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Monday, July 27, 2015

Mission: Hambletonian, Mission Brief to Take On The Boys in 90th Hambletonian

When the field is drawn Monday morning for the Hambletonian Oaks, Mission Brief’s name won’t be among the entries.  On Sunday night, trainer Ron Burke confirmed to The Meadowlands Racetrack that his star three year old filly will take on the boys in the 90th Hambletonian on Saturday, August 8th.

“We’re going,” said Burke.  “The plan has always been to go as long as she was good and today at Vernon she was as good as she has been.  She had to be super and she was.”

The Hambletonian is raced in heat format, which means if at least 14 horses enter, the winner of the Hambletonian would have to race twice in the same day.  But Burke said that was not a concern.  

“I’m really not worried about that.  She is just so athletic, I really don’t think it will be a problem.”
If there are 13 horses or less entered in The Hambletonian, it will be raced as one dash for the cash.
As for the reason why Burke and his ownership chose The Hambletonian over the Oaks, it came down to a simple notion.  “If we win this race, it will change our lives and it makes her career.  I know the Oaks is $500,000 and she would be odds-on to win that race, but it wouldn’t change our lives.  Winning The Hambletonian changes lives.”

The sportsmanship of Ron Burke and the ownership of Mission Brief was on display with this decision as well.  “It will be great for the sport.  To have a filly like this trying to beat all of Takter’s horses.  This will be a great story.  I think we have the filly to do it.  If I am wrong, I’m wrong and I have been wrong and criticized before, but I really think she can do it.”

There is one question that remains, who will Yannick Gingras drive?  Gingras pilots both Mission Brief and the best three year old colt in the country, Pinkman.  As of now, Ron Burke says that Gingras has not committed to either horse.

“If they both race huge in the eliminations (assuming they are in separate eliminations), he might not be able to decide until after the first heat.”

That storyline is one that may go down in the annals of harness racing history.  A decision of a lifetime some might say.  Gingras may literally have to choose between two dynamic trotters in the sport’s biggest race in the hour leading up to the race. Gingras has done it all in the sport, but still seeks his first Hambletonian, adding to the pressure of this decision.

Gingras was quoted in an interview after winning the Zweig stating he “hoped Mission Brief went in the Oaks.”  But, given that he also drives Pinkman, it is certainly understandable why Gingras shared that sentiment.  Gingras was reached Sunday night and confirmed a decision on his part has not been made as of yet.

The last filly to win The Hambletonian was Continental Victory in 1996.  Mission Brief looks to add her name to the list of fillies that have accomplished this most herculean fete.

The Hambletonian will headline what may prove be one of the greatest days in harness racing history that will also include Wiggle It Jiggleit in the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, The Cane Pace.

Hambletonian Day is Saturday, August 8th at The Meadowlands.  Post time is 12:00 P.M.  The Hambletonian Final will be race 13 on a 15-race program with a post time of 5:15 P.M.

Information on Meadowlands Stakes

Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - When the entry box closed at 9:00 am today for the bevy of stakes this coming weekend as the 2015 Meadowlands Championship Meet concludes, some required elimination races while others did not. All of these stakes have their finals scheduled for Hambletonian Day, August 8.

The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks drew sixteen three-year-old filly trotters which split precisely into a pair of eight filly $35,000 elims carded races six and seven on Saturday, August 1.

Freshman trotters will compete in $20,000 elimination races on Friday, July 31. The Peter Haughton Memorial (final purse 349,850) attracted nineteen colts who will vie for a final berth in races five and nine. Freshman fillies entered for the newly christened Jim Doherty Memorial (final $389,450) numbered twenty six and will sort themselves out in races two, four and eight.

The stakes for older horses required no elimination races and although many of those entered will compete in Open classes offered in lieu, all will go directly to the Finals of their respective events.

