East Rutherford, N.J. - This weekend's highlights at The Meadowlands occur both on and off the racetrack.
Friday night's eleven race card offers a return to fuller fields including the first two-year-old races of The Meadowlands 2016 season and Grand Circuit racing in form of the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Free For All featuring seven of the continent's finest trotting horses competing for the winner's share.
The Cutler, a TVG Series leg, has last season's Older Trotter of the Year JL Cruze looking for a return to top form after a few sub par (for him) efforts. He's done his best work over the Meadowlands mile strip and will begin from post position three for Hall of Fame driver John Campbell, trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar, Jr and Steve Iaquinta in the seventh race.
JL Cruze will have to deal with Obrigado, currently the "Hot Horse" in the division based on consecutive Grand Circuit wins in the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philly and the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs. He'll complete a rare natural hat trick of Memorial races if driver Mark MacDonald can get him home in the Artie Cutler. Paul Kelley trains and owns Obrigado in partnership with SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45.
Saturday's card is also competitive and deep with solid condition types and a popular "Dash For The G-Note" final in race six.
All of the standard Pick N guarantees are in place, free program pages for the Late Pick 4 both days are yours for the clicking, courtesy of Trackmaster. The last race Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover opens the weekend at $261,110.
Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. you are invited to join in the fun of watching harness racing's next generation of stars taking lessons at Breakfast With The Babies. There are 20 races scheduled, coffee, juices and pastry will be offered gratis and you may download a program from this link or watch remotely via live stream if you can't make it to the track.
Off the track it's time for The Meadowlands to crown Ms Hot To Trot for 2016. Friday will be preliminary night as the judges determine which contestants will move on to Saturday's final round in quest of the $5,000 top prize and the right to wear the tiara for a year. There may still be time for a few more beauties to enter, check the above link.
Looking ahead to the holiday weekend, next Saturday, July 2 you are invited watch to the greatest fireworks display in the area at The Meadowlands. Watch from the rooftop bar at Victory Terrace for a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline by night as well as the inspiring display celebrating our nation's independence.
Post time is 7:15 p.m.