Meadowlands Posts Gains In Handle For 2008

Published: January 6, 2009 10:48 am EST

Despite negative trends throughout the racing industry, total wagering on racing at the Meadowlands in 2008 was up more than five per cent.

All sources handle on the Meadowlands' January--August harness meet was $354.8 million, up 7 per cent from the $331.7 million wagered in 2007.

For the recently wrapped 17-date Holiday Harness Meet, the total average daily handle was $2,645,212, a 10.4 per cent increase over the 2007 daily average of $2,396,958.

The 2008 thoroughbred meet also posted positive gains in total handle. The average daily total handle for the 40-date meet, which spanned six cards a week from September--November 15, was $1,573,513, a 7.3 per cent increase over the $1,466,524 in 2007.

The first state-owned off-track wagering facility Favorites at Woodbridge posted strong numbers in its first full year of operation, handling $96.2 million. New Jersey Account Wagering (NJAW) handled $89 million for the year, a 16.2 per cent increase over 2007. NJAW is a partnership between the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and Pennwood Racing LLC.

The Meadowlands' sister track, Monmouth Park, also posted a 3.1 per cent increase in average daily handle for its 100-day thoroughbred meet, with $3,274,800 wagered vs. $3,177,212 the previous year. Monmouth's premier event, the Haskell Invitational, drew record wagering of $4,257,409, pacing Monmouth to a single-day record total handle of $17,642,954, an all-time record for New Jersey pari-mutuels.




Saturday night, the Big M had a 30, 40, 50, 60, and 100 thousand claimer, all 10 horse fields. Woodbine had 7 non-winners of $$$$$ last 6 starts, and no claimers, not nearly as attractive races to bet. Their is too much indecision, such as will they give their horse an "easy" one and drop in class next week. Where have all the decent claimers gone? I remember reading that Joe Stutzman said the 20% claiming rule would be bad for racing horses and for the betting public. I have to agree, it ruined the claiming game and the betting has plunged. Maybe dropping that rule would be a start.

WHERE DO I START....The Big M handles are up simply because they put on a far superior product. Better driver colony, better classes, full fields, better colour commentators, better graphics, better announcing and oh ya did I mention THEY WRITE HIGH END CLAIMING RACES !!! Bettors love them. This is not meant to be a knock against WEG but they need to look at what the Big M is doing and pay attention. THEIR HANDLES ARE UP !!!! ask yourself....... WHY are ours down?? Please do not say "integrity issues" as I'm sure the Meadowlands has the same issues. We have to adapt and evolve here......... there is no better time than right now.

P.S. I like the fact WEG tried the 7/8 dashes(not saying they were good or bad but at least they are showing us they are willing to try new things). Now maybe the race office could write some higher claimers so top trainers don't HAVE TO send their good horses to Jersey.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

could'nt agree more - the races are written more for the betting public than for the trainers and that results in more money being bet by the gambling public who in reality pay the freight. will this change here - i won't be holding my breath - we are too busy ensuring the dead-wood is being carried - once again because it is people that have been brought-up within the industry that are for the most part making these decisions thus nothing changes!

Maybe 15% takeout on superfectas and Win-4's has something to do with it. Of course, I recently had a $1600 Win-4 and a $470 superfecta at the Big M, only to receive $1400 and $411 respectively, proving "all payouts reflect WEG commission rates".

While the increase may in part be due to the "Canadian direct pools" then one has to ask why are people betting the Big M over WEG? Simple, and everyone knows the answer. Woodbine racing is like watching paint dry and Mohawk isn't much better when compared against the Big M.

I've always been amazed at looking at a WEG program how more races than not it's either horse A or B and the rest of the alphabet has no realistic shot, and the tote agrees; however, when looking at the Big M it's generally a much more competitive bunch. Why this is I'm not entirely sure but perhaps the boy's could back away from the buffet early one of these days and have a look at it?

One hint would be more stringent qualifying times, and while I'm on a bit of a rant here, when is the last time the fair start rule was updated? To the casual fan when the announcer says that after video review the judges have ruled that so and so has received a fair start is not what Joe New Fan Not is thinking.

Carry on, should be ready to stick a fork in this before long!

Truly no Surprize ! Meadowlands is a no nonsence track and runs 10 - 12 races in 3 hrs! Tote prices are up before the horse even returns to the winners circle... The inquirys take less than 2 minutes. They run the races on time ad do not delay just to get more bets in. The racing officials are in charge.... they tell you if you dont like the way we run things then race else where. There is Zero tolerence for giving up holes...hence we have 3 0r 4 leader changes before the 3/4 that is racing and with great parity !

Can we get some of that please.

Bigger pools and more exciting racing than Woodbine...what do you expect? I dont even buy a Woodbine program anymore.

In reply to by tim towers (not verified)

We bet into each other's pools. They have a better product, a better style of racing. This goes to show you that WEG's blaming of decreased handle on integrity issues is, in my opinion, a cop out for their own shortcomings. I know of many bettors who prefer to wager on the Meadowlands, because they simply provide a better product.

In reply to by tim towers (not verified)

Not only is it the most competitive but it is also the most exciting racing to watch. It is also interesting to note that the whipping rules are very different down there. It does not look like it affected there handle too much.

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