Thursday, May 16, 2024

This Saturday (May 18) will mark the first time this year that stakes racing from The Meadowlands will be shown to a national television audience as FOX Sports will broadcast live the first major event of the season at The Big M, the $145,150 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for open trotters, on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) at 9 p.m.

In addition to the Cutler, Karl, the early favorite for the 99th edition of the Hambletonian, will be in the spotlight as the team at FOX will not only show his New Jersey Sire Stakes race on the show, but also begin to chronicle the Nancy Takter’s trainee road to the Hambo, which takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3.

“We are very much looking forward to Saturday night,” said Eric Donovan, the senior director of TV broadcast operations at The New York Racing Association. “The Cutler has come up a strong race with two 2023 Breeders Crown winners in Southwind Tyrion and the mare, Jiggy Jog S.  Additionally, one race earlier, in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, the presence of 2-year-old trot champ and budding superstar Karl makes the show a must-watch as he sets course for the Hambletonian.”

As if that weren’t enough, the premier show, which will once again feature Jessica Otten and Gabe Prewitt on-site at The Meadowlands, will have a fresh face on-set from NYRA’s TV headquarters at Aqueduct Racetrack, as special guest John Campbell, the president and chief executive officer of the Hambletonian Society as well as a two-time winner of the Cutler, will sit alongside show host Acacia Clement and provide commentary during the night.

“All of us at The Meadowlands are excited about our races being shown to a national television audience once again,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Teaming up with the top-flight TV crew at the NYRA has been a great way to show our races to an audience that previously only had access to Thoroughbred racing for the most part. What the shows on FOX have done is create players who like watching and wagering on both breeds, and that’s something that’s good for everyone involved.”

Here is the schedule for The Big M broadcasts with the marquee event that will be shown. Where not listed, specific networks – FOX, FS1 or FS2 – will be determined:

  • May 18: Cutler, 9-11 p.m. (FS2)
  • July 6: Graduate finals/Meadowlands Pace eliminations, 8-11 p.m. (FS2)
  • July 13: Meadowlands Pace final, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • August 3: Hambletonian, 1-7 p.m. (TBD)
  • October 18: Breeders Crown eliminations, 1-6 p.m. (TBD)
  • October 19: Breeders Crown eliminations, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • October 25: Breeders Crown finals, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • October 26: Breeders Crown finals, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • November 30: Fall Final Four, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)

MAY HANDLE AVERAGING $3.4M: An incredibly exciting Kentucky Derby 12 days ago captivated the nation while setting all-time handle records. Interest on the 1¼-mile first leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown was everywhere, with the 150th edition of the “Run for the Roses” recording the highest television audience for the Derby since 1989.

At The Meadowlands, there has been a noticeable surge in business this month, starting with Derby weekend (May 3-4). Interest in the 14-race programs at The Big M has been incredibly high, as The Championship Meet – which kicked off on Derby Day – has put up giant numbers during May.

The handle for the four race cards contested thus far this month was:

  • May 3: $3,450,418
  • May 4: $3,870,638 (Big M 2024 best)
  • May 10: $3,113,950
  • May 11: $3,390,240

“The average handle illustrates how popular The Meadowlands prime-time signal has become,” said Settlemoir. “Average nightly handle in May is $3,481,311. That breaks down to an average per race of $248,665.

“Our low-takeout wagering menu continues to be a giant hit with racing fans. Last Saturday night, the 15 percent takeout wagers commanded the attention of horseplayers around the world, resulting in giant pools to play into.”

Four of the mile oval’s popular multi-leg puzzles took in over $80,000 in action, as the Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($94,811), 20-cent Early Pick-5 ($86,444), Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($83,633) and 10-cent Early Hi-5 ($83,405 with a carryover of $13,559) topped that mark.

“The most encouraging part of our success this spring is that all of our big events are coming up,” said Settlemoir. “The Championship Meet will bring the greatest stars in Standardbred racing to New Jersey to compete in the sport’s greatest events.”

The list of get-out-to-the-track-worthy events include the Meadowlands Pace (on July 13), Hambletonian (Aug. 3), Breeders Crown (Oct. 25-26) and Fall Final Four/FanDuel Championships (Nov. 30).

MYSTIK DAN’S DAY?  This Saturday (May 18) all eyes will be watching the action at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, as Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will go for the second jewel in Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown in the 149th edition of the Preakness Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-three-sixteenths.

Meadowlands’ patrons can watch and wager on the Preakness in The Big M’s expansive simulcast area. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Post time for the first race at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. The Preakness has a post time of 6:50 p.m.

RALLIS JOINS THE TEAM: The Meadowlands is proud to announce that John Rallis, 28, who has become an impactful personality of late on the Big M’s live simulcast show with his interviewing and handicapping skills, has now come on board as the track’s morning-line odds maker and program analyst.

“We knew John was the goods from the time we hired him to work for us on Fall Final Four/FanDuel Championships Night last November,” said Settlemoir. “To get someone as young as John who has the passion and expertise he brings to the table will be a big plus for us.”

Rallis, who currently is the associate editor at TROT Magazine, is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.


“I think I have a fairly good understanding about the odds and handicapping nuances of the sport at The Meadowlands,” said Rallis. “You’re never going to be 100 percent right doing the morning line, but you want to be close. I’m sure I’ll be humbled, but am so appreciative at the opportunity to do this at the top track in the sport. My role at Standardbred Canada has helped me with a deeper understanding of the sport.”


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

The Big M’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show begins every live racing night at 5:45 p.m.

