Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Owner Enjoying the Ride with Jugette Starter Lady Shadow


By Ken Weingartner

Although he is still relatively new as an owner, Lindsey Rankin understands how rare it is to find a top racehorse. So he is trying to enjoy the ride with Lady Shadow to the fullest.

Lady Shadow is among 22 horses in Wednesday’s $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The field was divided into three eliminations, from which the top three in each will advance to the same-day final.

The winner of 10 of 18 career races, Lady Shadow competes in the first elimination. She drew post No. 2 for the son-and-father team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair and is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Beach Gal, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. She starts from post four for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Dave Menary. Gettingreadytoroll, who has won three in a row including the Simcoe Stakes and Miss New Jersey, is the 5-2 choice in the third division. She will start from post two with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter.

Lady Shadow has earned $426,753 in her career, racing to this point only in Ontario.

“We’ve only been in it for five years, but I think she’s probably our once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said Rankin, a Michigan resident who owns Lady Shadow with his wife, Connie. “So we’re going to try to enjoy it. It would be nice to make the final. We have family and friends coming to see her.

“She’s got a lot of ability. She’s a really nice filly. She’s got a big heart. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Lady Shadow won five of eight races last year, including the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway, and finished second by a neck in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship.

So far this season, Lady Shadow has won five of 10 starts, including the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association final and two preliminary divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series. She won her elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship by more than eight lengths in a career-best 1:49.2 on July 12 at Mohawk, but went off stride at the start of the final on a sloppy track and finished sixth.

But even with the miscue, which left her trailing the early leaders by 27 lengths after the first quarter and 21 lengths at the halfway point, she missed by just 1-3/4 lengths.

“We’re not really sure what happened,” Rankin said. “Doug said she was fumbly gaited and just started to run. Once he set her, she was fine, but he wasn’t real sure what that was all about. She did that once earlier this year too. She’s kind of a hot head sometimes. She’s settled down as the season has gone on, but at the beginning of the year she was a lot to handle.

“She’s got a lot of speed, but sometimes she’s hard to rate. She likes to be put up in the front, in contention, from the get-go.”

Rankin owned horses for three years beginning in 1979, but got out of the sport because of the demands of running a business that supplies graphic design equipment. Five years ago, he asked his then 11-year-old daughter Abby if she wanted to get a horse, and when the young girl’s eyes lit up, he was back in the game.

“Now we’re kind of hooked back into it,” said the now-retired Rankin, who owns six horses.

He bought Lady Shadow for $19,000 at the Forest City Sale in Ontario. The filly is a daughter of 2008 Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play out of the mare Lady Camella. The dam’s family includes 1962 Little Brown Jug winner Lehigh Hanover as well as famed trotter Peter Volo.

“I liked a lot about her; her conformation,” Rankin said. “She’s always been high strung. We had a lot of issues with her when she was a yearling. She was always trying to do something stupid, but we got through it all.

“We’ve been real happy with her this year. She paces a half-mile track just as well as she does a big track, so we think she deserves a shot.”

Below are the elimination fields for the Jugette in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds.

Elim One: 1. Shell Bell, Kurt Sugg, Kurt Sugg, 12-1; 2. Lady Shadow, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 5-2; 3. Color’s A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 4. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1; 5. Ali Blue, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-1; 6. Beach Body, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 7. Also Encouraging, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-2.

Elim Two: 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 2. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 7-2; 3. Somethinincredible, Ron Pierce, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 4. Beach Gal, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 5. Fits Well, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 12-1; 6. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 7. A La Notte Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 8. Sectionline Aqua, Brett Miller, Steve Bauder, 5-1.

Elim Three: 1. Cut A Deal, Jim Pantaleano, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Gettingreadytoroll, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 3. Beautiful Lady, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 5-1; 4. Someislandsomwhere, Ron Pierce, Casie Coleman, 6-1; 5. Candy’s A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 6. Sandbetweenurtoes, Brett Miller, Larry Remmen, 7-2; 7. Beach Story, David Miller, Kelvin Harrison, 8-1.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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Friday, September 12, 2014


Meadowlands To Offer Super Hi-5 Jackpot with 8% Takeout


By Darin Zoccali

The Meadowlands is pleased to announce the addition of a new wager to its wagering menu. It is a Super High-Five Jackpot that will be offered with a $.20 cent minimum on the last race of each racing program. The wager will offer an industry low takeout rate of eight-percent (8%) and the pool will be seeded with $10,000 on its first night being offered, Friday November 14th.

“The W.E.G. circuit implemented this wager this past year and it has had great success,” said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali. “The jackpot wager has really caught-on throughout North America and we will take it a step further by implementing an industry low takeout rate of just eight-percent.”

“We are a supporter of the low takeout movement that is currently taking place,” Zoccali added. “But it needs industry-wide support to be successful. We are optimistic that this wager will prove extremely successful and will pave the way to lower takeout wagers in the future.”

The Meadowlands will also give back more each night. “Our carryover will be 25-percent each day as opposed to the standard 45 to 50-percent this wager typically carries,” said Zoccali. “We believe that the low takeout combined with paying out a larger portion of the pool each night will create more handle and larger payouts on a nightly basis. Additionally, the pool will be seeded with $10,000 initially which further reduces actual takeout.”

