The positive wagering trend continued at the Meadowlands this past weekend despite the adverse weather conditions. Post time temperature hovered between 17 and 20 degrees the three days and blowing snow blanketed Friday's fields throughout the card.
On the tote board, the all-sources handle was up 16 percent over what was a very mild weekend weather-wise last year. Saturday's total of $3.7 million was the highest non-Meadowlands Pace/Hambletonian cardhandle in three years.
The races themselves continue to be hotly contested while offering good value. Thursday's Pick 4 returned $2,350 with the highest priced winner at $18 and two favorites in the sequence. Friday's late Pick 4 was over $8,200 keyed by another Eric Carlson-driven bomb.
Three Winter Series finals were raced on Saturday night witha logical winner in each. Windsun Galliano annexed the $51,000 Super Bowl in a stakes record 1:53.4 for the Andy/Julie Miller stable and owners Tracy Brainard and James and Elizabeth Harper.
Holdingallthecards was a comfortable winner of the $67,400 Clyde Hirt final. He swept through the series with Tim Tetrick aboard for trainer Scott Di Domenico and owner William McIntyre.
Golden Receiver had dominated the two Presidential legs and his imposing form resulted in 3-10 favoritism in the $103,500 final. The road to the winner's circle was fraught with peril and required the veteran to dig deep into the currency of his courage to prevail.
The pride of breeder and co-owner Nina Simmonds and her partner Our Horse Cents Stable, Golden Receiver was trained to his second consecutive Presidential tour de force by Mark Harder and perfectly driven by Tim Tetrick.
Golden Receiver and his potential competition throughout the 2013 racing season will have an opportunity to earn big dollars while making their case for seasonal honors with the brand new $1 million Free For All events in November at the Meadowlands.
These races offer a guaranteed $500,000 purse for both pacers and trotters on Nov. 30 as the fall meet opens at the Meadowlands. The nomination payment is due Feb. 15.
"With our best horses making the commitment to stay on the racetrack longer, the Meadowlands has responded by providing a stakes program that rewards that commitment," said director of racing operations Darin Zoccali. "This brand new Free For All series is a revolutionary idea that will build excitement, pitting the best of our sport against one another throughout the season with an ultimate showdown on Nov. 30. The potential matchup of the best 3YO in the country against the best older horses is spell-binding.
"We could have only hoped to see Somebeachsomewhere against Mister Big or Muscle Hill against Lucky Jim. This new series makes that possibility a reality!"
Information on this new event along with the entire menu of early and late closers for the 2013 Big M season is available on the web.
The upcoming week will be strictly overnight racing as there is a one-week break in series action. Winter Series events resume on Feb. 7 with the Winter Survivor for horses that have started in a $15,000 claimer or less using the bracket format and the Charles Singer 4-year-old trot. Friday, Feb. 8, will see the return of the popular Junior Trendsetter series for sophomore pacers and Saturday, Feb. 9, the Exit 16W for 4-year-old pacers kicks off. (Meadowlands)