Thursday, April 13, 2023

The Thoroughbred game has always been somewhere chalk-haters go and try to cash big tickets. In fact, old-time horse players will tell you that for many years Saratoga Racecourse was known as the “Graveyard of Favorites”.

Well, it’s time to stand aside Saratoga, and, for that matter, every other Thoroughbred track, as The Meadowlands has the lowest percentage of winning favorites of any track currently racing in North America, regardless of breed.

“One reason The Meadowlands is so popular is that we offer a mile track with a vastly different style of racing,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “That style makes for less predictable outcomes, producing more upsets and considerably larger payouts, such as the $55,000 return two weeks ago in our 20-cent Pick-6.

“This dynamic results in the biggest pools in the sport, creating world-wide interest in New Jersey racing every weekend.”

A key barometer is a low percentage of winning favorites. For instance, sitting atop the beaten chalk board during the winter was Turfway Park, whose public choice’s clicked at a mere 30 percent at the meet that concluded April 1, which led to the biggest average payouts in horse racing.

Now that Turfway is dark, you won’t find a track that sees favorites fail more than they do at the oval located at the top of N.J. Turnpike, whether you’re talking “runners” or “trotters”.

The Meadowlands currently has the lowest percentage of winning favorites in North America, followed by some of the greatest tracks in the world.

The current percentage of successful public choices at Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Oaklawn is 35, followed by Santa Anita (37) and Keeneland (38).

The Big M’s 34 percent is miniscule in harness racing, as the median percentage of winning favorites in the sulky sport is 44.

Lately, things at The Meadowlands have been especially non-chalky, as the last seven race cards have seen favorites go 30-for-98 (30 percent).

While 2023 has been an exceptional year for business at The Big M, management knows challenges lie ahead.

“As we move into spring,” said Settlemoir, “The Meadowlands and New Jersey horsemen can certainly be proud of the numbers they put up during the first quarter of 2023. Handle was up more than $26 million, and heading into this weekend, the streak of consecutive nighttime programs that have seen wagering go over $3-million stands at 27.

“But now, there are considerably more options available for the consumer that wants to wager. MLB is underway, and the NHL and NBA playoffs begin this week. Every track – both Thoroughbred and Standardbred – will find it more difficult to offer full fields now as more tracks open for racing as the weather heats up. That’s why it was incredibly encouraging that we extended our $3-million streak to 27 last Saturday, despite not offering so much as one full 10-horse field on the entire program.”

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

THE RACES KEEP ON COMING: Live racing at The Meadowlands will take place every Friday and Saturday for the next 17 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.

TWEET US: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on Twitter. You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.

On race nights, stay in touch with The Big M team of Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).

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 14: Late 10-cent Hi-5

HATTER’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker, program analyst and TV talent Hatter are available 48 hours before a given race card. To access this valuable information from one of the brightest young minds in the sport, simply go to, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

A LARGE MENU: As the weather gets warmer, The Meadowlands becomes a hot destination. The Big M is not only the home of the FanDuel Sportsbook, but also offers a variety of promotions certain to appeal to all fans, whether they are hardened horse players or not.

A TRIBUTE TO MARTIN AND LEWIS: On Saturday, April 22, you can turn the clocks back a half-century or so and catch a tribute show to one of the greatest comedy teams ever.

The “Martin and Lewis Tribute Show” showcases the talents of Tom Stevens and Tony Lewis, who capture the essence of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in not only looks, but mannerisms, music and laughter, as well as the love the pair had for one another.

Show doors open at 6:30 p.m. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are only $40.

For more information, go to

For tickets, go to–jerry-lewis-tribute-show/

CLEAN UP THE YARD: It’s that time of year to get your lawn and garden in shape, and The Meadowlands can provide the tool to get the job done.

On Saturday, April 29, two winners of a Snapper XD blower with an 82V max lithium battery will be announced.

You must be present in order to win and entries will be accepted online only.

To fill out an entry form, go to

CAN YOU SURVIVE? On Friday, May 5, The Big M’s “Summer Meet Survival Challenge”, powered by 123Racing, will begin with cash prizes and seats in the World Harness Handicapping Championship up for grabs in the competition that is online only but free to participate in.

The game covers the entirety of the “Championship Meet”, which concludes on Saturday, August 5.

For complete details, and to enter, go to

HORSEPLAY GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a car?

Well, then come to The Meadowlands starting on Friday, May 5, for the “Horseplay Car Giveaway”, where the grand prize is a 2023 Toyota Camry.

Every live racing night, patrons will toss small rubber horses into a moving car along the fence at the track, and those whose horses make it into the vehicle have a chance to win it. The winner will be announced on Friday, Aug. 4.

For complete information and giveaway rules, go to

BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES: On Friday nights, beginning on May 5, 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.

DERBY DAY DINING: “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” is the Kentucky Derby, so come on out to The Meadowlands on Saturday, May 6, and catch the “Run for the Roses” in one of the best simulcast facilities you’ll find anywhere.

The race is slated to go to the gate at 6:57 p.m.

Want to relax and have a nice meal? Well, The Big M can take care of that, too.

There are a handful of ways to go, including a $100 option, which is a table for four with the cost going towards food in the Café.

There will also be availability in the Lounge, which has $50 seats in the bar, as well as 2- and 4-person tables at $50 per person.

There is also a big Derby Day buffet in Pink Restaurant for $64.95.

For complete information, or to buy tickets, go to

  1. 1 IN HARNESS, NO. 1 “BOOK”: Everybody knows The Meadowlands has the best harness racing in North America. What they might not know is that The Big M also has the No. 1 sports betting facility in North America as well, as inside the grandstand, fans of all sports can get their action in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

On Thursday (April 13), the Minnesota Twins travel to the Bronx for a 7:05 p.m. game with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are -148 on the money line in the game that has an under/over of 8½ runs. For those who don’t mind more risk for more reward, they can bet the Yankees to win by two runs or more. The odds on that bet are +134. In horse player terms, instead of 3-5 odds on the Yankees to win, you’d get 6-5 if they won by two runs or more.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go to

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. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m.