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Sunday, December 31, 2017


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Rock Of Cashel returned from a four-month layoff a week ago and raised a few eyebrows with his impressive win off a live-cover trip in 1:53.4.
Saturday night at the Meadowlands, he proved that was no fluke.

The 7-year-old son of Majestic Son went a tougher journey this time around, but the result was the same as the Mark Harder trainee went parked for the final five-eighths of a mile and won for fun nonetheless in the featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters.

Rock Of Cashel was in no hurry early, sitting a five-hole trip as the classy Opulent Yankee was sailing along on the point at the half in :56.2 after rating his second fraction in :29.3.

Gradually making up ground while first-over, Rock Of Cashel reached the leader’s wheel as they turned for home, and wore that foe down in determined fashion to record a three-quarter-length win over a fast-closing Cash Me Out in 1:54. Elysium Lindy was third.

As the odds-on public choice, Rock Of Cashel returned $3.40 to win for owners Joseph Jannuzzelli and Jeffery Ruch, and now has 26 wins in 146 lifetime starts.

A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan drove three winners on the card after guiding six to victory lane last Saturday. … Jim Marohn Jr. won twice, giving him 12 straight programs with at least a driving double. … The Pick 5 was not hit, resulting in a rare carryover. They’ll be $28,786 in the hat for the next race card. … The Pick 4 pool totaled $87,371, and resulted in a payoff of $1,549.70 for a 50-cent wager. … The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $64,317. … All-source wagering for the 14-race card was $2,710,217. … Racing resumes at the Big M on Friday at 6:35 p.m.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – On another competitive evening of racing that saw several staple wagers come back with big payouts, speed horses reigned supreme at the Meadowlands Friday, taking the track’s three featured events, all of which had the condition of non-winners of $11,500 in their last five starts, while leading at every call.

The first of the wire-to-wire victors was Scirocco Jakob for driver Billy Dobson and trainer Gregory White. After starting out at 15-1 on the morning line, the 6-year-old gelding trotted the mile in 1:55.1 and returned $17.20 to win as the 7-1 fifth choice in the wagering.

Know It All, with driver-trainer Eric Abbatiello, took the fillies and mares pace in 1:53.1. The 7-year-old mare had been facing better stock at Yonkers in recent tries and took well to the class drop, returning $10.40 to win.

In the second division for trotters, Montalbano Bi held on by a nose over a fast-closing Fleet Bumblebee in 1:55.2. The 6-year-old gelding, driven by Jim Marohn Jr. and trained by Patti Harmon, returned $5.20 as the public choice.

The Pick Five wager sported a total pool of $49,622 and when the dust cleared after Race 7, the winning combination of 6-3-9-2-5 returned $31,656.15 for a wager of 50 cents. The 20 Cent Survivor Pick 10 had a pool of $21,546 and two lucky patrons walked away with $9,152.72. The Pick Four attracted $81,043 in wagers, and after two favorites, a 4-1 shot and a 6-1 chance won races eight through 11, the payout for 50 cents was $420.10.

A LITTLE MORE: Andy Miller, Dobson, Abbatiello, Greg Merton and Marohn all recorded driving doubles. … Chalk players had a nice night as six post-time choices scored on the program. … All-source handle on the 14-race card was $2,516,597. … The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five carryover grew to $61,900.15 when the wager failed to result in a single-ticket winner. … Racing resumes Saturday night with another 14-race program that gets underway at 6:35 p.

Meadowlands Saturday Extravaganza

East Rutherford, NJ - Another great 14 race betting card is in store for fans of Meadowlands racing on Saturday night. The past two weeks have seen a strong surge in interest in the races and in turn handle has followed with a significant upward trend.

The Survivor Pick 10 wager is thriving with another horseplayer chasing in to the tune of nearly $15,000 on Thursday while the horizontal wager guarantees are drawing big play and the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carry-over pool has continued to build to over $57,000 into Friday's card.

On Saturday the top trotters currently in harness open the card with a well matched field of seven set to go in a $20,000 Preferred trot.

Local stalwarts Rock Of Cashel (Corey Callahan) and Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) are both in good form after a fall freshening and will start from handicapped outside post positions. Stirling Cadet (Greg Merton) and Cash Me Out (Billy Dobson) are in from Saratoga where they were among the best trotters at the Spa late in the season. Elusium Lindy (Brett Miller) won in a career best 1:54 last week at The M and is 2 for 2 since joining the Burke barn. The accomplished pair of Iron Mine Bucky (Marcus Miller) and Muscles On Fire (Jim Marohn, Jr) complete the field in the feature.

The Meadowlands is still giving away money to those that sign up for the "Win Your Share" promotion and free programs for a few of the wagers are yours for a click. Post time remains 6:35.

Thursday, December 28, 2017



HARRISBURG PA – In a year when he drove the horses ranking 1-2-3 in the Final Top Ten polls and making a sweep of the female trotter divisional characters while contributing almost a quarter of his $12.9M seasonal sulkyearnings, Yannick Gingras was selected Driver of the Year in balloting conducted among the U.S. Harness Writers Association, the sport’s leading media organization.

One of this awesome distaff threesome benefiting from Gingras’s driving talents was older trotting mare champion Hannelore Hanover, whose dam, High Sobriety, earned honors as Trotting Broodmare of the Year. And that mother-daughter connection certainly factored into Hanover Shoe Farms being picked as Breeder of the Year – they bred Hannelore, but perhaps just as importantly they set a single-season record for the earnings of the produce of one nursery, with $31.3M registered into the last days of the season.

