‘Big M’ Stakes Schedule Announced

Published: January 3, 2017 12:36 pm EST

The Meadowlands Racetrack is pleased to announce its extensive 2017 stakes program with total purses in the neighborhood of $12 million.

Grand Circuit stakes represent the vast majority of the $12 million in stakes purses, which will include the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $1.25 million Fall Final Four, $1.2 million TVG Championships, $1 million Graduate Series and $750,000 Meadowlands Pace along with nearly $1 million in New Jersey Sires Stakes purses.

"We are able to maintain the 2017 stakes program with the help of sponsors from within the business and we are grateful for their support. With the Breeders Crown at Hoosier this year we picked up the Fall Final Four to give those races a home and open the Fall Meet in November," said Meadowlands Chairman & CEO Jeff Gural.

The Saturday, August 5 Hambletonian Day program (noon post time), worth over $3.5 million in purses on harness racing's greatest day, will include important stakes for every division. The $1 million Hambletonian and $300,000 Cane Pace provide fans the opportunity to see a leg of both the trotting and pacing triple crowns on the same card.

Leading up to the Hambletonian, the Tompkins-Geers stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and colts will be coming to the Meadowlands on Saturday, July 22 to avail horsemen prepping for the Hambo and Oaks the option of one more start over the mile oval going into the big race.

Meadowlands Pace Night is Saturday, July 15 this year, and a full complement of important stakes on the undercard will support that $750,000 race for sophomore pacing colts. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity will serve as a co-feature. An early first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. is scheduled for ‘Pace Night.’

The $1.25 million Freshman Fall Final Four will return to the Garden State where it began 27 years ago. The Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid for trotters and Governor's Cup and Three Diamonds for pacers will join the $1.2 TVG Free For All Championship Finals in kicking off the 2017 Fall Meet with all finals scheduled for Saturday, November 25.

The $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Open Trot has been moved to Kentucky Derby Day, May 6. The Cutler winner will be awarded an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp which will be raced on Sunday, May 28, this year. Although the Cutler will have no restrictions regarding the use of trotting hopples and/or lasix, their use is prohibited in the Elitlopp, and if their invitation to compete is accepted it must be done with that understanding. Swedish racing officials wish to make it known that there will be a direct flight to Solvalla for this year's race, as was done in 2016.

The $1 million Graduate Series for four-year-olds also begins on May 6 at the Meadowlands, travels to Mohawk Racetrack for Leg 2 on June 3, then on to Tioga Downs for the June 11 third leg. Each leg of the Graduate will have a purse of $75,000 or $50,000 if raced in divisions. The $250,000 finals will be raced at the Meadowlands on Pace elimination night, July 8.

The 2017 Kindergarten series will start in early July and will again include two legs during the Freshman Festival meet in September at the Meadowlands. The $150,000 finals are scheduled for November 3 and will be raced at Vernon Downs this year.

The Miss Versatility Series will have two legs at the Meadowlands to go along with Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. The $100,000 final will remain a part of the Little Brown Jug card at Delaware, Ohio.

All of the conditions for Meadowlands administered stakes/finals have been written to award one per cent of the final purse to those horses that finish out of the money.

The NJSS will offer $100,000 guaranteed finals to the sophomores in May and freshmen in July with two $20,000 preliminary legs leading up to those events for each group.

The complete Meadowlands 2017 stakes schedule may be viewed here and the live racing/stakes calendar here. The website also provides a ‘Stakes Application’ page where you may download all the information on the 2017 events, including nomination forms and conditions for all Meadowlands-administered stakes. All purses listed are estimates unless denoted as guaranteed (G).

The Hambletonian and a few other Grand Circuit stakes on the Meadowlands calendar are administered by and the property of the Hambletonian Society. All of the NJSS races are handled by the New Jersey Sires Stakes offices. Payments on those stakes should be directed to those offices.

Trainers must be approved for nomination to Meadowlands stakes to be accepted. It's suggested that trainers submit a racing application before the February 15 deadline if they are planning to race at the Meadowlands in stakes or overnights in 2017.

Call the race office at 201-842-5130 with questions.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)