I spoke with a friend today and he said "has the Meadowlands closed down?"
With handles lower and lower, along with field size thanks to neighbouring slots tracks, one might be excused for thinking that. After all, each year come the third week in November the harness world focuses on New Jersey. But this year, the meet is starting January first.
A few changes from last year:
* Sustaining payments for the Meadowlands Pace are lowered. I think this is a good idea, as I found those high.
* Hambo day is huge again: "Racing's greatest day is set for Saturday, August 7 with the sport's premier events for 3-year-old trotters, the $1.5 million Hambletonian and $750,000 Oaks for fillies, forming the centerpiece of a $4 million card. Sharing the spotlight are the $525,000 Merrie Annabelle, $523,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, $400,000 Mistletoe Shalee, $325,000 US Pacing Championship, $300,000 Nat Ray Invitational, $246,000 Lady Liberty, $230,000 Oliver Wendell Holmes and $100,000 Perretti Farms Matchmaker."
* The Woodrow Wilson and the Haughton are late August starts.
I sure hope the drivers hang around a little this year instead of bolting to Chester at the first sign of a higher purse. As well, a few more fields of eight or more are on the Christmas wishlist.