Thursday, August 3, 2023

For the first time in over a decade, The Hambletonian will be shown to a widespread national television audience, as FOX SPORTS (FOX 5 NEW YORK) will show the 98th edition of “America’s Classic Trotting Race” as part of the New York Racing Association’s “FOX Saratoga Saturday”, a three-hour presentation of live action from Saratoga Race Course on Saturday (Aug. 5). The show kicks off at 3 p.m.

“We are pleased and proud to have partnered up with the TV team at the NYRA,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “It’s been great to have our races shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2), but having harness racing’s biggest event available to an even bigger television audience is very exciting for all of us here at The Meadowlands, as well as the Hambletonian Society, and, of course, the fans who will be unable to be here on track.”

The show will feature the Whitney Stakes from the Spa, which has a post time of 5:42 p.m. The Hambo will serve as an appetizer for that major stake, as the field of 10 will get behind the starter car at 4:45 p.m.

Big M TV’s Jessica Otten and Gabe Prewitt will provide commentary and interviews for the harness racing portion of the program.

CROSS COUNTRY PICK-5: The Meadowlands and Saratoga will combine forces on TV, and they will team up at the windows as well. The “Cross Country Cross Breed Pick-5” will be made up of two races at The Big M and three at The Spa. The bet will start with The Hambletonian Oaks at 3:35 p.m. and conclude with the Whitney at 5:42 p.m.

IMPRESSIVE STAKES MENU: While you enjoy the food that will be available at food trucks on the apron, feast on these stakes events that will take place during the card: the $97,900 Shady Daisy, $131,250 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial, $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, $171,400 Lady Liberty, $128,750 Sam McKee Memorial (Division I), $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $278,000 John Cashman Memorial, $1,000,000 Hambletonian, $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for 2-year-old filly trotters, $315,750 Cane Pace and $130,000 Sam McKee Memorial (Division II).

THE BIG ONES: These are the fields for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks, with post position, horse, driver, trainer and morning-line odds:

$1-MILLION HAMBLETONIAN – Post time: 4:45 p.m.
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Celebrity Bambino – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 2-1
2 – Oh Well – Tim Tetrick – Marcus Melander – 7-2
3 – Osceola – Doug McNair – Gregg McNair – 12-1
4 – Winner’s Bet – Dexter Dunn – Domenico Cecere – 4-1
5 – Point Of Perfect – David Miller – Ron Burke – 6-1
6 – Up Your Deo – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 15-1
7 – Southwind Coors – James MacDonald – Matt Bax – 20-1
8 – French Wine – Andy Miller – Julie Miller – 12-1
9 – Ghostly Casper – Brian Sears – Benoit Baillargeon – 10-1
10 – Tactical Approach – Scott Zeron – Nancy Takter – 15-1

$500,000 HAMBLETONIAN OAKS – Post time: 3:35 p.m.
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Walner Payton – Dexter Dunn – Chris Ryder – 3-1
2 – Heart On Fire – Todd McCarthy – Tony Alagna – 5-1
3 – Bond – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 9-2
4 – Righteous Resolve – James MacDonald – Matt Bax – 8-1
5 – Railee Something – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 7-2
6 – Mambacita – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 20-1
7 – Instagram Model – Andrew McCarthy – Annie Stoebe – 8-1
8 – Kayleigh S – David Miller – Marcus Melander – 20-1
9 – Secret Volo – Brian Sears – Marcus Melander – 6-1
10 – Heaven Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Marcus Melander – 12-1

“We feel that with the help of FOX and NYRA,” said Settlemoir. “The Hambletonian tradition is ready for the public recognition it richly deserves. This year, the Hambletonian will have an earlier post, which is expected to increase business not only in North America and Canada, but also in Europe, where the race will be shown late in the evening.

“With the race shown live on FOX, we expect the pool for the Hambletonian to break the $1-million barrier, which is uncharted territory. The $1-million plateau moves the sport, The Meadowlands and the Hambletonian to the next level. It’s a magical moment for the sport.”

BOUNTIFUL BETTING: The Hambletonian program will have extraordinary wagering opportunities for value-conscious horseplayers around the world. Low minimums and low takeouts are always in place at The Big M to help keep the players in action.

On Hambo Day, there will be $350,000 in guaranteed pools and eight wagers that sport a low takeout of 15 percent, all of which have a mandatory payout. Here is the list:

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-6 ($50,000 guarantee)
  • Race 3: 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,000 guarantee)
  • Race 5: Early 50-cent Pick-4
  • Race 6: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 7: Early 10-cent Hi-5
  • Race 9: Middle 50-cent Pick-4 ($100,000 guarantee)
  • Race 12: Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($125,000 guarantee)
  • Race 16: Late 10-cent Hi-5

PICK-6 CARRYOVER: While Saturday is harness racing’s biggest day, bettors can go for their biggest score on Friday.