Yannick Gingras has earned the respect of the leading horsemen of this era to the extent that he is principal catch-driver for most of the top stakes performers trained by both Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, the “friendly rivals” almost always battling for #1 bragging rights in the sport. For Burke, Gingras guided the above-mentioned Hannelore Hanover, and for Takter, he steered three-year-old Ariana G (a repeat divisional champion) and the undefeated two-year-old Manchego. The group won fifteen $100,000+ stakes among themselves, and each won her respective Breeders Crown division, with the three Crowns for Gingras putting him at the top of the 2017 table.

But it wasn’t all just going out there with the best horse and winning as expected for Gingras in 2017 – he drove Filibuster Hanover, who going into the Little Brown Jug Final was 2-for-13 on the season, and they combined to upset the “hometown favorite” 1-2 punch of Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon. In total, Gingras won 33 stakes races worth $100,000 or more in 2017.

Before Hannelore Hanover made the spotlight, if someone had told you that High Sobriety would be in contention for the Trotting Broodmare of the Year award, you might have good reason to question that person’s sobriety – she had won once in a two-year racing career, and her first three foals had earned a combined total of $65,000. But then along came Hannelore Hanover, who added 10 wins, over $1M in earnings, and the second-fastest trotting mile in history – a 1:49.2 win at Lexington – to her already sizable accomplishments, and the glory of her campaign, where she defeated “the boys” on several occasions, brought honors to High Sobriety.

Hanover Shoe Farms is usually among the top names considered for Breeder of the Year honors – and that only makes sense, for they have led the list of moneywinning graduates for each of the 69 years that the USTA has been keeping that record. Along the way, there of course have been many, many champions bred by Hanover, with Hannelore Hanover joining the very highest of those ranks this year.

But the signal accomplishment of Hanover’s 2017 was the $31+M intake by graduates of the Farm. This broke the old record of $30.4 – which Hanover set in 2015 – with that one breaking the old record set by Hanover in 2014 … Hanover aggressively replenishes and adds to its breeding stock year after year, and the results speak for themselves.

Yannick Gingras and Hanover Shoe Farms (as Breeder of the Year and as owner of the Trotting Broodmare of the Year High Sobriety) will be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet’s Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special “portal” on the USHWA website – but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at

David Siegel savoring his milestone score

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

David Siegel recently recorded his 500th victory in the sulky here and was reflective when speaking afterwards about that score, his day job and the state of harness racing in California.

“I turn 60 next year, so I know that 500 will be the only driving milestone I will achieve,” Siegel said.

 “I was really hopeful to get it done this meet, and the horse I got it done with was appropriately named ‘Beacon of Hope.’ While I have achieved one of my life’s objectives, I would like to believe that perhaps a Beacon of Hope will shine upon the other horsemen at Cal-Expo with regard to their futures.”

By day, David is the President of TrackMaster, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equibase, which is the Thoroughbred industry’s official source for racing information.
“We service both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries providing electronic information for handicapping,’ Siegel explained. “ We have thousands of consumers as our customers as well as a number of racing institutions including every ADW in North America.

“I am involved in every aspect of our business including a number of special projects for Equibase. One that is currently taking much of my time is using GPS technology for the tracking of horses during races. This will eventually provide more information for players as well as enhance the broadcast of races at reasonable cost to the tracks.”
Back in 2001, David I took a ride in the starting gate at Pompano Park. That lead to his getting involved on the ownership side and eventually he took part in the USTA’s amateur driving school.

 “Since much of my life follows the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy, I really got into the driving and over time, began to drive every racing day working my way up the licensing ladder,” he related. “It was not easy living two hours from the track and being away from my wife every weekend for six months. But I got it done and still thoroughly enjoy the driving.

“My first trainer was Ed Hensley. After he moved Lou Pena and Ray Burt are the guys that really helped me out about driving and getting mounts. After they left, Gilbert Garcia and Bernie Wolin were my go-to trainers. Are you seeing a pattern here? It seems the guys who help me leave soon afterwards!”

And has Siegel modeled himself after any particular driver over the years?

“There is no one in particular I try to mirror stylistically. I try to do my homework and drive safely and give every horse the best chance I can.

“While I would say I have been pretty well accepted by the drivers, I know I am not viewed by many trainers the same way other drivers are and therefore don’t get the drives I might if I were a full time horsemen.

“This part gets frustrating at times, but I would not trade my life with any of the other drivers. I am so fortunate to have a good job and still get to excel at one of my keen interests. I have the best of both worlds.”

Goudreau, Gordon Eliminations headline card

Two divisions of the Robert Gordon eliminations and two divisions of the Shelly Goudreau elminations get the marquee treatment on Saturday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.

There are 11 races on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m.

The Gordon eliminations will go as the third and fifth events on the evening, while the Goudreau eliminations will occupy the 6th and 9th-race slots on the card.

The top five finishers from each of these heats will advance to next week’s respective finals, named for two legends in California harness racing.

He Grins Again and West for Gold finished one-two last weekend in a solid mile and go in separate divisions of the Gordon. The former is a 3-year-old son of Place To Be who races for George Reider and Dave, Rob and Kimberly Haness with Reider training and Steve Wiseman guiding and will be gunning for his third straight trip to the charmed enclosure.

