Meadowlands Announces 2024 Stakes Schedule

Harness racing at The Meadowlands
Published: January 17, 2024 09:59 am EST

The Meadowlands announced on Wednesday, Jan. 17 that its entire 2024 stakes program will offer nearly $25 million USD in purses. Greatly enhancing the Grand Circuit stakes presence this year, the Breeders Crown will return to the Garden State.

The Meadowlands is calling it "Harness Racing’s Greatest Day," and the $3.5 million USD Hambletonian Day card on Saturday, Aug. 3 will include the Hambo Oaks, Cane Pace and Shady Daisy, John Cashman and Dr. John Steele Memorials for older trotters, Sam McKee Memorial and Lady Liberty for older pacers and the New Jersey Sire Stakes (NJSS) for freshman trotters, providing an unmatched line up of stakes in support of the $1 million USD Hambletonian final.

The three-year-old stakes are led by the track’s signature race, the $700,000 USD Meadowlands Pace, on Saturday, July 15. Dubbed the “Biggest Party in Harness Racing,” the Grand Circuit stakes card will offer $2.5 million USD in purses and includes an imposing slate of supporting stakes including the Mistletoe Shalee, Hambletonian Maturity, William R. Haughton and Dorothy Haughton Memorials, and coveted Hambletonian preps, the Del Miller and Stanley Dancer Memorials.

The Breeders Crown brings its powerful year-end series, worth more than $7 USD million in purses, back to New Jersey with the finals set for the weekend of Oct. 25 & 26 and eliminations the previous weekend.

The 27th Arthur Cutler Memorial Free For All Trot will retain its customary position kicking off the Big M stakes season on Saturday, May 18. The “Championship Meet” hits turbo on Saturday, June 29 when the Dave Brower Memorial, Perfect Sting, Crawford Farms and Six Pack stakes for older horses set the table for six great weeks of Grand Circuit racing. 

The NJSS open in May with the three-year-olds racing two $30,000 USD legs and $240,000 USD finals. Beginning in mid-July, a third leg has been added for the two-year-olds with the purses set at $25,000 USD and $240,000 USD for the finals. 

The New Jersey Classic Series for two and three year-olds is back with the same format of eliminations and finals with consolations. Trotting finals remain at $275,000 USD with the pacers at $150,000 USD.

The Graduate Series for four-year-olds returns with the first $75,000 USD leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 1 followed by two more at The Meadowlands, leading into the $250,000 USD finals on July 6. Older trotting mares will have access to the Miss Versatility for six legs before the $100,000 USD final on Jug Day in Delaware, Ohio.

The two-year-olds will have five $20,000 USD Kindergarten Series preliminary legs with the Nov. 9 finals estimated at $1 million USD. Kindergarten final winners will again be awarded a “Win & You’re In” bonus into the freshman Fall Four stakes. Those winners will move directly to the final and draw for posts with any elimination winners toward the rich finals. (See stakes conditions. Horses must be eligible to the Fall Four). 

The $1 million USD FanDuel Championships will try to maintain the lofty perch realized in 2023 and again be paired up with the $1.6 million USD Fall Four on a blockbuster Nov. 30 card to the bring the curtain down on stakes season.

The Meadowlands recognizes and appreciates the contribution of its stakes sponsors, who help to make this ambitious undertaking possible. All purses are estimates.

Stakes payments begin on Feb. 15 and pertinent information is available on The Meadowlands website.

(With files from The Meadowlands)

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