Saturday, December 17, 2022

The promise of a huge pool was realized for 20-cent Pick-5 players Friday night at The Meadowlands, as the popular puzzle provided its most potent pool of 2022.

Last Saturday (Dec. 10), there were no winning tickets sold on the Pick-5, creating a carryover of $47,199. Bettors went for it in a big way Friday, by pouring $336,743 in “new money” into the pot, for a total pool of $383,942, smashing the prior P5 mark – set on March 12 – of $312,284.

Hopes were high after 7-5 favorite Cash Roll took the opener (the Pick-5 spans races one through five), but, as it turned out, that was the lone winning public choice during the sequence.

The hottest driver at The Big M is Dexter Dunn, as the 33-year-old had won 15 races over the last four race cards entering Friday. Looking for his third straight Driver of the Week trophy, Dunn won the second race with 10-1 chance CC Bank as a handful of Pick-5 tickets hit the floor.

Players who hit the “All” button breathed a sigh of relief after Brett Beckwith guided 27-1 longshot Coolncalculating N to victory lane in the third, as another big chunk of players went dead in the wager.

Steve Smith drove Deltasun A, the “Value Play” of the night of Gabe Prewitt, who was on-set for the simulcast show, to his 31st career win, and given his back class, bettors must have been thrilled with a payout of 8-1 in the fourth.

In the Pick-5’s payoff leg, it was Dunn scoring again, this time with 4-1 shot Love Me Hill. Those with winning tickets now have plenty of Christmas green after walking away with $21,196.92.

IMPRESSIVE IMPORT: Trainer Rob Harmon and driver Dein Spriggs look like they have a talented horse that they recently brought over from Great Britain, as their Ima Happy Fella GB won one of two GSY (Gural Settlemoir Yarock) pacing events on the card.

The 5-year-old son of Rogue Hall-Happy Daisy went a perfect second-over trip to score in 1:55.3 in his North American parimutuel debut as the 8-5 favorite.

Spriggs, Harmon and Lee Morris (another GSY Club member, who hails from England and now lives in the States), went to England in the spring to look for horses.

“The first place we were at was York,” said Spriggs. “We watched the races and we watched this horse. He was handicapped a little bit because of his win percentage, so he raced about 20 yards off the gate and he won the race in about 2:01. He raced really well and made a really nice move. We got in touch with the owner [Geoffrey Robson] and made a nice arrangement. He owns the mare and he figures if this horse races well over here in the States, maybe this mare’s babies will sell for more money.

“I knew there was going to be a little early speed [in the race tonight], so I figured, duck him and pick up some cover. It actually worked exactly the way we were hoping. It doesn’t always happen like that, but it did this time.”

Harmon, Spriggs and W B Muggleston own Ima Happy Fella GB, who now has 12 wins from just 25 career starts. The drive was Spriggs first of the year at The Big M, and his first win at the track since 2016.

A LITTLE MORE: With the Pick-5 carryover serving as the propellant, wagering burned past the $3-million mark for the first time on a Friday since July 1. All-source handle totaled $3,179,854. The first race saw $585,154 pushed through the windows. … Corey Callahan caught fire late on the card, taking four of the last six races to lead the driver colony. … Dunn recorded a driving triple and now has won at least three races on four straight programs and has 18 wins over the last five programs. … Michael Annunziata and Ivan Llopez each trained a pair to victory lane. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Love Me Hill (No. 2) is up at the wire in the fifth race at The Meadowlands Friday night to cap a 20-cent Pick-5 that returned over $20,000. Dexter Dunn was in the sulky. (Credit: Lisa Photo)