For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hambletonian Elimination Posts Drawn

The post positions have been drawn for the first heat of the Hambletonian where there will be three eliminations.  Here are the horses and their respective post positions by elimination.

Hambletonian - First Heat (Elimination 1)
1.  Punxsutawney
2.  Smilin Eli
3.  Dewycolorintheline
4.  High Bridge
5.  Super Classic
6.  Dreams Of Thunder
7.  E L Rocket
8.  Royalty For Life

Hambletonian - First Heat (Elimination 2)
1.  Wheeling N Dealin
2.  A Perfect Yankee
3.  Your So Vain
4.  Jacks To Open
5.  Celebrity Maserati
6.  Caveat Emptor
7.  Dontyouforgetit
8.  Creatine

Hambletonian - First Heat (Elimination 3)
1.  Possessed Fashion
2.  Murmur Hanover
3.  Banco Solo
4.  All Laid Out
5.  Corky
6.  Spider Blue Chip
7.  Lauderdale

This and That

VFTRG contributor Joe F. gives his thoughts on a few topics in a new segment we call, "This and That": 

Taking a look at the top twenty sophomore pacing colts on the earning’s list can be informative. A couple of them, Odds On Equuleus and Wake Up Peter, have no wins; both have accumulated their bankrolls by picking up checks on the GC. So this is by no means a best of list, but money turns the wheel and earnings tell a story. Eight of those in the top twenty were bred in New York: Bettor’s Delight tops the list with four, followed by Art Major with three. American Ideal has one-- Sunfire Blue Chip. These at large numbers reflect what is happening in New York State: four of the top ten point getters in the NYSS are by Bettor’s Delight and the same number are by Art Major. Bettor’s Delight also leads the lower level Excelsior program with four in the top ten, while American Ideal has three and Art Major two. All three of them can get it done on the restricted or open level.

Six of those on the top twenty earning’s list were bred in Pennsylvania, three by SBSW, two by the Panderosa and one by Dragon Again. And three were bred in New Jersey. (Bettor’s Delight, Western Ideal and The Panderosa have all moved since this crop was foaled. The Bettor’s Delights foaled this year will be Ontario eligible and next year’s crop will be eligible to the PASS.) 

The Captain has earned 55%  more money than the number two—Nitelife—and he’s banked 68% more than the second place colt—Sunfire Blue Chip. He’s sucking up all the air in the room. It is surprising that there is no SBSW filly on the top twenty money list, or another couple of colts either, for that matter.

The top five, Captain, Nitelife, Sunfire, Vegas Vacation and Twilight Bonfire have functioned primarily in the open sphere. In fact only five of the top twenty are hard corps sire stakes types. That would be: Fool Me Once, who made his first starts in Ontario, but has gone the NYSS route for the last month; Love Canal, who tried the Fan, but makes her money in the ONSS; Doctor Butch, who  has only won twice but has banked enough SS money to hold down the eleven spot; Night Pro, an Indiana SS colt who has been stealing from the Always A Virgin crowd; Cheyenne Miriam, a NYSS filly who hasn’t raced lately; and Bet The Moon, a hard corps NYSS colt. Four of the six are from New York; none are from Pennsylvania or New Jersey. 

Seven of the top twenty earning pacers at this point are fillies, and while Nitelife doesn’t dwarf the bank accounts of the others, she has won seven of eight starts and has apparently scared Somwherovrarainbow’s connections into making her the Queen of the PASS. The stories about the latter being ready to take on the better fillies are encouraging, but they don’t mean much. Jerseylicious, Shebestingin and Belle Boyd are good, but Rainbow has already proven she can be a threat to Nitelife. We need her to step up.

The top five finishers from Sunday’s two 67K NYSS divisions at Tioga are all eligible to the EBC final a week from Sunday, with the exception of the odds on winner of the first division, Fool Me Once. Bet The Moon, Source Of Pride, Captive Audience and Sir Cary’s Z Tam are all staked to the EBC. Additionally, Odds On Equuleus, who was not staked to the Adios, has been nominated to the EBC. Bet The Moon, Source Of Pride and Equuleus are also eligible to the Battle Of Brandywine, six days after the EBC. I suppose they can do both. In the case of Equuleus, he is winless, so a go at the softer EBC would certainly make sense

**********  .

I have no idea what to make of Wheeling N Dealin. Have Jones and Filion been playing us? Is he or is he not the colt we saw at the close of last season? The fall from grace experienced by To Dream On has been more pronounced and clear-cut. She was co-favorite from the four with Classic Martine, who started from the seven, in her Oaks elimination the other night. TDO finished third. Few are wondering if she can beat Bee on Saturday. On the other hand, the public bet W N D down to 3/1 from the eight on the same card: they’re not sure about him, even more so now after that strong close for second. This race carried a lot more meaning than that meaningless romp by Royalty For Life at Vernon. Corky and High Bridge both had it all their own way. Eli showed well off a four week layoff, but is he ready to go twice? And it doesn’t seem to be a situation where the draw will clear things up.


