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Low takeouts pad Big M players' pockets

July 25, 2019

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Takeouts on exotic wagers have long been a concern for serious players, and management at the Meadowlands has been proactive on this hot-button issue for an extended period of time, leading to players walking away with far bigger payouts on some of the track’s most popular wagers.

One of the most impressive examples of lower takeout benefiting the player occurred on June 8, when a carryover created a huge pool of $208,763 in the track’s 50-Cent Pick-5. Two bettors held tickets with the correct combination of 5-2-6-2-6 and collected $72,149. Had the takeout been 25 percent – instead of the low 15 percent offered at the Big M – the payout would have been $63,661, meaning those players would have collected $8,488 less. Clearly, 15 percent takeouts work for the bettor.

“Given the size of some of our more popular pools,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir, “our players reap the benefits of low takeouts. During July, our 50-Cent Pick-4 pool averaged $107,143. The Pick-5 took in $72,379 nightly while the 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 averaged $46,808. All of these wagers – plus our 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 – offer a low 15 percent takeout, which puts more money in the horseplayer’s pocket.”

The differences between a takeout of 15 percent and 25 percent are considerable. If one were to cash a Pick-4 ticket at the Big M that pays $500, they would walk away with $59 more than if they had hit the same bet at a track that offered a 25 percent takeout, where the payoff would be $449. Were it a $1,000 hit, they would walk away with an extra $118. A $10,000 score? That player would have an extra $1,177 to play with.

The 2018-19 harness meeting at the Meadowlands has only four programs left. The first three will be conducted on Friday, July 26, Saturday, July 27 and Friday, Aug. 2 with a post time of 7:15 p.m.

The final card of the meeting takes place on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 3, and has a post time of noon.

So you want to be a race caller? Come on out to the Meadowlands on Saturday morning and take your turn on the microphone after learning from one of the very best in the business, the Big M’s own Ken Warkentin.

“School” will begin at 9 a.m. and end 60 minutes later with students who wish to call a race getting to do so on one of the non-betting events that will take place beginning at 10 a.m. If the number of students who want to call a race exceeds the number of races, a random draw will be held to match students with races.

Tuition is $25, and those interested in participating should contact Matt Zuccarello at (516) 314-0478 or by email at mzuccarello25@gmail.com.

A night of casino games, silent auction, poker, raffle prizes and more await those who take part in the Meadowlands’ “Hambletonian Charity Casino Night and Poker Tournament” on Friday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m.

A $50 Casino Guest ticket includes dinner, dessert, open bar and $25 in casino chips. Additional chips may be purchased at any time.

Proceeds benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.

For tickets, go to https://hambo19.weebly.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html.

The greatest day in harness racing is on Saturday, Aug. 3, and has a noon post time.

The list of stakes finals that day is beyond impressive. In addition to the $1 million, 94th edition of the Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters, also on the stakes-packed card will be the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies, $300,000 Cane Pace for 3-year-old male pacers, $100,000 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old filly pacers, $260,000 TVG Sam McKee Memorial older male pace, $200,000 TVG Lady Liberty open mare pace, $300,000 TVG John Cashman Memorial older male trot, $155,000 TVG John Steele Memorial open mare trot, $425,000 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters and $350,000 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old fillies on the trot.

Gates open at 10 a.m. and for a $5 admission fee, patrons will receive a 2019 commemorative Hambletonian baseball cap. They’ll also be a Hambletonian Hat Contest, which will feature $1,000 in cash prizes.

In addition, in the Backyard Fan Zone Tent, they’ll be a driver autograph session (from 10-11:30 a.m.), Hambo Pony appearances, selfie stations, free t-shirts and kids coloring books.

Also on tap are carnival rides and games, free pony rides, free face painters, food trucks, and, from noon-5 p.m., live music from Band Second Contact. (Meadowlands)

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