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Rich 2021 Stakes Schedule At Big M

Published: December 9, 2020 9:19 am ET

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The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that stakes purses for the 2021 season will total more than $20 million.

Spearheaded by the return of the $6.5 million Breeders Crown to the prolific New Jersey oval for the first time since 2016, stakes opportunities abound from March through November.

Important seasonal highlights include the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $700,000 Meadowlands Pace, and well over $1 million in New Jersey-bred events.

The stakes will begin with the second edition of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for four-year-old pacers and trotters in March and April, respectively.

The Meadowlands Championship Meet and Grand Circuit racing begins with the first of three Graduate Series legs for pacers on May 1. The first Graduate leg for trotters goes on May 22. The second leg for both gaits is at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 5 before a return to The Meadowlands for leg three on June 26 and the $250,000 (est.) finals on July 10.

The first leg of the Miss Versatility goes on May 8 at The Meadowlands before Mohawk hosts leg two on May 28. The third leg on Pace night, the fourth on July 31 and the fifth on September 10 are all at The Meadowlands, with the $100,000 (est.) final at the Delaware (Ohio) County Fair on Jug Day.

The $180,000 (est.) Arthur Cutler Memorial maintains its customary position as the first major Grand Circuit stakes for older trotters on May 15. May will also bring two legs and the rich finals of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for the sophomore set.

The first two-year-old Grand Circuit event of the season will be the Tompkins-Geers on June 18. The NJSS freshman stakes will race two legs and a final through the month of July, and the SBOA of NJ-sponsored Homegrown two-year-old pace goes on June 26 while the baby trotters will race in the Garden State on Aug. 6.

The popular Kindergarten series for freshman trotters and pacers have the first leg on Friday, July 23, resume in September with legs on Sept. 17 and 24, and then wrap up with the fourth and last leg on Nov. 6 leading into the $200,000 (est.) finals on Nov. 13.

The month of July is filled with an embarrassment of riches, beginning on July 3 with the Roll With Joe Open Pace, Crawford Farms Open Trot, Artiscape Open Mare Pace and Joie De Vie Open Mare Trot, all of which had previously been raced at Tioga Downs moving to The Meadowlands. The purse for each is estimated at $175,000.

The track's signature event, the Meadowlands Pace, highlights "The Greatest Night In Harness Racing," a $2.5 million extravaganza that also includes the Mistletoe Shalee, Hambletonian Maturity, William and Dorothy Haughton (formerly known as the Golden Girls) Memorials for free-for-all pacers, and important Hambletonian preps, the Stanley Dancer and Del Miller, on July 17.

Hambletonian Day falls on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, and the sport's marquee day of racing will boast $3.5 million in purses led by the $1 million trotting classic and its $500,000 filly companion stake.

The supporting stakes include a preview of prospects for the 2022 Hambo as the baby trotters see their first major tests of the season in the Peter Haughton and Jim Doherty. Adding further intrigue is the expected all-star cast of important stakes consisting of the Cane Pace and Shady Daisy three-year-old pacing stakes, the John Cashman and Dr. John Steele for older trotters, and the Sam McKee and Lady Liberty for the best older pacers racing.

The Fall Meet is heavy with important Grand Circuit stakes, led of course by the $6.5 million Breeders Crown. The eliminations will be held on the weekend of Oct. 22 and 23, with the rich finals on Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30.

As the calendar turns to November and the Kindergarten series concludes on Nov. 13, the very next weekend will see the return of the sport's top two-year-olds in the $2 million Freshman Fall Final Four and the best older horses will sort out the order for seasonal awards in the $1 million TVG Championships.

"We look forward to the 2021 stakes season at The Meadowlands with great anticipation," said Meadowlands general manager Jason M. Settlemoir. "The stakes roster is incredible, and the return of the Breeders Crown is the cherry on top. Owners, breeders, trainers and drivers will have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their prized colts and fillies at the mecca of Standardbred racing over the finest racetrack in North America, and The Meadowlands is thrilled to play host."

The entire 2021 stakes schedule will be released soon.


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