Saturday, January 7, 2023

To say it was an eventful night on the first racing program of 2023 at The Meadowlands Friday is an understatement of monstrous proportion.

During the winter racing season, wagering is usually prolific at The Meadowlands, and fans of the mile oval were out in force Friday night, pushing over $3 million through the windows during the opening card of the year.

When all the money was counted at the conclusion of the 14-race program, a total of $3,384,066 was put in play, remarkably good for a Friday, given that the $3.1 million wagered on Dec. 16 marked the first Friday in six months when betting busted the $3-million barrier.

In addition, two well-placed longshots created a carryover in the Late 50-cent Pick-4 and a double carryover in the 20-cent Pick-6.

The races that led to the carryovers were at either end of the Pick-4, and the 3rd and 6th legs, respectively, of the Pick-6. George Brennan guided 43-1 shot Larjon Leah to victory in the 10th race and Scott Zeron piloted Regal Escape to score at 50-1 in the 13th, leaving players champing at the bit heading into Saturday.

The Pick-4 carryover of $57,648 will be offered on races 10 through 13, with $250,000 in “new money” estimated to be bet. The Pick-6, which takes place on races eight through 13, has a double carryover of $22,812, with an additional $75,000 estimated to be put in play.

“It’s going to be a great night to be wagering on our card,” said Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Our race office has done a tremendous job of writing competitive races, and when you have carryovers with large competitive fields like we have Saturday, it creates a lot of excitement for our fan base.”

Those who had three winning selections in the Pick-4 Friday cashed in for $183.90, while those with five correct in the Pick-6 collected $1,997.66.

LET US PRAY: Brennan, aka “The Minister of Speed”, tallied three wins on the night as he bids for a second consecutive “Driver of the Week” Award.

The 55-year-old Brennan scored with 3-5 favorite Inxs in the fifth race and even-money public choice Stride The Hill in the ninth in addition to his longshot victory with Larjon Leah, whose win came in the $17,000 featured high-end conditioned pace for mares.

A LITTLE MORE: Zeron’s fans walked out of the track with big green, as the 33-year-old clicked with 12-1 shot Miss Dottie Mae before his $100 winner, Regal Escape. Both horses closed from far back in the stretch. … Joe Bongiorno matched Brennan with three winners. … Yannick Gingras had a driving double, guiding both of trainer Ron Burke’s winner’s circle visitors. … Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Larjon Leah records an upset win in the Friday night feature at The Meadowlands, one of three victories on the night for driver George Brennan. (Credit: Lisa Photo)