Some folks were swallowing hard at the Summer Mixed Sale on Sunday. Il Pizzaiolo, the Dewey half brother to Miss Paris and Bella Dolce, out of Pizza Dolce, sold for 5K after bringing 85K at Lexington. And Wilcox, the SBSW gelding who showed flashes of promise at M1, and sold for 110K at Lexington, brought 16K. There were plenty of those.


Saturday’s Yonkers Trot, won by Deweycolorintheline, only because Schnittker had the presence of mind to outrun the Marx Brothers routine that was the race behind him, represents a new low for that venerable classic. It appeared that Yonkers had hit bottom with the Yonkers Trot and was on the way back up, but as was the case with the reincarnated Sheppard, it will be hard top this for high priced calamity. How low can you go?


Going into Saturday’s USPC, Sweet Lou has established himself as the leader in the TVG Pacing Series with 91 points. Fred And Ginger and Golden Receiver, both of whom were successful in the earlier rounds, are in second and third. Needy, who won his USPC elimination, is fifth, followed by Duer and Kingcole. Foiled is back in tenth place. Nine of those nominated have not raced at all in the series and can be considered no factor. Another half dozen are also out of the loop. Plus, Dancin Yankee and Dial appear to have dropped out. With four preliminary legs remaining there are only a dozen viable candidates for the final left in the running.

In the trotting series things are a little more complicated. The latest two opens in the series have been cancelled, so Sevruga, Wishing Stone and Guccio, the three point’s leaders as it is, received ten points each for entering those races that never came to be. Uncle Peter, Arch and Luckycharm got five points each for the same reason. Those non-races also count toward the minimum (50%) number of starts needed to qualify for the final. Sevruga leads with 73 points. 

A dozen trotters nominated to the TVG have not started at all in the prelims. Goo has been taken to Mars for rest and relaxation by Richard Hans. Is Herbie still interested? What about Knows Nothing? There appear to be about a half dozen trotters on board and engaged with the TVG. Things are not looking up for the much celebrated TVG. The estimated purse for each final is  500K? Is a five horse field acceptable? 

That carefully choreographed ascent to the top in 2012 by Heston Blue Chip, culminating in wins in the BC, Progress and Matron, appears to be unraveling. His third place finish against a run-of-the-mill open field at Yonkers the other night is not the stuff legends are made of. The ads touting the first great son of American Ideal are already written in the back of someone’s mind. Careful, Sunfire Blue Chip is closing on you. Will they minimize the damage by retiring him now? You don’t want to lose to that bunch again.


There were some impressive NYSS two-year-old pacing fillies in action at Tioga Monday Night. Ali Blue, Jimmy Takter’s American ideal filly out of a full sister to Fashion Delight, won a 36K SS in :52.3 over the good filly, Supplemental Income. And Linda Toscano’s Art Major sister to Full Picture, J K Molly, ripped off a third quarter in 26.4 to win her split for Tetrick in :53. American Ideal, Art Major and Bettor’s Delight covered the first three places in all three top tier SS races.

Forecast: Heat(s) at the Meadowlands on Saturday

Today we learn how many horses drop in the box for this Saturday's Hambletonian at the Meadowlands.  With no stand-out 3yo trotter dominating this year, one would expect an overflow entry box.  One thing which may keep the numbers down is the forecast for this Saturday.

There will be heat this Saturday, not temperature but heat racing because for the first time in many years, the Hambletonian returns to its roots with heat racing.  Not the two in three, best in summary format where the winner of the Hambletonian had to win two heats meaning a horse had to race two or three times (elimination, final, and race-off if needed) on a hot August afternoon, but two heats and out; the eliminations and a final with the winner of the final being crowned Hambletonian champion.

No doubt there will be trainers who will keep their horse out of the Hambletonian because of heat racing, likely not even making the payments to keep their horse eligible.  Others will reluctantly enter their horses into the Hambletonian because of the two heat format.  Some may even scratch out of a second heat because they draw poorly in the final.  But heat racing in the Hambletonian is a good thing.

