Thursday, July 7, 2022

Last weekend (July 1-2) at The Meadowlands saw back-to-back $3-million handles at the windows and a handful of exceptional performances on the track, highlighted by Bulldog Hanover’s spectacular 1:46 mile Saturday night, a time that equaled the fastest in the history of the sport.

“[Driver Dexter Dunn] was sort of speechless,” said Noel Daley, who will have the Jack Darling trainee race out of his barn while in the U.S. “Jack said the same thing, that [Bulldog Hanover] was pretty special. It’s just so easy. [Dexter] said it took a half-mile to pull him up, too.”

From this point forward, forever stamped in the minds of harness fans are the fractions of :26.2, :53.4, 1:20.2 and 1:46. The mile equaled the time first registered by Always B Miki (2016 at The Red Mile) and later equaled by Lather Up (2019 at The Big M).

“The ‘Classic Division’ has the potential to offer memorable races throughout the Championship Meet,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a division full of horses with world-class speed like the classic group we have this year. The new stakes races we hosted last Saturday help to keep superstars like these racing, which is incredibly important to the future of any sport, in particular, ours.”

Bulldog’s effort came in one of two divisions of the Roll With Joe, with the other split going to Rockyroad Hanover in 1:46.2. How fast was the surface at the mile oval Saturday? Two races went in sub-1:47 in a space of 60 minutes. There have been a total of 13 in the history of the game.

On the trotting side, a funny thing happened to Ecurie D DK on his way to an easy victory in the Crawford Farms as the 1-9 favorite.

Well, maybe not that funny. Ironic might be a better word, since the Ake Svanstedt trainee, who won the Cutler on May 21 in a sensational 1:49.1, was beaten by another Svanstedt student, Alrajah One It, whose explosive final quarter of :25.3 allowed him to record an 18-1 upset in 1:50.4 in his North American debut.

Racine Bell flashed her usual speed, and last week she was never better, taking down defending Horse of the Year Test Of Faith in wire-to-wire fashion in the Perfect Sting for mares in 1:47.2, just three-fifths of a second off the fastest mile ever by a female of 1:46.4 by the great Shartin N. Test Of Faith was a valiant second after racing parked the mile from post 10.

Bella Bellini followed cover to take the Six Pack for trotting mares in 1:50.1, as the 4-year-old standout from Nifty Norman looks to grab the top spot in a division that includes her arch-rival Atlanta.

The Big M will try to duplicate the excitement level for a second consecutive week as the “Championship Meet” goes full throttle this weekend (July 7-9).

For starters, racing will be conducted three days instead of the usual two, when live action takes place on a second consecutive Thursday (July 7) evening when four $30,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for 2-year-olds top the card.

On Friday (July 8), three more $30,000 NJSS divisions for 2-year-olds sit atop the marquee before another monster Saturday (July 9) program.

Four Graduate Series finals – with purses totaling $750,000 – plus two eliminations for the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace are the highlighted events, with some of the game’s biggest equine stars on display.

Bella Bellini, Test Of Faith, Mikala, Rattle My Cage, Cuatro De Julio, Carbine, and, the aforementioned Bulldog Hanover, will be on the track during the course of the 13-race program.

The Meadowlands Pace elims will have a pair of dashes with the top five in official order of finish returning for next week’s final.

WATCH LIVE ON FS2: The Saturday night races from The Big M will be telecast to a national television audience when Fox Sports 2 (FS2) broadcasts live from 8-11 p.m.

All the Graduate finals plus The Meadowlands Pace eliminations will be part of the show.

IN ADDITION: To spice up the Thursday night festivities, there will be $2,500 in prize money as well as a seat in the World Harness Handicapping Championship Final at The Meadowlands on Sept. 10 at stake in a WHHC Qualifier.

The entry fee is only $100, and for all the information you need to get involved, go to

If you like food off the grill, then Saturday night is the night for you, as The Big M presents its “BBQ Extravaganza”.

Some of the best food trucks and restaurants in the area will be on hand from 5-11 p.m. for patrons to enjoy some great food while they enjoy some great racing as vendors compete for $2,500 in prize money.

For complete details, go to or email Rachel Ryan at

GOOD OL’ BOYS IN THE BIKE: On Friday night, July 15, The Big M will host the talented men of Tratter Co. in the Tratter Co. Pace Off.

Nick Luciano, Blake Moore, Caden McGuire and Roy Dinges will take to the track to see who is the top driver among their group of “Good ‘ol boys”.

Nick, Blake, Caden and Roy will team up with a top Meadowlands driver in the half-mile pacing event, so come on out and cheer for your favorite social media star.

The Tratter Co. Pace Off takes place after the fourth race.

PACE NIGHT: The “Biggest Party in Harness Racing” features a true Big M original, the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace final, on Saturday, July 16.

The Pace Night list of stakes races includes the $450,000 (est.) William Haughton Memorial, $285,000 (est.) Stanley Dancer Memorial, $250,000 (est.) Del Miller Memorial, $200,000 (est.) Mistletoe Shalee, $175,000 (est.) Dorothy Haughton Memorial and $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity.

If you can’t make it out the track, no worries. Catch all the action live, along with the rest of the nation, when FS2 once again shows The Big M races from 8-11 p.m.

On-track festivities will include a t-shirt giveaway (to the first 5,000 guests), food trucks, a DJ in the Backyard, a handicapping contest for those 30 years of age and younger for $5,000 in prize money, carnival rides and games plus a promotion where five lucky fans will get to place a $500 wager on a designated race for free.

MORE ACTION: This week, live racing takes place three times, instead of the usual two. Post time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is 6:20 p.m.

MORE MONEY: Last weekend saw back-to-back $3-million handles as on Friday, $3,100,260 was pushed through the windows while Saturday’s all-source betting totaled $3,253,800.

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

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

MASTERMINDS ROLL ON: There might have been only three days of racing, but there were four winners last week in The Big M’s “Battle of the Masterminds” handicapping contest, where one lucky fan can walk away with $10,000.

Last Thursday, Dave Little got into the win column for the first time, while Friday saw two winners, as Dave Brower and Edison Hatter finished in a dead heat, before Jessica Otten was victorious on Saturday.

On-track patrons can enter every racing night, selecting the handicapper they think will win that night’s edition of the tournament. If that handicapper wins and that patron’s name is drawn from the entry box, they win a $200 betting voucher plus a $50 gas gift card.

That patron is then also entered into the grand prize drawing, which takes place on Hambletonian Day, August 6, one day after the conclusion of the competition.

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 Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and 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”.

GET YOUR ACTION: Local baseball fans continue to love life these days as the New York Yankees and New York Mets continue to lead their respective divisions, and for those who like to make a wager or two on their favorite club, the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands is the place to go.

Both teams face division rivals Thursday night.

The Mets will host the Miami Marlins in a 7:10 p.m. start. The Amazin’s are a -174 favorite while the over/under is 8½ runs.

The Yankees travel to Boston to take on the Red Sox in a game that has a first pitch of 7:10 p.m. The Bronx Bombers are a -174 favorite. The under/over is 9 runs.

For up-to-date lines on any sporting event go to

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.