Thursday, June 8, 2023

There will be much to do at The Meadowlands this weekend, so a trip to the track to get in on the fun is highly recommended.

Simulcast action of one of Thoroughbred racing’s most-storied events as well as Canada’s richest harness race, handicapping contests (for both patrons and staff), a chance to win a new car, and, of course, 27 live races contested over at the top harness track in the world await those who make the trip.

“We strive to offer our customers many options every weekend,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “And this weekend certainly puts a check mark in that box.”

On Saturday (June 10), simulcast fans will experience betting bliss, beginning during the day, when the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes takes place. The 1½-mile “Test of the Champion” is race 12 on a spectacular 13-race card at Belmont Park. Post time for the first race is 11:20 a.m., while post time for the Belmont Stakes is 7:02 p.m.

Forte is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Fox Sports has hired Tom Durkin, the voice of harness racing during the 1980s at The Meadowlands, to call the Belmont. Durkin, the longtime voice of the New York Racing Association, was also the first regular race caller of the Breeders’ Cup.

There is a special anniversary that will be remembered during the course of the day, as it was 50 years ago – in 1973 – that the great Secretariat completed his Triple Crown sweep with an unimaginable 31-length romp over “Big Sandy”, securing his spot as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Thoroughbred race horse in history.

“We are going to show Secretariat’s Belmont win on our simulcast pregame show Saturday,” said Settlemoir. “We are obviously in the harness racing business, but know how impactful Secretariat was in the annals of horse racing history.”

Saturday evening, harness fans can get their simulcast on by tuning into the signal from Woodbine Mohawk Park, where four eliminations for the North America Cup will whittle 33 horses down to 10 for next week’s $1-million final.

Every horse from The Big M’s weekly “Road to The Meadowlands Pace” Top 10 poll will see action at some point during races three, five, seven and nine. The 11-race program at WMP kicks off at 7 p.m.

SHARPEN YOUR PENCILS: A total of $10,000 will be up for grabs on Saturday (June 10) when The Meadowlands offers a free-to-enter handicapping contest for those 18 years of age and older.

The contest details:

  • Limit one entry per person
  • On the day of the contest, players must check in and register at the Players Club Desk by 6:30 p.m. and complete the “official contest” form prior to race two
  • No live money will be wagered into the parimutuel pools
  • Each contestant will receive a $10 betting voucher and a free live racing program
  • Each participant will make a mythical $2 across-the-board wager on Big M races two through 11
  • Contestants must make their selections for races two through 10 prior to the second race on the official contest entry form and then turn them in to contest officials
  • If a horse is scratched, contestant receives the post-time favorite
  • If the track cancels the race card, the contest is canceled
  • The winner will be determined by the highest total mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the 11th race at The Meadowlands
  • In the event of a tie, payouts for the placings will be combined and divided
  • The payouts: 1st: $2,500; 2nd: $2,000; 3rd: $1,250; 4th: $1,000; 5th: $750; 6th through 10th: $500

PREWITT, HATTER ARE MASTERFUL: The winning handicappers from the first weekend of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” handicapping contest were Gabe Prewitt and Edison Hatter, and this weekend, on-track patrons can once again get in on the fun.

In fact, one lucky patron can walk away with a $10,000 grand prize while the ‘Battle’ participants try to earn as much money as they can for their respective charities.

Prewitt is playing for CBH Care, the charity that the late Dave Brower played for last year, and will take on Jessica Otten (who will be playing for New Vocations), Dave Little (Standardbred Retirement Foundation), Ken Warkentin (Harness Horse Youth Foundation) and Hatter (Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program) in the contest that takes place every live racing night through Friday, Aug. 4.

While the handicappers battle it out, Meadowlands fans get a chance to win a nightly cash prize and have a chance to grab the $10,000 grand prize on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5.

The rules:

  • Each race night the five handicappers are given $500 in mythical money
  • Their mythical wagers must be on races four through nine each night. Each handicapper will wager all $500
  • The Battle money wins and losses are tracked with results posted as soon as possible following race 10
  • Every night on-track there will be five drawing barrels. Each one with a corresponding Battle of the Meadowlands Masterminds name assigned. Fans can complete the entry form and deposit the slip in the barrel of their chosen handicapper prior to race four each night
  • Entry forms are available in the live racing program and at the Players Club Desk
  • After race 10 each live race night, an entry from the winning handicapper barrel will be selected to win a $200 betting voucher
  • On Hambletonian Day, the winning Battle handicapper is announced
  • At the end of the Battle, the winning handicapper will receive $1,000 for their selected charity; second will receive $500 and third through fifth will receive $250
  • All 19 winners from the 10-week-long Battle are eligible for the $10,000 grand prize. Ten names will be selected during the final drawing. The first through fifth names receive $200 betting vouchers; sixth name receives a $250 betting voucher; seventh name receives a $300 betting voucher; eighth name receives a $400 betting voucher; ninth name receives a $500 betting voucher; and the final name drawn (10th name) wins the $10,000. The remaining nine names will receive $100 betting vouchers

Full contest rules can be found at

HORSEPLAY GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a car?

