Sunday, March 5, 2023

Saturday was Ladies’ Night at The Meadowlands, as International Women’s Day was celebrated with an all-female pairing on the simulcast desk as well as a pair of dashes that featured all female drivers.

“I am thrilled by the response we got to this event,” said Big M Marketing Coordinator and TV Talent Jessica Otten. “We had 19 girls face off in our two International Women’s Day races, with some of our competitors coming all the way from Denmark to participate. This has been a great night.”

Otten, who is seen on the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set for every race card, shared the desk Saturday with a fresh face, Ashley Mailloux, a freelance talent who knows both the harness and Thoroughbred games. “I was so excited to be a part of this,” said Mailloux. “I can’t wait for next year.”

Charlene Cushing was the first IWD race winner, guiding Southwind Dredge to victory in 1:54 as the 7-2 second choice in a claiming pace.

“I’ve been driving in Maine since 2006,” said Cushing, who has competed a handful of times at The Big M. “Knowing the track definitely helped. My horse likes to race from behind, so I waited patiently (in the three-hole). I thought maybe I could come up the rail. I got some luck and had plenty of pace.”

“We had girls come from all over to be here, and every one of them is exceptional. I was glad to be a part of it.”

Lauren Tritton, who was Otten’s guest on the track’s “In the Sulky” segment during the pregame show, won the other dash with ease as Harry Knows IR, a horse from her stable trained by her husband Shane, scored in 1:54.1 as the 1-9 public choice in a conditioned trot.

“He’s a big arrogant trotter and I just love him,” said Tritton. “I’ve been in a million of these races and never won one. I am so glad to have been a part of this. It’s such a good thing for women to be represented.”

PHOTO1: Charlene Cushing guides Southwind Dredge to victory in the first of two divisions of the “International Women’s Race” at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)