flying Second Hand News by a head, posting the $39.00 upset victory in 1:59.3.

Bazooka Terror ($7.40) in the meantime is usually a hard-charging closer. Things were different in the $10,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace this week as driver Kevin Cummings took the 6-year-old mare to the lead from the eight post and scored the front-running half-length win over Memumsnotnice in 1:57.0 over the good track.

Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) sat the pocket behind the pace-setting Lutetium, who set fractions of 29.0, 59.1 and 1:29.3 in the Open Trot. Taking the lead midway down the lane, Justgottogetthere had just enough left in the tank to fend off Second Hand News (Frank Milby), who was hindered just a bit at the top of the stretch by a breaking Southwind Warsaw. Lutetium held on for the show spot.

Owned by Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC, it was the 20th career victory for Justgottogetthere, who has now earned $143,732 lifetime. Jerry Nugent Jr. trained the winner.

Bazooka Terror took almost a quarter-mile to get to the top in the Fillies and Mares Open Pace and once she did, she proved more than capable of going gate-to-wire. After posting a brisk 28.3 opening panel, Cummings was able to control the tempo and never looked back.

Memumsnotnice (Billy Dobson) made a mild rally late at Bazooka Terror but finished a non-threatening half-length back at the wire while Up Front Cruiser (Milby) placed third.

It was the second win in three starts this season for Bazooka Terror and upped her seasonal earnings to $11,340. She is owned by Leonard Segall and is trained by James Clouser Jr.

The racing resumes on Friday night with another 13-race card slated for 6:35 p.m.

For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monticello Raceway to add a Pick 5 Wager starting on Monday February 2nd

On Monday February 2, Monticello Casino and Raceway will be adding a new Pick 5 Wager to its wagering menu. The pick 5 will run through races 3 – 7, the new wager will offer a consolation and a carry over, with a minimum bet of .50.

Monticello Raceway’s Simulcasting Director Maureen Flynn added “That considering the average size of our Pick 3 pools, we anticipate the new Pick 5 wager will take off and build jackpot pools for our fans enjoyment”.

Post Time for Monday’s card is 12:25 pm

Cal Expo Saturday Barn notes

Jackpot 6, Pick 4 offer enticing opportunities

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

A $24,192 carryover in the Jackpot 6 and a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool for the Pick 4 are among the wagering highlights on Friday’s program at Cal Expo.

The Jackpot 6 and the Pick 4 are both offered with a reduced 16% takeout rate, along with the Pick 5 and the Hi-5. The Jackpot 6 and Hi-5 are 10-cent wagers; the Pick 5 is a 50-cent bet and the Pick 4 comes with a $30,000 guaranteed pool and can be purchased in 20-cent increments.

Going into Friday’s program, the carryover on the Jackpot 6 stands at just shy of $25,000. The 10-cent minimum wager pays out 70% of the net pool to the tickets with the most winners, with the remaining 30% designated for the carryover on those nights.

When there is only one unique winning ticket selecting on all six winners, the entire net pool for that night and the carryover is paid to the holder of that ticket.

 There was a mandatory payout when the last meet completed on December 21, with a carryover of $22,655 going into that program. A total of $45,33 was wagered that evening and the payout was $2,106 for each 10-cent ticket.


Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. Next week, there will be Saturday and Sunday night programs, February 7 and 8.

Following that, there will be back-to-back three-night weeks with cards on Friday through Sunday, February 13, 14, 15; and Friday through Sunday, February 20, 21, 22.

Open Trot, Distaff Pace, Sire Stakes set

An Open Trot headed by El Azteca and Its Not Over; a Distaff Open Pace and a trio of $10,000 California Sire Stakes are on tap Friday night at Cal Expo. First post for the 14-race card is 6:10 p.m.

Looking at the 4-year-old Sire Stakes Trot, Placer, Ahh Panama and Bank Of Lodi are the major players after finishing in that order in the most recent stakes clash for this division two weeks ago.

Placer is a homebred son of Panama Hanover out of the Website mare Charlotte’s Web who races for Desomer Stables Inc. with Vickie Desomer the conditioner and husband Steve in the sulky. He prevailed by a neck over Ahh Panama in that last added-money clash on January, adding another trophy to his display case.

Ahh Panama is a daughter of Panama Hanover who races for Hank Wieseneck, Marty Garey and Bob Johnson with Johnson training and Steve Wiseman doing the honors. A stakes victress last season, she is looking for some revenge after just missing in that stakes two weeks ago.

Bank Of Lodi has been a stakes winner at 3 and 4 for his owner/breeders Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, with Girard training and Luke Plano in his usual spot in the bike. The New Age Hanover mare accounted for the December 14 stakes clash in coast-to-coast fashion, and then carved out the fractions in that last stakes get-together and was no match for Placer and Ahh Panama in the stretch.

