Courtesy of Nick Salvi -
calendar at The Meadowlands will have a distinctly different look for 2013 with
the focus shifting from 2-year-old stakes to events geared for the older horse
Gone are the
Woodrow Wilson and Sweetheart. The Reynolds and Simpson freshman stakes have
been relocated to sister tracks Tioga and Vernon Downs and scheduled later in
the season. The Final Four (Governor's Cup, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and
Goldsmith Maid) will be resurrected and added to The Meadowlands' 2013 Fall meet
around Thanksgiving, placing the emphasis on high dollar races for 2-year-olds
being offered from late August through November.
The really big news
is a brand new Free For All series, conceived by Jeff Gural. The series will
include the top older events at The Meadowlands, Breeders Crown finals and
Allerage Farm finals along with several $50,000 Opens at The Meadowlands as legs
from which points will be accumulated leading into the $500,000 guaranteed final
for both trotters and pacers on Nov. 30.
A provision in the
conditions to invite the winner of the 3-year-old Breeders Crown or
Hambletonian/Meadowlands Pace offers the hope that this year-end event may pit
the top 3-year-old against the best older horses as the Breeders Cup Classic
does for the Thoroughbreds, giving this new race serious Horse of the Year
Maturity for 4-year-old pacers and trotters will debut in May with an estimated
$100,000 purse ($75,000 added) offered just for the cost of the declaration
Another new series
for 2013 is the Hudson River for 4- and 5-year-old New Jersey, New York or
Pennsylvania sires stakes participants that have not won four pari-mutuel races
or $150,000 outside of the state-bred events. This one will travel, with $18,000
legs planned for Pennsylvania and New York as well as The Meadowlands before the
$75,000 (est.) final at The Meadowlands.
President Jeff Gural offered his observations on the revamped stakes
"I believe that
unlike in the past, our best 3-year-olds are likely to race at four and as a
result I believe the races for older horses will once again have the kind of
excitement that I grew up with when I started going to Yonkers and Roosevelt
over 50 years ago. I am looking forward to the upcoming season and hopefully we
can give our customers a chance to see the best older horses at the Meadowlands
more than once or twice as they try to accumulate points in order to race in
these year-end races. Hopefully we can have a top 3-year-old enter to add to the
Also returning to
The Big M in 2013 are the Moni Maker and Nadia Lobell, which are scheduled for
the Fall meet in late November.
Live racing returns
to The Meadowlands on Dec. 28 with a new post time of 7:15 p.m. The schedule
calls for racing Thursday, Friday and Saturday through March 16, then Friday and
Saturday for the balance of the year. The 2013 Championship Meet begins on
Friday (May 3) and will end with the Hambletonian Day card.
Full details on the
stakes are upcoming and all information will be available at The Meadowlands' website.
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