I acknowledge heat racing is in danger of disappearing from harness racing and that is a shame.  The fact the Hambletonian Society went back to heat racing pleasantly surprised me.    I will be the first to acknowledge the days of racing heats multiple times during a season is a sure fire way to ruin a horse; even the two in three format once a season is too much for the modern standardbred. But to be asked to race in heats once or twice a season is not asking too much for these horses, especially when they are spaced out and trainers often give their charges three weeks or so between starts.

The thoroughbreds have the Belmont Stakes as their ultimate test of champions with its 1 1/2 mile distance.  How often do thoroughbreds run 1 1/2 miles?  Even a mile and a quarter is atypical these days.  Well the Hambletonian is trotting's Belmont Stakes, the ultimate test of champions.  Even at $1.2 million, the Hambletonian was in danger of becoming just another stakes race where eliminations are raced the week before and the final is raced the following week.  With the return to the elimination and final on the same day, the Hambletonian has once again become something special and unique, a throwback to harness racing's roots where stamina is valued as much as speed is  yet realizing the changing character of the modern American standardbred.

Welcome back old friend.  Let the heats begin!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Before We Turn the Page to Hambletonian Week

Vegas Vacation came on late but fell short when Sunfire Bluechip (Yannick Gingras) won the $450,000 Adios  in 1:48.3, Saturday afternoon at The Meadows.  Sunfire Bluechip was content to sit in third past the quarter when he brushed up to take the lead.  Sunfire Bluechip, trained by Jimmy Takter had won his elimination in similar fashion.  

The other big final on Saturday was the Yonkers Trot.  That is where Deweycolorintheline won a break-filled race to pick up the lion share of the $450,000 purse in 1:57.3.  Getting to the lead was easy for Schnittker as third place Creampuff Mcdaddy almost wiped out the field with his break approaching the quarter.  At first you may wonder why Yonkers only gets a second rate field when offering so much money in a stakes race, but after watching this race, it's clear why many of the first stringers say 'No thank you'.  It's just not worth the risk.

Smiling Eli returned to the racing wars with a start in a 3yo Open at the Meadowlands, finishing third in his pari-mutul start since the trainer controversy broke.  It was a very good effort, all things considered as he was locked in coming down the stretch, never getting any opportunity to make a final charge.  I think he will be a live horse next week.

The Maryland Sires Stakes finals will be held at Ocean Downs on Monday, and nary a dollar will be wagered on them as there are four walkovers scheduled.  Each horse will stroll around the track to earn $56,925.  Walkovers like this is embarrassing.  Good thing they are being held at 10:00am in the morning when the public won't be around.

RUS News
On Friday night, the Meadowlands held the second leg of the Hambletonian Day Monté Race Late Closing series.  The first division was won by Chinese Cuisine, ridden by Tina Duer in 1:58.1 and the second division was taken by Pointe of Honor in 1:59.1 by Tara Hynes.

2nd Leg - Hambletonian Day Monté Race Late Closer - 1st Div

2nd Leg - Hambletonian Day Monté Race Late Closer 2nd Div

Based on points, these are the horses who will make the final provided they are entered (listed by points earned) on Hambletonian Day where they  will race for a purse of $32,800:

  1. Pointe Of Honour – 75 (25-50)     2. Chinese Cuisine – 62 (12-50)
  3. Motown Dreamgirl – 51 (50-1)    4. A Penny Earned – 50 (50)
  5. Muscolo – 37 (25-12)                   6. Flowing James – 28 (3-25)
  7. Amoreena  - 27 (2-25)                  8. Flex The Muscle – 14 (2-12)
  9. Sundance Bayama – 13 (12-1)    10. Waldorf Hall – 6 (3-3)
11.  Armbro Doyle – 4 (1-3)             12t. Admirable Hanover – 3 (1-2)
12t. Celebrity Playboy – 3 (1-2)

The final starter will be determined by lot.

Meanwhile up in Canada, the most competitive RUS event of the year was contested Friday night at Grand River Raceway where Riina Rekila won with Harlequin in 2:02.2 over the half mile oval.

When you see a race like this, you can see the potential of RUS becoming a parimutuel event.  My guess is we are probably a couple of years away from it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Joe F's Progress Report on 2yo Pacers.

VFTRG more than frequent contributor Joe F. takes a look at the two year old pacers thus far this year as they move from the state-restricted races and get ready to do battle in open company.

