Thursday, June 1, 2023

With Memorial Day having served as the unofficial start to summer, it’s time for the fun at The Meadowlands to heat up in a big way.

This weekend will feature several popular promotions, while almost 1,800 miles away, a friend of harness racing will be the best player competing in the NBA finals, which tips off Thursday (June 1) night.

Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic leads his Denver Nuggets into the finals as -460 favorites to win the best-of-seven series. Jokic, predictably, is a short price to be named series MVP, at -340.

In Game 1, which begins at 8:30 p.m., the home-team Nuggets are a 9-point favorite against the Miami Heat. On the money line, Denver is -370 in the game that has an under/over of 219 points.

Basketball fans can watch and wager on the action in the No. 1 sports betting facility in North America, the FanDuel Sportsbook, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

Big M regulars will be rooting for Jokic. Not just because he is a great player, but because he is a big-time harness racing aficionado.

Two autumns ago, Jokic spent some time with his friends, Hall of Fame driver Tim Tetrick and his wife Ashley, and came to The Big M at night after spending the afternoon with Tim at Gaitway Farms.

“It was great to have Jokic at the track,” Meadowlands’ Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir told harnesslink.com in a December, 2021 story. “It was fun seeing him interact with our drivers in the paddock. I can see him becoming a great ambassador for our sport.”

“I wanted to get to know the sport here in the U.S., so I texted Tim about two months ago,” said Jokic, a standardbred owner in his native Serbia, at the time. “This experience has been great.”

Maybe, but not quite as great as winning an NBA championship, which would be the first for Denver and Jokic.

On Saturday, maybe Jokic will want to relax and have some fun before Sunday’s Game 2, and the fun will be full throttle at The Big M Saturday (June 3) night when a huge crowd will be on hand at the mile oval for “Wiener Dog Derby Night”.

The event is free to attend but the fun is priceless.

Sixty pre-registered dachshunds will be competing for the $500 grand prize in between the live harness races that begin at 6:20 p.m.

There are eight qualifying heats with the top canine from each advancing to the final. Each canine heat winner will receive a special chew toy while the canine owner will receive a $100 voucher. The first qualifying heat is at 6:35 p.m.

The Wiener Dog Derby final will take place on the racetrack after race eight at approximately 9:45 p.m. The winning hound will receive a chew toy prize pack in addition to the cash prize for his or her owners.

The Derby takes place in the racetrack’s Backyard and admission and parking are free.

HORSEPLAY GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a car?

Then come to The Meadowlands every live racing night for the “Horseplay Car Giveaway”, where the grand prize is a 2023 Toyota Camry.

Patrons will toss small rubber horses into a moving car along the fence at the track after the replay of race six, and those whose horses make it into the vehicle have a chance to drive it home. The winner will be announced on Friday, Aug. 4.

For every horse that makes it into the Horseplay car, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will donate $5 to a designated monthly charity.

The May recipient was Helping Horseshoe, June’s is Spectrum 360 while the July/August donation will go to HOPES. An additional $5 for every horse that makes it into the car will also be donated to the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program by The Meadowlands.

For complete information and giveaway rules, go to https://playmeadowlands.com/event/2023-horseplay-toyota-giveaway/2023-05-05/

‘MASTERMINDS’ TO BATTLE: The late Dave Brower was the winner of the first ‘Battle of the Masterminds’ last year after compiling a total bankroll of $11,565. For his victory, CBH Care, the charity he was playing for, received $1,000.

This year, Gabe Prewitt will take Brower’s spot in the Masterminds lineup and will play for the same charity as the popular Brower did.

Prewitt will take on Jessica Otten (who will be playing for New Vocations), Dave Little (Standardbred Retirement Foundation), Ken Warkentin (Harness Horse Youth Foundation) and Edison Hatter (Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program) in the contest which gets underway Friday (June 2) and concludes Friday, Aug. 4.

While the handicappers battle it out, Meadowlands fans get a chance to win the nightly cash prize and have a chance to grab the $10,000 grand prize on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5.