The $301,500 John Cashman Memorial attracted an even dozen older trotters. Those twelve will race at the route distance of a mile and an eighth in the August 8 final.
The horses entered for the Cashman are:
Y. Gingras
R. Burke
T. Tetrick
R. Dion
Y. Gingras
R. Burke
S. Zeron
L. Blais
A. Miller
J. Miller
O. Kihlstrom
R. Walmann
T. Tetrick
L. Toscano
B. Miller
J. Takter
J. Campbell
K. Mc Dermott
V. Yoder
V. Yoder
M. MacDonald
P. Kelley
D. Miller
D. Bier
The Lady Liberty for pacing mares had eleven entered and they will also compete at the extended distance in the $251,250 final. The mares entered are:

J. Hanney
N. Drennan
T. Tetrick
J. Bamond Jr.
C. Callahan
K. Harrison
D. Miller
T. OSullivan
S. Zeron
M. Givens
M. MacDonald
D. Renaud
Y. Gingras
R. Burke
D. Miller
L. Remmen
Y. Gingras
R. Burke
A. Miller
W. Dalious
J. Bartlett
J. Bamond Jr.
Finally, nine older horse pacers will square off in the $215,400 United States Pacing Championship at one mile. They are:
M. Kakaley
R. Burke
J. Morrill Jr
G. Green
J. Campbell
S. Elliott
Y. Gingras
R. Burke
B. Miller
J. Takter
T. Tetrick
J. Bamond Jr.
C. Callahan
J. Takter
D. Miller
I. Moore
B. Miller
L. Remmen
The entries for this weekend will be available on The Meadowlands website.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 26, 2015—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday night’s (July 27) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $4,100.44 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool (program pages available at  

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. 

Vernon Racing Recap - Sunday, July 26, 2015

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Gingras sweeps Zweig stakes with Pinkman and Mission Brief

Vernon, N.Y. -- When Yannick Gingras makes an appearance at Vernon Downs, he has a strong tendency to be mightily successful on the racetrack.  Such was the case on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, when he swept the filly and colt divisions of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial stakes.

In the $185,000 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Gingras settled Mission Brief ($2.60, part of entry) into the third spot out of her midpack post, tracking Wild Honey (John Campbell) and Magic Marker (Brian Sears) through a :27 initial quarter before brushing to the fore at race's midpoint.  Just as Wild Honey slackened through a :56.1 half mile, Mission Brief charged past, opening up her lead to two lengths on the far turn.  The daughter of Muscle Hill and Southwind Serena would hold that margin through a :55.3 final half, defeating Wild Honey in 1:51.4.  Magic Marker stayed on to be third, while Gatka Hanover (Brett Miller) rallied mildly off cover to take fourth.

Ron Burke trains Mission Brief for the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, the J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi.  Now a 12-time winner, Mission Brief has amassed $791,417 in career earnings.

A mere hour after Mission Brief asserted herself in the $185,000 Zweig division for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Pinkman ($2.10, part of entry) found room up the inside to strike late from a pocket trip in the $370,000 Zweig event for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Beginning from post 7 as part of a four-horse Jimmy Takter-trained entry, Pinkman left strongly, stringing out Habitat (Brian Sears) in the early going before yielding to stablemate Canepa Hanover (Takter) after a :27.3 initial quarter.  The gelded son of Explosive Matter and Margie Seelster drafted comfortably behind his stablemate through a :56.1 middle half, but was boxed at the apex of the far turn when Habitat attempted a first-over bid.  With racing room at a premium in upper stretch, Pinkman found room up the inside, passing Canepa Hanover in the final sixteenth.  He prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:52, a stakes record.  Canepa Hanover held second, while Workout Wonder (Daniel DubĂ©) rallied late to take third past Wings of Royalty (Tim Tetrick).

Also taking career win number 12, Pinkman stretched his career bankroll to $1,187,139 for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 31) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Beback Jr. Has Four Winners In Buffalo Raceway Finale

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2015 season came to a close at Buffalo Raceway on Sunday afternoon (July 26) and driver Ron Beback Jr. capped the 91-day meet with a four-bagger.

Beback Jr. was aboard Lotto Ticket ($4.00), Almost Midnight ($3.10), Boots N Bourbon ($5.90) and Four Starz Trump ($3.70) The victory for Four Starz Trump was the 50th in the 12-year-old gelding's career and moved his lifetime earnings to $371,951. Beback Jr. finished the week with eight wins.

Driver Kevin Cummings made a run at Jim Morrill Jr.'s all-time win mark of 214 set in 2006 but came up a dozen victories short. 

All was not lost however. Cummings did win his second consecutive driving title with 202 wins, the third most in Buffalo Raceway history. Morrill Jr. (214) and Shawn Gray (206) are the only drivers to go over 200 victories in a season at the Hamburg half-mile oval. Cummings was also the leading purse earner with nearly $1.1 million.

