Breeders Crown Back At Big M In 2024

Harness racing at The Meadowlands
Published: December 21, 2023 10:12 am EST

The Hambletonian Society announced on Wednesday, Dec. 20 that the Breeders Crown will be contested at The Meadowlands in October of next year, adding to a have-to-be-there lineup that includes Hambletonian Day, Meadowlands Pace Night and Fall Final Four/FanDuel TV Championships Night at the industry’s showcase facility.

“To say we are pleased to have the Breeders Crown back at The Meadowlands is a big understatement,” said Jason Settlemoir, Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. “We feel our stakes schedule is unmatched to begin with, but when you add the 12 Crown finals, you get something that is beyond special.”

The Meadowlands last hosted the Crown in 2021 and has been part of the consistent three-year rotation of host venues – along with Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Woodbine Mohawk Park – since 2019.

“The Meadowlands has been home to the ultimate in championship racing since the doors opened in 1976,” said John Campbell, Hambletonian Society President and Chief Executive Officer. The Society owns and administers the Breeders Crown.

“We are delighted to continue the Society’s long-term relationship with Meadowlands management by partnering in hosting the top-class events in the sport.”

The Breeders Crown will feature the four $700,000 events for two-year-olds, the richest events offered in the division, on Friday, Oct. 25, 2024. The eight three-year-old and open races will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26. Total purses are estimated at $7 million. If necessary, eliminations for all events would be held the week prior.

Payments for the 2024 Breeders Crown program commence on Feb. 15, 2024 and all information can be found on

Carryover craze caters to the little guy

For years, smaller players had a tough time of it at the track when it came to going for the big score, as larger minimums tended to exclude the low-level bettors from being serious players in those extremely attractive giant pools, permitting bigger partnerships and syndicates to bet big and scoop the pots.

The betting menu at The Meadowlands is one that’s friendly to the smaller player, and currently one of the wagers is creating a great deal of excitement.

The new 20-cent Pick-8, first introduced on Oct. 20, has gone unhit for seven consecutive programs, meaning that punters of all bankroll size will be going for some serious gold on Friday, Dec. 22 when they shoot for a carryover of $64,543.

“The Pick-8 carryover and other 20-cent bets give little guys a bigger chance to make that giant score,” said Settlemoir. “As we head into the final two weekends of the 2023 racing season, The Meadowlands glides in off another Saturday that saw handle exceed $3 million.

“The insatiable appetite horseplayers have for our product has been well documented. Part of that growth has been our ability to offer the small bettors a chance to make big scores on bets that have a low 15 per cent takeout and are offered with a low minimum of 20 cents.”

First and foremost, The Big M does not offer jackpot wagers, a trend that The Meadowlands started, which is growing within the racing industry. Settlemoir said the traditional wagers have become fashionable again and The Meadowlands has made them even more popular with low takeouts and minimums.

“The 20-cent Pick-5 kicks off wagering every night on the first race,” said Settlemoir. “The low minimum allows people to play without dismantling their bankroll in the first race. This allows our multi-race patrons to stay in action and play all night.”

The rest of the low-takeout roster also has its highlights:

  • The 20-cent Hi-5 (or Pentafecta) has an average payout of over $1,000. The object is to pick the top five finishers in order and the wager is offered twice nightly, on races seven and 11.
  • The 20-cent Pick-6 is offered on races eight through 13. Several times this year the pool has risen about the $100,000 mark. Last Saturday, the payout was $2,714.
  • The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 is offered on races two through eight. The twist is the payout is based on how many consecutive races you have the winner, beginning in the second race.
  • The 50-cent Pick-4, the track’s most popular multi-leg puzzle, is available on races six through nine and 10 through 13. Last weekend, the bet that offers a guaranteed pool of $50,000, took in more than $270,000 of action at the windows.

But lately, there’s no question which wager has been making the most noise. Since Nov. 25, the 20-cent Pick-8 carryover has continued to behave like a snowball rolling down a mountain. This new wager is the talk of the town, as several players have almost taken down the entire pool.

Last Saturday, there were three live numbers going into the final leg. The payouts to all three were more than $70,000 for a 20-cent bet. When the dust cleared, the Pick-8 went unclaimed, setting the stage for a dramatic holiday weekend at The Big M.

Interest in the carryover is very high, especially when you consider that the consolation is fairly lucrative – returning $1,225 and $525 last Friday and Saturday, respectively – and the negative takeout (which approached 300 per cent last weekend) is happening every night. If you want in on the holiday carryover action, the Pick-8 is offered this weekend on races four through 11.

Fan Appreciation Night set for Dec. 30 

On Saturday, Dec. 30, The Meadowlands will host Fan Appreciation Night. Track management will say “thank you” to their faithful fan base with free live racing programs, beginning at 5 p.m.

Fans can head over to the Cafe for some tasty concession items at even tastier prices. Hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn and soda (limit five of each item per transaction) will be available for $1 from 6-11 p.m. The Café will also offer Bud and Bud Light drafts for $2.

Also on Saturday, Dec. 30, the track will offer its extremely popular calendar giveaway. The first 500 guests will receive a 2024 commemorative calendar, filled with images of the sport’s greatest horses and drivers in action from the 2023 racing season.

Photos are courtesy of Big M track photographer Lisa Photo, DRF Harness’s Nikki Sherman, Walter Wlodarczyk and Jessica Hallett.

The giveaway begins at 6 p.m. at the Players Club Desk in the Clubhouse Lobby. One per person.

Stabile-ity on set

Anthony Stabile will make his return to the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set this weekend, sitting alongside Dave Little on both the Friday and Saturday editions of the live pre-game “Racing from The Meadowlands” simulcast show. Stabile, whose expertise is in both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, will offer selections throughout the night as well as giving out Pick-4 tickets. The show gets underway at 5:45 p.m.

Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

There are just four live racing days left on the 2023 calendar at The Big M. Live action will take place every Friday and Saturday through the end of the year. Post time for every program is 6:20 p.m.

“On behalf of Jeff Gural, I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our horsemen, staff, and, of course, our patrons,” said Settlemoir. “Thank you all for your efforts that helped make 2023 a big year for all of us at The Meadowlands. Much health and happiness to all for 2024.”

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.