After no winning tickets were sold for a second consecutive night last Saturday, the Pick-6 sported a double carryover of $47,167. The Pick-6 begins on race eight and concludes in race 13. The bet has a low 15 percent takeout along with a low 20-cent minimum wager.

If the final pool – including the carryover – is under $350,000, players would be shooting for a rare treat: a negative takeout. This is why play is expected to be huge.

In the event that the wager carries over again, the Saturday Pick-6 would turn into the wager of the year. The Saturday Pick-6 on Hambletonian Day starts with the first race, which gets underway at noon. With or without a carryover, the Saturday Pick-6 will have a mandatory payout.

IT’S FREE: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

GET TWEETING: 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.

Stay in touch with The Big M team of Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Gabe Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt).

MORE NATIONAL EXPOSURE: There will be a one-hour Hambletonian replay show telecast on the CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6.

After the Hambo, live racing will go dark for three weeks. When racing resumes for a brief two-week stand, the New Jersey Classic Series finals for 2-year-olds will be in the spotlight with a live telecast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8.

HAMBO DAY AT THE TRACK: There are several options for Hambletonian Day seating and dining:

$300 Promenade Table – seats four people and table purchase includes admission

$100 Cafe Table – seats four people and $100 is food credit for use at the Cafe (admission not included)

Second Floor Lounge Seating – tables of two and four available along with a four-person couch. Purchase is beverage and food credit for Victory (admission not included)

Hambo Day festivities include live music in the Backyard, carnival rides and games throughout the Backyard, a Hambo Hat Contest (sign-up between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Clubhouse Lobby) featuring prizes from $50-$500, a FanZone Tent with free swag giveaways all day and a driver and trainer autograph session from 10:30 a.m.-noon.

In addition, there will be food trucks doling out delicious eats all day long, with House of Cupcakes, Clyde’s Italian Ice and Ice Cream, Latin Bites, Chick Wings and Things, Cat Like Reflexes, Beared One BBQ, Antojitos de mi Teirra and Hadez Food Truck among those expected to be on hand.

CASINO AND POKER NIGHT: The Hambletonian Charity Casino and Poker Night takes place on Friday, Aug. 4, and is presented by the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.

There will be a poker tournament, table games, a silent auction and much more. The evening gets underway at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are priced at $125 for a Casino Guest ($150 at the door), and includes dinner, dessert, bar and $50 in casino chips (additional casino chips may be purchased at any time), and $175 for the “Exacta Special” ($200 at the door) which gets one a Casino Guest and a Poker Seat.

The timeline for the night:

  • 6:30 p.m.:Dinner, open bar and casino tables open
  • 7:15 p.m.:Poker tournament (Enter before 7:15 p.m./$150 buy-in = $3,000 in chips to start. Grand Prize: Trip for two to Las Vegas, including hotel and airfare. Second place: $300. Third place: $150.)
  • 9:15 p.m.:Silent auction closes; casino tables close
  • 9:30 p.m.:Bar closes; raffle winners drawn

There are sponsorships available. For more details, go to 2023 Casino Night (

To purchase tickets, go to Hambletonian Charity Casino Night Tickets in East Rutherford, NJ, United States (

WARKENTIN ‘MASTERFUL’: Nights 17 and 18 of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” went to Ken Warkentin in a big way.

Warkentin hit big on both Friday (July 28) and Saturday (July 29), ending the weekend with a bankroll that was just short of $5,000.

The Big M’s track announcer moved into second place in the overall standings with $9,225.00 to his credit. Dave Little is the leader of the competition with $11,118.05, followed by Warkentin, Gabe Prewitt ($8,296.40) and Jessica Otten ($7,601.50).

The Masterminds competition will end at the conclusion of Friday night’s ninth race. On-track patrons who select the winning handicapper on the card will have a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000. The drawing takes place on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5.

The handicapper who has the biggest bankroll at contest’s end will have $1,000 donated to a charity they have selected. Second place will get $500, with third and fourth $250 each. Prewitt is playing for CBH Care, the charity that the late Dave Brower played for last year when he won the competition. Otten is playing for New Vocations, Little for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and Warkentin the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.

HORSEPLAY GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a car?

Then come to The Meadowlands Friday 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 Friday night.

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 was 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

FANDUEL’S FABULOUS: If you like betting professional sports and would like to get your money down in the No. 1 facility of its type in North America, then head inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands and get your action in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

In Major League Baseball action, the Houston Astros travel to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees in a 7:15 p.m. start. The Yankees are a -112 favorite in the game that has an under/over of 8½ runs.

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. The Lounge opens at noon on Sundays.