The 3-year-old pacing filly stakes will be a rematch between Avila Beach and Smash, who were one-two in the initial big-money affair this division, while the Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters goes as a non-betting affair prior to the regular program.

The Open Trot is set as the third race on the evening and should provide another great battle between El Azteca and Its Not Over, who have dominated things at the head of the class during this meeting. James Kennedy guides the former for owner/breeder/trainer Marco Rios, while Chip Lackey will be in his usual spot behind Its Not Over for trainer Bob Johnson.                                                

Meadowlands/Winners Reopens Wednesday

The Meadowlands and Winners OTW will re-open on Wednesday at their usual time, 11:00 A.M. and will resume normal business hours following Tuesday's closing for the winter storm.  In addition, the entry box for Saturday will close at it's usual time tomorrow (Wednesday), 9:00 A.M.  Driver selections for the Friday will also be completed at this time.  Live racing will return Thursday night, with post time at 7:15 P.M.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

            YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 27, 2015—Despite Aqueduct having already cancelled its Wednesday (Jan. 28) program, Yonkers Raceway shall be open for afternoon simulcasting. The schedule includes both Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs (first post for each at 12:30 PM).

            Simulcasting is available on the fourth floor, along with any Empire City Bets transactions.

After a scheduled Wednesday dark day, live racing is set to resume Thursday night (Jan. 29), with first post at 7:10 PM.

            Horsemen are again advised about a double draw for Saturday (Jan. 31) and Monday (Feb. 2) taking place Wednesday (Jan. 28), with the box closing at 9 AM. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cal Expo Friday Barn Notes

Hi Ho’s Little Rev a pacer to watch

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The way Hi Ho’s Little Rev has been picking up his game with each start, he’s likely a force to be reckoned with when the first Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing males rolls around next week.

The son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s races for Vannessa Gilliam, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and has been handled in each of his appearances by Mooney Svendsen, who is high on the gelding. “He’s a little guy, but he’s growing and he’s definitely got the right attitude,” said Svendsen.

Hi Ho’s Little Rev went a mile in 2:04 1/5 in his first qualifier, took a second off that time in his second practice mile, was third with a 2:01 4/5 clocking in his first official start and then romped home by five and a half lengths at most recent asking while stopping the clock in a snappy 1:57 1/5 that evening.

“Bob wanted us to go about 2:04 in that first qualifier and that’s what we did,” Mooney noted. “He was green that day and also pretty much all over the track in the second qualifier when he cut out all the pace.

“For the first start under the lights, Bob put some cheater cups on him and he went right to the front, got covered up and then finished real well. We were real happy with the effort.”

In last week’s tour, Hi Ho’s Little Rev sat a pocket journey, ignited in the stretch and shaved a full four and three-fifths seconds off his standard in a race where he admittedly had some trouble behind him.

“He was absolutely flawless that night,” his pilot related. “He couldn’t be coming up to next week’s first stakes any better.” With a few other newly-turned sophomores showing some promise of late, it figures to be interesting.

Guarantee increased on low-takeout Pick 4

Watch and Wager LLC, the operator of Cal Expo Harness, has increased the guarantee on the 16% takeout Pick 4 from $20,000 to $30,000 for the remainder of January.

A 10-race card is on tap Friday with first post set at 6:40 p.m. Racing is now being conducted three nights a week with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. 

The Pick 4 is one of four wagers offered on each program with that reduced 16% takeout rate. In addition to the 20-cent Pick 4; there is the 50-cent Pick 5; the 10-cent Jackpot 6 and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nightcap.

To help players get a head start, announcer Gary Seibel and handicapper Dave Brower do an informative and entertaining simulcast seminar prior to the Pick 4 that has proven to be very popular.

Friday’s feature is a conditioned pace that finds the multiple stakes-winning King Of The Crop from the Gordie Graham barn taking on a strong field while doing his work from the No. 7 post with Bruce Clarke at the controls.

Looking ahead to Saturday, El Azteca and Its Not Over, who have divided up all the top dances for the trotting set at this meeting, go at it once again in the featured Open Trot.

El Azteca is a 6-year-old son of Panama Hanover who comes into this assignment with three victories from the seven Open Trots during this stand, while arch-rival Its Not Over has posed following the other four. El Azteca is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios and James Kennedy once again has the assignment.

2015 Stakes Information for Meadowlands Tioga & Vernon

East Rutherford, NJ - As the time to select the Grand Circuit engagements for your stakes hopefuls draws near,  The Meadowlands presents several exciting new stakes and joins with Tioga & Vernon Downs in ensuring no one goes home empty handed when racing in the open stakes administered by the three Gural tracks. The 2015 conditions will provide 1% of the total purse be paid to all out of the money horses with the balance then paid out to first through fifth in standard fashion.

