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2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
January 26 - March 11, 2017
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March 17 - August 5, 2017
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September 8 - September 16, 2017
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FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
January 5 - March 25, 2017
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Special Race Day Monday February 20, 2017

March 31 - May 6, 2017
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September 1 - December 9, 2017
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Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
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BLUE MOON STRIDE READY STEP OUT IN MISTLETOE SHALEE

-- Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

MANALAPAN, NJ -- July 14, 2016 -- Blue Moon Stride might not attract the same attention as some of her division rivals, such as Pure Country, L A Delight, and Darlinonthebeach, but the 3-year-old female pacer draws plenty of admiration from her trainer, Mark Harder.

“Because I train her and I like her, I think she can win a big one,” said Harder, who trains Blue Moon Stride for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia. “I think somewhere along the line, I don’t think it will be a surprise, but I think one day she can win a big race. We’ll see. She’ll show up and race them. Who knows what can happen.

“She’s a little unnoticed, but she’s been pretty consistent and been a real nice filly. I just look at her having a great solid year; being exciting, being fun, and hopefully we can beat those good fillies. There are some really good fillies out there. Pure Country has shown that she’s the best. But maybe we’ll get our turn.”

Blue Moon Stride is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $157,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country and stakes-winner Darlinonthebeach are absent, but the six-filly field also includes Canada’s O’Brien Award-recipient L A Delight, Skinny Dipper, Shezarealdeal, Lindwood Beachgirl, and Penpal.

Andrew McCarthy will drive Blue Moon Stride, who starts from post five.

Saturday’s card at the Meadowlands also includes the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, Hambletonian Maturity, and divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Delvin Miller Memorial.

For her career, Blue Moon Stride has won seven of 19 races and earned $444,362. In addition to her seven victories, she has finished second on seven occasions.

This year, the filly opened her campaign with a sixth-place finish against older horses, but was beaten only 1-3/4 lengths. She then swept three races in the New Jersey Sire Stakes series, culminating with a victory in the $100,000 championship on June 4 at the Meadowlands. She also was the series champion in 2015.

From there, it was on to the James M. Lynch Memorial, where she finished second by a neck to Pure Country in her elimination and second again to Pure Country, this time by a half-length, in the $300,000 final.

Last season, Blue Moon Stride’s wins also included divisions of the Arden Downs and Tompkins-Geers stakes. She finished second in the Three Diamonds and divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes.

“I always liked her,” Harder said. “She was not that great gaited early, but when you got her in top gear she was pretty clean going. She always showed talent right from the get-go.”

Blue Moon Stride was purchased as a weanling for $27,000 as part of the Perretti Farms dispersal sale at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale. She is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Classic Star. Mom is a full sister to Dan Patch Award-winners Bettor’s Delight and Roll With Joe and a half-sister to 2003 Horse of the Year No Pan Intended.

“We went to buy (Blue Moon Stride’s) yearling sister at the sale, but we passed on her,” Harder said. “Even though (Blue Moon Stride) was a little bit on the small side, we took a chance on her. As soon as we got her home, she just took off (growing). She’s just one of those horses that grew more later than early. She’s a big filly now.”

A big filly with a little bit of attitude.

“She’s got a little fight to her,” Harder said. “She’s got that little nastiness to her and it shows up on the racetrack. Nothing seems to bother her too much.

“She’s just a big strong filly sort of right on top of her game right now.”


Photo by Lisa Photo



PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Skinny Dipper – Scott Zeron – Ross Croghan – 8/1

2 – L A Delight – John Campbell – Robert McIntosh – 5/2

3 – Shezarealdeal – Marcus Miller – Ross Croghan – 9/2

4 – Lindwood Beachgirl – Yannick Gingras – Mark Steacy – 3/1

5 – Blue Moon Stride – Andrew McCarthy – Mark Harder – 2/1

6 – Penpal – Pat Lachance – Pat Lachance – 10/1

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