This holiday weekend, there is plenty of harness racing action to be had. Starting with Friday evening, the Meadowlands has scheduled a simulcast of the Molson Pace as part of their racing program, this in addition to carrying the entire Western Fair race card as a simulcast program. Don't forget Western Fair is HANA's first harness racing 'pool party' for their $10,000 guranteed Win 4 which includes the Molson Pace and three additional races picked by harness racing fans (those races should be announced later today).
On Saturday, the Meadowlands hosts the $400,000 SBOANJ Classic for 3yo New Jersey Sired colt and gelding pacers and the $150,000 Miss New Jersey for 3yo NJ sired filly pacers. Hoosier Park hosts the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational. Pocono Downs hosts $60,000 James Lynch Memorial eliminations for 3yo filly pacers.
On Sunday, Tioga Downs hosts the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) finals for pacers where 3yo pacing colts will be racing for a purse of $289,925 and 3yo fillies will be racing for $279,175. In addition to the EBC finals, there are finals of two late closing series with purses exceeding $30,000 each. Chester Downs hosts the $100,000 Betsy Ross for FFA Mares and has the first leg of the Maxie Lee late closer. The Meadowlands will simulcast the Elitlopp from Sweden starting at 8:35am, picking up the card from race 6 and continuing on through race 14. This is a change from previous years whre they picked up the Solvalla card with the Elitlopp final. I have not seen the program for Solvalla, but it would appear fans will be able to wager on the two elimination heats.
On Monday, Tioga Downs is hosting prep races for 3yo NYSS eligible horses with purses of $10,000 each. This is a welcome chnge from other tracks who scrape the barrel trying to put on an extra race on holiday weekends. Vernon Downs will be hosting finals of the EBC for 3yo trotters with the colts racing for $283,475 and the fillies going for $238,225. Both of thees cards will be raced as matinees in the afternoon. For the first time in ages, the Meadowlands will not be racing on Memorial Day. Chester Downs hosts the $200,000 PASS for 3yo trotting colts. Saratoga Harness hosts the $37,400 Battle of Saratoga late closer. Scioto Downs has the second leg of the OSS for 3yo trotting and pacing colts with $15,000 purses.
Clearly harness fans have their choice of stakes races to watch all weekend.
Dean over at PTP has a great article about marketing; specifically what are we marketing?
Ocean Downs Here They Come! Ocean Downs has released their first condition sheet for their meet which begins on June 19 and it is clear this is not the same Ocean Downs that has raced cheap horses in the past. Thanks to slot machines being introduced in Maryland, horsemen will be racing for decent money at the Berlin oval, especially if the horses are Maryland Owned and Bred. Maidens racing for $3,000 which in the past has been pretty much one of the highest purses they have had there. $4,000 claimers race for $3,000 or $4,500 if the race is filled with Maryland Owned and Bred horses. Maryland Owned and Bred $10,000 claimers race for $7,500 (the purse level at the Meadowlands) and Maryland $20,000 claimers will be racing for $12,000. Don't be surprised if some of the Maryland trainers abandon the Meadowlands once Ocean Downs opens.