Concert @ MetLife Stadium 5/17 & 5/18. Please allow for extra travel time.


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Things are starting to heat up at The Meadowlands, and what better way to kick off the 14-week Championship Meet on Saturday (May 4) than with the top simulcast event in all of horse racing serving as a prelude to the beginning of the harness stakes season with the opening leg of New Jersey Sire Stakes action.

The Championship Meet runs through Saturday, Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day.

The Kentucky Derby takes center stage Saturday and Meadowlands regulars, semi-regulars and three-times-a-year not-so-regulars are sure to be on hand to watch and wager on the “Run for the Roses”.

The Saturday action will be non-stop as the first two races on the Meadowlands card will be contested before The Derby, with the remaining Big M dozen dashes to take place after the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”.

“This Saturday at The Meadowlands will be a call to post for those who have been waiting for the temperatures to rise and celebrate life on an action-filled afternoon and evening,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Live racing, the Kentucky Derby, our annual Beer Fest and UFC 301 will keep the action rolling all night long.

“The building has been full of energy lately. The racing at The Meadowlands has been great, and the Rangers and Knicks are on a terrific roll, so it’s an exciting time for everyone in the metropolitan area.”

A milestone headlines the racing and sports world as The Derby will have its 150th edition at historic Churchill Downs.

“We have run a Kentucky Derby every single year since 1875,” said Chris Goodlett, Curator of the Kentucky Derby Museum. “We’ve had two world wars, a depression, and pandemics. We’ve always run a Kentucky Derby.”

Twenty of the top 3-year-olds in training will compete for the $5-million purse. Post time is set for 6:57 p.m.

The Derby’s companion event for fillies, The Kentucky Oaks, takes place on Friday at 5:51 p.m.

As for the live harness racing, the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers kicks off on Saturday with three $30,000 dashes, two for colts and geldings and one for fillies.

Better Is Nice is the marquee performer. The son of Bettor’s Wish-Thatsoveryverynice is a Tony Alagna trainee who earned over $500,000 a year ago. He’ll depart from post eight in the seventh race event for males with Andy McCarthy doing the driving.

“We’re looking forward to his first [parimutuel] start on Saturday,” said Alagna. “I think he can go with the best colts when he’s on his game.”

DERBY DAY IS HERE: One of the biggest days – if not the biggest – in the horse racing industry during any calendar year takes place on Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” and if you would like to be a part of horse racing’s biggest event, head to The Meadowlands and spend the day at the best place to watch and wager on the 150th “Run for the Roses.”

On Derby Day, doors open at 9 a.m. with the first race at Churchill Downs slated to go at 10:30 a.m. The Derby is race 12 on a spectacular 14-race card.

Guaranteed Derby Day dining at The Meadowlands includes the Café and second-floor Lounge.

Café reservations (must be prepaid):

  • $100 per four-person table
  • Waiter service
  • Guarantees track admittance and seating

Ticket-purchase price is also a food credit that can be used at the Café on Derby Day towards racetrack staples like chicken wings, french fries, cheesesteaks, burgers, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream and more. The credit is valid on Derby Day only.

Lounge reservations (must be prepaid):

  • $50 bar seat
  • $100 two-person table
  • $200 four-person table
  • $150 three-person couch
  • $500 four-person couch
  • Waiter service
  • Guarantees track admittance and seating

Ticket-purchase price is also a beverage and food credit to be used at the Victory Bar and kitchen on Derby Day towards delicious fare, including burgers, nachos, salads, sandwiches and more. The credit is valid on Derby Day only.

Derby Day Pink Buffet Menu – $64.95 per person (plus tax and tip)

  • Doors open at 4 p.m.; buffet begins at 4:30 p.m.

Derby Day Hat Contest:

  • $1,000 in total prize money
  • Register between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Clubhouse Lobby
  • Judging will take place in the winner’s circle at approximately 5 p.m.

Prize breakdown: 1st place: $500; 2nd place: $250; 3rd place: $100; 4th place: $50; Fanciest: $100.

For further information, and to make reservations, go here.

HAVE A BEER ON DERBY DAY: On Derby Day, The Meadowlands will host its annual Beer Fest.

Though over sixty breweries and cideries are participating, the fifteen participating New Jersey breweries are a true festival highlight.

The event will be held in the Backyard and on the East Apron and will open to the public at 4 p.m. for VIP admission. General admission begins at 5 p.m. and is available in advance for $45 or at the door for $50. The VIP ticket is $65 and includes an additional hour of sampling, exclusive VIP Tent beer samplings, and food.

For complete information, and to purchase tickets, go here.

UFC 301 ON DERBY DAY: On Saturday, The Big M’s FanDuel Sportsbook – as well as The Gallery – will no doubt be buzzing when UFC 301 is presented live from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. There are five bouts on the main card, which get underway at 10 p.m.

The main event pits Steve Erceg against Alexandre Pantoja for Pantoja’s flyweight championship belt.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A CAR? When you come to The Meadowlands, you could make a score at the windows. Starting on Friday (May 3), you can also walk away with a brand new 2024 Toyota Camry LE AWD by participating in the track’s HorsePlay Giveaway, which takes place every race day until Friday, Aug. 2.

