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WHHC qualifier, Can-Am Pick 4 Saturday at Big M

January 09, 2020

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The next qualifier for the World Harness Handicapping Championship and the long-awaited return of the Can-Am Pick-4 give Meadowlands fans plenty to look forward to this Saturday..

The $400 WHHC qualifier offers unlimited entries to players, who can sign up at the Clubhouse Main Entrance, across from the Players Club Desk. The fee breaks down as $200 to enter and a $200 bankroll. Walk-up entries are welcome from 5:30-7 p.m.

For complete information, take a look at the contest brochure.

The popular Can-Am Pick-4 — which links up two races from the top harness venues in the game — resumes Saturday night and will be offered every Saturday thereafter. During 2019, pools for the wager that is comprised of two races from the Meadowlands and two from Woodbine Mohawk Park averaged better than $50,000. It has a 20-cent base and a low 15 percent takeout.

Expert selections for the CAP4 will be offered by the TV teams of both tracks on their respective simulcast signals.

Effective immediately, racing reverts to the usual two programs per week schedule of Friday and Saturday, with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m. (The next live Thursday card takes place on July 16).

The action figures to be hot and heavy for the second week of racing in 2020, as both cards will offer 14 races. Of the 28 races, 24 will offer full 10-horse fields, three will have nine participants while one will have eight at the gate.

Last weekend (Jan. 3-4) saw the magic $3 million plateau reached on Friday ($3,069,967), while, despite bad weather, Saturday still saw strong play ($2,744,766).

The year 2019 was a good one for business at the Big M, with total handle up $44.5 million over 2018.

“We had a great year during 2019 due to several factors,” said Big M chief operating officer and general manager Jason Settlemoir. “First, all of us at the Meadowlands are so appreciative of the purse appropriation earmarked for the horse racing industry that was approved by New Jersey legislators, Gov. Phil Murphy, president of the New Jersey Senate Stephen Sweeney and speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Craig Coughlin.

“Second, with that money in our purse account, it created more of a level playing field in the competition for horses from nearby states. Third, combine that with the great support our horsemen have given to our entry box, it creates an environment of big fields and competitive racing, which our faithful fans — who we could not do without — go for in a big way.”

Last weekend’s 50-cent Pick-4s averaged more than $100,000 a night for the second straight Friday-Saturday, as $109,614 was wagered Friday before another $94,701 was pushed through the windows Saturday. The wager that offers a $50,000 guaranteed pool and low 15 percent takeout is available nightly on race eight. Free program pages for the bet are available at playmeadowlands.com and ustrotting.com.

The carryover for the late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five on Friday is nearing six figures. The pot will start out at $94,800 for Friday night’s 14th race.

Dexter Dunn, the 2019 United States Harness Writers Association’s Driver of the Year, drove five to victory lane on last Saturday’s program and jumped to the top of the Big M standings with six winners. In close pursuit entering the second week of racing are Joe Bongiorno and Tyler Buter, who have five victories apiece.

Andrew Harris, the leading trainer at the fall meeting, won four during Opening Week, while Ron Burke scored three times.

Dunn will be Dave Little’s “In the Sulky” guest during Friday night’s “Racing from the Meadowlands” pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. (Meadowlands)

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