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Changes Abound On Stakes Landscape

by Frank Carulli

June 7, 2020

Cancelled … postponed … rescheduled … unchanged.

Take your pick.

Harness racing’s 2020 stakes season can be divided into those categories, ever-changing as they may be.

Here’s some of what fans know now. Check the U.S. Trotting Association for daily updates.

·         From June to July 3, there were 21 six-figure stakes from among 177 scheduled in North America.

·          Northfield Park’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie and $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were canceled, meeting similar fate of high-profile events like Yonkers’s Art Rooney Pace, Western Fair’s Camluck Classic and Scioto Downs’ Jim Ewart Memorial before them. The next stakes cycle will commence with the July 4 cancellation of Pocono Downs’ lucrative Sun Stakes finals.

·         Sire stakes action at New York’s Buffalo Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Tioga Downs joined Pennsylvania’s Pocono Downs, Meadows and Harrah’s Philadelphia in the “postponed” stage.

·         The top 3-year-olds are scheduled to head postward in the Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 18.

·         The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the featured race on Canada’s most lucrative night of racing, was rescheduled from June 20 to August 29. The $450,000 Fan Hanover Stakes and $330,000 Roses Are Red complement the North America Cup.

·         Pacing’s Triple Crown will consist of the Cane Pace, scheduled August 8 at the Meadowlands, the Messenger September 5 at Yonkers and the Little Brown Jug September 24 in Delaware, Ohio.

·         The crown jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown – the $1 million Hambletonian – hopes to maintain its August 8 starting assignment, surrounded by the Yonkers Trot September 5 and Kentucky Futurity October 11 at the Red Mile.

·         Many of the world’s best trotters will receive invites to the Yonkers International, set for September 12, though live racing has yet to return to Yonkers.

·         Harrah’s Hoosier Park is on pace to host its second Breeders Crown in late October. Hoosier Park handled a record $4 million-plus in bets in its first go-round in 2017.