A redesigned web page will provide easy access to the information on stakes at all three tracks. The nomination forms may be filled out online and have been designed to address each particular group for age and gait, hopefully making the process less complicated and reducing the paperwork load.

The new stakes are to a large degree in response to horsemen’s concerns.

To address the issue of racing four-year-olds against older foes, the Graduate Series has been resurrected, offering $1 million in purses spread over three legs and a $250,000G final for both trotters and pacers. The series kicks off with a $50,000e leg at Tioga on Memorial Day, May 25, then shifts to The Meadowlands for leg two at $75,000e and leg three at $100,000 in June. The $250,000G finals will also be raced at The Meadowlands with the pace on Friday, July 3 and the trot on Saturday, July 11.

Also being added for 2015 is a TVG Championship Final for pacing and trotting mares with a $200,000G purse. The format will mirror that of the successful TVG Finals, with points accumulated over a series of top races for the mares at various tracks over the season.

“These stakes have been added to address what the horsemen tell us,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. “It seemed in 2014 that as the season went along, the four-year-olds gained strength and by the end were more than holding their own with the older horses. The Graduate will provide races against their own age for the first half of the year. The mares have been a competitive group the last few years and now they have another big race.

"The conditions for the all Early Closing stakes at the three tracks have language that permits trainers no more than two (aside from horses they have trained since the start of their racing career) entries in the finals this year. Coupled with all the horses that reach the finals will realize some return on the investment in the stake (the 1% mentioned above) I'm hoping to encourage more people to take a chance on our races."

The Meadowlands has also agreed to host the $1.5 million Freshman Fall Final Four (payments for those will be handled by the Hambletonian Society) when reopening in November of 2015 and offer the inaugural edition of two new races for three-year-old fillies to support them. The “Continentalvictory” and “Tarport Hap” named for two of the greatest mares ever, will offer a purse of $175,000e on November 21.

New for older trotting mares in 2015 will be the $175,000e “Fresh Yankee” remembering the rags to riches queen of a few generations ago. This one will be raced on Hambletonian Day, August 8.

The headliners are back with the $800,000e Meadowlands Pace leading a stellar stakes card on Saturday, July 18 and the $1,000,000 Hambletonian bringing the curtain down of the 2015 Championship Meet with the “Greatest Day in Harness Racing” on Saturday, August 8.

All of these races have a nominating deadline of February 15, 2015.

Tioga and Vernon Downs will continue their $2 million slate of stakes that include the $1 million Empire Breeders Classics for NY Sired 3YO, the Crawford Farms, Artiscape, Muscle Hill, Miss Versatility and Roll With Joe for older horses.

The new wrinkle for the upcoming season is the change in the purse for the Final of the Kindergarten Trotting Classics. In 2015 the money in the pool for those Finals shall be divided with 75% directed to the Final and 25% to a consolation. This should, off the 2014 numbers, result in a Final of approximately $175,000 with a Consolation in the $75,000 neighborhood, giving a better earning opportunity to those not quite making the big dance.

All of the Tioga & Vernon Downs races have a March 15 close of nominations.

Any questions on the stakes should be directed to the Racing Office at 201-842-5130.

The Raceway Cancels Wednesday Program

London, January 7, 2014 – The Raceway at Western Fair District has cancelled its Wednesday night program due to the combination of snow squall conditions and extreme cold temperatures in the London area.

Heavy snowfall and blowing snow hit the region overnight leading to several cancellations and road closures. The forecast is calling for more of the same into Wednesday evening.

The track will be open for simulcasting today with live racing set to resume this Friday night with a first post of 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wednesday Training Canceled At The Raceway

London, January 6, 2014 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise horse people that the track will be closed on Wednesday morning for training due to some substantial snowfall expected overnight and into the morning.

The first Wednesday program of the season is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Track management will assess weather conditions and the forecast Wednesday morning and will advise by 12 noon the status of Wednesday night’s program.

Guarantee increased on low-takeout Pick 4 at Cal Expo

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Watch and Wager LLC, operator of Cal Expo harness, has announced that the guarantee on the 16% takeout Pick 4 has been raised from $20,000 to $30,000 for the remainder of January.

Racing is now being conducted three nights a week with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. 

The Pick 4 is one of four wagers offered on each program with that reduced 16% takeout rate. In addition to the 20-cent Pick 4; there is the 50-cent Pick 5; the 10-cent Jackpot 6 and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nightcap.

To help players get a head start, announcer Gary Seibel and handicapper Dave Brower do an informative and entertaining simulcast seminar prior to the Pick 4 that has proven to be very popular. 

