Thursday, January 19, 2023

Wagering at The Meadowlands remained robust last weekend (Jan. 13-14), as both programs saw action exceed the $3-million mark for a second straight week to begin 2023.

“There are several factors that go into the type of success we are having right now,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Our race office, led by our Racing Secretary Scott Warren, has done an outstanding job of carding competitive races with full fields. Our horsemen have supported the entry box in a big way, which we are extremely appreciative of, and, of course, our faithful fans have shown they like what they see, given how much business we have been doing of late.”

While the returns during 2022 were anything but shabby, The Big M’s average nightly handle was $2.75 million, far and away tops in the sport, but the track is off to the type of start this year that leads one to believe that business could return to the level of two years ago, when the average per card was $3 million.

Some of 2023’s resurgent play can be attributed to the high number of average starters per race and the time between races. Racing fans have made it clear that big fields create more play in the pools.

The time between races has increased from last year to this, but keep in mind that during 2022, the average time interval was 20.6 minutes for 15 races, and this year, it’s 23.2 minutes for 14 races. Regardless, bettors always know where they stand in terms of getting their wagers in, as The Big M’s 180-second countdown clock serves as a reminder as to when the starter is going to say it’s time to go.

Even more important, field size has increased from 2022 to 2023. Last year, Weekend One saw average field sizes of 9.60 and 9.13 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, as compared to this year’s 9.64 and 9.50.

The increases were far more profound during Weekend Two. During 2022, 9.31 and 8.93 were the average number of starters, as compared to this year’s 10 and 9.86.

All of which leads to more money being pushed through the windows. Thus far in 2023, the first four programs of the year have seen total wagering of $13,851,347, which is $3,504,889 more than what was bet a year ago.

The average nightly handle of $3,462,836 represents a remarkable increase of $876,222 over 2022. The average action per race of $247,345 represents an uptick of $74,905 from a year ago.

In this era of simulcasting, a majority of racetracks’ – including The Meadowlands – wagers are made off track, but more people are coming to – and betting at – The Big M this far in 2023, with on-track handle up 32 percent over a year ago.

The significant increases in business have – naturally – been seen in The Big M’s “Big Three” popular multi-leg wagers that sport low takeouts of 15 percent.

The 20-cent Pick-5 pools have seen an increase of at least $10,000 all four times the wager has been offered this year, and overall, the P5 has seen an increase in wagering of 43 percent over the same time frame from a year ago, with an average 2023 pool of $66,412.

The ever-popular 50-cent Pick-4 continues to be a hit with Big M patrons, so much so that management offers a $50,000 guarantee on the pool.

The average Early Pick-4 pool this year stands at $107,458, which is an increase of 49 percent over a year ago, while the Late P4, with the help of a carryover on Jan. 7, is averaging $144,859 a night, up 101 percent. If you removed the night of the carryover completely, the average wager is still 21 percent more.

PICK-6 CARRYOVER: There were no winning tickets sold on Saturday (Jan. 14) night’s 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $5,044 when racing resumes Friday.

Even when a carryover is categorized as “modest”, it nonetheless has the potential to create a great opportunity for the player.

In the event $30,000 in “new money” is put into the pool, $4,500 would be the track’s take (a low 15 percent), leaving $25,500. After adding in the carryover, you would get a total pool of $30,544, a surplus of $544, meaning the bettor gets to swim in a pool with a “negative takeout”.

FIRST PRAY, THEN PLAY: For two weekends, churchgoers can go from pulpit to player, as The Big M will card a pair of Sunday racing programs, on Jan. 22 and 29. The races on Sunday have a special post time of 12:30 p.m.

There will be a delicious brunch buffet in The Big M’s Pink Restaurant for each Sunday card. Pink will open at 11 a.m., and dining will start at 11:30 a.m.

Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations.

For complete details and to get a look at the menu, go to

ATTENTION ALL OWNERS: The Kindergarten Series and Freshman Fall Final Four are staples on the Fall racing calendar at The Big M, and now, owners have an incentive to make their horses eligible to both.

For the first time, divisional winners of the $1-million (est.) Kindergarten finals will be awarded a bye that includes the added perk of drawing for post positions with those horses that win the eliminations of the $1.6-million (est.) Freshman Fall Final Four.

Eligibility for this “Golden Ticket” requires that the Kindergarten final winner be made eligible for the Final Four by completion of all required payments.

For further information, go to

All nominations are due by Feb. 15, 2023.

SAVE THE MONEY FOR WAGERING: As always, free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

During January on Friday nights, on-track patrons can get a free Meadowlands program, beginning at 5 p.m.

GET TWEETING: 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_).

LOW TAKEOUTS, $100K GUARANTEED: 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

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 Dave Little and Jessica Otten, as they will have news, notes and previews of the upcoming card.

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

BET THE NFL PLAYOFFS: The NFL playoffs continue this weekend, and there is no better place to watch and wager on the action than in the FanDuel Sportsbook, the No. 1 facility of its kind in America, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

Every game will be shown live in the book as well as the Lounge. There are numerous giant screen HD TVs, and there is table service available in the Lounge. During the games, enjoy $4 craft beer specials.

On Saturday (Jan. 21), the Kansas City Chiefs (-8½) host the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 4:30 p.m. game that has an under/over of 52½.

In the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader, bragging rights will be on the line as longtime NFC East rivals, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, are the matchup in an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.

A special game needs some special eats. Beginning at 8 p.m., the “NY Buffet” gets underway with all the coney dogs, wings and sliders you can eat for just $25.

The game is in Philadelphia, and the Eagles are a 7½-point favorite. The under/over is 48½.

On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills (-5½) in a game that has an under/over of 48½.

Finally, at 6:30 p.m., the Dallas Cowboys take a trip to the west coast and play the San Francisco 49ers (-3½) in a game that has an under/over of 45½.

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.