New 'Freshman Fall Final Four' Format

Published: October 19, 2020 09:42 am EDT

The 2020 Grand Circuit stakes season at the Meadowlands Racetrack will conclude on Saturday, November 21 with the $1 million TVG finals for older horses and $1.5 million 'Freshman Fall Final Four' (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory & Governor's Cup).

While it seems a lifetime ago, when the live racing dates for 2020 were awarded by the NJRC last November, they included the legislated right for Monmouth Park to run a fall meet on the main track at the Meadowlands from October 2 through December 5, eliminating any possibility of a fall harness meet.

Those dates were eventually revised through negotiations to end on November 21, the reason being to accommodate the Final Four and TVG finals. The issue remained that the earliest date the Standardbred meet could begin and those stakes raced would be November 28.

With such a late date for the Final Four and the fact that of the four stakes only the Three Diamonds required eliminations in 2019, a top money-winning format was implemented for 2020. The conditions were amended to read "The eleven (11) highest 2020 money winners (USTA records) that are declared will race at one mile." So, there will be no eliminations, just a single race composed of up to 11 horses with a provision for a consolation if enough are declared to warrant one.

Among the many COVID-19 related changes this year was Monmouth's decision to not race at the Meadowlands at all, which has allowed the Standardbreds to continue through the fall and the above mentioned stakes to be raced a week earlier.

The final two preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic Series will be raced the next two Fridays (Oct. 23 and 30) leading up to the $800,000 (est.) finals on Saturday, November 7. The current standings and conditions are available on the web.

Contact the Meadowlands racing office at 201-842-5130 with any questions.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)



Tall Dark Stranger's Connections are going to have a HUGE decision to make, which could very well decide if he wins HOTY: do they enter him in The Progress Pace, against 3yo's, at Dover Downs on 11/25, or do they enter him in The TVG, against older horses, at The Meadowlands on 11/21? Either race will almost certainly be the final race of his career. A win in The TVG would be much more impressive, but what if he enters the race and draws the 10 hole??

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