Finishing just a neck in his wake last week was West For Gold, who goes about his business for Santiago Quintana with Edwin Quevado doing the conditioning and Mooney Svendsen once again handling the lines. He recorded a 1:53 4/5 lifetime-best victory here on November 24.

There are two wagers that are offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races on the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, on the penultimate four races. The Pick 4 comes with a guaranteed gross pool of $30,000.


From the Meadowlands Media Relations Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – While winter’s chill has been covering the Northeast of late, the action – as well as the payoffs – at the Meadowlands have been white-hot.

Racing resumes at the Big M this evening for the final race week of 2017 with a 10-race program that gets underway at 6:35 p.m. The track will then come back with back-to-back 14-race cards on Friday and Saturday with the same earlier-than-normal winter post time, which will be in effect through the end of February.

There will be many opportunities for bettors over the course of the three programs, as of the 38 races, 34 of them have full 10-horse fields. Couple that with Pick Fours and Pick Fives that have a low takeout of 15 percent, and you have the recipe for a post-Christmas score.

“The winter meet offers great opportunities for vertical and horizontal bettors,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “The full 10-horse fields combined with the long stretch at the Meadowlands makes racing a little more unpredictable, which makes the pools larger because the bigger payouts now become possible. We’re looking forward to a great 2018.”

Given how things went last weekend, he has good reason to be optimistic:
·         All-source handle on Saturday night totaled $2,771,241
·         The Pick Four pool on Friday was $68,192 and $64,196 on Saturday
·         The 50 Cent Pick Five payout on Friday was $4,375 and $3,671 on Saturday
·         The average payoff for the 20 Cent Survivor Pick 10 was $8,479
·         The first race Trifecta on Saturday returned $12,390. It was outdone one race later, when $27,399 was the payout
·         One lucky bettor in Chicago cashed in for $28,332 Saturday when he or she had the only ticket with the winning combination of 6-8-3-1-9 in the Early 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five

·         This evening’s Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five (Race 10) sports a carryover of $53,076

Fast and Furious Females on Friday at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ – Friday night at The Meadowlands offers another terrific wagering opportunity with fourteen large, competitive field on the menu. The evening’s features are a pair of conditioned races for a purse of $11,500, one for trotters, the other for pacing mares. 

A pair of imports demand consideration among the very diverse field of ten mares in the eighth race.  

Neon Sky N (PP #3) is brand new to US racing having but a single start on these shores. That one was an excellent effort versus this very same class a week ago. Trained by Matthew Adamczyk for owner Joseph Pisarski, Neon Sky N was held just off the pace by driver Anthony Napoliatno before a nice closing rally resulted in being third, beaten only a length and a half. She’s drawn an advantageous post inside her main rivals allowing A Nap the opportunity to conduct another favorable journey on Friday.

Jewel Lehigh A has been plying her trade on the continent for the past two seasons with 2017 being her best year by far. She’s generated over $122,000 for owner Michael Goldberg and trainer Andrew Harris this season and gets significant class relief on Friday. Billy Dobson will drive from post seven in Friday’s race.

Promotionally The Meadowlands will be giving away a mountain of cash in the “Win Your Share of $2017”. Sign up on the way in and get some free money!

Post time is 6:35 p.m.



HARRISBURG PA – Brian Brown, who trains at the fairgrounds in the Little Brown Jug’s hometown of Delaware OH and had been steadily making a bigger mark among North American conditioners over the last couple of years, had his breakthrough year in 2017, training two three-year-old colt pacers who were the leaders of their division much of the year and who were 1-2 in seasonal earnings, along with a star age/gait counterpart filly. These achievements earned Brown the Trainer of the Year Award as voted by the sport’s leading media organization, the  U.S. Harness Writers Association, and they contributed mightily to his also being named the organization’s Good Guy Award winner for consistent, intelligent cooperation with the sport’s media.

The 53-year-old Brown saw his two top sophomore colts earn $2.95M between them – Downbytheseaside ($1,602,452), whose late-season heroics included a win in the Breeders Crown and being named divisional champion, and Fear The Dragon ($1,350,146), who had ranked #1 in the weekly pools for much of the summer into the fall after major stakes wins throughout North America. (Ironically, one of the few major events not taken by one or the other of the Brown sophomore powerhouses was the Little Brown Jug, although Fear The Dragon did win the first heat.)

Joining Downbytheseaside as a Breeders Crown winner and divisional champion was three-year-old pacing filly Blazin Britches, an $800,000+ earner. And the rest of the Brown barn contributed earnings in the vicinity of $2 million, giving Brian a lifetime seasonal high bankroll of over $5.7M, despite starting fewer than 550 horses (he had a .402 UTR).

There were many highs during the campaigns of these three top horses, but there were also the inevitable dips in form and bouts with minor illnesses that virtually all racehorses experience. Whether in the winners circle, puzzling over an off performance, or pondering his charges’ upcoming races, Brown kept up an honest, informational stream of conversation (with consistent praise for the members of “Team Brown”) to a media whose readers wanted to know more about these equine stars. If Brown was elated by a horse’s top effort to win a big stake, there was no mistaking his enjoyment; similarly, if a horse’s form was rollercoastering a bit, you felt like you were on the up-and-down ride with Brown, awaiting the next turn in the journey. His intelligent candor enabled Brown to be selected for the Good Guy award, along with his Trainer of the Year honors.