The HorsePlay Giveaway is sponsored by Purple Haze Stables.

For complete information, and to enter this extremely popular promotion, go here.


CAN YOU SURVIVE THE HEAT? The Meadowlands Summer Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, kicks off Friday (May 3). Cash prizes and Meadowlands swag are up for grabs in this free online contest.

The game covers the Meadowlands Championship Meet and will conclude on Saturday, Aug. 3.

The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 “across-the-board” wager (win, place and show) on selections for three designated races on each program.

However, to continue in the game, entrants have to “survive” by finishing in-the-money (first through third) with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player’s survival, a “lucky horseshoe” is given. The lucky horseshoe is a “free pass” given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or if all three of his selections fail to hit the board.

What the players are shooting for:

The grand prize is $750 plus a Breeders Crown Night at the Races package

The second-place prize is $500 plus Meadowlands swag

The third-place prize is $250 plus Meadowlands swag

Most Winners selected: $200 plus Meadowlands swag

Highest monthly bankroll (May, June, July): $100 plus Meadowlands swag

The free contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada who are 18 years of age or older, and all selections must be made through the format provided on the Survival Challenge website page (go here.) No selections will be accepted by phone, fax, e-mail or any other means. TrackMaster Platinum past performances for the three designated races will be provided through the game board.

The deadline for selections each day is 30 minutes before the 6:20 p.m. post time for the first race; 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. After 30 minutes to post, all selections are final.

To login or to register as a first-time player, go here.


TRES DE MAYO: OK, so it’s not Cinco de Mayo, but on Friday (May 3), mark the start of the track’s Championship Meet by enjoying Tres de Mayo, a themed buffet in Pink and Trotters featuring empanadas, guacamole, carne asada with chimichurri, tacos, cilantro white rice and beans, and more.

The cost of $49.95 per person excludes tax and gratuity.

To see the full menu, and to make reservations, go here.

DOUBLE THE ACTION: The Meadowlands’ appetizing betting menu got a little tastier last week with the addition of a second 20-cent Pick-5, to join the pair of 50-cent Pick-4s already on the bill of fare.

There are eight wagers nightly that offer a chance for players to make a big hit while betting into big pools that offer a low takeout of just 15 percent. The lineup of the track’s “Great Eight”:

  • Races 1-5: Early 20-cent Pick-5
  • Races 2-8: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 (mandatory payout nightly)
  • Races 4-9: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Races 6-9: Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 7: 20-cent Pentafecta (Hi-5)
  • Races 8-12: Late 20-cent Pick-5
  • Races 10-13: Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 11: 20-cent Pentafecta (Hi-5)

Last Saturday (April 27), the new “Double Dynamic Duo” accounted for over 10 per cent of the evening’s $3-million total handle, as the Early Pick-4 ($98,434), Late Pick-4 ($98,445), Early Pick-5 ($84,863) and Late Pick-5 ($42,053) took in a total of $323,795.

THE SKED: Live racing takes place every Friday and Saturday with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

Join The Meadowlands’ “A”-team of Dave Little and Jessica Otten for the live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show on Friday at 5:45 p.m.

On Saturday, Otten will conduct interviews from the back paddock while Little welcomes DRF/Harness Editor Derick Giwner to the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set.

A LOT OF LITTLE: Last Saturday was a big night for Little’s followers, as the veteran member of the Big M’s TV crew selected eight winners on top, including his best bet and value play.

In addition, Little pegged the Late Pick-4 and had the winning payout of $80.95 five times to cash in for $404.75. On race later, “Little’s Late Double” rolled in, paying $85.40, but Little played a $6 ticket, creating a return of $256.20.

FREE PROGRAMS EVERY NIGHT: Past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available free of charge. All one has to do is go to to access the information.

“X” MARKS THE SPOT: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on X (formerly known as Twitter). You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.

Stay in touch with The Big M team of Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Little (@DaveLittleBigM) and Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover).

WITHERITE’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker and program analyst James Witherite are available 48 hours before a given race card. To access, simply go to, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews.”

LOCAL FAN-DUEL: The FanDuel Sportsbook, the No. 1 facility of its type in North America, is something Meadowlands fans are well aware of. After all, it’s located inside the grandstand at the mile oval.

With numerous huge-screen TVs, plenty of comfortable seating and food and drink options, serious sports bettors know that the book at the track is the place to be.

Local fans have plenty to cheer about in the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs.

On Thursday (May 2), the “Turnpike Tussle” goes to Game 6, as the New York Knicks – who lead the best-of-seven series three games to two – travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Tipoff is 9 p.m., and the 76ers are a 3-point favorite who are -164 on the money line in the game that has an under/over of 200½ points.

In the NHL, the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes will face-off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals sometime next week. That information will be provided once the league announces the schedule since both teams finished up their respective series early, in four games (Rangers) and five (Hurricanes).

The Hurricanes are the +390 favorite to win The Stanley Cup, while the Rangers are +700.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go here.

The FanDuel Sportsbook is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-1 a.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m.-midnight. For cash-at-counter customers, the hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m.