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Roll With JR, Major Betts try to punch their tickets into Meadowlands Pace
--July 9, 2020, by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
Hightstown, NJ — They might not be standard for a pacer, but Jeff Cullipher has a good idea what his 3-year-old Roll With JR will need to wear in Saturday’s (July 11) lone Meadowlands Pace elimination.
“I hope he can put his big-boy pants on,” Cullipher said with a laugh.
Roll With JR was among a dozen 3-year-old male pacers entered in the Meadowlands Pace. Two horses, Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate, advanced to the final courtesy of byes based on seasonal earnings. The top-eight finishers in Saturday’s $50,000 elimination at The Meadowlands Racetrack will join them in the $631,650 final July 18.
The elimination field includes returning Dan Patch Award-winner Tall Dark Stranger, who in his only start this year defeated older horses in 1:47.4 at the Big M. The time is tied for the fastest mile of the season. Also in the field is last season’s richest 2-year-old male pacer, Papi Rob Hanover, who finished second to multiple Grand Circuit winner Capt Midnight in their only start of 2020.
Roll With JR, who finished second to Meadowlands Pace hopeful Catch The Fire in last year’s Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, will be making his first trip to The Meadowlands since finishing third in a 2-year-old qualifying race there on June 22, 2019. He heads to the elimination off a 1:51.2 win in his seasonal debut at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. For his career, the colt has won four of 12 races and $176,516. His wins last year included a division of the Bluegrass Stakes.
“He was such a green horse (last year) I never felt like he reached his full potential,” the Indiana-based Cullipher said. “But he went a couple decent miles and showed that he can. He kind of grew into himself over the winter; he’s developed and is kind of a nice-sized colt.
“He’s still the kind of colt that’s only going to do what he’s made to do. I know I don’t have a (1):48 mile in him yet, I don’t even know if he could do it. I’d like to think he could step it up with the better horses.”
Cullipher owns Roll With JR, a son of Roll With Joe out of No One Is Alone, with Pollack Racing. Cullipher and Tom Pollack have been increasing their presence on the Grand Circuit in recent years.
“It’s exciting,” Cullipher said. “Me and Tom are starting to step into these races a little bit. We’re just having fun right now.
“This might be a one-shot deal, I don’t know, but so far I’m happy.”
Another horse making his first trip of the season to The Meadowlands for the elimination is Major Betts. The Mark Harder-trained colt prepped with qualifiers at Gaitway Farm and Harrah’s Philadelphia before winning his only 2020 start in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs on June 28.
Major Betts defeated favorite Splash Brother by three lengths in 1:49.4, the fastest mile of the young season by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track.
“I trained him Tuesday morning and I thought he was super,” Harder said. “I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Harder had an opportunity to accept one of the two byes for the Meadowlands Pace but decided against it.
“I couldn’t be off three weeks going into the final, that would not make sense at all,” Harder said. “He needs the work.”
Major Betts, a son of Art Major out of Southwind Johanne, has won five of 12 lifetime starts and $153,390 for owners Harder, Joseph Jannuzzelli, and Deena Rachel Frost. His wins last year included divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers.
“He was just always fast, he was just beautifully gaited,” said Harder, who won the 2004 Meadowlands Pace with Holborn Hanover. “He was a colt that had one of those gaits that he just didn’t work at it. He did everything pretty easy.
“A couple of times last year he did some silly colt things. This year, he acts more professional. He drives like an old horse. It’s probably a little bit of rigging, a little bit of growing up, a little bit of everything. Hopefully it’s a bit of good management. It might just be good luck.”
Harder wouldn’t turn down any good luck in the upcoming weeks.
“A lot of (the 3-year-olds) are very impressive,” Harder said. “Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are very good, Allywag Hanover has been very impressive. They’ve been racing at The Meadowlands and times there have been crazy.
“We beat a horse that looked pretty impressive, Splash Brother. It’s a completely different class, but it shows we’re there and we’re competitive. Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are the two standouts for sure, but there are a lot of really, really good horses. Nothing is easy.”
Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands entries, click here.
