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Meadowlands' 2018 Stakes, Conditions

Published: February 1, 2018 4:04 pm ET

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The Meadowlands Racetrack's 2018 Grand Circuit stakes schedule will be powered by over $9 million in purses, led by harness racing's most coveted prize, the 93rd edition of the $1 million Hambletonian.

The Meadowlands will once again play host two of the sport's biggest events. The $650,000 Meadowlands Pace will headline a card worth an estimated $2.3 million on Saturday, July 14. Just a few weeks later, ‘The Greatest Day In Harness Racing,’ the $3 million Hambletonian Day extravaganza, will close the ‘Championship Meet’ on Saturday, August 4.

With the help of our generous sponsors, all of The Meadowlands marquee stakes including many of the most sought after trophies for each division of trotters and pacers will return in 2018. Nominations for those stakes close on February 15, 2018.

The New Jersey Sire Stakes (NJSS) will accommodate the state-bred sophomore and freshman crop.

The Fall Meet will get underway on Friday, October 12 and will feature late season two-year-old stakes, with the $750,000 Kindergarten Classic Finals and the $1.5 million Freshman Fall Final Four. The $1.1 million TVG Finals for older horses, another marquee event, is also raced during the month of November.

All Meadowlands stakes adhere to the Stallion Restriction Condition (SRC) and may be subject to conditions imposed by the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI). Final details regarding SRIAI conditions will be made public once finalized.

As you consider staking, be advised that some new internal language – intended to keep the racing as fair as possible to those owners and trainers seeking a level playing field – has been added to the conditions for all Meadowlands-administered stakes.

The new language may be found in all Meadowlands stakes conditions under the ‘Rules’ heading and states;

"Any horse nominated to any Meadowlands stakes/event must be in the care of an approved trainer by April 15, 2018 for any stake/event raced during the month of May and by May 15 for all other 2018 stakes/events. Nominator also agrees that any horse paid into any 2018 Meadowlands stake/event may be required to be stabled at an approved facility in a state that agrees to cooperate in an Out Of Competition Testing (OOCT) protocol; an approved for up to 14 days facility within a 150 mile radius of The Meadowlands or the Tioga or Vernon Downs stable area by the date set by The Meadowlands for that stake/event for the purpose of OOCT. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in any agreement created by the acceptance of any stakes payment to be declared void at the discretion of The Meadowlands rendering the horse(s) in question ineligible to race in those stakes/events with no liability to The Meadowlands and no assurance of a refund of payments previously made to the stake/event in question."

In an effort to work with horsemen around North America, the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) will be working in concert with other regulatory bodies for out of competition testing so that trainers (other than specific requests) will have the option of locating within 150 miles, stabling at Vernon and Tioga or remaining stabled where they are provided it is a jurisdiction that is working in tandem with NJRC.

Some of the samples collected by way of this new relationship will be forwarded to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Laboratory for testing purposes. An exciting development of this joint venture is that any positive finding from these OOCT samples will now be subject to the rules and regulations of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

"We're making great strides on the integrity issue. While it was never our intention to make things difficult for those honest trainers competing in our stakes it has been necessary to have the horses where they could be tested out of competition far enough in advance of the races to get the results in before they raced," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "Now, with the cooperation of other states and provinces, we can have the horse tested where they are stabled and serve the purpose without relocating the horses. Just as importantly, with the NJRC involved in the process there will be real consequences imposed on the cheaters instead of just being excluded at my tracks."

Complete information including schedules, conditions and nomination forms may be downloaded from The Meadowlands website. Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at 201-842-5130.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)

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