Thursday, January 5, 2023

Given the fact that The Meadowlands has been carding 13 races a night for a majority of the last year or so, it’s a pretty good bet that what will transpire this weekend (Jan. 6-7) has never happened before as the mile oval will present 14 races this Friday and Saturday (post time, 6:20 p.m.), and each of those 28 dashes will feature full 10-horse fields if there are no scratches.

“We’re excited that The Meadowlands will kick off the 2023 season with big fields and a [20-cent] Pick-6 carryover,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Our bettors crave full fields and competitive racing, and that’s what we bring to the table.”

Many bettors get fired up when favorites fail at The Big M, and lately they have slumped to the tune of just a 28 per cent success rate over the track’s last 29 races (eight winners).

If you like deep pools, then the place to take a swim is The Meadowlands.

Last Friday’s (Dec. 30) 20-cent Pick-5 pool totaled $73,494, and after zero favorites scored during the sequence, four shrewd players walked away with $15,617.

The Friday 50-cent Pick-4 wagers brought something for both chalk players and anti-chalkies as well, as both pools ended up at approximately $78,000, with those cashing in for $124 on the Early P4, before a handsome $2,145 on the Late P4.

Wagering on Friday totaled $2,845,816, which is merely just another day at The Big M. For the calendar year 2022, there were 85 programs contested, on which a total of $233,874,687 was pushed through the windows, for an average nightly handle of $2,751,466, by far tops in the industry.

A dense, relentless fog provided a New Year’s Eve bummer when management canceled racing after the first dash on Saturday (Dec. 31) due to safety concerns for the drivers and horses, but that means the 20-cent Pick-6 carryover that was slated to be dispersed that night will now be offered this Friday. The carryover is $4,834, and the P6 is offered on races eight through 13.

While the carryover may not look overly impressive, it can go a long way toward peaking player interest.

In the event $30,000 in “new money” is bet into the P6, you would deduct $4,500 for the usual low 15 per cent takeout. Since the carryover is not subject to the tariff, the total pool would be $30,334, creating a “negative takeout”, where those with winning tickets will take away more than what was put in the pot.

As always, free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

WE’LL SEE YA EVERY WEEK: This weekend marks the first of 31 in a row where there will be live racing at The Meadowlands.

Effective immediately, live action is scheduled to be conducted every Friday and Saturday night – post time 6:20 p.m. – through Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5. In addition, there are a pair of Sundays on the calendar – Jan. 22 and 29 – that have a post time of 12:30 p.m. Post time on Hambo Day is noon.

CAN YOU SURVIVE THE WINTER? The Meadowlands’ Winter Meet Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, begins Friday (Jan. 6).

The online contest will be conducted during the Winter Meeting and will conclude on March 31. Platinum past performances will be provided by TrackMaster each night of the competition.

The winner is 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 each program.

But to continue in the game, entrants must “survive” by finishing in the money with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player’s survival, a “lucky horseshoe’ is given. The lucky horseshoe is a free pass given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he or she does not make selections for a race card or all three of his or her selections fail to hit the board.

The grand prize is $750, with second-prize $500 and third-place good for $250. All winners will also receive a Big M swag package.

For more information, go to

A WONDERFUL WINE FEAST: On Saturday, Jan. 14, come on out to The Meadowlands and enjoy a sumptuous six-course Latin-inspired wine dinner while watching and wagering on the best harness racing anywhere.

All six courses will be paired with a different wine, one that goes perfectly with the food that accompanies it.

The cost is $79.95 – excluding taxes and gratuity – and includes a $10 betting voucher and a live racing program.

For reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM.

HATTER’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker and TV talent Edison 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”.

LOW TAKEOUTS, BIG GUARANTEES: The Meadowlands offers plenty of value to the bettor with six wagers that offer low 15 percent take outs, plus two that offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000 nightly.

They are:

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 3: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 14: 10-cent Hi-5

GET ON TWITTER: 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 Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).

CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Every live racing night, the “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show begins at 5:45 p.m. Join The Big M on-set TV team of Little and Otten, as they will have news, notes and previews of the upcoming card.

INSIDEHARNESS.COM: Marty Marsh’s provides bettors with insights from trainers and drivers on many Meadowlands races every night.

All one needs to do is go to the website and sign up to access the inside dope.

FABULOUS FANDUEL: With so many games having playoff implications, the action will be hot and heavy this weekend in the FanDuel Sportsbook, the No. 1 facility of its type in North America, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

Come on out for football Sundays and enjoy the $12 wing bar. Fans can also play trivia as they watch – and wager – on NFL action with tellers or self-service betting terminals. The action can be viewed all day on massive TV screens.

But first, the NFL will offer a pair of Saturday (Jan. 7) games, the first of which has the Kansas City Chiefs traveling to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders at 4:30 p.m. The Chiefs are a 9½-point favorite and the under/over is 52½.

The 8:15 p.m. game has the Jacksonville Jaguars, a 6-point favorite, hosting the Tennessee Titans in a game where the under/over is 39½.

On Sunday (Jan. 8), the New York Jets, a 1-point favorite, travel to Miami to face the Dolphins at 1 p.m. The under/over is 38½.

The New York Giants travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles, a 14-point favorite, in a 4:25 p.m. kickoff. The under/over is 42½.

CFP ON MONDAY: The College Football Playoff National Championship Game takes place Monday (Jan. 9), and gridiron fans can watch and wager on the action in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

The unbeaten and top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs look for a second consecutive national title when they take on the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University at 7:30 p.m. Georgia is a 12½-point favorite in the game that has an under/over of 62½.

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.