Thursday, March 14, 2024

The three-day St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebration comes to the Metropolitan Area starting Friday, and with temperatures expected to be at or near 60 degrees, millions will be in a partying mood, so The Meadowlands welcomes everyone to the grandest of racetracks, and you don’t have to hail from County Cork or County Mayo to be part of the action.

Big M fans will be hoping the luck of the Irish will be smiling on them when live action takes place this Friday and Saturday with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

In the aftermath of last Saturday’s (March 9) night-long downpour, with the weather this weekend (March 15-16) expected to be far better, it’s a perfect time to head out to The Big M to take in the racing live, and while you do, enjoy a delicious Irish-themed buffet as you celebrate Ireland’s best-known patron saint.

In addition, last Saturday, both the 20-cent Pick-8 and 20-cent Pick-6 went unhit, so there will be a pair of carryovers to titillate the pallets of multi-leg players when racing resumes Friday night.

The Pick-8, which paid out $437.24 to those with seven winning selections, will start out with $6,980.20 up for grabs, while the 20-cent Pick-6, which returned $121.30 to those with five winners, will begin with $6,535.74 in the hat.

IRISH-THEMED BUFFET: As you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy an Irish-themed buffet courtesy of Chef Chris Burnet.

The Friday and Saturday dining experience costs only $49.95 and has all the St. Patrick’s Day staples. Guests can enjoy Irish fish chowder, Reuben egg rolls, corned beef brisket, Irish goulash, white cheddar bacon mac and cheese, colcannon and Irish soda bread. Homemade chocolate Irish cake and cookies provide a sweet treat to end the night.

For more details, and a look at the menu, go here

DRIVER OF THE YEAR ON SET: Scott Zeron, who recently collected the hardware as the 2023 Dan Patch Driver of the Year, will be Dave Little’s guest on Big M TV’s live simulcast pregame show on Saturday.

“In the Sulky” will reunite Zeron and Little, who last sat together when Zeron served as color commentator for the 2022 Hambletonian on the live simulcast show while nursing several injuries. Saturday’s interview, which will include video highlights from Zeron’s super season, will begin at 5:50 p.m.

IRISH CHAMP RETAINS HIS BELT: The Meadowlands hosted a watch party for UFC 299 last Saturday, and Irish champion Sean O’Malley put on an incredible display of skill, defending his title.

He emphatically kept his bantamweight belt by unanimously outpointing Marlon “Chito” Vera in a fight that he controlled from the opening round. O’Malley (18-1) outclassed Vera with his quickness, precision striking and footwork.

Check the events calendar at playmeadowlands.com for future watch parties in The Gallery of not only UFC bouts, but many major sporting events.

MADC HANDLE SURPASSES SOARS: Last week we mentioned what a sensational run the Meadowlands Amateur Driving Club is enjoying in 2024, offering some of the biggest fields and pools in racing.

Two weekends ago, the most wagered-on race in the country was an MADC event, which handled $324,585. Last Friday, race six took in $316,646, and represented the second-highest, single-race handle in the U.S. behind The Big M’s sixth race on Saturday, which saw $341,749 pushed through the windows.

WHAT A SHOW BY THE LADIES: Last Saturday, a ray of sunshine on a rainy night was the celebration of International Women’s Day, which included two races that featured all-female drivers.

Annie Stoebe (Alta Blues A, race five, $10.60 to win) and Devan Miller (Beach Vibes, race seven, $7.40) were the winning drivers in the dashes, while Jenna Otten joined sister Jessica on the live broadcast. Dawnelle Mock handled back paddock interviews.

The two races with the lady pilots were hotly contested and well received by the wagering public, as the first dash took in $223,495, and the second, $205,667.

“Thank you to all of the ladies that participated on what was a very special night,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “It was quite an evening, and it gave all of the powerful females in our sport an opportunity to show what they can do, both on and off the track.”

CALLING ALL HANDICAPPERS: After a brief hiatus, The Meadowlands is bringing back a live money handicapping contest on Saturday, March 23.

There is no entry fee ($100 live money bankroll required) for players and the prize pool is a guaranteed $5,000, which will be fully funded by The Big M. The night of the contest, players must register/check-in at the Clubhouse Lobby by 6:20 p.m. A $100 betting card must be purchased to participate as this is a live money/wagering contest.

