All racetracks benefit from Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown as people head to the nearest venue to bet the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Many of those customers then make a day and night of it by remaining to bet the live card.
Based on the numbers, one track that benefited from the Triple Crown in a big way was The Meadowlands, which is a destination for both Thoroughbred simulcast bettors, as well as those who like to play the best live harness racing anywhere.
“The Triple Crown Series returned to its normal spring format after a rescheduled pandemic version in 2020,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “The three great Thoroughbred events were the huge spark that saw The Meadowlands’ handle soar to heights the mile oval has not seen in a long time.”
All-source Big M betting topped the $4 million mark the same evening after all three Triple Crown daytime cards were contested, topped by the $4,451,363 wagered on Kentucky Derby Day (May 1). On the Derby Day card one year ago, total action was $2.5 million, meaning the increase this year was a gigantic 72 per cent.
Meadowlands’ wagering on the three Triple Crown cards totalled $12,587,081 over 41 races, good for an average per card of $4,195,693 and an average per race of $307,001. Betting in 2020 and 2019 was solid at just over $9 million, but paled when compared to this year.
“We would like to thank horseplayers around the world who have responded in a big way to our low-takeout wagers,” said Settlemoir. “The positive response has allowed us to have more low-takeout wagers, which creates more winning players. In 2021, our horseplayer friendly business model and wagering menu is just blowing up.”
The handle comparisons are even more startling when you look back at 2018. The three Meadowlands’ Triple Crown Day cards took in a total of $7,225,182. The increase from 2018 to 2021 was 74 per cent.
Much of the track’s success, which trickles down to a state that provides a good living for all involved in the game from the breeders to the owners to the grooms, can be attributed to the intervention of Garden State politicians. The New Jersey State Legislature passed and Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill to support New Jersey horse racing in February of 2019.
“Let’s be perfectly honest here,” said Settlemoir. “On most nights in 2018, we did not have the excellent product that could cultivate many sports bettors and Thoroughbred players to cross over and wager on Standardbred racing at The Meadowlands. Three years later, thanks to Governor Murphy, the members of the New Jersey State Legislature and a growing legion of loyal fans, we have the horse racing product that the wagering public wants. The horses have been spectacular, the pools have been enormous and the drivers, trainers and owners that compete every weekend at The Big M have become the most recognizable faces in all of nighttime horse racing.”
TAKE A DIP IN THE POOL: The Meadowlands’ signature wager, the 50-cent Pick-4, is one of the most popular in all of harness racing, and that was never more apparent than last weekend.
On Friday (June 4), the Early Pick-4 (race six) pool took in a 2021-high of $138,450. After nearly $127,000 was wagered on the Late P4 (race 10), the grand Pick-4 total for the night was another year’s best, at $265,439.
But those marks lasted only 24 hours.
The Late Pick-4 on Saturday (June 5) saw total action of $144,278 to set a new season’s standard. After adding in the $133,955 put in play on the Early Pick-4, total action on the bet was $278,233, a new 2021 best.
THE LONG-AWAITED RETURN: Friday night will mark the return of racing to Canada’s top harness racing venue, as Woodbine Mohawk Park makes its return after a little more than two months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Racing will take place this Friday and Saturday with a first-race post time of 7 p.m.
“The Meadowlands welcomes back our friends North of the Border,” said Settlemoir. “We are extremely pleased that all of their horsemen and horsewomen can get back to work after what has been a most challenging year.”
COME ON OUT TO THE TRACK! With virtually all coronavirus protocols now relaxed or gone (Big M management asks that unvaccinated patrons wear a mask), people should now get out and enjoy the spring weather by coming out to the track and catching all the action at The Big M live.
Live racing continues at The Meadowlands every Friday and Saturday night. Post time is 6:20 p.m.
SIX CHANCES TO HIT BIG: Here are the six popular Meadowlands wagers that offer a low 15 per cent takeout on a nightly basis:
• Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
• Race 3: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
• Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4
• Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
• Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4
• Race 13: 10-cent Hi-5/Pentafecta
GET YOUR FREE PROGRAMS, HERE! Need a program but would rather not spend any green?
The Big M has you covered, with free programs of every race of every race card. Just go to playmeadowlands.com to get your no-cost past performances.
GET ON TWITTER: 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 with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1).
CHECK OUT DAVE AND DAVE: Make that Jessica and Little.
While the Big M’s usual TV duo of Dave Brower and Dave Little will be on hand to take racing fans through the Saturday program, the track’s social media maven and back paddock interviewer Jessica Otten will join Little on set Friday.
Big M TV’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pre-game show, which provides news, notes, features, staff selections and a look at that evening’s marquee races, gets underway at 5:47 p.m.
Live racing continues every Friday and Saturday with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.
BROWER’S BEST BETS: For those who like 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”.
Brower’s input is generally available 48 hours before every card.
BIG NBA ACTION: The Brooklyn Nets will continue their quest for the NBA championship Thursday night when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and for bettors who like to put down a wager or two, they can watch and bet the Nets – as well as the Clippers-Jazz game – in one of the top sportsbooks in the country, the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands.
If you like the Nets to win, you can get 3½ points and get odds of -106. Don’t like to play point spreads? Get the Nets at +138 even up. The under/over for total points, which is -110, is 234.
Of course, there is also wagering on the NHL playoffs, Major League Baseball, professional tennis’ French Open, professional golf’s Palmetto Championship and much, much more.
The sportsbook is open Sunday-Friday from 10 a.m.-midnight and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. The cash counter is open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m.