Meadowlands Offers New Year's Eve Card

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Ted Black

December 30th, 2016

This Saturday evening millions of Americans will head to Time Square in New York City for the annual New Year's Eve celebration, while several miles to the south in the shadow of the Big Apple, standardbred owners, trainers and fans will be seeking to end 2016 on a winning night at the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey.

Saturday's card does not include many of the upper echelon horses and drivers that once made the Meadowlands the undisputed "Mecca of harness racing", but the New Jersey miler has more than a handful of events that handicappers should find intriguing and potentially profitable.

In fact, the opening race on the card, a nondescript non-winners of $3500 last five starts class for pacers, City Pie (Corey Callahan) definitely merits respect and a chance for redemption after finishing third in consecutive races as the post time choice, while Rooster Rabbit (Brett Miller) gets some mild class relief and should be a decent price from post 10. Versado has ample speed and back class and the rail and could make his presence known early and late in this affair.
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One race later in a non-winners of $5000 last five starts class for pacers, K-Lees Shakenbake (Brett Miller) clearly looms the one to beat in the second half of the early daily double, having finished fourth as the 9-5 second choice against slightly tougher last out one start after prevailing at this level as the even-money choice. Downbythehighway (Joe Bongiorno) continues a serious drop in class for trainer Ron Burke, but could find this spot ideal for regaining his winning ways.

Just before the midway point of the card, Yonkers Raceway regular Alberto Contador N (Jim Marohn, Jr.) finished third in his local debut for trainer Darran Cassar against slightly tougher and should garner the favorite's role in this non-winners of $11,500 last five starts class. But Saratoga invader Fan Of Terror (Vincent Ginsburg), Urban Renewal (Brett Miller) and Burke trainee Freeneasy Hanover (Bongiorno) moves into condition ranks after spending much of the fall in claimers.

One race later in the $35,000 Invitational, Burke trainees Limelight Beach (Drew Monti) and Clear Vision (Bongiorno) both arrive off recent outings in the Open Handicap at Saratoga, while National Seelster (John Campbell) and Doctor Butch (Marohn) both make the quantum leap into the feature off victories against conditioned foes last week. Lucan Hanover (Ginsburg) was a sharp second in the Open Hcp at Saratoga last out and owns ample back class, while the razor sharp City Hall (Brett Miller) seeks his fifth straight victory over the strip for trainer Amber Buter.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $15,000 last five starts class/optional $50,000 claiming race, streaking sophomore Enoch (Brett Miller) puts his six-race win streak on the line for Burke, having won his last two against conditioned foes at Dover Downs. Mariner Seelster (Greg Merton) actually upended Lucan Hanover in the Open Hcp at Saratoga last out for trainer Mark Ford, while Elrama N (Callahan) seeks his fourth straight tally here for trainer Michael Russo and is one of only two horses in for the tag.