Brown’s adept handling of Fear The Dragon and Blazin Britches brought out one solid performance after another from those talented horses, with their biggest cheerleader – owner Bruce Trogdon of Emerald Highlands Farm – usually present to share in the glory. Trogdon was also the breeder of Blazin Britches, and he bought the dam of Fear The Dragon with him in utero (already carrying the embryo), so Trogdon has been there from the literal very beginning of their lives through their two seasons of racing, including the successes of 2017. Thus the former newspaperman celebrated the 25th year of existence of his Emerald Highlands operation in the most successful way imaginable, capped by his winning the Owner of the Year award. Trogdon’s former “small operation,” Emerald Highlands, now has 37 broodmares, and likely a future champion or two maturing as they traverse the farm’s mid-Ohio fields.

Brian Brown, as both Trainer of the Year and the Good Guy Award winner, and owner Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm, will be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet’s Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special “portal” on the USHWA website – but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at

Grecale AS and Schalom G are retired at Monticello Raceway

It is rare to have a 14-year-old veteran campaigner stay sound long enough to race until their 15th birthday, but on Wednesday December 27, Monticello Raceway had 2 – 14-year-old warriors race in their final career start in the same race, Grecale AS and Schalom G.

Grecale AS retires as the winningest aged trotter in North America in 2017 with 17 wins. The son of Sugarcane Hanover has a stellar season with yearly earnings over $50,000.  Grecale AS is trained by Don Hoover of Ballston Spa, NY, his final career tally race is 299 – 59 – 42 – 24, $393,089 and a lifetime mark of 1:56 as a 10-year-old.

The other elder statesman is Schalom G, a son of Toss Out – Pleasure Way, ironically, took his lifetime mark (1:52.4) as the age of 10 also. Schalom G is owned and trained by harness racing blue blood Jim Doherty Jr. of Monticello NY. His final career tally is 245 43-34-27 and $373,520. 

Schalom G recently did his Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer impression over the weekend for his young fans in Liberty NY.  Grecale AS and Schalom G. are both foreign bred, Grecale AS was foaled in Italy and Schalom G was foaled in Germany, in 2003.

The barefooted Grecale AS, went out in style as he scored an easy wire to wire victory in 2:03.4 with Monticello Raceway leading dash winner James Devaux at the helm,  Schalom G finished a game 4th.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Smash has made her owners proud

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Smash has been a solid performer for owner/breeders Junior Wilkinson and Billie Schwartz, with some Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle and a 1:53 /5 mark that was established this summer at Hoosier Park under Wilkinson’s direction.

The dark-hued daughter of Little Steven has posed for pictures twice at this meeting in conditioned company and is coming off a good runner-up finish behind Shesamysterytome in last week’s Filly and Mare Open.

“We bred her and we bred her mother I Need A Miracle and we’re proud of both of them,” Wilkinson related. “She’s a full sister to A Real Miracle and she’s been good to us.

“She’s had too much for them when we’ve been able to drop her into conditioned spots, and her last start in the Open was very good because she got a little unlucky and then was flying at the end.”

Smash is set to make her next start Friday night as she once again takes on a solid group of fillies and mares, including last week’s victress Shesamysterytome, in the featured Open.

She was among four in the field who were assigned to draw for outside posts and unfortunately got the short straw in this case and will have to do her work from the from the No. 8 slot for this go-around.

Distaff Open brings out well-matched field

An evenly-matched field of eight pacing fillies and mares will do battle in Friday night’s featured $6,600 Open, with Shesamystertome seeking a repeat score at the head of the class.

The main event will go as the 7th contest on an 11-race card under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m.

Shesamysterytome is a 3-year-old daughter of Mystery Chase who carries the banner of Ashley Sluggett and Trevor Williams and is trained and driven by Ryan Grundy. She has prevailed in three of her four starts at this session since coming in from Canada.

After capturing a pair of conditioned events in her first two outings at this meet, she finished second behind Capitol Hill in her next try. Suiting up from the rail in last week’s top clash for this group, Shesamystertome made what proved to be the winning brush to the lead past the quarter and went on to a length and a quarter score while rewarding her backers to the tune of $20.40.

Capitol Hill had to settle for a fourth as the mild favorite in that affair, but has several Open scores at this stand. George McChrystal and Kathie Plested own, Plested trains and Steve Wiseman will once again be at the controls.

Sparkin Your Fire accounted for back-to-back top dances earlier this month and figures right in the thick of things. Gerry Longo trains for Peg Hoffman with Mooney Svendsen in the bike and this mare set a lifetime mark of 1:54 with her December 1 decision here.

Rounding out the field are Smash, Windsong Lindsey, Delightfully Wild, Rush And A Brush and If You Say So.


There are two wagers that are offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races on the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, on the penultimate four races. The Pick 4 comes with a guaranteed gross pool of $30,000.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Thursday Night at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - On Thursday night at The Meadowlands an even 100 horses will populate the 10 contests offered on the live racing card.

Seven various classes of pacers combined with three trotting races, two of which represent this week's GSY Driving Club events, will present a full slate of pari-mutuel puzzles to the Meadowlands faithful.

New Jersey horseman John Calabrese has enjoyed success in the GSY series with Keenan and Wild Smile from his own barn and he picks up a live catch drive on Thursday in Sweet Justice for trainer Bruce Saunders. Sweet Justice has been a good horse for a long time for Saunders and owner SBK Stable with nearly a half million dollars earned over his career. He's been facing solid fields at Harrah's Philly lately and although the "A" competition is fierce, the old boy should match up pretty well against them with Calabrese calling the shots from post 8 in the third race.

