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Meadowlands under-30 contest brought 52 players

July 29, 2015

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Saturday evening at the Meadowlands was one that was filled with youth, energy and excitement, thanks to a free handicapping contest geared towards younger harness racing enthusiasts.
The contest was for anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 and was free to enter. It centered around 10 races at The Meadowlands on the Saturday program and each contestant selected one horse in each race to place a mythical two-dollar "across-the-board" wager on.
When registration closed, 52 young-guns entered to try their luck with hopes of earning a share of the $5,000 prize pool.
The prizes were divided as follows: Winner: $2,500; Runner-up: $1,500; and Third Place: $1,000.
The winner of the $2,500 Grand Prize was Patrick Welsh of Doylestown, Pa. He compiled a bankroll of $142.80 for the 10 races, mostly on the back of Shaving Mug, a 20-1 upset winner of the fifth race. John Vernaglia from Cliffside Park, N.J., finished second with $108.80 and took home the $1,500 second-place prize, while Michael Tack of Manville, N.J., finished with $103.80 and landed the $1,000 third-place prize.
Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural spoke to the continued importance of attracting younger people to the races.
"It is essential that we reach out to a younger audience in the harness racing industry," said Gural. "The average age of our customers as a whole continues to grow older. That is a big problem. At the Meadowlands we are in the unique position of attracting a younger audience with many of the amenities we offer. Victory Terrace, a rooftop bar and lounge is packed every night during the warmer months for live racing. We continue to see more and more people up there and the customer that frequents Victory Terrace is typically in his twenties. The Sports Bar is another location that our younger fans seem to enjoy, as is The Backyard which features an outstanding barbecue restaurant, House of Que, live entertainment, Little Town Bar and fun activities for young kids. This contest was a great success, to have 52 people just between the ages of 18 and 30, men and women a like, was wonderful to see. We will certainly look to expand on this going forward." (Meadowlands)
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