Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Meadowlands seven-program September “mini meet” comes to an end this weekend (Sept. 16-17) with the New Jersey Classic serving as the featured event.

Last Friday (Sept. 9), two “A”-level 3-year-old trotting finals – one for fillies and one for colts and geldings – gave notice to horsemen and owners that New Jersey-sired horses have plenty of opportunity to make some serious green.

The filly division winner was the Jim Campbell-trained Fashion Schooner while emerging victorious in the split for males was Nancy Takter’s Pretender. Those two standouts are great examples of why The Garden State is the place to breed, own and race horses, since they both not only won their respective NJC finals that went for $275,000, but each also won their $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes divisional finals earlier in the year.

Fashion Schooner – one in a loaded division that includes Joviality S and Jiggy Jog S – also won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks.

There were also a pair of “B”-level finals for 3-year-old trotters – one for fillies and one for colts and geldings – that went for $100,000 each on the Friday card.

This Friday (Sept. 16), there will be more big money on the line, with eight NJC finals for horses of both “A” and “B” caliber going for purses totaling $1.2 million.

Two of those “A” dashes stand out from the rest, both sporting purses of $275,000.

The 2-year-old filly trot stars Grand Fashion, who is the 2-1 morning-line choice from post four for Campbell off a pair of second-place finishes in the Kindergarten Series while the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot features Marcus Melander’s Oh Well – the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion – who will start out at 5-2 from post three.

PROLIFIC PAYOFFS: Last weekend, many patrons were making scores at The Big M.

On Friday’s card, the 20-cent Pick-5 returned $7,144.62 while the Late 50-cent Pick-4 (races 10-13) came back $2,832.60. The 12th-race Trifecta paid $5,128.60 after Dave Miller guided 24-1 shot Gotta Get Crackin to a wire-to-wire win.

Saturday’s large returns included the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7, which paid $2,428.00, while the 14th and final race saw the 10-cent Hi-5 return $21,718.29 after Joe Bongiorno drove Magnolia Volo to a wire-to-wire score at odds of 26-1.

A double carryover of just over $21,000 led to $71,498 in “new money” bet into the 20-cent Pick-6 pool Saturday for a grand total of $92,717. Those who had all six winners had big smiles on their faces after cashing in for $7,612.80. The odds of the winning horses during the sequence were 7-2, 3-2, 7-1, 9-2, 7-2 and 3-1.

WHHC RESULTS: Jaime Ortiz of Staten Island, NY finished on top in the 2022 World Harness Handicapping Championship final on Saturday (Sept. 10) night at The Meadowlands and walked away with the top prize of $13,545.

Ortiz finished the tournament with a $757.60 bankroll to top the field of 41 players who competed for $38,700 in prize money. He won his seat in the final by taking the January Meadowlands $400 Qualifier.


Ortiz’ biggest score of the night came in race 11 with a $100 win wager on Trashytonguetalker, which gave him a $560 hit.


WEAR ORANGE ON FRIDAY: You’ll see something different when they come onto the track for the second race Friday night: All of the horses will be done up in orange equipment and the drivers will be wearing orange arm bands to support a harness racing family.

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and longtime horseman Doug Dilloian Jr.’s daughter, Kensley, who turns 2 in December, is battling a form of Leukemia. On Friday, everyone in the harness racing community will be throwing its support behind the Dilloians as they brace for the tough challenge that lies ahead.

THE RUNNERS ARE COMING: While harness racing at The Big M takes a six-week break, come out to the track to watch and wager on some exciting thoroughbred action as Monmouth Park conducts turf racing at The Meadowlands.

Turf action will be conducted on a Friday-Saturday basis starting Sept. 23 through Oct. 22, with one exception, as there will be no live racing on Oct. 15. Post time is 7 p.m.

SUPER SIMULCASTS: When harness racing is dark at The Big M from Sept. 18 through Nov. 3, there will be plenty of big races for players to watch and wager on in the track’s expansive simulcast area.

Here is a list of those stakes with dates worthy of circling on your calendar:

  • Sept. 21 – Little Brown Jugette (Delaware)
  • Sept. 22 – Little Brown Jug (Delaware)
  • Sept. 23 – Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (featuring Bulldog Hanover)
  • Sept. 24 – Mohawk Million, Metro, Canadian Trotting Classic, She’s A Great Lady, Elegant Image (Woodbine Mohawk Park)
  • Oct. 9 – Kentucky Futurity, Kentucky Filly Futurity, Allerage (Red Mile, where Bulldog Hanover could shoot for a world record)
  • Oct. 15 – International Trot (Yonkers)
  • Oct. 28-29 – Breeders Crown (Woodbine Mohawk Park)

The Meadowlands will then return with live harness action on Nov. 4 and quickly rev up the stakes machine.

On Nov. 12, four Kindergarten finals will highlight the card with total purses estimated at $1 million.

Two weeks later, divisional honors, and, quite possibly, Horse of the Year will be decided on “Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night”, with eight races that will be contested for purses estimated at $2.65 million.

THE SCHEDULE: The final weekend of harness racing will be conducted on the usual Friday-Saturday basis with a post time of 6:20 p.m. There will be 14 races each night.

CATCH THE SHOW: The live “Racing from the Meadowlands” pregame show begins at 5:45 p.m. on race nights.

This Friday, catch “The Two Daves”, Brower and Little, on set doling out news and handicapping advice as well as conducting live winner’s circle interviews after the sixth and eighth races. The Saturday pairing will be Little and the voice of Harrah’s Philadelphia, Mike Bozich.

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

LOW TAKEOUTS, BIG REWARDS: Every live racing night, players get six chances to make a score betting into large pools of wagers that offer a low 15 percent takeout. (With Saturday being the last day of the meeting, all wagers will have mandatory payouts.)

Those wagers are:

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

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”.

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.

FOOTBALL FRENZY: Week 2 of the National Football League kicks off Thursday (Sept. 15) when the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.

The Chiefs are a 4½-point favorite in the game that starts at 8:15 p.m. The under/over is 53½.

Players know that the place to watch and wager on the NFL, as well as Major League Baseball and many other sports, is the FanDuel Sportsbook, the No. 1 book in the country, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

On the local scene, both the New York Jets and New York Giants play 1 p.m. games on Sunday (Sept. 18).

The Jets travel to Cleveland, where they are a 6½-point underdog against the Browns in the game that has an over/under of 40½.

The Giants are a 1½-point favorite as they host the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. The under/over is 43½.

On the local baseball scene, the Yankees have the day off Thursday (Sept. 15) while the Mets will be in action, hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at CitiField. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m. in the game where the Mets are -275 and the under/over is 7½.

Before you get your bets down, go to for up-to-date lines on any sporting event the book offers.

The sportsbook 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.