On Friday, The Red Mile’s Gabe Prewitt makes his Big M return and will join Jessica Otten on the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set, while on Saturday, DRF Harness Editor Derick Giwner will sit alongside The Big M’s Dave Little.

SHARPEN YOUR PENCILS: After the big Thoroughbred race on Saturday, Big M fans can turn their attention back to the live 14-race harness card, and maybe make themselves some money along the way by participating in a free handicapping contest with a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000.

What you need to know:

  • The contest is open anyone 18-years-old or older. Limited to one entry per person.
  • On Saturday (May 18), players must check-in and register at the Players Club Desk by 6:30 p.m. and complete the “official contest” form prior to Race 2.
  • There is no entry fee and no live money wagered into the pari-mutuel pools.
  • Each contestant will receive a $10 betting voucher and free live racing program.
  • Each participant makes mythical $2 across-the-board wagers [win, place and show] for Meadowlands races 2-11.
  • Contestants must make their mythical selections for races 2-10 prior to Race 2 on the official contest entry form online or in paper form and turn them into the contest official.
  • If horse is scratched, participant receives the post-time favorite.
  • If Meadowlands cancels due to inclement weather, the contest is canceled.
  • The winner is determined by the highest total mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the 11th race at The Meadowlands. Winner must be present to claim prize.
  • In the event of a tie, payouts for the placings will be combined and divided.

Prize payouts: 1st – $2,500; 2nd – $2,000; 3rd – $1,250; 4th – $1,000; 5th – $750; 6th through 10th – $500.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A CAR? When you come to The Meadowlands, you can make a score at the windows. But now, you could 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.

SURVIVAL MODE: The Meadowlands Summer Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, kicked off on 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.

In the early going, ramsingh leads the way in the Challenge with $196.40, followed crazyd13 ($195.10) and Ts Terrors ($184.10).

As for most winners, there is a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, as Ryebread64, pacingpete, KCross and onceacoach have seven apiece.

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.

THE GREAT EIGHT: The Meadowlands’ appetizing betting menu got a little tastier several weeks ago 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. Here is the lineup:

  • 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: 10-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: 10-cent Pentafecta (Hi-5)

TALKING HEADS TO TANGLE: The Meadowlands’ fifth annual Sportscasters Charity Derby takes place on Friday, May 31, and features two harness races to benefit charitable organizations selected by area sportscasters.

Each sportscaster will be teamed up with a Meadowlands driver in a jog cart and will compete against other sportscasters in a field of four in a one-mile race.

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will donate $5,000 to each of the two winning sportscasters’ selected charities, and, in addition, will also make a $1,000 donation to each charity selected by each sportscaster.

There are three new faces in the 2024 edition of The Derby: Chris Lopresti, Chelsea Sherrod and Perry Sook.

CHARITY RACE 1 (After race three, with affiliation and charity):

  • 1. Chris Lopresti (WFAN-660 AM, CBS Sports Radio, SiriusXM); St. Barnabus Hospital Health System
  • 2. Don LaGreca (ESPN-NY 98.7 FM); Ronald McDonald House
  • 3. Chelsea Sherrod (SNY); Grow Our Game
  • 4. Mark Cannizzaro (NY Post); Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

 CHARITY RACE 2 (After race five)

  • 1. Maria Marino (Action Network); American Cancer Society/Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
  • 2. Marc Malusis (PIX11, SNY, WFAN); Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • 3. Perry Sook (PIX11); St. Barnabus Hospital Health System
  • 4. Keith Irizarry (MLB Network); Cavan McGovern Family Research Fund

PICK A WIENER: The sixth annual running of the Meadowlands Racetrack Wiener Dog Derby takes place on Saturday, June 1.

This event is free to attend.

Approximate Wiener Dog Derby post times:

  • Race 1: 6 p.m.
  • Race 2: 6:15 p.m.
  • Race 3: 6:32 p.m.
  • Race 4: 6:52 p.m.
  • Race 5: 7:30 p.m.
  • Race 6: 8 p.m.
  • Race 7: 8:25 p.m.
  • Race 8: 8:50 p.m.
  • Race 9: 9:15 p.m.
  • Race 10: 9:40 p.m.
  • Final: 10 p.m.

There is $1,500 in total prize money up for grabs, with qualifier winners earning a $100 betting voucher. The winner of the final gets a $500 betting voucher.

  • There will be 10 wiener dogs in the final
  • Qualifiers will be run in between the live harness races. The final will be held once all qualifiers are complete
  • Only dogs permitted in the track and in each race are dachshunds. All canines must be currently licensed and up to date on all shots, including rabies vaccination
  • Only canines registered to participate are allowed at the track. No canine “viewers”
  • For more information, email Rachel Ryan at

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).

FABULOUS FANDUEL: 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 – and wager – about in the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs.

In the NBA, the New York Knicks have a 3-2 lead over the Indiana Pacers in their Eastern Conference semifinal best-of-seven series. Game 6 takes place on Friday (May 17) at 8:30 p.m. The Pacers are a 5½-point favorite who are -225 on the money line in the game that has an under/over of 216 points.

In the NHL, the New York Rangers have a 3-2 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in their Eastern Conference semifinal best-of-seven series. Game 6 takes place on Thursday (May 16) at 7:10 p.m. The ‘Canes are -164 on the money line (+162 minus a puck-and-a-half) in the game that has an under/over of 5½ goals.

In Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees are playing a day game on Thursday, but the New York Mets play at night, facing the Phillies in Philadelphia at 6:40 p.m. The Phillies are a -136 favorite in the game that has an under/over of 8 runs.

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.