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Big M ends year with meet-high handle

December 30, 2018

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Maybe all of the Meadowlands' faithful found money in their Christmas stockings.

Betting on the 14-race Saturday night Big M program came within $14,000 of the magic $3-million mark, as all-source wagering reached $2,986,115, eclipsing the previous meet best of $2,764,913, which was established on Nov. 24. The current meeting began on Oct. 12.

The action got off to a fast start as $724,232 was pushed through the windows on the first three races of the night, which included $273,448 in the third, which was the high for a single race.
The 50-Cent Pick-5 saw $69,507 poured into the pot while the 50-Cent Pick-4 took $94,136 in wagers. The Pick-5 came back $4,074.10 while the Pick-4 paid $287.40.

STARZNHEAVEN TAKES FEATURE: Starznheaven benefited from patient handling from driver Anthony Napolitano to take the featured $15,000 conditioned pace.

The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Dancinwithethestarz stayed at the rail most of the way and was in the four hole at the half as 2-5 favorite Tact Tate N was sailing along on the point on the way to what looked like a easy score. But shortly after clearing the top, Tact Tate N was a bit hard to handle as he bore away from the rail before driver Dexter Dunn got the public choice righted and back to the inside.

But he was vulnerable.

Around the far turn, the pocket-sitting Dragon Time came after the leader while the Jimmy Nickerson-trained Starznheaven ($10.20 to win as the second choice) followed that one's cover before fanning out into the three path mid-lane. Starznheaven then surged past Dragon Time in the shadow of the wire to record a narrow neck victory in 1:50. Tact Tate N held on for third.

A LITTLE MORE: Brett Miller led the driving colony with three victories on the card while Andy Miller and Yannick Gingras had two apiece. ... Trainer Jeff Cullipher continued to make an impact at the meeting, as the Hoosier Park regular conditioned a pair of winners on the program. ... Racing resumes Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 at 7:15 p.m.
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