Drew Monti took second place in the driver's standings with 140 wins while Gray was third with 123.

JD Perrin captured his third straight trainer's title by conditioning 70 winners. John Mungillo took the runner up spot with 54 victories and Kirk Desmond third with 49.

The Prophet Mary had the most trips to the winner's circle on the season as the pacer scored nine times. Justgottogetthere was the top trotter with eight wins and $48,217 in earnings.

Jettison was the leading money earner as the pacer collected $50,314.

Live racing is tentatively scheduled to resume in January, 2016.

For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, race replays and results, go to

Milliron Pete Continues To Impress At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ever since arriving from Scioto Downs in Ohio on June 28, Milliron Pete has sure made himself right at home at Buffalo Raceway. And while adjusting to his surroundings in Western New York, he's finding the winner's circle is a pretty good place to hang out as well.

For the fourth time in five starts at the Hamburg half-mile oval, Milliron Pete (Jim McNeight) showed he's not camera shy either by taking a half length victory in the $10,500 Open Pace in 1:55.0 over the fast track Saturday night (July 25).

While Milliron Pete ($9.60) has new stomping grounds, he has passed just about every test put in front of him. Starting out in a $4,800 conditioned race on June 28 at Buffalo Raceway, Milliron Pete has stepped his way up the ladder and it landed him on the top rung, the Open pace. Posting a 1-1/2 victory in 1:55.2 on July 18 in a $7,800 conditioned pace, the jump in class was well deserved.

Big Bossman did much of the dirty work in the race by setting fractions of 27.4, 57.1 and 1:26.1. Milliron Pete, who was assigned the inside post, drafted along perfectly in second and scooted through in the passing lane to stun Big Bossman (Jack Flanigen). Western Alumni (Ron Beback Jr.) took the show position.

Trained by McNeight and owned by the Eim Racing, Milliron Pete (American Ingot-Komoda Dragon) has now posted six victories in 26 tries in 2015. It sent the 5-year-old gelding's earnings to $34,816 this year and $57,481 lifetime.   

In the $9,500 Open II pace, Cobble Beach (Kevin Cummings) reverted back to his front-running style and it resulted in an impressive four length win in a sizzling 1:53.1. 

Scoring the from six post, Cobble Beach had to tussle with Mister Icon for the lead to the opening quarter but once getting there, it was all over.

Cobble Beach motored to the half in 56.2 and blistered a 28.1 last panel to put the remaining five horses in surrender mode. Mister Icon (McNeight) finished a distant second while I C D Moolah (Beback Jr.) was third.

Owned and trained by James Clouser Jr., Cobble Beach (Artiscape-Mirmattculous) has now posted four wins in 24 starts this season, moving his earnings to $40,490. The 5-year-old gelding upped his career bankroll to $134,597.

The 2015 season comes to a close Sunday afternoon when an 11-race card goes to the post at 1:05 p.m.

For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and simulcast schedule, go to

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Market Share Is Back, Tetrick On Fire at The Meadowlands

Entering Friday night, Market Share was winless in four starts this season.  In fact, he was yet to hit the board.  But that all changed in the featured $28,500 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadowlands.  Market Share had his game face on this Friday night, as he soared around the East Rutherford oval, winning in wire to wire fashion as the 2-1 second choice.  Market Share led at every point of call, and trotted a 27.2 final quarter while holding off the fast-closing Handover Belle to win in 1:51.1.  The race favorite, Obrigado, trailed for much of the mile and despite flying home in 26.3, could only manage to finish third.

Both the winner and third place finisher are likely headed to the John Cashman Memorial on Hambletonian Day.  Eliminations (if necessary) will be contested next Saturday night.

The win was the 26th in the illustrious career of Market Share, whose earnings surpassed $3.7 Million.

He is owned by Richard Gutnick, William Augustine and the T L P Stable.  He is conditioned by Linda Toscano and was driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, one of five wins on the 12-race card for Tetrick.

Tetrick also scored in the $28,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace with the Pennsylvania invader, Ooh Bad Shark, who scored an off the pace win in 1:48.3.

Ooh Bad Shark left for position from post six, but was quickly trapped along the pylons as Sandbetweenurtoes and Radar Contact vied for command.  In the stretch Ooh Bad Shark was loaded with pace, but had to wait for racing room before angling out wide and finishing with a flourish to chase down Radar Contact with a 26.3 final quarter to score in a lifetime best performance.  Longshot Lucy’s Pearl rallied to be third.