Regulators to Permit Pentafecta Pool Carryovers in Certain Instances

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has modified its Model Wagering Rules to permit the carryover of Pentafecta pools to other tracks operated by a licensed racing association for which they are the pool host. The ARCI also clarified provisions pertaining to such wagering and articulated that refunds should be issued when betting interests drop below five.

The changes were made at the request of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency and the racetracks of Canada and effectively modify sections ARCI-004-105 and ARCI-004-024 of the ARCI Model Rules. Adoption of wagering rules by the ARCI has the immediate effect of regulation in Canada. Some U.S. jurisdictions have also opted to adopt ARCI Model Rules and standards by reference.

The association has also voted to make minor, non-substantive changes to its model rules pertaining to prohibitions affecting the “stacking” of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), specifically placing an upper limit to the threshold range constituting a Class 3 NSAID Stacking Violation as noted in ARCI-011-020 and ARCI-025-020.

The group also reaffirmed its earlier actions recommending Penalty Class C sanctions for medication violations involving Firocoxib by making appropriate adjustments to ARCI’s Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances.

The ARCI is the only umbrella organization of the officially sanctioned governing rulemaking bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities.

ARCI members are the only independent entitles recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing.

Meadowlands Jackpot Super Hi-5 Paying Dividends

The Meadowlands Jackpot Super Hi-5 has gotten off to a fast start, paying out over $200,000 in just the first 16 days of the Winter Meet.  Thanks to an industry-low eight-percent (8%) takeout rate on the wager, more money is paid out each night, especially when the Jackpot is hit.  However, even on nights when there are multiple winning tickets, the payouts have still been robust as 75% of the pool is paid out in a non-jackpot scenario, which is unique as more of the pool is paid out each night than a typical jackpot wager.

The average jackpot win has returned over $18,000, while even the non-jackpot winning combinations have averaged a payout of over $1,700.

Recently, a second Jackpot Super Hi-5 was added to the fifth race each night.  That race will feature a 12-horse field and contested at 1 1/8th miles, while the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 will be a standard one mile event with a 10 horses. “We added the second Hi-5 to give the bettors a bit more of the wager as they responded well to it, but also to determine how the wager works best,” said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali.  “When we made the switch to 12-horses in the last race, the jackpot was being hit often, which is great since it carries just an 8% takeout rate and our customers are seeing more dollars returned to them.  But we also know there are bettors that want to see big carryovers, so by adding the second Jackpot Super Hi-5 the bettors have one 12-horse field which creates a higher probability of having the only winning ticket, while having the last race feature 10 horses, which creates a scenario to more likely result in a carryover.  If we are all lucky enough to build a carryover pool throughout a large part of the meet and have a Hambletonian Day that features a massive carryover on a wager that has just an 8% takeout, we are confident it will produce the largest single pool harness racing in North America has ever seen.”

Through 16 programs, the Jackpot has been hit five times between the two Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers.  Going into the Thursday, January 8th program, both wagers feature a carryover.  The 5th race Jackpot carryover is at $10,645 while the last race Jackpot carryover stands at $28,076.

The Meadowlands offers a The Jackpot Super Hi-5 as a $.20 cent minimum bet and the wager is offered in the 5th and last race each night.  The two Jackpot pools are separate from one another and any carryover would apply to the corresponding race on the next racing night.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Regulators to Tighten Rules on Compounded Medications

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In an effort to strengthen rules to combat the use of illegally compounded medications in racing, regulators are taking steps to ensure that commissions have adequate authority to sanction licensees who violate existing federal restrictions limiting the use of such substances.

“Commission investigators are finding that some are seeking to circumvent existing doping rules by using new drugs created by combining multiple substances in a compound,” Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) President Ed Martin said.

“Existing federal rules requiring that compounded medications be dispensed only by veterinary prescription to address a specific medical need of an individual horse are being ignored by some. It is a problem that those doing this believe they won’t get caught by the feds. Racing commissions are taking steps to ensure that they can confiscate the substances and bring action against those who use or distribute these illegal compounds,” he noted.

The ARCI has given approval to a Model Rules policy that would:

·         Outlaw the possession or use of a drug, substance, or medication not specifically approved by an appropriate federal agency absent permission of the Commission or its designee.

·         Ban the possession, use, or distribution of a compounded medication on track property if there is an United States Food and Drug Administration-approved equivalent of that substance available for purchase.

·         Require that a compounded medication be dispensed only by prescription issued by a licensed veterinarian to meet the medical needs of a specific horse and for use only in that specific horse

·         Create a racing rules violation for the possession of a compounded medication not properly labeled consistent with existing federal requirements.