The big wagering attraction on Thursday will be the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carry over pool which is now in excess of $53,000.

Check it all out on the web and remember post time is 

Sunday, December 24, 2017



By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Soto blasted right to the top and rolled directly down the road Saturday night at the Meadowlands, taking the featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap pace in 1:50 over a sloppy track.

The 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven was last seen at Dover Downs on Dec. 7, missing only a head to Christen Me N, who was nothing short of dominant in winning the Meadowlands’ feature last week. That race served as the perfect prep.

Soto sprinted away from the gate and took control right away, hitting the quarter in :26.2 and the half in :54.1 while unpressured. Out of the four hole came 7-5 favorite Sweet Rock at the half to go after the leader, and at the three-quarter-mile mark, Sweet Rock was up to the leader’s wheel. But he would get no closer.

After a rated third fraction led to a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Soto and driver Jim Marohn Jr. had plenty left in the tank, striding clear through the stretch and hitting the wire 3¼-lengths in front of Sweet Rock. Always At My Place, who was three wide at the top of the stretch, rallied for the show dough.

Soto, an Eric Ell trainee, paid $6.80 to win and now has 23 lifetime victories in 94 starts and earnings of $464,950 for owners W. Kenneth Wood, W.J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta. The winning time was a season’s best for the horse, whose lifetime mark of 1:48.4 was taken last year at Pocono Downs.

SIX FOR CALLAHAN: Corey Callahan was the big man in the driver’s room, as after scoring a natural hat trick in the third, fourth and fifth races, he went on to win three more on the card, including a sweep of the Late Daily Double, giving him a six-bagger.

A LITTLE MORE:  One lucky simulcast bettor in Chicago hit big, as he or she who held the only ticket with the combination of 6-8-3-1-9 cashed in for $28,332.92 in the ninth race 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five. … The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five failed to produce a single-ticket winner in the 14th race, upping the carryover to $53,076.05. … Jim Marohn Jr. recorded a driving double, giving him six winners for the week and 15 over the last two weeks. … The great Foiled Again, a lifetime earner of over $7.5 million, rallied for fourth in the eighth race conditioned pace despite drawing post 10. … All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,771,242. … Racing resumes at the Big M Thursday at 6:35 p.m.


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It was Christmas two days early for one lucky Meadowlands simulcast bettor in Chicago.

The Windy City punter raked the pot Saturday night at the conclusion of the ninth race 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five, as the single-ticket that had the winning combination of 6-8-3-1-9 paid a hefty $28,332.92.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – On an evening that saw competitive racing, a $9,700 payout in the Pick 10 Survivor wager and no fewer than four drivers winning at least two races, Joe Bongiorno and Billy Dobson were the biggest winners of all, as both guided three horses to victory lane Friday night at the Meadowlands.

Bongiorno’s three-bagger began with Woodbine shipper More Than Talk in the second race, who trotted the mile in 1:55.1 and returned $5.00 to win as the favorite for trainer Ron Burke. Cracklin Rosie followed in the sixth for trainer Carmen Auciello, paying $10.40 to win after pacing the mile in 1:53. Joe B’s triple treat concluded in the ninth when Elysium Lady scored, paying $6.00, after trotting the mile in 1:54 for Burke.

Dobson got underway in the fifth race guiding Kyle Spagnola-trainee No Recess to a 14-1 upset ($30.80 to win). The winner trotted the mile in 1:53.3. Carobbean Pacetry took the eighth race pace in 1:51.3, returning $10.40 to her backers for trainer Meir Geller. Dobson’s third winner came in the 13th race pace as even-money choice Talbot Chanel ($4.00) scored as much the best in a lifetime-fastest 1:53. The win gave Burke a training triple on the card.

A LITTLE MORE: It was a night for the chalk players as favorites reigned supreme in eight of the 13 races. … Jim Marohn Jr. and Anthony Napolitano each recorded driving doubles. … The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, pushing the carryover past the $50,000 mark. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,459,528. … Racing resumes Saturday night at the Big M. Post time is 6:35 p.m.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Open Trot, Pace headline special Tuesday program

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

An Open Trot that brings out track record-holder Pridecrest and an Open Pace featuring Jazzmanian Devil, Eastender and I’m An Athlete share the spotlight on a special Tuesday night card at Cal Expo.

First post for the 14-race program is 5 p.m. with the Open Trot going as the second event and the co-featured Open Pace immediately following as the third contest of the evening.

The harness action will continue this week with Friday and Saturday cards.

Pridecrest is a 5-year-old son of Angus Hall from the Wesgate Crown mare Spilled Milk who competes for Mark Hinshaw with Luke Plano doing the driving and training. He has accounted for all three of his outings at this meet since arriving from the Midwest, including a track-record performance on November 3.

In that event, he went right to the front for Plano waltzed home with nearly 10 lengths on his nearest rival while stopping the timer in the new course standard of 1:53 2/5. He came from off the pace to romp eight nights later, then overcame the assigned No. 10 post and an early miscue to get the job down at most recent asking with some late heroics
as the 1-5 choice.

He will once again be asked to do his work from the assigned No. 10 spot on Tuesday while facing Talkin Tootsie, Itzaziam, Silverhill Volo, Silverlode and Dougs Hobby Horse.