The winner is owned by Donna Fedorak and William Wiggins, who is also the trainer.

The first round of the Kindergarten Trotting Series commenced on Friday as well.  The colts split into three $10,000 divisions while the fillies contested a pair of $10,000 heats.

On the colt side, Reve Royale, Waitlifter K and Winter Harbor emerged victorious while Hollywood Hill and Twice Is Right scored in the filly divisions.  Both filly winners are trained by Jimmy Takter and are eligible to the Jim Doherty Memorial while Waitlifter K and Winter Harbor are Peter Haughton-eligible.

Brittany Farms had a big night, finding the winner’s circle three times with Winter Harbor, Propulsion and Twice Is Right.

Rules Of The Road came up with a big effort in a condition trotting event, dominating a solid group in 1:52.3, a lifetime mark.  The filly is trained by Janice Connor for the Arden Homestead Stable and was driven by Corey Callahan.  She is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks.  Eliminations will take place next Saturday night.

There was more than one winning ticket in the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5, therefore that carryover will be $214,272.42 into the 13th race on Saturday.

The Saturday program will begin at 7:15 P.M. and it features the $200,000 New Jersey Classic and the $100,000 Miss New Jersey.

Vernon Racing Recap - Friday, July 24, 2015

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Express Jet leads MacDonald grand slam

Vernon, N.Y. -- John MacDonald was the star of the Friday (July 24) night show at Vernon Downs, winning four races on the evening's 11-race card.  In addition to victories aboard Elettrizzante ($12.00, 1:57.3), Martinique ($3.10, 1:53.3), and Table Games ($3.30, 1:54.1), the 33-year-old reinsman teamed up with Express Jet ($9.90) in the evening's featured $7,000 conditioned distaff pace.

Away the best in a field of six, Express Jet ceded the lead to Southwind Serenity (Truman Gale) after a :27.4 initial quarter, drafting comfortably from the pocket with no shortage of racing room through the race's middle stages.  As Southwind Serenity accelerated off the far turn through three-quarters in 1:25, Express Jet worked to stay in close pursuit.  In mid-stretch, the 6-year-old Jereme's Jet mare took the lead from the longtime pacesetter, edging clear and subsequently holding off the late-charging Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) by three-quarters of a length for a 1:53.1 triumph.

MacDonald, who recorded a training double in addition to his driving grand slam, trains Express Jet for the J P Stables and Crawford Partners, LLC.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 25) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Tioga Racing Recap - Friday, July 24, 2015

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Mach It a Par extends win streak to four

Nichols, N.Y. -- Tracking live cover on the backstretch, Dan Clements's Mach It a Par ($3.00) showed immediate response at the top of the stretch once again, taking Friday (July 24) evening's $12,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs in decisive--and well-measured--fashion.

Getting away last in the field of six, John Cummings, Jr. angled the 5-year-old Mach Three mare second-over to track the live cover of Shutthefrontdoor (Vern Smith) well off a :55.4 half mile.  Mach It a Par was towed into midfield on the backstretch as Shutthefrontdoor turned up the pressure on leader K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.) past three-quarters in 1:24.  K J's Caroline ultimately gave way midway on the far turn, but Shutthefrontdoor's new-found lead was in jeopardy at head-stretch.  Mach It a Par tipped off cover just upon cornering, and surged to the fore in mid-stretch.  She was taken in hand with 70 yards to go, and she prevailed by a measured half-length in 1:52.2.  Shutthefrontdoor held second, and K J's Caroline checked in a worn-down third.

Renaldo Morales, III trains Mach It a Par, now a 14-time winner.

Cummings led all drivers on the evening, notching three wins on the 10-race card.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, with first post scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 24, 2015—The next time they beat Cinamony (George Brennan, $8.10) here would be the first time they beat Cinamony here.

The form spree continued Friday night, as the lass won Yonkers Raceway’s $48,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Assigned outside what became her six rivals (Road Bet came up ill), Cinamony had to wait her turn before making the lead. She did so around arch enemy—and 11-10 favorite--Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) just after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile.