Adoption of the new provision augments existing efforts of racing commissions to combat illegally compounded drugs. In 2012 several southern and western U.S. state racing commissions quietly requested federal assistance in tackling this problem. Today state and federal regulatory entities are cooperating in joint efforts. Additionally, racing commissions deploy vehicle and barn searches that have been helpful in finding illegal substances.

The newly adopted policy is included in the ARCI Model Rules ARCI-011-020 and ARCI-025-020. Commissions are expected to promulgate regulations in 2015.
Action on a companion provision concerning medical labeling requirements was deferred by the ARCI pending public comment on whether a prescription for a substance should be required to be issued by a veterinarian licensed in the racing regulatory jurisdiction where the track is located. Due to the fact that many horses participate in multiple jurisdictions, questions were raised as to whether such a requirement would impose an undue burden.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed language may do so online at the ARCI website.

The ARCI acknowledges those who assisted in the development and drafting of the new model policy, particularly Dr. Lynn Hovda, Chairperson of the ARCI Regulatory Veterinarians Committee; Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; Mr. Hugh Gallagher of the New York Racing Association; Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Equine Medical Director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Dr. Rick Arthur of the California Horse Racing Board.

The ARCI is the only umbrella organization of the officially sanctioned governing rulemaking bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities.

ARCI members are the only independent entitles recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 5, 2015—Yonkers Raceway’s 2015, 238-program live schedule begins Friday night, along with the return of evening simulcasting. Another example of good things coming to those who wait.

A 12-race card has been drawn, featuring q $35,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace (6th race), where a locally-debuting millionaires--now-10-year-old Voelz Hanover (Pat Lachance)—was assigned outside her five rivals.

Please note the post times for the upcoming season are as such…
--Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays - first post 7:10 PM
--Tuesdays  - first post 1 PM
--Sundays - first post 11:25 AM (only one [11th] in January)

Save for a six-card first full week, Yonkers generally offers a five-program-per-week schedule. Included in that is a proposed 31 days (174 races) simulcast to a French-hubbed audience. The “French races” begin this Sunday Sunday, Jan. 11, and end with the final (Dec. 13) program of the season.

A stakes schedule shall be announced shortly.

The complete 2015 schedule is pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.  

Buffalo Raceway Set For Season Opener Jan. 14th

 by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The barns are completely full, the race track surface has been rebanked and some top-notch drivers are ready to roll into town as Buffalo Raceway gets into final preparation mode for the 2015 harness racing season.

The 92-day race meet begins on Wednesday, January 14th with a 5 p.m. post for the 13-race program.

The season schedule shows live racing on Wednesday evenings at 5 p.m. along with Friday and Saturday nights with 6:35 p.m. posts. Buffalo Raceway will then add the popular Sunday afternoon cards beginning on June 7th. The season concludes on Sunday, July 26th.

"We are expecting a great year," Buffalo Raceway's Director of Operations Jon Cramer said. "The barns are completely full, the track has been rebanked and our simulcasting is growing. We will be sending our signal throughout the state of Illinois this year and at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Also, we'll be on TVG and we expect our Canadian simulcast to grow as well."

Buffalo Raceway has been known in the past few years as the place to be for top drivers nationally to come for the winter months. This season, Buffalo Raceway may have hit the jackpot.

Scheduled to get in the sulky at the half-mile track includes two-time defending National Dash champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (847 wins), Rosecroft Raceway's top reinsman Frank Milby (245 wins) and Saratoga regular Billy Dobson (352 wins).

This season also marks the return of Shawn Gray, Buffalo Raceway's 2012 top driver in 2012 who posted 206 victories and over $1 million in earnings that year.

The newcomers will be challenging local star Kevin Cummings who won both the 2014 Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs driving crowns. Cummings had a career season with 334 victories and over $1.5 million in earnings.

Between Wrenn Jr., Milby, Dobson and the red-hot Cummings, they combined for 1778 wins in 2014. Those numbers should make for some competitive races and for driver supremacy at Buffalo to say the least in the early part of 2015.

Other regulars returning to the track include the three young guns in Shawn McDonough, David McNeight III and Drew Monti along with veterans Jim McNeight and Jack Flanigen.

Opening night includes free programs, free magnetic 2015 racing schedules, the Guaranteed $5,000 Pick-4 that begins in the fifth race along with $3 Wednesday specials which includes draft beer, hot dogs, pretzels and pizza.

New this year in January and February, make a reservation in the clubhouse for a Saturday night and each person will receive a free racing program, a $5 Hamburg Gaming free play and your table will get $5 off your Winner's Circle Cafe purchase. Reservations can be made by calling 716-649-1280, ext. 300. The clubhouse will have open seating on Wednesday and Friday nights.

Members of the Player's Rewards Club who wager $500 on Buffalo Raceway in either January or February will receive a free Buffalo Raceway polo shirt with their rewards voucher.

