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Another strong Saturday at the Big M

April 12, 2018
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There was action all day and night at the Meadowlands on Saturday, April 7, and after three major Kentucky Derby preps came and went, the main event for harness fans – the Big M card – saw the bettors go deep race after race as wagering surpassed the magic $3-million mark for the third time this year at the industry's handle leader.

"The Meadowlands would like to thank our loyal horsemen, employees and fans for another $3-million handle," said Jason Settlemoir, the track's chief operating officer and general manager. "Saturday wasn't just a great night for the Meadowlands. It was a great night for harness racing. When you consider that the last race on Santa Anita Derby day didn't go off until 9:30 p.m. on the East Coast, it's a remarkable feat that we were able to generate that much business on our product. Of course, our mile track and competitive races over the weekend (which resulted in only six winning favorites from 22 races, a rate of 27 percent) was a very big factor."
 
Saturday's total Big M handle was $3,036,706 for the 12-race card, which works out to an average of $253,058 per race. The other two $3-million nights came on March 3, when betting was a 2018-high $3.45 million, and on March 24, when $3.08 million was pushed through the windows.

"People demand big multi-race pools with low takeouts to wager into and those pools attract a lot of attention," said Settlemoir. "We also have the benefit of the largest carryover in harness racing on our Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, which is now $184,241."

On Saturday, the action on three races with popular wagers was giant. Races three (start of the Pick-5), eight (start of the Pick-4) and 12 (Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five) accounted for more than $900,000 in total play. The Pick-5 pool was $67,009, and after a sequence that saw no winning favorites, those holding winning tickets walked away with $21,359 for a 50-cent bet. The Pick-4 pool was $95,020, marking the sixth straight time the track's signature bet has seen $88,000 or more in action.
 
The final major Kentucky Derby preps – the Lexington Stakes from Keeneland (post time 5:34 p.m. EDT) and Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park (post time 7:18 p.m. EDT) – will be offered on the Meadowlands' extensive Saturday simulcast menu.

Lee Stuckey and John Murphy grabbed the last two qualifying spots for the $75,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship last Saturday at the Meadowlands and are now looking forward to the big-money final.

There are 64 players that have already qualified for the WHHC Final through the Meadowlands, DerbyWars.com and partner outlets Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, TROT Fantasy and Buffalo Raceway.

The World Harness Handicapping Championship, presented by DerbyWars.com, is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at the Meadowlands and has a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000.

The WHHC is a one-day tournament and has a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,000. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races from Buffalo, Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts go to the top 10 finishers.

Players interested in purchasing a buy-in into the WHHC presented by DerbyWars.com can visithttp://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240. (Meadowlands)

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