It was a  :55.3 intermission before Caribbean Rose N (Brian Sears) moved from fourth, not getting all that close at a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Cinamony owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane before holding Krispy Apple at bay in 1:51.3, matching her own (along with two others) track record for 4-year-old mares. The final margin was three-quarters of a length.  

Third went to a non-threatening Caribbean Rose N, with Handsoffmycupcake (Dan Dube) and Alhambra (Larry Stalbaum) completing the cashers.

For third choice Cinamony, a daughter of Art Official co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her sixth win in 10 seasonal starts (5-for-5 since hitting town). The exacta paid $15.20, with the triple returning $45.20.

            The Raceway’s live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM), then next Monday, Thursday,  Friday and Saturday (all at 7:10 PM), with a “French-centric” Tuesday matinee (first post 1 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.

BZ Glide Shows Patience Again In Buffalo's Open Trot

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- No hurry. No worry. 

That's got to be the motto for BZ Glide and driver Mike Caprio as once again their patience paid off in a victory.

BZ Glide ($3.20) used his familiar late charge, going from last to first, to take a head win over Studio City in the featured $10,500 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (July 24). He covered the mile in 1:58.1 over the fast track.

The race went pretty much true to form as Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) took his usual seat on the front end while BZ Glide settled back to ride the tailgate in fifth.

After watching Lutetium set fractions of 29.1, 59.4 and 1:29.1, BZ Glide, who skimmed the pylons the entire mile, found plenty of racing room in the lightning lane. Caprio used some urging in the stretch and BZ Glide responded by storming to the wire to post the decision. Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) got up in time for second while the tiring Lutetium held on for third.

It was the third consecutive win for the 6-year-old gelded BZ Glide (Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer). Owned by the Caprio Stable and trained by Alana Caprio, it was the fourth victory in seven tries in 2015 for BZ Glide, now a winner of $25,250 this season and $142,207 lifetime.

The final weekend of racing continues on Saturday night with a 12-race card set to get underway at 6:35 p.m. The 2015 season will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. with 11 races.

For more information including the latest news, race results, replays and simulcast schedule, go to

Friday, July 24, 2015


Story by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

FREEHOLD, NJ – July 24, 2015 -- James “Friday” Dean says it might have been ambitious to send lightly raced Split The House to the North America Cup earlier this year, but the trainer is looking forward to seeing the colt return to action against some of the best 3-year-old male pacers in North America in Saturday’s $200,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands.

Split The House drew post seven in the seven-horse field and is 9-2 on the morning line. Regular driver Randy Waples will make the trip from Ontario to New Jersey to drive the horse, who has posted six wins in eight starts this season.

New Jersey Sire Stake champion Artspeak, who was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the New Jersey Classic. He will start from post five with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Tony Alagna.

Split The House was unraced as a 2-year-old because of a fractured pastern bone, but opened this year with four victories heading into the North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in June. Split The House finished fourth in his North America Cup elimination, just missing out on advancing to the final, and a week later finished fourth in the North America Cup Consolation.

He bounced back from the setbacks by winning a preliminary leg and final of the Summertime Series at Mohawk.

“I think if the North America Cup wasn’t in our backyard I wouldn’t have raced him in it,” said Dean, who is based in Ontario and owns Split The House with Scott Horner and Peter Milligan. “We kind of threw him to the wolves a little early. He didn’t embarrass himself though and he rebounded well. He’s pretty sharp right now so we’ll take another crack at the big boys.”

Waples left no doubt of what he thought about Split The House following the Summertime final, which Split The House won by 2-3/4 lengths over Rockin In Heaven in 1:50.2.

“In my estimation he’s one of the best 3-year-olds out there, it’s just the truth,” Waples said. “He was kind of misbehaving a little bit behind the gate (in the North America Cup) and Friday put a screen on him and he’s just a different horse now. The last couple of weeks he seems like he’s turned a corner.

“I think he definitely deserves to be with (the Grand Circuit pacers). If you’ve got a good field of horses you can find one to follow and I just think this horse is going to go a big mile before the year is up.”

Split The House was purchased as a yearling under the name Current Course for $60,000. He is a son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Shake That Junk, who raced for Dean and was successful on the Ontario circuit.

“We really liked the look of this colt,” Dean said. “Then he cracked a pastern behind and stood in a stall for four months. But he was really patient about it.

“But we really liked what we had seen from him (prior to his injury). He loved his work. He was a natural. He’s a real good horse to train.”

