East Rutherford, NJ – The Meadowlands is proud to announce its 2020 stakes schedule, which will total approximately $14 million over the course of the 92-program meet.
The Meadowlands Standardbred meet will have a different look in 2020 due to Monmouth Park exercising their legislated right to race Thoroughbreds on the main track from October 2 through November 21, thus eliminating the possibility for the customary fall harness meet.
Live Harness Racing will begin January 2 and race primarily on Fridays and Saturdays with an occasional Thursday thrown in through September 19; then pick back up on November 27 racing three days per week through year’s end.
Hambletonian Day will once again headline the Championship Meet with more than $3 million in stakes purses offered on Saturday, Aug. 8. The $1 million Hambletonian will return to the elimination format with the finest 3-year-old trotters competing for 10 final berths on August 1 to return for Harness Racing’s most sought after prize the next week. The Hambletonian Oaks will follow the same course and lead the customary cast of supporting stakes that include the $300,000 Cashman FFA trot, $225,000 McKee FFA pace, $175,000 Steele FFA mare trot, $200,000 Lady Liberty FFA mare pace and the Haughton & Doherty Memorial stakes for freshman colt and filly trotters.
The $700,000 (estimated) Meadowlands Pace will lead a parade of top stakes on Pace night Saturday, July 18 that includes the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity, $400,000 WR Haughton FFA and $200,000 Golden Girls for pacing mares.
The TVG Championship Stakes and Fall Freshman Final Four are slated to open the winter meet on Saturday, Nov. 28 headlining a $3 million card.
The longer than usual summer meet presents an opportunity to delay the start of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for 2-year-olds to mid-July with the finals on August 21. The later start to the NJSS races offer three more weeks to prepare for the enriched NJ program, a welcome benefit to both the horses and the horsemen that manage them. Those dates have recently been adjusted to race the finals two weeks earlier than originally planned in an effort to accommodate those horses that qualify to race in the Kentucky dual-eligibility program.
While on the topic of 2-year-olds, The Meadowlands schedule provides a racing opportunity for the freshman crop every week from July 3 through September 18. The Tompkins-Geers and Reynolds stakes, previously raced at Tioga Downs, have been brought to The Meadowlands with the 2-year-old divisions of those stakes blended in with the Kindergarten and NJSS to reach that goal.
The 3-year-old Tompkins-Geers trotting and pacing divisions and Reynolds trotting stakes are all at The Meadowlands and have been placed where they best provide preps for some other major stakes at the track.
The Graduate Series returns in the customary time frame to provide transitional races for 4-year-old pacers and trotters before they must face the top older stakes horses. The $250,000 finals will again be a part of the Meadowlands Pace elimination night card on July 11.
The Miss Versatility will offer five legs to trotting mares beginning on May 28 at Woodbine Mohawk Park then race at The Meadowlands four times before the $100,000 finals at The Little Brown Jug.
All stakes information will be available on The Meadowlands website in early January.