The contest format:

  • Contestants must bet a minimum of 10 Meadowlands races
  • $10 minimum bet per race; no maximum bet
  • Win, Place, Show and/or Exacta wagers only
  • One horse per race
  • Contestants keep all pari-mutuel winnings
  • Unlimited entries allowed per person
  • Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings

For complete contest rules and regulations, go here

FREE PROGRAMS EVERY NIGHT: Past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available free of charge. All one has to do is go to playmeadowlands.com to access the information.

THE GREAT EIGHT: The Meadowlands provides eight opportunities for the player to make a score trying their luck betting in pools with a low 15 percent takeout. The lineup of The Big M’s “Great Eight” is as follows (all wagers – with the exception of the Pick-7 – are carryover eligible):

  • Race 1:20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 2:20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 4:20-cent Pick-8
  • Race 6:50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guarantee)
  • Race 7:20-cent High-5
  • Race 8:20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10:50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guarantee)
  • Race 11:20-cent High-5

THE POTENT PICK-4: As usual, betting on last weekend’s four 50-cent Pick-4 wagers was vigorous, easily surpassing the $50,000 guaranteed pool every time.

On Friday, the Early Pick-4 saw $82,480 wagered, while the Late Pick-4 pool totaled $85,349.

Total action of the first P4 on Saturday was $84,057. The second took in $74,104.

The grand total on the four P4s for last weekend was $325,990, good for an average of $81,497.

The low payout was $76.95, while the other three returns were $418.85, $391.20 and $652.20.

CHECK OUT THE SHOW: The Big M’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show takes place before every live race card from the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set.

The broadcast begins at 5:45 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, before the live racing kicks off at 6:20 p.m.

This Friday, The Big M’s “A”-team of Jessica Otten and Dave Little will be on set, while on Saturday, Little will welcome Anthony Stabile into the co-host’s chair.

“X” MARKS THE SPOT: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on X (formerly known as Twitter). You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.

Stay in touch with The Big M team of Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Little (@DaveLittleBigM) and Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover).

WITHERITE’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker and program analyst James Witherite are available 48 hours before a given race card. To access, simply go to playmeadowlands.com, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

MAYHEM IS MARVELOUS: The NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is one of the greatest gambling events of the year, and you can watch and wager on every game at The Meadowlands in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

The is the tournament schedule (Selection Sunday is on March 17):

  • First Four:March 19-20
  • First round:March 21-22
  • Second round:March 23-24
  • Sweet 16:March 28-29
  • Elite Eight:March 30-31
  • Final Four:April 6
  • Championship:April 8

WHO WILL SURVIVE? The track’s Winter Meet Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, is in full swing, and when the contest concludes, cash prizes and Meadowlands swag will go to those at or near the top of the leaderboard in the free online competition.

TrackMaster is providing Platinum Past Performances for each night of the contest. The game covers the Winter Meet and concludes March 30.

The contest began Jan. 5 with 2,323 participants, and thus far, a little more than 1,750 of those have been eliminated, leaving 548 in the hunt for the top prize.

Currently, the top three in the standings are OnTheEngine ($529.40), Berto ($466.30) and adriennesue ($462.40).

There is also a prize for who picks the most winners. Sitting at the top of the heap is joejets with 28. There is a two-way tie for second, as Ramey44 and Loislitt have 25 each.

The winner will be determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 across-the-board wager on selections for three designated races on each program.

The prize board:

  • The grand prize is $750 plus a Meadowlands swag package
  • The second-place prize is $500 plus a Meadowlands swag package
  • The third-place prize is $250 plus a Meadowlands swag package
  • Most Winners: $200 plus a Meadowlands swag package
  • Highest monthly bankroll: $100 (one winner in each month)

THE NBA, NHL AND MLB IN FANDUEL: The countdown to the start of Major League Baseball’s regular season stands at two weeks, and the best place to watch and wager on all of the action is the FanDuel Sportsbook, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

But before it’s time for hot dogs and the seventh-inning stretch, there’s the remainder of the NBA and NHL regular seasons – not to mention the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament – to enjoy, so come to the No. 1 sportsbook of its type in North America and get your action.

On Thursday (March 14), the New York Knicks travel to Portland to take on the TrailBlazers in a 10:10 p.m. tipoff. The Knicks are a 10½-point favorite who are -590 on the money line in the game that has an under/over of 205 points.

In the NHL, the red-hot New York Rangers travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning in a 7:10 p.m. start.

The Rangers and Lightning are both -110 to win in the game that has an under/over of 6½ goals.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go here

The FanDuel Sportsbook is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-1 a.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m.-midnight. For cash-at-counter customers, the hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m.