East Rutherford, NJ - At long last, Grand Circuit racing returns to The Meadowlands on Saturday night. A dozen of the finest Free For All trotters on the continent are set to contest the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial (TVG Series event) at a mile and one eighth.
Two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Pace for four-year-olds play a supporting role.
The Cutler marks the first seasonal start for Resolve who took last year's edition on his way to a million dollar season for owner Hans Enggren and trainer driver Ake Svanstedt. Reslove also counted the $1 million International Trot and $480,000 Maple Leaf among his successes along with a second place finish in last year's Elitlopp.
It will be no easy task for Resolve to defend his title against the talented group who have cumulatively won over $9 million. World record holder JL Cruze (Corey Callahan) and the iron tough Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras) stand chief among the competition in the bulky field.
The Cutler has been carded as race seven, the first leg of the $50,000 guaranteed pool Late Pick 4. You may download the past performance for that wager from The Meadowlands website.
A potential perk to the Cutler winner is an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp set for Sunday, May 29. The use of trotting hopples and Lasix is prohibited in that event.
Elitlopp officials have again arranged for a direct flight to Solvalla for those horses travelling across the Atlantic to compete in the that historic event. Horsemen are encouraged to contact The Meadowlands at (201) 842-5130 if they have interest in taking a horse to race in Sweden. There are a number of stakes offered on the Elitlopp undercard.
The $1 million Graduate Series opens with the first of three legs leading into the $250,000e final on July 8. Thirteen declarations were split into a pair of divisions which are scheduled as races four and six on Saturday.
The first division features Western Fame, Roll Away Joe and Sintra all of whom significant impact in various state-bred races last season.
Western Fame was second in the PASS final which parlayed into Grand Circuit success. He won his division of the first heat and was second in the Little Brown Jug final then copped a Bluegrass division in Lexington. Western Fame was a game winner over a pair of Graduate contenders in his first seasonal start last week here for driver Mark Mac Donald, trainer Jimmy Takter and owner Brittany Farms.
Roll Away Joe was the NYSS champ last season and won at The Meadowlands last week when paired with Yannick Gingras for the first time. Ron Burke trains for Howard Taylor, Steve Demeter and Tom Lazzaro.
Sintra spent most of last season chasing division leader Betting Line while banking over $200,000 for owners Brad Gray, Michale Guerriero and trainer Dave Menary as Menary Racing. He comes in off an impressive winning effort at Mohawk in his seasonal bow and gets Brett Miller to drive.
The second Graduate division may be a bit deeper in talent with all seven horses having earned six figures at three, led by million dollar winner Check Six (Gingras) who missed by just a nose to Western Fame in his seasonal debut last week for the Burke Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Switala & Martin.
There are a few interesting angle to consider, not the least of which is driver Tim Tetrick's decision to get off Boston Red Rocks, a horse he's driven to a million dollars in earnings for Missile J who had remarkable success facing older in the Levy series at Yonkers earlier this season.
Also, Brett Miller picks up the drive on Lyons Snyder which seems a natural pairing as they both enjoy going fast.
Saturday is of course Kentucky Derby day and The Meadowlands is as good a place as there is to watch and wager on the big race in the metropolitan area. We start early with gates opening at 9:30 a.m. and go all day into the night with the live card starting at 7:15 p.m.