Jazzmanian Devil is a 6-year-old who carries the banner of William Condon with Kathie Plested conditioning and Mooney Svendsen in his usual position in the sulky. He has accounted for two of the last three Open Paces at this session and was a 1:52 1/5 victor over this layout earlier in the year.

Eastender narrowly missed to Jazzmanian Devil in the December 1 clash at the head of the class and looms large for owners Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson and driver/trainer Luke Plano, while I’m An Athlete is a hard-knocking Ronald Rettig-Zucchi colorbearer from the Jesse Pacheco barn who helps make things very interesting with James Kennedy at the controls.

There are two wagers that are offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races on the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, on the penultimate four races. The Pick 4 comes with a guaranteed gross pool that has been raised to $30,000.

Silverlode earns money the old fashioned way

Silverlode, who will celebrate her 9th birthday next week, added another victory to her resume last weekend and has now banked just shy of $160,000 for owner/breeders Steve and Vickie Desomer.

A daughter of British Sterling out of the outstanding racemare and producer Charlotte’s Web, Silverlode has been a mainstay on this circuit for quite some time and established her lifetime standard of 1:55 1/5 over this track last season.

In last week’s appearance with Mooney Svendsen handling the lines, the bay miss dropped into a stalking spot early from her outside slot, made a powerful move to the lead past the half and went on to a seven and a half-length romp while making even-money look like an early Xmas gift.

“We were a little hasty getting her ready to race at this meet,” Vickie said. “That may explain whey her early efforts weren’t that good.

“She is honest and willing and has remained relatively sound throughout her career. She’s lovely to work with and has had the added benefit of Telma Hernandez and Emilio Cisneros as her caretaker.”

Saturday Night Is Special at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday night at The Meadowlands brings with it another value laden 14 race extravaganza beginning at the new early post time of 6:35 p.m. 

The overall quality is high, thirteen solid fields of journeyman pacers and one real good group of trotters compose the card with the featured sixth race a $20,000 Preferred pace.

Oddsmaker Dave Brower has tabbed a pair of Delaware shippers as the top two choices on his morning line for the sixth.

Sweet Rock just makes money and has always done well at The Meadowlands, his personal career highlight a win in the 2014 NJ Classic at odds of 92-1. Since then he's made a solid living in the upper classes for trainer Wayne Givens who owns him as Legacy Racing along with fellow Delawareans Reginald Hazzard II and Gary Calloway. Brett Miller, who was aboard for that NJ Classic win, has the drive from post four.

Soto is another money maker shipping up from Dover for trainer Eric Ell and 2017 has been his best season to date, earning more than $200,000 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar, Jr and Steve Iaquinta. Soto had good success against top competition in the Levy series and just missed a new 1:49.2 record by a mere head in his last, falling but a head short of Christen Me N who had his way with this class last week. The "Red-Hot" Jimmy Marohn, Jr has the assignment from post seven.

There are plenty of ways to win on Saturday with Pick 4 and Pick 5 guarantees, the Survivor bet and a healthy Jackpot Hi 5 carry-over that will be in excess of $50,000, providing it survives Friday's assault.

Make a reservation in Pink to dine while playing the horses. Get free program pages to help sort out the big bets. Then come get the money!


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Driver Jim Taggart Jr. is having a superb season at Monticello Raceway, and if Thursday night is any indication, he may be heading for some wintertime success at the Meadowlands as well.

Taggart guided Master Of Puppets to an ideal second-over trip, and as the favorites weakened late, he tipped his 23-1 chance off cover when they straightened away at the head of the stretch before going on to a three-quarter length win in the Dash For The “G” Notes Final. May I Cruise West was second, with Acton Onelasttime third.

In the early going, 9-5 second choice Esprit De Kayjay A, seeking his seventh straight score, was on 
the lead, but yielded to even-money public choice Walks Of Life. The leader was sailing along on the point as May I Cruise West started his grind at the five-eighths, towing Master Of Puppets with him.

Walks Of Life was clear at three-quarters, but over a surface that has been unkind of late to horses racing on the lead, his crunch-time gas tank was on empty as Master Of Puppets scored with ease for trainer Dan Morrissey. The winner, a 7-year-old gelded son of Ashlee’s Big Guy, paid $48.80 to win and paced the mile in a season’s-best 1:52.3. He now has 34 lifetime wins in 183 starts.

A LITTLE MORE: Jim Marohn Jr., fresh off winning his third straight Finn Tack Driver of the Week award, won twice on the card, giving him 11 winners over the last four racing programs. … Brett Miller also scored a driving double. … The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High 5 failed to result in a single-ticket winner, pushing the carryover to $47,447. … All-source wagering on the card totaled $1,520,576. … Effective immediately, and until the end of February, post time at the Big M shifts to 6:35 p.m. … Racing resumes Friday evening.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

USHWA announces Dan Patch Award divisional champions

History-making Pure Country and Manchego, unanimous selections Ariana G and Hannelore Hanover, and money-leader Downbytheseaside were among the 12 horses named 2017 Dan Patch Award winners Thursday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Pure Country became the first female pacer in history to receive Dan Patch honors at ages 2, 3 and 4. The complete list of award-winning pacers is Pure Country (older female), Downbytheseaside (3-year-old male), Blazin Britches (3-year-old female) Lost In Time (2-year-old male), Youaremycandygirl (2-year-old female) and Keystone Velocity (older male).

