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HANDLE TOPS $3.7 MILLION AT BIG M

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Meadowlands faithful was out in force with Christmas money in hand Saturday night, and at the conclusion of the 15-race card, all-source wagering topped the $3-million mark for the first time during the Fall Meeting on the last day of racing in 2020.
Handle for the night totaled $3,718,250, an average per race of $247,883. The last time – other than Hambletonian Day and Meadowlands Pace Night – that business was as brisk on a per-race basis was on July 11 (Meadowlands Pace Eliminations Night) when a total of $3,440,248 was bet over 13 races, an average of $264,634 per dash.
Things got rolling in the fifth race Saturday, when a night-best $366,063 was pushed through the windows with $117,910 in exacta action leading the way. Twenty minutes later, $85,859 in 50-cent Pick-4 play keyed total betting of $353,837 in race six. Race eight – which saw an exacta pool of $98,671 – was the third $300,000 or better race of the night, with total action of $302,405.
ON THE TRACK: Warrior One took the $19,000 high-end conditioned trotting co-feature for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:52.3.
The 4-year-old gelded son of Father Patrick-Yoga was on the go from the start, making the lead out of the first turn from post eight before yielding to Hill Of A Horse just after the quarter. Gingras moved his horse back to the top before the half and went down the road from there, recording an easy 3-length score over Cue Hall. Hill Of A Horse was third.
Sent to the gate as the 5-2 favorite, Warrior One returned $7.40 to his backers in winning for the 13th time in 52 lifetime starts. He now has earnings of $221,146.
In the co-featured high-end conditioned pace, Harambe Deo got back into the win column for trainer Jeff Cullipher and driver Simon Allard. Racing in a softer spot than he had in his previous three outings, the 5-year-old gelded son of Woodstock-Tea Time held off the late-charging Bracken Storm A by a nose in 1:49.3. J M Mandamin was third.
Harambe Deo was away well from post nine and made his way to the top at the half in a pulse-pounding :54.1 on the chilly evening that saw a wind chill of 19 degrees. He used a :27.2 third fraction to open a 2-length lead on the pocket-sitting Heza Real Diamond before holding off Bracken Storm A – who might have won had he found room just a moment or two earlier in deep stretch when in bad traffic – by an eyelash.
As the 5-1 fourth choice, Harambe Deo returned $13.20 to win in scoring his 17th career win from 85 starts. His earnings stand at $263,369.
$150,000 GUARANTEED: After longshots scored in the third, fourth and fifth races, the track’s 20-cent Pick-5 wager did not yield a winning ticket, setting up what could be a gigantic pool when racing resumes on Saturday, Jan. 2.
Those who correctly selected four winners cashed in for $312.78.
The bet started innocently enough as the 9-5 second choice and 2-1 favorite won the first two races, respectively, on the card. But then the bombs fell as 14-1, 50-1 and 36-1 outsiders took the final three legs of the sequence, leading to a carryover of $46,731.16.
As a result, Big M management – in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering initiative – has guaranteed next Saturday’s pool at $150,000.
Free past performances will be available for the Pick-5 at playmeadowlands.com.
A LITTLE MORE: Cullipher was on fire all night long, winning four races on the night. … Dave Miller led the driver’s colony with four victories, three coming with Cullipher trainees. … There will be no racing at The Big M on Friday, Jan. 1. … Racing resumes Saturday, Jan. 2, with a first-race post time of 6 p.m.

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