The 2023 Meadowlands stakes schedule will again feature many of the sport's most highly prized Grand Circuit stakes during the "Championship Meet."
The 26th Arthur Cutler Memorial FFA Trot will retain its customary position kicking off the Big M stakes season on Saturday, May 20. Things will heat up when the calendar turns to July with the Roll With Joe, Perfect Sting, Crawford Farms and Six Pack stakes for older horses setting the table for six great weeks of Grand Circuit racing.
The two-year-olds will have five $20,000 Kindergarten Series preliminary legs with the Nov. 4 finals estimated at $1 million. The Freshman Fall Final Four eliminations are on Nov. 18 and the $1.6 million finals go the next week.
For the first time, Kindergarten final winners will be awarded a "Win & You're In" bonus into the Freshman Fall Final Four. Those winners will move directly to the final and draw for posts with any elimination winners toward the rich finals. (See stakes conditions. Horses must be eligible to the Freshman Fall Final Four.)
The New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) will have purses at the same level as 2022 with the the two-year-olds starting in mid-July. The New Jersey Classic Series (NJCS) is back in early September with a new format of eliminations and finals with consolations.
The sophomore set is led by the track's signature race, The Meadowlands Pace, on Saturday, July 15. The "Biggest Party in Harness Racing" offers $2.5 million in purses and includes an imposing slate of supporting Grand Circuit stakes including the Mistletoe Shalee, Hambletonian Maturity, W.R. Haughton and Dorothy Haughton FFA pacing memorials and coveted Hambletonian preps the Del Miller and Stanley Dancer memorials.
The NJSS for three-year-olds gets underway in May and the NJCS will grow to include pacing races for the sophomore colts and fillies during its September run.
The $3.5 million Hambletonian Day card on Saturday, Aug. 5 will include the Hambo Oaks, Cane Pace and Shady Daisy, the John Cashman and Dr. John Steele Memorials for older trotters, Sam McKee and Lady Liberty for pacers, and with the later start in '23, the NJSS for freshman trotters will take the place of the Haughton and Doherty two-year-old trots.
The Graduate Series open division for four-year-olds returns with the first leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 3 followed by two more legs at The Meadowlands leading into the July 8, $250,000 (estimated) finals. The Graduate Series for mares has been discontinued. Older trotting mares may count on the popular Miss Versatility for six legs before the $100,000 (estimate) final on Jug Day in Delaware, Ohio.
Fall racing resumes with Kindergarten legs the last two weekends of October while November is filled with features as mentioned above for two-year-olds and finally, the re-christened FanDuel Championships (formerly known as the TVG) will bring the curtain down on stakes season.
The Meadowlands recognizes and appreciates the contribution of its stakes sponsors who help to make this ambitious undertaking possible.
Further information will come available in the near future.