East Rutherford, NJ- A field of seven Preferred trotters racing for a purse of $20,000head up a ten race program at The Meadowlands on Friday evening to officially kick off Belmont Stakes weekend.
The draw for post positions in the Preferred was done in handicap fashion with the stronger horses relegated to posts five, six and seven. Gural Hanover landed in the open outside post seven and has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite.
Relatively lightly raced but always effective, the six-year-old gelded son of Crazed makes but his fiftieth career start and will eclipse $850,000 in earnings for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E, LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corp with a win on Friday. Currently in top form, Gural Hanover took a new mark of 1:51 in this class just a week ago. Jordan Stratton will drive for trainer Ron Burke.
A pair of battle tested warriors in Not Afraid (PP #5 Jim Marohn, Jr) and B Yoyo (PP #6 Joe Bongiorno) are the greatest threat to the favorite. Both have been competitive at a high level for quite some time, particularly Not Afraid who won the Dexter Cup way back in 2012 and is inching in on $1 million in career earnings for the Takters.
Poker and free baseball tickets are on tap for Friday night and the dinner theme in Pink is German food.
It's a weekend full of wonder with both the 2nd annual Burger Battle and BeerFest both scheduled for Saturday. Come early and stay late.
Post time is 7:15 p.m.