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SATURDAY SIZZLE KEEPS BURNING AT BIG M

Thursday, January 21, 2021

What a difference a year makes. 

The first three Saturdays of 2020 were solid from a business perspective at The Meadowlands, as total wagering of $7.7 million averaged out to $2.569 million per card, resulting in an average per race of $183,523. 

Turn the page to 2021, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued miserable grip on the globe, business at the industry’s handle leader has been booming. 

Good as the numbers were during the first three Saturdays of a year ago, thus far this year has seen tremendous gains over the corresponding race cards. 

Betting reached $4,562,477 on Jan.  2, which represented the third-highest single-card handle – beaten only by Meadowlands Pace Night and Hambletonian Day – over the last 13 months. 

A total of $3,646,603 was put in play Jan. 9 while $3,458,896 was wagered on Jan. 16. Over the three-Saturday span, a total of $11,667,976 was pushed through the windows, an average per card of $3,889,325 for an average per race of $259,388. 

“That’s an increase of almost $4 million when compared to our first three Saturdays of the year before,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “The average handle per race has increased over $65,000 and the pools are the largest we have seen on overnight racing in over a decade.” 

Five of the Meadowlands’ most popular wagers have seen average pools over the three Saturdays that are deep to say the least. The 20-cent Pick-5 has led the way by averaging $205,437. Rounding out the top five were the 50-cent Pick-4 ($99,858), Exacta ($74,125), Win-Place-Show ($63,370) and Trifecta ($53,730) bets. 

As usual, the track’s Exacta wager continues to take the most total action. Over the last 45 races conducted on Saturdays, total Exacta play has exceeded $3.3 million. 

“The Meadowlands wagering menu offers horseplayers plenty of action all night long,” said Settlemoir. “What an encouraging start for New Jersey racing when you see the size of our pools increase this much going up against the NFL Playoffs on Saturday nights. 

“We are certainly getting some new eyes on our product with our low take outs and low minimum wagers, especially now that we are offering free programs every night on our website. Low take outs equal greater payoffs, and that creates longer play. We try to create an exciting wagering format for the horseplayers and offering value for the customer is very important to us at The Meadowlands. It has been a major part of the equation to our early success in 2021.” 

DAN PATCH AWARDS: Thanks to a cooperative effort that included The Meadowlands’ TV team – both in front of and behind the camera – and The United States Harness Writers Association, the 2020 Dan Patch Awards were held before the racing card last Saturday via a virtual ceremony that was televised to every outlet that takes harness racing all over the world. 

The Big M’s leading driver from 2020, Dexter Dunn, walked away with his second consecutive Driver of the Year trophy before going out and winning four races on the live card. As a result, Dunn will be named the track’s Driver of the Week on Friday night during the nightly pre-game show. 

For those who would like to view the Dan Patch Awards Show, all you need to do is go to YouTube and search for “2020 Dan Patch Award Show.” 

SOCIAL MEDIA STALWARTS: You can always check in with the team at The Meadowlands on Twitter. 

For early changes, racing information and staff selections, go to @themeadowlands or #playbigm. 

On race nights, stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). 

THE SCHEDULE: Live racing at The Meadowlands takes place every Friday and Saturday evening. Post time is 6 p.m. 

The track’s live “Racing from the Meadowlands” pre-game show begins at 5:27 p.m. 

This week, Otten will join Brower on set Friday night, while the team of Brower and Little will bring you the action on Saturday. 

CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home. 

Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW). 

CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower’s selections and commentary. Click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”. 

Additionally, track announcer Warkentin’s blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. 

FREE FOR ALL: Thanks to an agreement between The Meadowlands and TrackMaster, past performances for every race of every Big M program are now available at no cost. 

To access the free PPs, go to playmeadowlands.com. 

GUARANTEES SURE TO PLEASE: As any seasoned horse player knows, there are no guarantees at the racetrack. But at The Meadowlands, there are. 

Each 50-cent Pick-4 (one gets underway in race six, the other in race 10) sports a $50,000 guaranteed pool, which leads to pools normally in the $75,000-$100,000 range when all the action is counted. 

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR: The NFL Playoffs are down to the conference championship round, and for those who want to get action on the games, all they need to do is head for The Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook. 

On Sunday (Jan. 24), the first game is the NFC title game, which is slated for 3:05 p.m. Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (-3). 

The AFC Championship is the late game at 6:40 p.m. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will be in Kansas City to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (-3). The big question: Will Patrick Mahomes be able to play? 

Hours for the track’s FanDuel Sportsbook are from 10 a.m. – midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Saturday. 


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