Last year the 250K yearling, Captaintreacherous, lost his first start to Odds On Equuleus, but two weeks later he became the first two-year-old to cover the Meadowlands in under 1:50 when he established a TR of :49.3 in the Wilson. And two weeks after that he won the Nassagaweya at Mohawk. So by the middle of August the top spot in the division was his and his alone; it was simply a matter of slotting the very ordinary challengers. Equuleus was in the mix throughout; Apprentice Hanover had a good run up in Canada in the middle; and Vegas Vacation showed promise later in the season. Apprentice was always a factor. And there were plenty of regional stars like Doctor Butch. But the division clearly belonged to The Captain.

On the distaff side I Luv The Nitelife was the most consistent; L Dee’s Lioness was good in the stakes up North; and Somwherovrarainbow was very strong in the late fall. The latter won the Dan Patch, while Nitelife took the O’Brien. As with the boys, there were regional stars like Always About Katey.

This year, with the open stakes season about to commence, Gallie Bythe Beach has established herself as the frontrunner in her division—not in Peelers or Jewel territory by any means, but ahead of the rest. The boys are still sorting things out. Western Vintage is getting votes but the across the board competition seems to be at a higher level than it was last year. There are a lot more good ones out there.

Jeff Gural eliminated the Wilson so there will be no high profile two-year-old open pace on Hambletonion Day. Sire stakes and minor opens will have to suffice until the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation on August 17. There are only two freshman pacers listed in this week’s Top Ten Poll: Western Vintage is at number 13 and Gallie Bythe Beach is down at the bottom. Here’s a look at a few of the more promising players in the two-year-old pacing world.

Beach Body 2 f SBSW-Silky-Western Hanover
Half to Nassagaweya winner, Malicious (Bettor’s Delight), 110K buy at HB
Won 87K Sand Tart at The Meadows in :53.1. Won 57K PASS
 at Harrah’s in :53.4. Eligible to the Eternal Camnation, Great Lady, Bluegrass and INSS.

Sister Stroll 2 f Art Official-So Western-Western Hanover
Half to Dancinwiththestarz (Four Starzzz Shark), 40K HB
Won 57K PASS at Harrah’s and 30K PA All-Stars at Pocono.
Eligible to the Bluegrass. No Ontario stakes.

Gallie Bythe Beach 2 f SBSW-Galleria-Artsplace
Dam 3 & 4YO Division Champ. Million dollar winner.
Probably the top 2YO pacing filly prospect right now.
Won 87K Sand Tart with tough trip from the eight in :53.3
At The Meadows. Also won 57K PASS at Harrah’s in :52.2
And 30K PA All-Stars in :52 at Pocono. Four for four, 93K.
Staked to Bluegrass and INSS. Great Lady: yes. No to Eternal
Camnation and Champlain

Talkative 2 f Well Said-Unspoken-Artiscape
Won 87K div of Sand Tart in :53 at The Meadows last time out.
Prior to that finished second to Gallie Bythe Beach
Twice. Staked to Great Lady and INSS. No Bluegrass, Et Camn or

Momara 2 f Lis Mara-Mosaic-Camluck
Drubbed the lower level ONSS crew a couple of times. Won last by ten.
Not staked to any of the one’s we’re using.

Forty Five Red 2 c If I Can Dream-Sakura Hanover-Artsplace
Half to Thirty-Two Red,
Won the Sheppard and a 42K NYSS at Saratoga. Leading the charge
For If I Can Dream. Has earned 80K. No Nassagaweya, Metro or
Champlain. Bluegrass: yes.

Arthur Blue Chip 2 c Shadow Play-Advantest-Artsplace, 135K HB
Way out of line with what the Shadow Plays were selling for.
Sold for 85K more than the next most expensive Shadow Play.
Half to Kenneth J.
Won two of three in OSS. Tops the earning’s list at 106K. Eligible to Nas, Metro
And Champlain.

Nefertiti Bluechip 2 f Shadow Play-Rising Sun-Bettor’s Delight, 50K HB
Beat stablemate, Alibi Seelster, in 150K OSS Mid-Summer Challenge.
No Et Camn, Gt Lady or Champlain. No Lexington.

Alibi Seelster 2 f Shadow Play-Alias Seelster-Intrepid Seelster, 27K Forest City
Won a 70K ONSS-Gold and second in 150K Mid-Summer Challenge. Same as
Stablemate directly above. No, no, no.