Manchego became the first undefeated 2-year-old female trotter to win a Dan Patch trophy since the category for fillies was created in 1978. In addition to Manchego, the divisional award-winning trotters are Ariana G (3-year-old female), Hannelore Hanover (older female), Fourth Dimension (2-year-old male), What The Hill (3-year-old male) and Marion Marauder (older male).

Ariana G, Hannelore Hanover, and Marion Marauder are repeat winners.

A total of 131 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned by the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s membership this year.

Dan Patch Award winners will be honored at a banquet Feb. 25 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year will be announced.

Ariana G, one of four Dan Patch Award winners from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, won 12 of 15 races this year and earned $1.12 million for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who also bred the filly. Driven by Yannick Gingras, her victories included the Hambletonian Oaks, Breeders Crown, and Elegantimage Stakes.

Five-year-old Hannelore Hanover, the first repeat winner in the trotting mare division since Buck I St Pat captured three trophies in a row from 2008-10, won 10 of 17 races this season and earned $1.04 million. She became the fastest female trotter in history when she won the Allerage Farms Open Trot in 1:49.2 at Lexington’s Red Mile and was the first mare to beat the boys in the Breeders Crown Open since Moni Maker in 1998.

Other wins for the Ron Burke-trained Hannelore Hanover included the Maple Leaf Trot, where she also defeated male rivals, and the Armbro Flight Stakes. She is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. Gingras was her regular driver.

Marion Marauder, a 4-year-old stallion who was last season’s Trotter of the Year, won three of 10 races this year and earned $769,182 for owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. Marion Marauder’s victories included the Hambletonian Maturity and Graduate Series championship and he was second in the International Trot. He was trained by the wife-and-husband team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling and driven by Scott Zeron.

What The Hill, another trotter from the Burke stable, won nine of 18 races this year and earned $948,178 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. His triumphs included the Breeders Crown and Canadian Trotting Classic and he concluded his campaign by beating older horses in the TVG Series championship. He was driven by David Miller.

Manchego was a perfect 12-for-12 this season and earned $873,948 for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Trained by Takter and driven by Gingras, her wins included the Breeders Crown, Jim Doherty Memorial, and Peaceful Way Stakes.

Fourth Dimension, trained by Marcus Melander for owner Courant Inc., won eight of 11 races and earned $397,410. His wins included the Valley Victory Stakes. He was driven by Brian Sears.

All of the winning trotters received at least 78 percent of the vote with the exception of Marion Marauder, who garnered 53.4 percent as he outdistanced runner-up Crazy Wow by 31 votes.

Pure Country joined male pacer Jenna’s Beach Boy as the only pacers in the last 45 years to receive divisional honors at ages 2, 3 and 4. Jenna’s Beach Boy accomplished the feat from 1994-96. The homebred Pure Country won five of 16 races and earned $461,168 for owner Diamond Creek Racing and trainer Takter. All her wins came in her final 10 starts, with Mark MacDonald in the sulky, and included the Breeders Crown, TVG Series championship, and Lady Liberty.

Downbytheseaside finished his campaign with a four-race win streak on his way to leading the sport with $1.60 million in purses. The colt’s victories included the Messenger Stakes, Progress Pace, Carl Milstein Memorial, and Art Rooney Pace. He was trained by Brian Brown and owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. Chris Page, Brian Sears, and David Miller all guided the horse to stakes wins.

He received 89.3 percent of the vote as he outpaced runner-up Fear The Dragon, who also was trained by Brown.

Youaremycandygirl, history’s fastest 2-year-old female pacer thanks to her 1:50 mile in a division of the International Stallion Stakes in Lexington, won nine of 11 races this year and closed the season with a seven-race win streak. Her victories included the Breeders Crown, She’s A Great Lady, and Three Diamonds. She earned $895,615 for owner Bill Donovan, trainer Burke and drivers Gingras and Louis-Philippe Roy.

Lost In Time, who was trained by Jim Mulinix before heading to the Takter stable for his final two starts, won five of nine races and earned $608,112 for owners A Rocknroll Dance Racing, Denny Miller, William Rufenacht, and Team S Racing Stable. His victories included the Metro Pace and Governor’s Cup. He was driven by Zeron.

Blazin Britches won the balloting’s closest vote, defeating runner-up Agent Q by 14 votes among 3-year-old female pacers. Blazin Britches, trained by Brown for breeder/owner Emerald Highlands Farm, won 11 of 15 races and earned $540,424. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Nadia Lobell, and Shady Daisy. She was driven primarily by Trace Tetrick, but also scored a stakes victory with David Miller.

In the division for older male pacers, nine horses received at least one vote, with Keystone Velocity coming out on top by 31 votes over runner-up Mach It So. The 9-year-old Keystone Velocity won eight of 22 races and earned $783,442 for owners Allard Racing, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. His victories included the Ben Franklin Pace and Levy Memorial Series championship. Trained by Rene Allard, he was driven by Dan Dube and Simon Allard.

Information regarding the Dan Patch Awards banquet is available at Follow are profiles for the 12 divisional champions.


Fourth Dimension
(103 votes/78.6 percent)
Chapter Seven – Corazon Blue Chip – Muscle Hill
Yearling price: $200,000 under name Seventh Wonder at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeders: Ray Schnittker, Steven Arnold, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Arden Homestead Stable.
Owner: Courant Inc.
Trainer: Marcus Melander. Driver: Brian Sears.
Races: 11-8-1-0. Purses: $397,410. Mark: 1:52.4 at Lexington.
Top wins: $464,650 Valley Victory; $59,400 International Stallion Stakes division.