Then come to The Meadowlands every live racing night for the “Horseplay Car Giveaway”, where the grand prize is a 2023 Toyota Camry.

Patrons will toss small rubber horses into a moving car along the fence at the track after the replay of race six, and those whose horses make it into the vehicle have a chance to drive it home. The winner will be announced on Friday, Aug. 4.

For every horse that makes it into the Horseplay car, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will donate $5 to a designated monthly charity.

The May recipient was Helping Horseshoe, June’s is Spectrum 360 while the July/August donation will go to HOPES. An additional $5 for every horse that makes it into the car will also be donated to the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program by The Meadowlands.

For complete information and giveaway rules, go to

BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES: On Friday nights, check out the rooftop terrace at The Meadowlands and enjoy “Latin Fridays”.

There will be food and drink specials, dancing and a live DJ. That’s every Friday night from 6-11 p.m.

BREAKFAST AT THE TRACK: Every Saturday morning, head out to the Big M and check out the stars of the future, as 2-year-olds of each sex and gait take to the track during “Breakfast with the Babies.”

The races begin at 9 a.m., and if you can’t make it to the mile oval, check out the action live on (Racetrack Television Network).

THE PAST MASTERS LIVE: On Saturday, June 17, come on up to the roof at The Meadowlands and check out the classic rock sounds of The Past Masters. The show begins at 5:30 p.m. and the party goes all night long.

$30,000 SWEEPSTAKES: Do you happen to like money?

Well, also on June 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. there will be a name called every 15 minutes, and if it’s yours, you can collect a cash prize. But don’t dilly-dally. If the prize goes unclaimed (winners are given 15 minutes to claim the prize), it is rolled into the next drawing.

The sweepstakes will total $30,000 in prize money and there will be drawings every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. – 11:15 p.m.

WINE FEST: On Saturday, June 24, head to the track for the “Summer Wine Festival”.

The event, which is rain or shine, offers a $65 ticket for VIP customers, who will taste from 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; while $45 is the price for a GA ticket, with tasting from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

For complete details, and to purchase tickets, go to 2023 Meadowlands Racetrack Wine Fest Tickets in East Rutherford, NJ, United States (

LAST WEEKEND: The Hambletonian picture became clearer in some ways, fuzzier in others.

In the $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, Air Power gunned down favorite Oh Well. Since both hail from the powerhouse Marcus Melander barn, you’d think that provided some Hambo focus, but the incredible Special Way, an Ake Svanstedt student, crushed in the $240,000 NJSS for 3-year-old fillies.

So, will she try to join Ramona Hill (2020) and Atlanta (2018) as fillies who have captured harness racing’s biggest prize, the Hambletonian trophy?

Her co-owner wasn’t giving away much in a post-race interview.

“I’m thinking I’m going to enjoy this evening tonight,” said Marvin Katz. “I’m going to celebrate this and we’ll go one step at a time. How’s that for a political answer?”

After failing to do so in two of the preceding three weekends, betting was back busting the $6-million barrier last Friday and Saturday, as total wagering was a hair under $6.1 million for the two programs. Saturday’s $3.2 million in action represented an uptick of $1 million over the corresponding date from 2022.

THE RACES KEEP ON COMING: Live racing at The Meadowlands will take place every Friday and Saturday for the next nine consecutive weeks. Post time is 6:20 p.m., except for the last day of the meeting, Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5, when the first race heads to the gate at noon.

COUNTDOWN TO THE PACE: A true Big M original is one worthy of circling your calendar for.

The $700,000 (est.) Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds is one of the most important of all stakes races in the harness industry, and will take place on Saturday, July 15. Be sure not to miss “The Greatest Party in Harness Racing”.

DON’T PAY: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

THE SENSATIONAL SEVEN: These are the seven wagers The Big M offers nightly to the bettor that offer both a low minimum wager as well as a low 15 percent takeout. In addition, the two Pick-4s offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000.

The list:

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 3: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 6: Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 7: Early 10-cent Hi-5
  • Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10: Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 13: Late 10-cent Hi-5

TWEET US: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on Twitter. You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.

On race nights, stay in touch with The Big M team of Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_) and Gabe Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt).

HATTER’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker, program analyst and TV talent Hatter are available 48 hours before a given race card. To access this valuable information from one of the brightest young minds in the sport, simply go to, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

COME TO FABULOUS FANDUEL: If you like betting professional sports and would like to get your money down in the No. 1 facility of its type in North America, then head inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands and get your action in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

On Thursday (June 8), the struggling New York Mets are on the road to take on their arch-rivals, the Atlanta Braves, in a 7:20 p.m. start. Justin Verlander, the defending AL Cy Young Award winner, will pitch for the Mets, while Spencer Strider will be on the bump for the Braves. Atlanta is the -184 favorite in the game that has an under/over of 8½ runs.

In the Stanley Cup Final, the Vegas Golden Knights take their two games to none lead into Florida to take on the Panthers at 8 p.m. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series has the Panthers as the -118 favorite in the game that has an under/over of 5½ goals.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go to

The FanDuel Sportsbook is open Monday through 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. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m. The Lounge opens at noon on Sundays.