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Big M Handle shows sharp April increase

May 02, 2019

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It’s been a good four months for business at the Meadowlands thus far in 2019, and April was the best month yet when you consider where things were just one year before.

An identical total of eight race cards were contested at the Big M in both April of 2018 and 2019, but the similarities end there.

A year ago, all-source handle totaled $18,288,404, good for an average per race card of $2.286 million. During 2019, $22,342,097 was put in play, an average of $2.792 million.

“On Saturday (April 27), we handled $3 million,” said track chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “A year ago, on the corresponding card, we bet $2.3 million, so we were up 31 percent. We are hoping to keep that momentum this Saturday as we expect a big Kentucky Derby Day crowd to bet the 'Run for the Roses' as well as the Graduate and Cutler, which are on our live harness card at night.”

The Big M has always been a track where players can bet against favorites with confidence, and that was on display during April as a mere 26 percent of post-time choices (28 from 104 races) hit the wire first. Of harness tracks currently racing, the median percentage of winning chalks is 46 percent, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Trotting Association.

Friday nights at the Big M feature a new wager – the Can-Am Pick-4 – that’s been a big hit. It requires a player to pick two winners at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Since its inception on March 22, the CAP4 has averaged a little over $61,000 per pool, and last week, after a pair of favorites and two longshots won, the payout for the bet with the 20-cent base and low 15 percent takeout was $361.70.

When you consider that a player could single a horse in one leg and use five in the other three and only spend $25, that makes the CAP4 a great value play.

The Big M’s 50-cent Pick-5 and Pick-4 continue to attract steady action week after week, and that was clearly the case over the last eight racing programs. The popular Big M puzzles had average pools of $59,980 and $99,532, respectively, during April. (Meadowlands)

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