Meadowlands General Manager and C.E.O. Jason Settelmoir explains that the 8% takeout figure has significant meaning. “Having worked at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs since 2006, I have become well versed on the ‘casino’ aspect of gaming. The average takeout rate of slot machines or V.L.T.’s throughout the country is 8% and while horse racing is a more intellectual game, the result is the same, more churn and more money in our customers pockets.”

Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural touched on the success the wager has had at Woodbine and Mohawk. “On the two nights they have had mandatory payouts, there was around $2 Million bet. Given that The Meadowlands is the highest handling standardbred signal, tied into an 8% takeout rate, with a mandatory payout on Hambletonian Day, assuming the bet carries over throughout the meet, I am certain it will be the biggest pool in harness racing history.”

The Super High-Five is pending regulatory approval and is scheduled to begin on Friday November 14, 2014. Details on the wager are as follows:

Jackpot Super High-Five Details
$.20 Cent minimum wager
Offered on the last race, each race night
Low takeout rate of eight-percent (8%)
Individual must select the first five (5) finishers in one race in the exact order of finish.

Jackpot Super High-Five Payout:

Single Winning ticket: The entire Jackpot High-5 net pool, plus any previous carryover pool will be paid when there is one and only one winning ticket sold that correctly selects the first five finishers in exact order.

Multiple Winning Tickets: In the event there are multiple tickets sold that correctly select the first five finishers in exact order, 75% of the net daily Jackpot High-5 pool will be distributed to the holders of tickets with the first five finishers in exact order, and 25% of the net daily Jackpot High-5 pool will be carried over to the next scheduled Jackpot High-5 event and added to any existing carryover pool.

No Winning Tickets: In the event there is no ticket sold that correctly selects the first five finishers in exact order, the entire High-5 net pool, plus any previous carryover, will be carried in to the next scheduled Jackpot High-5 event. There is no consolation payout in the Jackpot High-5.

Pool-Seeding: There will be $10,000 added into the pool on the first day of the wager, by The Meadowlands, which will be Friday November 14, 2014.

Mandatory Payout: The entire Jackput High-5 net pool must be paid out on Hambletonian Day, August 8, 2015. The pool can carryover from one calendar year to the next.


Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014


New Meadowlands First Season A Success


By Darin Zoccali

East Rutherford - Despite a relentless winter that seemed to never want to end and an interruption in racing due to the Super Bowl being held at MetLife Stadium, the early returns on the 2014 Meadowlands season, the first in the new state of the art facility are promising.

Through 67 live racing dates, the on-track handle stands at $19,231,729, an average of $287,040 per card. That figure will increase through the final 14 dates of the season which include The Breeders Crown and TVG Free For All Championships.

All-sources export handle through the same 67 live racing dates is $168,020,021, an average of $2,507,761 per-card. With 14 racing dates remaining, export is trending toward surpassing $200 Million for the entire season.

Hambletonian Day was a tremendous success. While some international figures continue to trickle in, the current handle of $8,693,869 is an increase of over $1 Million from 2013 and is the third highest handle in Hambletonian history, behind only 2002 ($8.8 Million) and 2005 ($9 Million).

“I am very pleased with the first year in our new facility,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. “First and foremost, the new racetrack is absolutely stunning and I don’t believe there is a racetrack like it in the country. The most common comments I hear from our guests speak to how beautiful the racetrack is. I think the summertime and better weather allowed people to spread out more, enjoying all the outside amenities and as Hambletonian Day proved, any concerns that the new racetrack would not be able to handle the crowds on our biggest days were put to rest. The outside decks and the rooftop terrace offer some of the best views in racing and those locations are in very high demand in the warmer months. They seem to be attracting new and younger people to our facility which is critical to not only our future, but the future of this industry.”

Meadowlands General Manger and C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir looks back at the 2014 season with a great deal of pride and optimism. “I want to thank our horsemen for supporting us in this pivotal year at The Meadowlands and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the SBOANJ going forward,” said Settlemoir. I also want to thank The Meadowlands employees. It took a herculean effort by each of them to put together the season we had and I couldn’t be prouder of the team at The Meadowlands. Last but certainly not least, a great many thanks to our customers who have embraced the changes at The Meadowlands. Without them, none of this would have been possible.”

Looking forward to the Fall and 2015, The Meadowlands will continue its event-marketing strategy and providing its customers with events like Jerseyfest and Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night that proved to be a huge success.

On the wagering front, beginning in the fall, there will be an exciting new low-takeout wager that The Meadowlands is confident when at its zenith will provide the largest pool in harness racing history. More details on the wager will come shortly.

Harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday November 14th. That first weekend features the eliminations for The Breeders Crown, with the 12 Championship Finals to be contested on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd.

Prior to the return of harness racing, thoroughbred racing will return to The Meadowlands on Thursday September 18th and will run through Saturday, November 1st. For the first time in several years, thoroughbred racing will be conducted at night, with a post time of 7:00 P.M. “I hope people come out to see the thoroughbreds,” Gural added. “This is a great facility for a night-time thoroughbred event and I look forward to seeing how it is received. I think it will expose the facility to an entirely new group of people and hopefully they will come back for the harness racing as well.” There will be six races each night during the thoroughbred meet, with all races conducted on the turf course. The racing dates for the thoroughbred meet can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/calendardates.aspx.

The 2015 standardbred dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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