East Rutherford, NJ --- The New Jersey Sires Stakes for 3-year-olds get underway on Friday (May 18) at The Meadowlands.
The once mighty program has diminished to where there are but a handful of horses to compete in each of the $15,000 sophomore divisions, necessitating that both colt races be held off the night card and raced early as non-betting events.
The same two pacing colts who competed in last year's freshman division will match up again with Melanie's Fran (David Miller) who swept through the series last season facing his rival Hypnotico (Austin Siegelman) at 6 p.m. Kevin McDermott trains Melanie's Fran for the 80 Slot Right Stable.
U Need Stones (Yannick Gingras) had his way with the trotting colts as a freshman and he'll look to continue his mastery over three rivals for leading trainer Ron Burke at 6:10. U Need Stones has come back strong this season with a win and a second in as many starts for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Shoshie Deo is the main rival here.
The filly divisions drew five entries in each and will be raced as part of the pari-mutuel card.
Hurrikane Empress (Gingras) is the returning champ of the filly pacing division for trainer John McDermott and she'll begin her title defense in race one. She swept the division with ease last year and has had a few starts to prepare for this battle for owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing and Pegasis Investment Group.
The filly trot goes as the third race where Princess Marxxx (Gingras) is the returning final winner in what is clearly the most competitive division. She took last year's final for owner/breeder Steve Stewart and was a winner in her most recent overnight contest. Justin Lebo is the trainer.
The NJSS comes back next Friday for leg two with the finals set for June 1.
The big news on campus is that Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural will sit for an interview with Dave Brower on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to permit sports betting in New Jersey. That interview will be on Racing From The Meadowlands at 6:45 p.m. on The Meadowlands live broadcast.
The usual array of wager guarantees are in place and the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover is up to $221,892 going into Friday's races. Post time is 7:15 p.m.