MEADOWLANDS PACE ELIMINATION FIELD
(EDITORS--For those of you interested, here is the Meadowlands Pace Elimination field for Saturday night at the Meadowlands, with morning-line odds.
Thanks--Dave Little)

The field for Saturday night’s Meadowlands Pace Elimination in post-position order, with horse (driver) and morning-line odds: Major Betts (D. Dunn), 9-2; Captain Barbossa (A. McCarthy), 5-1; Tall Dark Stranger (Y. Gingras), 3-1; Manticore (J. Stratton), 15-1; Captain Kirk (D. Dunn), 10-1; Roll With Jr (T. Tetrick), 10-1; Mocha On The Rocks (S. Zeron), 20-1; Catch The Fire (W. Wilder), 15-1; Capt Midnight (A. McCarthy), 8-1; Papi Rob Hanover (D. Miller), 7-2.

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MEADOWLANDS RELEASE FOR TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2020
(PACE ELIMINATION AND GRADUATE POST DRAWS)
ONE DOZEN DROP IN FOR MEADOWLANDS PACE
Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – With a limited number of 12 horses having dropped into the entry box, there will only be one Meadowlands Pace Elimination necessary on this Saturday (July 11) night’s program at the Big M. Post time is 7:15 p.m.
Two horses – Chief Mate and Allywag Hanover – took byes and will automatically go in the July 18 big-money final for 3-year-old open pacers.
Conditions call for those with the highest earnings this season getting the option to skip the elim. Trainer Mark Harder wanted Major Betts to race, so he’s in this Saturday. As a result, Chief Mate and Allywag Hanover, who were next in line in 2020 earnings, took a free pass to the final.
The elimination has a field of 10, with the first eight in official order of finish advancing to the $631,650 final. The elimination winner will get a major perk: That horse will draw a post position from one through six.
Tall Dark Stranger has drawn post three in the elim. The Nancy Takter trainee’s only start this year resulted in a national season’s-best equaling mile of 1:47.4. The Brett Pelling-schooled Papi Rob Hanover, second in his 2020 debut a week ago after a tough trip from post 10, once again was luckless at the pill drop, having drawn the 10 hole for a second straight start.
The field for Saturday night’s Meadowlands Pace Elimination in post position order, with horse (and driver): Major Betts (D. Dunn), Captain Barbossa (A. McCarthy), Tall Dark Stranger (Y. Gingras), Manticore (J. Stratton), Captain Kirk (D. Dunn), Roll With Jr (T. Tetrick), Mocha On The Rocks (S. Zeron), Catch The Fire (W. Wilder), Capt Midnight (A. McCarthy), Papi Rob Hanover (D. Miller).
Also on Saturday’s program are a pair of $250,000 Graduate Finals. The open events for 4-year-olds – one for pacers and one on the trot – both have full fields of 10.
The trot has double Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion Gimpanzee as the one with the target on his back. He’s been ultra-impressive in winning both of his starts this year – each of which were Graduate preliminaries – by scoring once on the front end and once from well off the pace.
The field for the Graduate Final for trotters in post position order, with horse (and driver): Chin Chin Hall (D. Dunn), Kings County (D. Miller), Gimpanzee (B. Sears), Winnerup (T. Smedshammer), Explosivebreakaway (T. Tetrick), Southwind Avenger (A. McCarthy), Goes Down Smooth (No Driver), Pure Chance (No Driver), Grand Swan (T. Tetrick), Reign Of Honor (D. Miller).
Bettor’s Wish was the top money-earning horse in harness racing a year ago with over $1.6 million in the bank, and despite drawing post 10, will likely be the post-time favorite in the Graduate for pacers off his 1:48.2 off-the-pace win a week ago at the Meadowlands in the series’ final leg.
The field for the Graduate Final for pacers in post-position order, with horse (and driver): Century Farroh (D. Miller), Shamwow (J. Stratton), Workin Ona Mystery (T. Tetrick), Dancin Lou (B. Sears), Hurrikane Emperor (M. MacDonald), Aflame Hanover (D. Miller), Captain Victorious (Y. Gingras), Brassy Hanover (S. Zeron), Bllack Hole (T. Tetrick), Bettor’s Wish (D. Dunn).
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