Split The House is staked to a number of major races, including the Battle of the Brandywine, Simcoe, Little Brown Jug, Bluegrass, and Breeders Crown.

“If we’re good enough, we’ll show up,” Dean said.

Artspeak heads to the New Jersey Classic off a sixth-place finish in the Meadowlands Pace last weekend. He was second in the Hempt Memorial on July 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and fifth in the North America Cup.

For the year, Artspeak has won three of eight races and earned $255,135 for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners.

Dealt A Winner is the 5-2 second choice in the New Jersey Classic. He will start from post four with John Campbell driving for trainer Mark Silva. He was fourth in the Meadowlands Pace and a multiple stakes-winner in 2014.

Saturday’s Meadowlands card also includes the $100,000 Thomas D’Altrui SBOA Miss New Jersey for 3-year-old female pacers. The Show Returns is the 5-2 morning line favorite, starting from post seven with John Campbell driving for Chris Ryder.

The field for the $200,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic [11th race] with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1-Pierce Hanover, Douglas McNair, Ken Sucee, 6-1; 2-Revenge Shark, Brett Miller Tony Alagna, 8-1; 3-Badix Hanover, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 4-Dealt A Winner, John Campbell, Mark Silva, 5-2; 5 Artspeak, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 8-5; 6-Hurrikane Ali, Jim Marohn Jr., John McDermott Jr., 10-1, and 10-Split The House, Randy Waples, James Dean, 9-2.
            Pierce Hanover, Revenge Shark and Dealt A Winner are by Cam’s Card Shark; Badix Hanover and Artspeak are by Western Ideal; Hurrikane Ali and Split The House are by Rocknroll Hanover.

The field for the $100,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey [seventh race] with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1-Lindys Old Lady, Douglas McNair, Frank Antonacci, 6-1; 2-Thirty X, Vincent Ginsburg, Richard Silverman, 20-1; 3-Stacia Hanover, Scott Zeron, Steve Elliott, 3-1; 4-Cheyenne Robin, Randy Waples, Robert Siegelman, 20-1; 5-Strut My Stuff, Jim Marohn Jr, Ross Croghan, 15-1; 6-Happiness, Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke, 10-1; 7-The Show Returns, John Campbell, Chris Ryder, 5-2; 8-Crescent City, Steve Smith, Chris Ryder. 12-1; 9-Ideal Nuggets, Mike Simons, Ed Lohmeyer, 8-1, and 10-Wicked Little Minx, Brett Miller, Nancy Johansson, 9-2.

            Stacia Hanover, Strut My Stuff and Ideal Nuggets are by Western Ideal; all others by Rocknroll Hanover.


            by john manzi for the Billings Series

Paul “the Coach” Minore is hot. He now has won three of his last four starts in amateur competition with his latest victory coming in the prestigious CKG Billings East Region Mid-Season Final at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening, July 23 when he guided his own Wygant Prince to a 2:00.2 victory, a triumph made even more impressive since it came after starting  from the eight-hole. It was their second consecutive triumph together after having been victorious in a time of 1:58.3 in a Billings leg  at Saratoga Raceway on July 12.

The $12,000 Mid-Season Final at Yonkers was for drivers who were the top point earners thus far in the year-long amateur driver’s series. The contest went to post as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card.

If Minore was somewhat dejected after having drawn post position eight no one could tell when he gunned his trotter for the lead as the wings of the mobile gate folded and they showed the way by the first stanza in a swift :28.4.

After a :31.1 breather Wygant Prince passed the halfway point relatively unchallenged. However, competition came as they headed up the backside but Minore and his charge continued unfazed and they passed the three quarters alone on the lead as the timer flashed 1:30.2.

As Wygant Prince headed for home he had opened up another length on his competition and cruised to  a two-length triumph over Gimme The Loot and driver Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin. Third place went to  Pembroke Snapshot, driven by the series top point-earner, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller.

It was the fourth seasonal triumph for the winner, an 8-year-old altered son of S J’s Photo owned by his driver, and trained by Taylor Gower.  For Minore, it marked his fifth seasonal driving victory and 84th of his amateur career.

On Friday (July 24) the Mid-west Region Mid-Season Final for the top point earners in that division, will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval at The Meadows.

