Guaranteed big action at Big M
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As the saying goes: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
But at the Meadowlands, there are exceptions to that rule.
For Big M bettors, guarantees have been part of the landscape for some time now, and pending regulatory approval, one already in play is about to get sweeter, while another is brand new.
Beginning Friday, March 6 (post time 6:55 p.m.), the Big M will offer three popular multi-leg wagers with guaranteed pools that total $130,000. They are:
· The 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), which will now have a $40,000 guaranteed pool, up 60 percent from the $25,000 promise it had previously
· The track’s “signature” wager, the Early 50-cent Pick-4 (race six), whose $50,000 guarantee remains unchanged
· The new Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10), which is off to an incredible start in its first four weeks, will now go from no guarantee to a $40,000 assurance
“This is an enormous step for not only the Meadowlands, but for the sport of harness racing,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “Making the game better for horseplayers has to be a major part of the equation for this sport to flourish. Our fans around the world have responded positively to our new wagering menu, and we are responding to our horseplayers with $130,000 in nightly guarantees, big carryover pools and multi-leg wagers that offer a low takeout of 15 percent.”
It appears the call by Big M management to shakeup the wagering format four weeks ago was the right one, based on last weekend’s returns. After Friday’s (Feb. 28) handle reached $2,970,735 – third best of 2020 – the very next night that number was eclipsed when $2,973,673 was pushed through the windows.
The weekend total of $5,944,408 and per race average (for the 26 races) of $228,631 both established seasonal bests.
The guarantee of the Pick-5 pool appears to be one that will be surpassed rather easily, even with the increase. The wager has seen all eight of its pools exceed $55,000 since it was updated to use a base wager of 20 cents, with the last three reaching at least $72,000.
Last weekend’s payoffs were certain to put a smile on winner’s faces, as they cashed in for $2,092 on Friday and $3,140 on Saturday.
The consistent play in the Early Pick-4 has seen seven straight pools of $70,000 or more, while going past $80,000 on four occasions. One could argue the biggest surprise has been the popularity of the Late Pick-4, which has seen wagering of at least $70,000 in its last four tries, including a bet-best $86,834 last Saturday. This for a wager that did not exist until Feb. 7.
The only one of the Big M’s “Fab Four” wagers not to offer a guarantee is the 20-cent Pick-6, but when the bet doesn’t get hit, the ensuing carryover always makes it special. After Friday’s Pick-6 failed to produce any tickets with six winners, $11,270 carried over to Saturday’s card, when $77,512 in new money was wagered to create a total pool of $88,782.
The average Pick-6 payout is a handsome $4,145.
For free past performances of the entire Big M cards for Friday and Saturday, go to playmeadowlands.com.
Twenty-cent Jackpot Super High-Five players are waiting for this weekend with great anticipation, as carryovers of $40,367 (Race 5) and $37,169 (Race 13) will go to any player on Friday night who are holding the only ticket bearing the numbers of the first five in official order of finish.
Yannick Gingras recorded a driving double on both Friday and Saturday last week to finish atop the February driver standings with 23 wins. Dexter Dunn, who scored four times Saturday night, finished the month with 19 victories.
Ron Burke sat atop the February trainer standings with 19 winner’s circle trips.
On Saturday, March 7, the Big M will host its March World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier, the final qualifier to be held at the Big M. The top two finishers Saturday will qualify for the April 18 WHHC Final. It’s only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=1646.