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Red Bulls Coach and Lt. Governor to present Hambletonian trophy

 New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe and New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and will present the trophy to the winning connections of Saturday’s $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack. 


A longtime fan of harness racing, Backe plans to return to New Jersey for the Hambletonian from Houston, where the Red Bulls play on Friday night. 


Backe, a native of Sweden, is in his third season as the Red Bulls’ coach. He has led the club to two straight MLS Cup playoff berths and entered 2012 with a regular season record of 25-17-22. He was a finalist for the MLS Coach of the Year Award in 2010 after leading the club to the Eastern Conference regular season championship. 


The Red Bulls sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-6-5 record this season. 


Guadagno was elected New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor in November 2009. A resident of Monmouth Beach, she also serves as New Jersey’s secretary of state and her responsibilities include overseeing New Jersey’s $38 billion tourism industry and administering programs related to the arts, culture and history. 


The 87th Hambletonian, as well as the $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks, will be broadcast live from 3:30-5 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.