The rules:

  • Each race night the five handicappers are given $500 in “mythical battle money”
  • Their mythical wagers must be on races four through nine each night. Each handicapper will wager all $500
  • The battle money wins and losses are tracked with results posted as soon as possible following race 10
  • Every night on-track there will be five drawing barrels. Each one with a corresponding Battle of the Meadowlands Masterminds name assigned. Fans can complete the entry form and deposit the slip in the barrel of their chosen handicapper prior to race four each night
  • Entry forms are available in the live racing program and at the Players Club Desk
  • After race 10 each live race night, an entry from the winning handicapper barrel will be selected to win a $200 betting voucher
  • On Hambletonian Day, the winning Battle handicapper is announced
  • At the end of the Battle, the winning handicapper will receive $1,000 for their selected charity; second will receive $500 and third through fifth place $250
  • All 19 winners from the 10-week-long Battle are eligible for the $10,000 grand prize. Ten names will be selected during the Final Drawing. The first through fifth names receive $200 betting vouchers; sixth name receives a $250 betting voucher; seventh name receives a $300 betting voucher; eighth name receives a $400 voucher; ninth name receives a $500 voucher; and the final name drawn (10th name) wins the $10,000. The remaining nine names will receive $100 betting vouchers

Full contest rules can be found at https://playmeadowlands.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/2023-Battle-of-Masterminds.pdf

BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES: On Friday nights, check out the rooftop terrace at The Meadowlands and enjoy “Latin Fridays”.

There will be food and drink specials, dancing and a live DJ. That’s every Friday night from 6-11 p.m.

SHARPEN YOUR PENCILS: A total of $10,000 will be up for grabs on Saturday, June 10, when The Meadowlands offers a free-to-enter handicapping contest for those 18 years of age and older.

The contest details:

  • Limit one entry per person
  • On the day of the contest, 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 two
  • No live money will be wagered into the parimutuel pools
  • Each contestant will receive a $10 betting voucher and a free live racing program
  • Each participant will make a mythical $2 across-the-board wager on Big M races two through 11
  • Contestants must make their selections for races two through 10 prior to the second race on the official contest entry form and then turn them in to contest officials
  • If a horse is scratched, contestant receives the post-time favorite
  • If the track cancels the race card, the contest is canceled
  • The winner will be determined by the highest total mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the 11th race at The Meadowlands
  • In the event of a tie, payouts for the placings will be combined and divided
  • The payouts: 1st-$2,500; 2nd-$2,000; 3rd-$1,250; 4th-$1,000; 5th-$750; 6th through 10th-$500

BELMONT STAKES SIMULCAST: The third jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown takes place on Saturday, June 10, and Meadowlands regulars know the best place to watch and wager on the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes is in the expansive simulcast area at The Big M.

Post time for the Belmont Stakes is 6:50 p.m.

THE PAST MASTERS LIVE: On Saturday, June 17, come on up to the roof at The Meadowlands and check out the classic rock sounds of The Past Masters. The show begins at 5:30 p.m. and the party goes all night long.

$30,000 SWEEPSTAKES: Also on June 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. there will be a name called every 15 minutes, and if it’s yours, you can collect a cash prize. But don’t dilly-dally. If the prize goes unclaimed (winners are given 15 minutes to claim the prize), it is rolled into the next drawing.

The sweepstakes will total $30,000 in prize money and there will be drawings every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. – 11:15 p.m.

WINE FEST: On Saturday, June 24, head to the track for the “Summer Wine Festival”.

The event, which is rain or shine, offers a $65 ticket for VIP customers, who will taste from 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; while $45 is the price for a GA ticket, with tasting from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

For complete details, and to purchase tickets, go to 2023 Meadowlands Racetrack Wine Fest Tickets in East Rutherford, NJ, United States (ticketleap.com)

THE RACES KEEP ON COMING: Live racing at The Meadowlands will take place every Friday and Saturday for the next 10 consecutive weeks. Post time is 6:20 p.m., except for the last day of the meeting, Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5, when the first race heads to the gate at noon.

DON’T PAY: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.

THE SENSATIONAL SEVEN: These are the seven wagers The Big M offers nightly to the bettor that offer both a low minimum wager as well as a low 15 percent takeout. In addition, the two Pick-4s offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000.

The list:

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 3: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 6: Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 7: Early 10-cent Hi-5
  • Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10: Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 13: Late 10-cent Hi-5