Cutler Kicks Off Meadowlands Grand Circuit Season

Bella Bellini
Published: May 18, 2023 09:55 am EDT

The Grand Circuit season at The Meadowlands has historically opened with the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and that will again be the case on Saturday when 11 of the finest older trotters in the land will assemble at to compete for a purse of $155,200.

The stakes was launched in 1998 by Meadowlands President Jeff Gural (long before his current role) to honour his dear friend and frequent accomplice to the races who died far too soon. Artie Cutler was a renowned restauranteur in Manhattan who loved food and gambling on the horses with his pals. Many of those friends still assemble at the track on Cutler night to reminisce and celebrate his memory.

The race itself has been a fitting tribute to Mr. Cutler as the list of winners reads like a who's who of trotting. Ecurie DK set the stakes record and equalled the world record with his dazzling 1:49.1 triumph in last year's edition.

The great mare Bella Bellini is the most accomplished of this season's participants. Dave McDuffee's homebred has a very long list of accomplishments throughout her $2 million career and seeks to add her name to a list of female Cutler winners that already includes champions such as Bee A Magician, Hannelore Hanover, Atlanta and Manchego. Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn have teamed to guide Bella Bellini through her many successes.

It won't be easy, as the competition is led by the red-hot pair of Ron Burke trotters, Its Academic and Hillexotic, inaugural Mohawk Million winner Venerate, who makes his first start for the Melander barn, and Pretender, who has come back raging for Nancy Takter.

Saturday's card is deep with talent as three divisions of New Jersey-sired trotters support the feature along with an interesting assortment of overnights.

Free programs will be available on the Meadowlands website. First post is 6:20 p.m.

The complete field for the Cutler Memorial is listed below

$155,200 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Trot
Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer 
1. Venerate - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander
2. Delayed Hanover - Jordan Stratton - Kevin McDermott
3. Ahundreddollarbill - Todd McCarthy - Tony Alagna
4. Bella Bellini - Dexter Dunn - R. Nifty Norman
5. Its Academic - David Miller - Ron Burke
6. Pretender - Andrew McCarthy - Nancy Takter
7. Rattle My Cage - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt
8. Incommunicado - Mark MacDonald - Ake Svanstedt
9. Ambassador Hanover - Scott Zeron - Ake Svanstedt
10. Hillexotic - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke
[11. Lovedbythemasses - Tim Tetrick - Jeff Cullipher
AE1. Balenciaga - Scott Zeron - Paul Kelley
AE2. Harry Knows IR - Todd McCarthy - Shane Tritton

The Meadowlands’ partnership with the TV team at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) continues this weekend. Instead of the usual just-Saturday-night coverage, America’s Day at the Races will be shown on both Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 nights to a national television audience on either Fox Sports 1 (FS1) or Fox Sports 2 (FS2), and will feature the action from The Big M alongside a Thoroughbred track. On Friday, Churchill Downs will be on display, while on Saturday, Charles Town Races will be seen.

On Friday night, racing fans can watch the action on FS2 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. before the broadcast switches over to FS1 from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Saturday’s broadcast is from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on FS2. The $155,200 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial is the marquee event at The Meadowlands, which will also have New Jersey Sire Stakes action for three-year-old trotters. Big M TV’s Jessica Otten will provide the harness commentary both nights.

“It’s always an honour to share the stage with Churchill Downs on one of their rare Friday night programs,” said Jason Settlemoir, Meadowlands’ Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. “The Friday dual simulcast comes on the heels of Churchill breaking the all-time betting record on Derby Day last Saturday.

“Being a part of America’s Day at the Races gives The Meadowlands and Standardbred racing an enormous opportunity to showcase our product to a very large new audience.”

(With files from The Meadowlands)