11/21/2012 5:33PM

Harness Racing: News and Notes

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Meadowlands

The Meadowlands, which will open for live racing on Friday, December 28, will conduct qualifying races on Thursday, December 20 for horses to prepare for the upcoming meet. The track will also race on December 29 and then begin a Thursday to Saturday schedule beginning January 3.

Pocono

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will launch their 2013 racing season on Saturday, March 23. The track will race on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from March through May before adding Fridays in June and July. From August to closing night on November 16, Pocono will drop Sundays.

The highlight of the Pocono schedule will be the Breeders Crown on Saturday, October 19. Eliminations will be conducted on October 12.

Freehold

Freehold will host a $10,000 Drivers Challenge for their top eight drivers on Saturday, December 8. Catello Manzi, Jeff Gregory, Jim Marshall III, Steve Smith, Jim Pantaleano, Eric Abbatiello, Harry Landy and Joe Bongiorno are the lucky participants vying for the $4,000 top prize.

The event will be sponsored by Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Co., LLC, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and the Bongiorno and Landy families. All participating drivers will donate 10 percent of their earnings to Freehold Area Open Door, a non-profit agency which provides emergency funding and scholarships to those in need, and Freehold Raceway will match the amount.

Top 10 poll

Chapter Seven remained in the top spot in the final Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll. With 31 of 35 first-place votes, the Linda Toscano trainee is the runaway favorite to be named Horse of the Year.