Other promotions set later this season will include the annual March Handicapping Contest with the winner receiving entry into the World Harness Handicapping Championships at the Meadowlands in April, the always popular Father's Day promotion, Back To The Track and Kentucky Derby Day.

On the track, expect some great racing with the renovation of the racing strip. The turns have been rebanked. Also nearly 6,000 tons of material was put down and drainage has been improved at the finish line area.

Tom Agosti, Buffalo Raceway's Racing Secretary, is entering his first full season in that role and is extremely optimistic about the upcoming season. "We are full in the barn area and I think we've got enough horses to be comfortable running 13 races a night, three nights a week. You look around and every track is losing horses. They are staying home now, like in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where we used to get horses. Tracks there are offering the same purses as we are at Buffalo."

Agosti said he's really trying to build the $6,000 to $10,000 claiming bracket at Buffalo Raceway. "That level should be the meat of our racing," he stated. "We seemed to have lost that middle class and I am trying to raise it back up."

On Wednesday nights, Agosti is trying to keep things consistent with the Open Trot and Filly and Mares Open Pace expected to go as the early daily double. "It will allow our fans to watch these horses each week, keep track of them and watch them at the same time every Wednesday."

The Niatross Claiming Knockout Pacing Series has been revamped and should be an exciting competition. The "A" division will begin eliminations on February 7th with the finals on February 28th. The "B" division will start on April 4th with the championship on April 25th. Horses eligible are those that have had a base claiming tag of $4,000 (mares $5,000).

The new wrinkle is the top four finishers from each division final will return for a $25,000 Invitational in May.

"The Niatross Series has always been very popular.  Now that the $25,000 Invitational has been added, there should be even more interest," Agosti said.

While the stable area is full, one new barn will arrive for the first time winter and that belongs to Jim Clousser. He raced at Batavia Downs in the fall and brings eight into the backstretch at Buffalo Raceway. Previously, Clousser raced at Tioga Downs.

JD Perrin looks to defend his training title at Buffalo Raceway. He won the 2014 title with 76 victories and conditioned 125 winners during the year. Perrin also took the Batavia Downs title.

Now if the weather can just cooperate. Buffalo Raceway had seven cancellations in 2014 due to inclement weather but with a little help from Mother Nature, sunny days could lay ahead for 2015.

For more information on Buffalo Raceway including upcoming promotions, schedule, statistics and news, go to

PHOTOS....Billy Dobson (photo by Steve Roth)

Meadowlands Racing Live on Thursday

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will add Thursday night to the live racing schedule beginning on January 8. The first Thursday card of the year will feature the kick off to the annual Winter Late Closers, the Super Bowl for lightly seasoned 3 & 4YO trotters. Leg one drew a healthy 37 entries which were split into four divisions each racing for $12,500, with the $50,000 final on January 24 the ultimate target. 

Division one is the first race on the card and offers a look at two of the top prospects competing in the series. Royal Ice hasn’t raced much for owner Marc Goldberg and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer but bought himself a ticket to the 2014 Hambletonian with his stunning 1:51.3 maiden-breaking win last summer. He’ll face JL Cruze, a winner thrice including an impressive Big M debut last week for Delaware connections who bought him last fall at Harrisburg. Eric Ell trains and John Campbell will drive. 

Propulsion has blossomed late for trainer Tony Alagna, who likely hoping the Super Bowl will serve as a launching pad for the regally bred son of Muscle Hill to go on to bigger and better things for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband, Joe Sbrocco and Little E LLC. A three time winner last seaon, Propulsion set his 1:52.3 mark in Lexington last fall and scored in an overnight at The Meadowlands a month ago. He’ll begin from post one in the second division (race 2) for driver Tim Tetrick. 

Opulent Yankee is the logical choice in division three (race 4) off his recent form. A Red Mile 1:51.4 winner last fall Opulent Yankee has a win and a second in his last pair at The Meadowlands and will begin from post two on Thursday for owner Little E, LLC. Andy and Julie Miller are the driver and trainer, respectively. 

The fourth division (race 7) is a Pari-Mutuel puzzler and there is no greater mystery than Nick Salenetri’s unraced four-year-old Two Hip Dip. Off just a pair of qualifiers, Two Hip Dip gives the impression he may have been worth the wait with his most recent a solid 1:59.1 / 27.1 win for Dave Miller, who is listed for Thursday’s race. 

Speaking of Pari-Mutuels, the 8% take-out Hi 5 wager is proving to be the “it” bet now and The Meadowlands presents a pair of those opportunities nightly. The fifth race on Thursday will dispatch a bulky field of a dozen C-2 trotters going the route distance of a mile and one eighth and the jackpot carry-over for the wager is at $10,645.  The last race will see ten pacers off and the jackpot amount in that Hi 5 carry-over pool is over $28,000.

