Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Meadowlands has long been the harness racing industry leader when it comes to wagering, and action has been at a fever pitch of late at The Big M with each of the last three race cards seeing over $3 million pushed through the windows.

In addition, none of the first 12 programs of the year saw betting break the $3-million barrier, but beginning with the final card of February, six of the last 11 programs have seen wagering surpass that magic number. All year long, however, betting has been remarkably consistent, with 21 of 23 programs seeing handle exceed the $2.5-million mark.

So, betting figures to be vigorous once again when racing takes place this Friday (April 8) and Saturday (April 9) with a post time of 6:20 p.m.

But for The Meadowlands’ faithful fans, harness racing is merely a portion of what they can play during the upcoming weekend.

Thoroughbred racing fans can watch the final three major Kentucky Derby prep races in The Big M’s expansive simulcast area on Saturday when the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass and Santa Anita Derby will all be offering 100 Derby points to winners, good, presumably, for a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

The Wood, which has a purse of $750,000, takes place at Aqueduct and has a post time of 4:45 p.m. The Blue Grass from Keeneland goes to the gate at 5:10 p.m. with $1 million at stake while The Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita, which goes for $750,000, will go off at 5:30 p.m.

Of course, the 148th renewal of the Kentucky Derby will be a simulcast showstopper at The Big M on Saturday, May 7.

“This should be another exciting weekend of action for sports fans at The Meadowlands,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Fans can wager on the start of the baseball season, three of the top prep races for the Kentucky Derby, The Masters at Augusta, and, of course, our live harness programs on Friday and Saturday nights. Last Saturday’s (April 2) program, which was run against the two NCAA Men’s Final Four games, did over $3.2 million and averaged $249,502 per race. As always, we want to thank our horsemen and loyal fans all over the world.”

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: For baseball fans, the wait is over!

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is Thursday (April 7) and New York Mets fans, hopeful for a season that ends with a playoff spot, will be watching their team take on the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital. Tylor Megill will be on the hill for New York, taking the place of injured perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom, but the oddsmakers still like the Mets, who are -118 in the game that will begin at 7 p.m.

Baseball enthusiasts can get their action in the top sports wagering facility of its type in the world, the FanDuel Sportsbook, which is located inside The Meadowlands.

For prop players who like betting season totals, the under/over for wins for the New York Yankees is 92½ while the Mets number is 88½. The Philadelphia Phillies are at 86½.

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: The Masters is the No. 1 golf tournament on the planet, and if you want to get action, the FanDuel Sportsbook is the place you want to be.

The favorite to take home the green jacket (before play started) was Jon Rahm (+1200). Justin Thomas (+1300), Cameron Smith (+1500), Dustin Johnson (+1500) and Scottie Scheffler (+1500) rounded out the top five.

For Tiger Woods fans, the five-time Masters champion is +5000 in his comeback from a serious leg injury suffered in a car crash last year.

The FanDuel Sportsbook is located inside The Meadowlands and is open for business Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-12 a.m.

WHHC IN APRIL: With The Meadowlands being the top Standardbred venue in the sport, it’s a natural that the World Harness Handicapping Championship Final would be held at The Big M (it takes place on Sept. 10), and those who’d like to earn a spot in the big event can do so when there is another WHHC Qualifier at the mile oval on Saturday, April 30.

The contest has a $400 buy-in – $200 is a non-refundable entry fee and a $200 “betting card” must also be purchased. Entrants keep all pari-mutuel winnings, and there are a maximum of four entries per person.

What could work out to be even bigger than players keeping their winnings? The top four finishers will win a spot in the WHHC Final.

For complete information, go to

LIVE RACING SCHEDULE: Racing at The Big M is conducted on a Friday-Saturday basis and has a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

The track’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show kicks off nightly at 5:47 p.m.

FREE PROGRAMS: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands program are available 48 hours before a given card. To access the no-cost official program pages, go to

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 Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades (@ShadesOnRacing) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).

A HALF-DOZEN CHANCES: The Meadowlands offers its faithful six opportunities nightly to make a score by betting into pools with a low 15 percent takeout as well as low minimum base bets. Here is a list of those wagers, and when they are offered:

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

NOTE: On Friday (April 8), there are 12 races on the card instead of the usual 13, thus, the Pick-4s will be offered on races 5-8 and 9-12, the Pick-6 is on races 7-12 and Pentafecta/Hi-5 will be on the 12th.

WHO DOES BROWER LIKE? For expert selections and analysis of every Big M card, check out track oddsmaker Brower’s race reviews.

For Brower’s input, which is generally available 48 hours before every card, go to, then click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”.

GOOD EATS: The Meadowlands offers patrons several superb buffet options for dining while watching the races this weekend.

On Friday, the featured items on the menu are seafood chowder, turkey breast with gravy, cheese tortellini and barbecue sirloin tips.

The Saturday bill of fare includes prime rib with shallots, teriyaki mahi mahi and potatoes au gratin.

For more information and reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM.