Big M back this weekend after $4-million night
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It was neither Hambletonian Day nor Meadowlands Pace Night, but you couldn’t tell that from the betting at the Big M Saturday night.
Wagering surpassed the $4-million mark for the first time on a “non-event” card since March 1, 2014, as a total of $4,100,386 was pushed through the windows on June 20. The track did program 18 races – five more than usual – to get some horses raced who had been on the sidelines during the coronavirus shutdown, but the average action per race was still a rock-solid $227,789.
“Last weekend was a good one for us,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “It was gratifying to be able to afford our horsemen more opportunities to race and make some much-needed money for their connections as we waited for some of the neighboring states to open up. We were also happy to see the response of our fans, who bet vigorously throughout the weekend.”
The total wager for last Friday (June 19) and Saturday was $7,582,203 for 36 races, good for an average per race of $210,616.
This weekend, when racing will be conducted on the usual Friday (June 26) and Saturday (June 27) at the usual post time of 7:15 p.m. with the usual 13 races, bettors will be shooting for a pool that figures to be far bigger than usual in the 20-cent Pick-6.
Pick-6 players will be adding to a pot that will start out with a carryover of $8,948 Friday night. The Pick-6 is one of the track’s betting “Big 4”.
The wagers, which all offer a low 15 percent takeout and will also have $160,000 in guaranteed pools, are the 20-cent Pick-5 (Race 2, $40,000 guaranteed pool), the aforementioned Pick-6 (Race 4, $30,000), the Early 50-cent Pick-4 (race six, $50,000) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 10, $40,000).
Twenty-cent Jackpot Super High-Five players will no doubt continue to chase their pot of gold, given some serious carryovers. Friday’s fifth race will begin with $54,154 in the hat, while the 13th and final has a carryover of $65,202.
Last Saturday, despite nine winning favorites on the card, Pick-5 players hit big, cashing in for $32,943 when two double-digit-odds winning horses scored during the sequence, including a 38-1 chance in the opening leg (race one).
Tim Tetrick led the way last week in the driver’s colony, scoring nine times. Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Jordan Stratton were next with four winners apiece.
Nancy Takter and Shane Tritton were the leading trainers, as each sent three to victory lane.
Saturday night saw eight of the 17 pacing events go in sub-1:50. On Friday, when Manchego nosed Atlanta in 1:50 in the first leg of the Miss Versatility Series, she established the fastest mile on the trot in the sport this year. She bested her own mark – set on June 5 – by three-fifths of a second.
This weekend, there will be plenty of good racing to go around, as the New Jersey Sires Stakes for 3 year olds rolls on. In addition, 4-year-old trotters will go at it in “harness racing’s traveling road show”, the Graduate Series. There will also be a 3-year-old open trot, where some Hambletonian contenders will get in behind the gate.
Since fans are still not allowed to attend the races, for those anxious to be a part of the Big M action, they can watch the races on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv) or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races in New Jersey, go to 4njbets.com, and if out of state, go to tvg.com or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform.
For free past performances of some key wagers, go to playmeadowlands.com. On Friday, the 20-cent Pick-6 (Race 4) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 (Race 10) will be available. The Late Pick-4 will be available for Saturday’s races.
For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower’s selections and commentary. Go to the “handicapping” drop down and then go to “race reviews”.
Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin’s blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis.
Last week, Big M handicappers did good things, as Brower led the way with 15 winners. Dave Little and Warkentin tabbed 13 and 12, respectively.
This weekend’s pre-game shows get underway at 6:45 p.m., and the team – which includes Jessica Otten – will give out best bets and value plays. Little and Brower will do some news and notes and will also look at each evening’s feature races. They will give out Pick-4 selections during the evening before saying good night after the 11th-race replay with the segment “Little’s Late Double”, where the former Daily News handicapper tries to send everybody home a winner.
During the evening, look for Otten’s interviews with horsemen from the back paddock after race replays. (Meadowlands)