Post time on Thursday is 7:15pm. Further information is available by visiting The Meadowlands website.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Doctor Butch Sets Lifetime Mark in Meadowlands Fee For All

The Free For All pacers have taken turns beating each other for the majority of the meet thus far at The Meadowlands.  That trend continued on Saturday night in the form of Doctor Butch.

Sent off as the 4-1 third choice, Doctor Butch settled mid-pack and off the pace that was established early on by last weeks winner, Dapper Dude.  After tripping the opening quarter in 26-seconds, John Campbell elected to yield the lead with Dapper Dude to the oncoming Warrawee Needy, who moved to the front, hitting the half-mile in 54-seconds. At this point, the outer-flow began to develop, led by the gritty Wake Up Peter who committed first over.  Warrawee Needy went past three-quarters in 1:21.3, beginning to feel the pressure of the 9/5 favorite, Wake Up Peter who put a head in front in the stretch, but Doctor Butch was hot on his heels track his cover from second over and he was able to wear down the favorite while holding off the late charge of Beach Memories, who had been tracking Doctor Butch throughout to complete the mile in 1:49, which established a new lifetime mark for the son of Art Major.  The win marked the second on the card for Linda Toscano and the third for Tim Tetrick at that point, but he wasnt done yet.  Doctor Butch is owned by Kenneth Jacobs.

The eighth race $20,000 B-1 Pace was captured by a revitalized Odds On Equuleus.  Aggressively moving to the lead after a 28.3 tepid opening quarter, Odds On Equuleus asserted himself on the lead and would carry the field through middle fractions of 56.3 and 1:24 before turning for home in front.  With Long Live Rock on his back, Tim Tetrick asked the classy five year old for speed and Odds On Equuleus responded and maintained his one length advantage through the stretch to score in 1:51.1.  Odds On Equuleus is trained by Tony Alagna, giving him a training double and is owned by Odds On Racing.  The win marked the fourth on the card for Tim Tetrick.

The sixth race, a $20,000 B-2/B-1 Handicap Pace saw Al's Hammered rally from far off the pace to score a bounce-back win in 1:51, splashing home in a powerful 26.4 seconds.  Al's Hammered was coming off a season that saw him win 15 of 29 starts and he makes his first start of 2015 a winning one.  The six year old Peter Tritton trainee was guided to victory by Ron Pierce for Harry von Knoblauch.

There were no winning tickets in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5.  The carryover into the Thursday program stands at $10,645.77.  The thirtheenth race jackpot went unclaimed and the carryover for race 13 on Thursday is $28,076.98.  Post time for Thursday night is 7:15 P.M. and features the first round of The Super Bowl trotting series.

Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship Winners Unveiled

        The Meadowlands would like to congratulate the two winners of The Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship, John McDermott  and Guadalupe Diaz.

        Mr. McDermott is the son of trainer John McDermott and he was the recipient of the $15,000 Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship, presented and funded by the owner of Gallo Blue Chip, Martin Scharf and administered by the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.  McDermott is a freshman in Business Administration at the University of Florida.  He has aspirations of pursuing a masters degree and spoke about his opportunities to sit behind the extremely fast Hurrikane Kingcole, whom his father trains.  In an in house interview, the younger McDermott joked saying, " I have seen him (Hurrikane Kingcole) give Corey Callahan trouble in the bike, so I don't think my dad was going to let me sit behind him going full-speed."  He will head back to Gainsville, Florida for the spring semester.

    Ms. Diaz, a resident of Middletown, New York is a junior at Stony Brook University, studying Chemical and Molecular Engineering.  She will receive a $5,000 stipend.  Diaz noted that "she still has her senior thesis to complete, but once she is done with that, things will get a little easier at school."

The Gallo Blue Chip Sponsorship is sponsored by Martin Scharf to honor his magnificent standardbred, Gallo Blue Chip, who retired as the richest pacer in harness racing history.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Melady's Monet Back on Top at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Melady's Monet saw his three race win streak snapped when he ran into Appomattox last time in the Free For All Handicap at The Meadowlands.  Tonight, he turned the tables on that foe and seven others to score a decisive victory in the sixth race $30,000 Featured Trot.

Sent off as the even-money favorite, Melady's Monet was aggressively moved to the lead past an opening quarter of 28.1, before relinquishing the lead to Appomattox who reached the half-mile in 26.2 and three quarters in 1:25.  In the stretch Appomattox was spent and drifted off the pylons allowing Melady's Monet to rally up the pylons to score impressively in 1:52.4.  The win was one of four on the card for driver Tim Tetrick and marked the fourth win in five starts for Melady's Monet.  The winning trainer was Kevin McDermott for owners Melady Enterprises L.L.C.