All About Boyz 2 f Kenneth J-Cheerful Outlook-The Panderosa
Fast filly. No.

Scandalicious 2 f American Ideal-The Company Store-American Gigolo, 17K Lex
Two good NYSS wins. Second to Mind Over Matter at Buffalo. No Champlain or Lex.
Yes to Et Camn and Gt Lady.

Tellitlikeitis 2 c Well Said-Kikikatie-Real Artist
Half to Rockin Amadeus, Time To Roll and Rockin Image.
Talented son of Well Said. Well staked. Nas, Metro, Champ, Blg.

JK Molly 2 f Art Major-Heather’s Western-Western Hanover, 100K HB
Sister to Full Picture.
Won a division of the Geers at Tioga in :52.2 on a night when the other fillies
 and the colts were going a lot slower. Toscano. No, no, no. NYSS
Art Major is no SBSW but he’s solid and reliable. Art Official, Santana BC, Equuleus, Art Professor, Hypnotic…..

Let’s Drink On It 2 c Art Official-Letmedowneasy-Camluck,
Dam is out of a sister to the dam of Grinfromeartoear.
Won 68K PASS in :51.3 at Pocono. Also won 30K PA All-Stars at Pocono.
Metro and Bluegrass.

Westward Hanover 2 c SBSW-Western Duel-Western Hanover, 145K HB
Half to Westwardho and Whackamole.
Won 54K PASS at The Meadows in :52.3. None of the Ontario stakes.
Lex: yes.

Limelight Beach 2 g SBSW-Benear-Badlands Hanover,
Won 70K PASS at Pocono in :53 and 53K PASS at Harrah’s.
Ontario: no. Lex: yes.

Suplemental Income 2 f Bettor’s Delight-JK Getupngo-Western ideal, $4,500 HB
She has a couple of good wins in the NYSS. No, no, no. The decision was
Obviously made to rely on restricted stakes in the case of many of these
colts and fillies. For those on the top tier that can create problems; you can’t achieve stardom
In regional stakes.

New York Bets 2 f Bettor’s Delight-Absolutely Cam-Western Hanover
Dam a sister to dam of Share The Delight.
Rugged colt. No, no, no.

Idealbeach Hanover 2 c SBSW-Ideal Weather-Western Ideal, 260K HB
Dam won 850K. She’s half to Bet The Moon.
Won a couple of 16K 2yo races at Mohawk. Mark of :52.3.
Staked to Nas, Met & Blg.

He’s Watching 2 c American Ideal-Baberhood-Real Desire
3rd dam is Cheer Me Up—sister of Western Ideal. 4th dam is
Leah Almahurst.
Green but very fast. Set TR of :55.4 at Buffalo—last half in :56.4.
No Nas, Met or Champ. No Blg.

Western Vintage 2 c Western Ideal-Major Harmony-Art Major, 7K Lex
Won 150K NJSS Final at 1/9. Three for three.
$7,000 Lexington purchase. Second dam earned 367K in ONSS. Fourth dam,
 342K winner, Napa Valley, was a full sister to Silk Stockings. Again, went
 Through sale for $7,000. Nassagaweya and Metro. No Champlain. Lex: yes.

Twenty-seven Western Ideals sold at Harrisburg for a shade over $11,000 each. Seventy-four percent brought 15K or less. Only two of the 27 sold for 50K or more. These results were down 63% from last year.

Last year there were 7 colts and one filly that brought 50K or more. And 34% brought 15K or less.
Western Ideal was standing for 25K in 2007, when, after having three crops race he was already the proud papa of Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal, among others. He now stands for $7,500 in Pennsylvania. That amounts to a 70% reduction. These are tough numbers.
Western Ideal is also the sire of Big Jim, Always A Virgin, Cabrini Hanover, Dial and Jerseylicious.

Mind Over Matter 2 F Art Major-Serious Comfort-Precious Bunny
Dam was O’Brien 2YOFP of Year in 2003.
Won 57K NYSS at Buffalo and 58K division at Yonkers.
Well staked. All.

Rockingcam Park 2 f Rocknroll Hanover-Cameron D Art-Camluck
Her dam is from the family of Royal Mattjesty, His Mattjesty and Her Mattjesty.
She won a couple of legs of the NJSS. Eligible to Et Camn and Gt Lady.

Bolt Of Thunder 2 f Rocknroll Hanover-Thunder Angel-Artsplace.
Dam is full to millionairess Arts Virtue.
She won the NJSS final. No, no, no.

