Thursday, December 21, 2023

For years, smaller players had a tough time of it at the track when it came to going for the big score, as larger minimums tended to exclude the low-level bettors from being serious players in those extremely attractive giant pools, permitting bigger partnerships and syndicates to bet big and scoop the pots.

The betting menu at The Meadowlands is one that’s friendly to the smaller player, and currently one of the wagers is creating a great deal of excitement.

The new 20-cent Pick-8, first introduced on Oct. 20, has gone unhit for seven consecutive programs, meaning that punters of all bankroll size will be going for some serious gold on Friday (Dec. 22) when they shoot for a carryover of $64,543.

“The Pick-8 carryover and other 20-cent bets give little guys a bigger chance to make that giant score,” said Settlemoir. “As we head into the final two weekends of the 2023 racing season, The Meadowlands glides in off another Saturday that saw handle exceed $3 million.

“The insatiable appetite horseplayers have for our product has been well documented. Part of that growth has been our ability to offer the small bettors a chance to make big scores on bets that have a low 15 percent takeout and are offered with a low minimum of 20 cents.”

First and foremost, The Big M does not offer jackpot wagers, a trend that The Meadowlands started, which is growing within the racing industry. The traditional wagers have become fashionable again, and The Meadowlands has made them even more popular with low takeouts and minimums.

“The 20-cent Pick-5 kicks off wagering every night on the first race,” said Settlemoir. “The low minimum allows people to play without dismantling their bankroll in the first race. This allows our multi-race patrons to stay in action and play all night.”

The rest of the low-takeout roster also has its highlights:

  • The 20-cent Hi-5 (or Pentafecta) has an average payout of over $1,000. The object is to pick the top five finishers in order and the wager is offered twice nightly, on races seven and 11.
  • The 20-cent Pick-6 is offered on races eight through 13. Several times this year the pool has risen about the $100,000 mark. Last Saturday, the payout was $2,714.
  • The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 is offered on races two through eight. The twist is the payout is based on how many consecutive races you have the winner, beginning in the second race.
  • The 50-cent Pick-4, the track’s most popular multi-leg puzzle, is available on races six through nine and 10 through 13. Last weekend, the bet that offers a guaranteed pool of $50,000, took in over $270,000 of action at the windows.

But lately, there’s no question which wager has been making the most noise. Since Nov. 25, the 20-cent Pick-8 carryover has continued to behave like a snowball rolling down a mountain. This new wager is the talk of the town, as several players have almost taken down the entire pool.

Last Saturday, there were three live numbers going into the final leg. The payouts to all three were more than $70,000 for a 20-cent bet. When the dust cleared, the Pick-8 went unclaimed, setting the stage for a dramatic holiday weekend at The Big M.

Interest in the carryover is very high, especially when you consider that the consolation is fairly lucrative – returning $1,225 and $525 last Friday and Saturday, respectively – and the negative takeout (which approached 300 percent last weekend) is happening every night. If you want in on the holiday carryover action, the Pick-8 is offered this weekend on races four through 11.

MUCH APPRECIATED: On Saturday, Dec. 30, head to the races for Fan Appreciation Night at The Meadowlands.

Track management will say “Thank you” to their faithful fan base with free live racing programs, beginning at 5 p.m.

Then, head over to the Cafe for some tasty concession items at even tastier prices. Hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn and soda (limit five of each item per transaction) will be available for $1 from 6-11 p.m.

The Café will also offer Bud and Bud Light drafts for $2.

CIRCLE THE DATES: Also on Saturday, Dec. 30, will be the track’s extremely popular calendar giveaway.

The first 500 guests receive a 2024 commemorative calendar, filled with images of the sport’s greatest horses and drivers in action from the 2023 racing season.

Photos are courtesy of Big M track photographer Lisa Photo, DRF Harness’ Nikki Sherman, Walter Wlodarczyk and Jessica Hallett.

Giveaway begins at 6 p.m. at the Players Club Desk in the Clubhouse Lobby. One per person.

STABILE-ITY ON SET: Anthony Stabile will make his return to the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set this weekend, sitting alongside Dave Little on both the Friday and Saturday editions of the live pregame “Racing from The Meadowlands” simulcast show. Stabile, whose expertise is in both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, will offer selections throughout the night as well as giving out Pick-4 tickets.

He’ll also offer in-depth analysis – and give out a ticket – for Friday night’s 20-cent Pick-8.

The show gets underway at 5:45 p.m.

DID YOU SAY FREE? Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

THE SKED: There are just four live racing days left on the 2023 calendar at The Big M.

Live action will take place every Friday and Saturday through the end of the year.

Post time for every program is 6:20 p.m.

“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 Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave 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”.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: “On behalf of Jeff Gural, I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our horsemen, staff, and, of course, our patrons,” said Settlemoir. “Thank you all for your efforts that helped make 2023 a big year for all of us at The Meadowlands. Much health and happiness to all for 2024.”

GET YOUR FOOTBALL ACTION IN FANDUEL: The FanDuel Sportsbook is the No. 1 facility of its kind in North America, and is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands. T8his weekend, there will be extra NFL action on both Saturday and Monday.

Week 16 will begin on Thursday when the Los Angeles Rams (-4½ on the point spread, -198 on the money line, total points under/over 46½) host the New Orleans Saints at 8:15 p.m.

On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the Cincinnati Bengals (-1½, -142, 37) head to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers before the 8 p.m. game has the Buffalo Bills (-12½, -1000, 43½) traveling to Los Angeles to face the Chargers.

On the local front, on Sunday, the Washington Commanders will be at MetLife Stadium facing the New York Jets (-3, -168, 37½) at 1 p.m. before the New York Giants head to the City of “Brotherly Shove” to go up against the Philadelphia Eagles (-11½, -720, 42½) in a Christmas Day Monday AFC East rivalry game at 4:30 p.m.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go here

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. 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. The Lounge opens at noon on Sundays.