In other action, a dozen pacing mares took to the racetrack in the fifth race $22,000 B-2/B-1 Handicap.  Montenegro was aggressively driven and was just a part of mass of early speed leaving from the outside of the gate.  She reached the opening quarter in 26.4 before facing a challenge from Momma Rock.  Montenegro stretched out that foe, as the two dueled past the half-mile in 56.1 before Momma Rock would clear and lead the field to three quarters in 1:23.4. Turning for home in the 1 1/8th miles event, Momma Rock was facing challenges from everywhere, but despite the taxing trip, the John Campbell driven mare just kept on plugging away and completed the 1 1/8th miles in 2:06 for trainer Gerard Malanga and owners Pai Gow Racing Stable L.L.C.
The Meadowlands began its 2015 racing season with a $3 Million night as total handle for the 13-race program was $3,062,670, a five-percent increase from the $2,908,156 wagered on this same night in 2014.  Live handle spiked over 70-percent compared to a snowy night in 2014.

The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed and will feature a carryover of $3,748.57 into the fifth race on the Saturday program.  The thirteenth race Jackpot also was not hit and it will feature a robust carryover of $24,442 in to the thirteenth race on Saturday.  Post time for the Saturday card is 7:15 P.M.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Meadowlands Draw Reminder

This is just a reminder that The Meadowlands will conduct its draw for the Thursday, January 8th program tomorrow (Saturday).  The entry box will close at 3:30 P.M.  

In addition, The Meadowlands will draw on Tuesday at 9:00 A.M. for qualifiers which take place this coming Thursday.  Anyone with questions should contact The Meadowlands Race Office.

Cal Expo Sunday Barn Notes

Race honors memory of  Dr. Gary Budahn

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
Sunday’s Dr. Gary Budahn Trot is named for a mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years, who passed away in April of 2009.
Dr. Budahn served on the Board of Directors of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including President of the CHHA for three terms. He was a strong voice in California Harness Racing for many years and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could.
Dr. Budahn was well known in harness racing for being one of the best veterinarians to grace the backside and was well respected throughout the country.
Along with his wife Debbi, Dr. Budahn started The Gusty Stable, sending out some of the best horses to ever race in California, including Doodlin and Claude's Last Lady.
Each represented The Gusty Stable in Breeders Crown events and were two of the best mares to ever campaign in the Golden State on the pacing and trotting side. Along with those two outstanding mares, The Gusty Stable raced many more top performers such as Wilder Echo, Alfa Star, Amazing Glide, Claudius Augustus and was the breeder and developer of Direct Flight.
“Gary Budahn was a man of integrity and probably the best horseman I ever met,” said former driver Rick Kuebler, who guided many top performers for The Gusty Stable over the years.
“When it came to diagnosing the problem of a horse, he had no equal. He had an intimate knowledge of the Standardbred and harness racing in that he was a top trainer and even spent time in the sulky. I miss his advice, encouragement and friendship.”

Sire Stakes, Dr. Gary Budahn Trot set

A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the newly-turned 4-year-old pacing distaffers headed by Brewski and J’s Littlerockstar; an Open Trot rematching Its Not Over and El Azteca and the $7,200 Dr. Gary Budahn Trot headline the Sunday night program at Cal Expo.

An 11-race card is on tap with first post set for 4:45 pm. The Open Trot is the first on the night; the Sire Stakes occupies the fourth-race slot and the Budahn Trot will be race eight on the program.

Brewski comes into the feature with a number of stakes trophies on her mantle, including one from the most recent added-money clash for the division on December 7. The Little Steven homebred races for Billie Schwartz and Junior Wilkinson with Luke Plano handling the lines.

In that last Sire Stakes, the bay distaffer was parked to the lead at the quarter, then took control of things and prevailed by a length over J’s Littlerockstar. She set a new mark when she won the following week in 1:57 1/5, then dropped a head decision to J’s Littlerockstar when they met last weekend.

The latter is another Little Steven offspring who is owned, trained, driven and was bred by James Kenndy. She is also a multiple stakes victress, with her most recent big-money score coming back in April over a sloppy track.

After finishing second behind Breski in her first two appearances in December, J’s Littlerockstar was able to get some revenge in their most recent meeting last week. Kennedy sat the pocket with his protégé to the final bend, was out to the lead in the lane and gamely held safe by a head over her arch-rival in a lifetime-best 1:55 2/5 clocking.

Its Not Over and El Azteca, who are developing one of the best rivalries on the grounds, get another chance to settle the score in one of the co-features. There have been six Open Trots decided at this meet and Its Not Over and El Azteca have equally divided those clashes at the head of the class.