Ideal Helen 2 f Western Ideal-Armbro Nectarine-Direct Scooter.
Full to Enhance The Night and Ideal Nectarine.
New Jersey is in transition. Western Ideal has used up his NJ eligibility; Rocknroll has passed on, but his get will participate in the NJSS for a couple of more years; and If I Can Dream is the promising new kid on the block. No Ontario. Yes to Bluegrass and INSS.;

Press Release: The Hambletonian, America’s Greatest Trotting Horse Race, Launches Social Media Campaign

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 25, 2013 -- The $1.2 million Hambletonian, now in its 88th year, announced today a comprehensive social media marketing effort to raise awareness and engagement around this year’s event on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.

The race will be featured in a 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network beginning at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern time).

Utilizing the hashtag #hambo13, the campaign is leveraging a range of leading social media platforms and technologies to generate visibility and buzz for the 200-year-old sport. The campaign is being sponsored by The Hambletonian Society and The Meadowlands Racetrack, with the support of the United States Trotting Association and the award-winning social media consultancy, Converseon.

“The Hambletonian is the greatest American horse race that many people may not have heard of,” said Tom Charters, President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. “By applying social media marketing strategies, we intend to introduce the sport to an entire generation that hasn’t experienced its unique heritage, excitement and format.”

The campaign will use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram and Vine videos to seed the “20 Most Memorable Moments” from the Hambletonian’s rich history as a countdown to race day. It will also leverage promoted Tweets, blog posts, a social media influencer engagement program and select Facebook advertising to generate visibility. The effort is the first step in what is expected to be a more comprehensive social media marketing initiative for the broader industry.

“Effective social media marketing requires compelling story telling, powerful content and a community of passionate advocates ready and willing to share their experiences with others. Harness racing and the Hambletonian have this in abundance,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “We’re excited to help bring to life this quintessentially American experience to a new generation of potential fans and owners through social channels.”

About the Hambletonian
Founded in 1926, the Hambletonian is named for Hambletonian 10 a foundational sire for harness racing known as the "Father of the American Trotter." Held annually for three-year-old trotting Standardbreds, it is the second, and most prestigious, event in Trotting’s Triple Crown. To check for CBS Sports Network channel and availability in your area, check here. A live streaming broadcast can also be viewed here, and all the pre-, during and post-race action can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Plainridge Takes a Blow

Has Plainridge Racecourse been dealt a devastating blow in its attempt to get the sole slot parlor license?  The Boston Globe reports that former track president Gary T. Piontkowski allegedly had been for many years been making personal money withdrawals from the money room totaling $1 million.  This information came to light in testimony before the state gaming commission, the very ones who will be deciding who gets the gaming license so coveted by Plainridge.

While Piontkowski's 'resignation' can't wipe out the harm his alleged actions may have had on their quest to gain the slot license, hopefully the fact he is no longer with Plainridge will mitigate the damage his actions have done.

Driver Brian Allen, who plied his trade mostly at Saratoga Raceway and on the NYSS circuit has likely thrown his career away with his conviction regarding involving moral turpitude.   A driver/trainer with over 3,000 driving wins and $18 million in earnings, is certainly done in New York where they are strict about not licensing people convicted for such crimes.  Whether another state will give him a chance after this is not likely.  What makes people do such things is beyond me.

Management at The Meadows has some drivers and owners annoyed in that management scheduled their stakes races on Adios Day at the end of the card which is making drivers having to decide where to be with the Meadowlands having eliminations for their big season-ending stakes races tonight.   I have no problem with the Meadows for bunching the stakes races up and putting them later on the card, but perhaps the next time racing secretaries meet in Florida, they can consider whether they will be requiring drivers to be in the same place at the same time.

Tonight is the second leg of the Hambletonian Day Monté Race late closing series.  As with last week, there will be two divisions, this week with seven horses each competing to qualify for the $25,000 final on Hambletonian Day.  The first division will go off at 7pm at the Meadowlands while the second division will hit the track after the third race on the regular card.  For those north of the border, RUS returns to Grand River Raceway as there will be one non-wagering event on their card tonight.

Fair racing is still big in some states such as Ohio.  Here is an article about the upcoming two days of fair racing at Xenia, Ohio.  The quality of the horses may not be what you are used to at your local raceways, but there is something better at the fairs, being part of the action and the relaxed atmosphere.  Sort of harness racing nirvana.  For those states who no longer have fair racing, they have lost something truly special.