Reflecting back on big Big M weekend
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Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke and big action highlighted a huge weekend of racing at the Meadowlands last Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1-2).
Formal records aren’t available, but when it comes to what Burke and Gingras combined to do last week, they likely aren’t necessary. Since the inception of the Big M racing primarily twice a week in 2013, it’s hard to imagine any trainer-driver team winning 11 times (in only 13 starts) over the course of a weekend, as Burke and Gingras did a week ago, combining to win five times Friday before taking a half-dozen winner’s circle trips Saturday.
“Yannick thought we had won six in a night once before,” said Burke, “but to go back-to-back like we did is really hard to do.”
Burke won’t be able to equal his win output during this weekend’s action at the Big M, however – he only has 10 horses entered.
“The more you win with conditioned horses there’s more of a chance the next losing streak is coming,” said Burke, “because they are up in class after winning. I don’t need to win that many in any weekend anyway, I just need to be consistent.”
Gingras won twice driving horses for someone other than Burke on Friday to total seven victories, one short of the single-card record shared by Brett Miller and Mike Lachance. Again, with formal records unavailable, it’s not known if after winning six more on Saturday that his 13 wins (25 starts) over the weekend are a Big M best, but it’s extremely likely.
While Burke and Gingras were winning at a white-hot pace, betting was like a wildfire in high winds during the two 13-race programs. All-source wagering on Friday was $2,874,831, the second-highest total of 2019. The next night, play reached the magic $3 million mark for the first time this year, as $3,147,209 was pushed through the windows.
“What a great weekend of racing it was,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir, “and we are grateful to our fans, who supported us in a big way by betting over $6 million during the two cards.”
The Big M’s popular 50-Cent Pick-4 wager took in a meet-high $110,700 on Saturday, and those who were sharp enough to cash a winning ticket walked away with $1,083.80. Free program pages for the upcoming Pick-4s this Friday and Saturday are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. The wager is offered on races eight through 11 and sports a low 15 percent takeout. (Meadowlands)