10/31/2014 2:19PM

Meadowlands: Cane Pace to Hambo Day; New trainer rules


On Friday (10/31) the Meadowlands made two key moves, one to the racing calendar and another to change the landscape of stakes races. The New Jersey track will move the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, and the Shady Daisy to Hambletonian Day beginning in 2015. The track also decreed that trainers in early and late closer events starting with the meet that commences on November 14 will be limited to two horses in each race.

Below is a statement from the Meadowlands on each announcement:

Cane Pace

The Cane Pace will find a new home in 2015.  For the first time, the first leg of the pacing Triple Crown will head to The Meadowlands.  It will join the star-studded Hambletonian Day card on August 8, 2015. 

The move is one that is not only great for The Meadowlands, but for the harness racing industry.

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“Having the best three year old pacers in the sport competing on Hambletonian Day is going to be great for The Meadowlands and Hambletonian Day,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.   “The Cane Pace is so rich in its history and it deserves a place on harness racing’s biggest stage and adding it to The Hambletonian Day card will do just that.”

In addition to the Cane Pace, it’s filly counterpart, the Shady Daisy, will also join The Hambletonian Day program.  The Meadowlands will also be adding a “sister race” to the John Cashman Memorial for the aged mare trotters on Hambletonian Day.

There will be some adjustments made to the conditions of the Cane due to its new location on the racing calendar.

“There are an abundance of races for the three year old pacers over the course of the summer,” said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali.  “The major change to the race will be that it will not contest eliminations, which we feel will make the race more appealing to the leading three year old pacers. No eliminations will also enhance the purse of the Cane Pace Final for 2015.  We will provide full details regarding the updated conditions of The Cane Pace in the near future”

The Cane Pace is the first leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown. It was created in 1955 and originally raced as “The Cane Futurity.”  The Meadowlands will be the fifth host track of The Cane Pace, joining Yonkers Raceway, Freehold Raceway, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Tioga Downs as venues that have hosted the first jewel of pacing’s Triple Crown.

New Trainer Rule

Beginning with the 2014-2015 season at The Meadowlands, there will be a new condition attached to all Late and Early Closer Finals that limits the number of horses a trainer can enter into the Final of those events.  All Late Closer and Early Closer Finals will carry the following clause:

"No trainer may race more than two horses in this race.  This does not apply to any horses raced in a trainer's stable from the first charted race of the horse’s career. Any trainer change that applies to the spirit of this condition must be made a minimum of 30 days in advance of the race date to be considered valid for the purpose of this race."

This rule has been implemented in response to our customers complaints regarding trainers having an abundance of horses in one race while being sure not to discourage any horsemen from purchasing yearlings.  This clause does allow a trainer to enter any number of horses he wishes into the Final of a Late Closer or Early Closer, provided he or she has been that horse’s trainer since its first charted race, including baby races and qualifiers.  However, a trainer will be limited to entering two horses that he or she has not trained since its first charted race.

“This rule is in the best interest of the betting public, the horsemen and the harness racing industry as a whole,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.  "The purpose of this rule is to address complaints we have received from our customers and to avoid discouraging anyone from purchasing yearlings.  We recognize that if a trainer should happen to have three good horses that fit the condition of a race that he or she has trained since the beginning of his career, he or she should be allowed to enter all three.  This rule impacts only horses that are no longer racing for their original trainer.”

In addition, a trainer change between the rounds of eliminations and Finals for the events at The Meadowlands will not be allowed simply to ensure a certain horse can enter the Final.  The trainer change must be made a minimum of 30 days prior to the date of the race, thus the horse will have to race through the entire series for the new trainer.

-edited release(Meadowlands)