SBOANJ's Tom Luchento on the news of the closing of Showplace Farms

Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey President Tom Luchento has issued this statement/letter on the news that Showplace Farms is closing:

It started with a four paragraph announcement, and it sent shockwaves through the racing industry in New Jersey.

On July 23, 2015, Showplace Farms in Millstone, NJ announced that after 36 years in business, it would be closing its doors on October 1, 2015.

Showplace is 140 acres of prime real estate on Route 33.  When it opened nearly four decades ago, it reflected the health of the standardbred racing industry in New Jersey, thanks to the debut of the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1976. 

Showplace, home to more than 425 horses, was a new concept: a first-class training center with its own track, state-of-the-art barns, a swimming pool for rehabilitating horses, and fenced in pastures for grazing. 

It would be the inspiration for other training centers throughout Central New Jersey where horsemen would pay for the privilege to house their racehorses in pastoral Monmouth County rather than free stabling at the Meadowlands. 

New Jersey horsemen, however, have fallen on hard times, competing against the casino-fueled purses in surrounding states.  It is making it more difficult for Showplace and other training centers to collect rent and make their businesses viable.  Meanwhile, the racetracks – including Freehold and the Meadowlands – have torn down their barn areas, leaving many horsemen without stabling options.

In a matter of months, the bulldozers will be demolishing Showplace Farms, and it will not be long before other training centers and breeding farms will be following their example.  These farms will soon be shopping malls and housing developments.

Until now, the owners of the farms and training centers were willing to gamble on the future of New Jersey racing, believing that the addition of gaming at the Meadowlands would raise the purses and justify the risks.

However, the failure of our leadership in Trenton to put the question of North Jersey gaming on this year’s ballot has been the last straw for Showplace Farms, and perhaps others to follow.

“It has been a good run,” said Bix DiMeo, general manager of Showplace, in the announcement of closure.  “But with fewer horses racing and the current economic climate here in New Jersey for harness racing, this business model no longer works for us.”

For anyone in the state legislature and the governor’s office who thought racing’s leadership was crying wolf – well, the impending closure of Showplace Farms on the heels of the dismantling of the 1,000-acre Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge seem to suggest that instead of crying wolf, the wolf is at the door.

This is an industry that represents thousands of your friends and neighbors, who could go from taxpayers to unemployed in a heartbeat. 

If the racing industry in the Garden State were to fail, it goes beyond track ownership and track employees.  Its demise would trickle down to the veterinarians, hay and grain growers, blacksmiths, horse transport companies, and others who make their living in some fashion off the racing and breeding industries.  This is a billion-dollar industry in jeopardy, a meaningful source of revenue to the state’s economy.

Unless New Jerseyans want to see our farmland, of which 20 percent is equine-related, paved over, we need Trenton to step up and bring gaming to the Meadowlands now.

Thomas Luchento
President of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey

Manalapan, NJ

Jersey Classic and Corntastic This Weekend at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ- The New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey for three-year-old state bred pacers will headline Saturday night’s card at The Meadowlands. 
Artspeak is the morning line choice over six rivals in the $200,000 Classic (race 11) as the dual NJSS champion attempts to find his winning form after a disappointing Meadowlands Pace. The speedy son of Western Ideal is just a few dollars shy of $1 million in career earnings, surely the partnership of Brittany farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners would enjoy having a winner’s circle photo to commemorate the milestone. Tony Alagna trains and Scott Zeron is the regular pilot for Artspeak. 

Heading the $100,00 Miss New Jersey is The Show Returns, a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. She is the filly NJSS champ, having been a longshot winner of her divisional final in May. The Show Returns has danced every dance this season for owners Richard and Joanne Young on her way to $169,128 in earnings. John Campbell “returns” to the sulky on Saturday evening for trainer Chris Ryder.
Off the track it’s Corntastic weekend with several corn-related activities and contests to go along with a complimentary ear of delicious Jersey corn.  

A brand new promotion on Saturday is the FREE $5,000 Handicapping Contest on Victory Terrace rooftop bar open only to those between 18 and 30 years of age. It’s a new angle designed by Meadowlands President Jeff Gural and sponsored by his and wife Paula's Allerage Farms. The intent is to direct the attention of our target audience to wagering in the hope that they will experience the excitement of betting on and winning cash at the races. 

The evening gets underway at 7:15 as the Championship Meet winds through the final few weeks, culminating with the $1 million Hambletonian on Saturday, August 8.