(130 votes/99.2 percent)
Muscle Hill – Secret Magic – Cantab Hall
Yearling price: $120,000 under name Whispering Hills at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeder: Brittany Farms.
Owners: Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, Herb Liverman.
Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras.
Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $873,948. Mark: 1:52.4 at Mohawk.
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial; $307,500 Peaceful Way.

What The Hill
(120 votes/91.6 percent)
Muscle Hill – K T Cha Cha – Angus Hall
Yearling price: $65,000 at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeder: Stan Klemencic.
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Deo Volente Farms.
Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: David Miller.
Races: 18-9-1-2. Purses: $948,178. Mark: 1:51.4 at Mohawk.
Top wins: $560,880 Canadian Trotting Classic; $527,500 Breeders Crown; $350,000 TVG Championship.

Ariana G
(131 votes/100 percent)
Muscle Hill – Cantab It All – Cantab Hall
Yearling price: Homebred.
Breeders: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld.
Owners: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld.
Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras.
Races: 15-12-2-1. Purses: $1.12 million. Mark: 1:51.1 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $315,700 Elegantimage.

Marion Marauder
(70 votes/53.4 percent)
Muscle Hill – Spellbound Hanover – Donerail
Yearling price: $37,000 under name Marion Monopoly at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeder: William Mulligan.
Owners: Marion Jean Wellwood, Devin Keeling.
Trainers: Mike Keeling, Paula Wellwood. Driver: Scott Zeron.
Races: 10-3-3-2. Purses: $769,182. Mark: 1:51.2 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $458,750 Hambletonian Maturity; $240,000 Graduate Championship.

Hannelore Hanover
(131 votes/100 percent)
Swan For All – High Sobriety – Dream Vacation
Yearling price: $32,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale.
Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms.
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva Stables.
Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras.
Races: 17-10-5-0. Purses: $1.04 million. Mark: 1:49.2 (world record) at Lexington.
Top wins: $526,250 Breeders Crown Open; $486,260 Maple Leaf Trot; $184,690 Armbro Flight.


Lost In Time
(96 votes/73.2 percent)
A Rocknroll Dance – Summer Mystery – Artiscape
Yearling price: $47,000 at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeder: Diamond Creek Farm.
Owners: A Rocknroll Dance Racing, Denny Miller, William Rufenacht, Team S Racing Stable.
Trainers: Jim Mulinix, Jimmy Takter. Driver: Scott Zeron.
Races: 9-5-2-0. Purses: $608,112. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk.
Top wins: $660,960 Metro Pace; $411,700 Governor’s Cup; $58,000 International Stallion Stakes division.

(128 votes/97.7 percent)
American Ideal – Sweet Lady Jane – Somebeachsomewhere
Yearling price: $150,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale.
Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms.
Owner: W J (Bill) Donovan.
Trainer: Ron Burke. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Louis Roy.
Races: 11-9-0-0. Purses: $895,615. Mark: 1:50 (world record) at Lexington.
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $405,000 She’s A Great Lady; $381,200 Three Diamonds.

(117 votes/89.3 percent)
Somebeachsomewhere – Sprig Hanover – Allamerican Native
Yearling price: $65,000 under name Beach Blue Chip at Lexington Selected Sale.
Breeders: Blue Chip Farms, Janet Seltzer, Jeffrey Scott Rabinowitz, Jordan Farkas, Robert Wood.
Owners: Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, Diamond Creek Racing.
Trainer: Brian Brown. Drivers: Chris Page, Brian Sears, David Miller.
Races: 22-14-2-3. Purses: $1.60 million. Mark: 1:48.3 at Dover Downs.
Top wins: $500,000 Messenger; $308,060 Progress; $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial; $300,000 Art Rooney Pace.

Blazin Britches
(66 votes/50.3 percent)
Rock N Roll Heaven – Soggy Britches – Allamerican Ingot
Yearling price: Homebred.
Breeder: Emerald Highlands Farm.
Owner: Emerald Highlands Farm.
Trainer: Brian Brown. Drivers: Trace Tetrick, David Miller.
Races: 15-11-2-0. Purses: $540,424. Mark: 1:48.4 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $160,000 Nadia Lobell; $113,950 Shady Daisy.

Keystone Velocity
(65 votes/49.6 percent)
Western Hanover – Venus Killean – Run The Table
Yearling price: $3,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale.
Breeder: George Hempt.
Owners: Allard Racing, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., VIP Internet Stable.
Trainer: Rene Allard. Drivers: Dan Dube, Simon Allard.
Races: 22-8-3-1. Purses: $783,442. Mark: 1:47.3 at Rosecroft.
Top wins: $529,000 Levy Championship; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $100,000 Potomac Pace.

Pure Country
(121 votes/92.3 percent)
Somebeachsomewhere – Western Montana – Western Hanover
Yearling price: Homebred.
Breeder: Diamond Creek Farm.
Owner: Diamond Creek Racing.
Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Mark MacDonald.
Races: 16-5-3-1. Purses: $461,168. Mark: 1:48 (Q) at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $250,000 Breeders Crown; $200,400 Lady Liberty; $175,000 TVG Championship.