Making a welcome return to the schedule for two year olds in 2013 are the lucrative "Fall Final Four" stakes. This group of races, launched at Garden State Park in the mid-eighties, includes the Governor's Cup (2CP $500,000e), Three Diamonds (2FP $400,000e), Valley Victory (2CT $430,000) and Goldsmith Maid (2FT $385,000). The quartet of stakes will be raced in late November during the New Meadowlands fall meet.
Last held at The Meadowlands in 2006, the placement fits beautifully into the 2013 calendar, which emphasizes unprecedented late season opportunity for freshmen.
The more lucrative stakes for pacers get under way at Mohawk in late August with nearly 90% of the total purse dollars for open stakes offered to two year olds through November.
While the trotters have the Meadowlands combo of the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle during Hambletonian week, more than 80% of open stakes money will be dispersed from September forward.
Chronologically, the marquee freshman stakes begin at Mohawk, then travel on to Lexington for The Red Mile Grand Circuit. The Breeders Crown eliminations are on October 11 and 12 with the finals on the 19th at Mohegan Sun Pocono .
November opens with a swing through Chicago for the American Nationals and Indiana Downs for their Elevation. The Matron Stakes at Dover populate mid-November and lead directly into the Fall Final Four. Those eliminations will be raced during the opening weekend of the fall Meadowlands meet on November 23 with the finals on the following Saturday.
Along the way the Kindergarten Classic presents more opportunities for the trotters leading to the $200,000e finals at Vernon on October 25. The Kentuckiana Management filly pace and trot Early Closers at Indy Downs also provide a nice option for pacing and trotting fillies.
Nomination to the Fall Final Four requires a February 15 nomination fee of $350. Payments are being handled by the Hambletonian Society and the pertinent information is available on their website.
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