EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that stakes purses for the 2021 season will total more than $20 million. Spearheaded by the return of the $6.5 million Breeders Crown to the prolific New Jersey oval for the first time since 2016, the stakes opportunities abound from March through November. Important seasonal highlights include the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $700,000 Meadowlands Pace and well over $1 million in New Jersey bred events. The stakes will begin with the second edition of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for 4-year-old pacers and trotters in March and April, respectively. The Meadowlands Championship Meet and Grand Circuit (GC) racing begins with the first of three Graduate Series legs for the pacers on May 1. The first Graduate leg for the trotters goes on May 22, leg #2 for both is at Woodbine at Mohawk Park (WMP) on June 5 then a return to The Meadowlands for leg #3 on June 26 precedes the $250,000e finals on July 10. The first leg of the Versatility goes on May 8 at Meadowlands, WMP hosts leg #2 on May 28, the third leg on Pace night, leg #4 on July 31 and the fifth leg on September 10 are all at The Meadowlands, with the $100,000e final at Delaware on Jug Day. The $180,000e Arthur Cutler Memorial maintains its customary position as the first major GC stake for older trotters on May 15. May will also bring two legs and the rich finals of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for the sophomore set. The first 2-year-old Grand Circuit event of the season will be the Tompkins-Geers on June 18. The NJSS freshman stakes will race two legs and a final through the month of July and the SBOA of NJ sponsored Homegrown 2-year-old pace goes on June 26 while the baby trotters will race in the Garden State on August 6. The popular Kindergarten series for freshman trotters and pacers have the first leg on Friday, July 23, resume in September with legs on September 17 and 24 then wrap up with the fourth and last leg on November 6 leading into the $200,000e finals on November 13. The month of July is filled with an embarrassment of riches beginning on July 3 with the Roll With Joe Open Pace, Crawford Farms Open Trot, Artiscape Open Mare Pace and Joie De Vie Open Mare Trot, all of which had previously been raced at Tioga Downs moving to The Meadowlands. The purse for each is estimated at $175,000. The track's signature event, The Meadowlands Pace, highlights "The Greatest Night In Harness Racing" a $2.5 million extravaganza that counts the Mistletoe Shalee, Hambletonian Maturity, WR & Dorothy Haughton (formerly known as the Golden Girls) Memorials for FFA pacers and important Hambletonian preps, the Stanley Dancer and Del Miller on July 17. Hambletonian Day falls on Saturday, August 7 in 2021 and the sport's marquee day of racing will boast $3.5 million in purses led by the $1 million trotting classic and its $500,000 filly companion stake. The supporting stakes include a preview of prospects for the 2022 Hambo as the baby trotters see their first major tests of the season in the Peter Haughton & Jim Doherty. Adding further intrigue is the expected All Star cast of important stakes consisting of the Cane Pace & Shady Daisy 3-year-old pacing stakes, the John Cashman &, Dr. John Steele and the Sam McKee and Lady Liberty respectively will field the best older trotters and pacers racing. The Fall Meet is heavy with important Grand Circuit stakes led of course by the $6.5 million Breeders Crown. The eliminations will be held on the weekend of October 22 & 23 with the rich finals on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30.
But wait, there's more! As the calendar turns to November and the Kindergarten series concludes on November 13, the very next weekend will see the return of the sport's top 2-year-olds in the $2 million Freshman Fall Final Four and the best older horses will sort out the order for seasonal awards in the $1 million TVG Championships.
"We look forward to the 2021 stakes season at The Meadowlands with great anticipation," said Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "The stakes roster is incredible and the return of the Breeders Crown is the cherry on top. Owners, breeders, trainers and drivers will have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their prized colts and fillies at the mecca of Standardbred racing over the finest racetrack in North America and The Meadowlands is thrilled to play host." The entire 2021 stakes schedule can be found here.