Thursday, June 29, 2023

This Saturday (July 1), the stakes season turns up the volume a little more at The Meadowlands with four events, one of which will honor Dave Brower, the longtime Big M TV personality whose death shocked the harness racing world last October.

In addition, Saturday’s races will be shown to a national television audience as part of the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) “America’s Day at the Races” presentation, which can be seen on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) from 8-11 p.m. Jessica Otten and Gabe Prewitt will provide the harness commentary on the program that will also show Thoroughbred action from Charles Town.

This Fox Sports broadcast will be the first of three straight on Saturday nights that will showcase the competition at the No. 1 harness track in the world.

The first edition of the Brower Memorial – formerly the Roll With Joe – will be the final stakes dash of the night and sports a $158,140 purse for Open Pacers. The featured performers are Mohawk Gold Cup winner Abuckabett Hanover, who goes up against Ruthless Hanover, the fastest horse in the sport this year by virtue of a 1:46.3 clocking at Harrah’s Philadelphia last month.

Brower’s loss has clearly left some unhealed wounds.

“Dave Brower was an extraordinary talent,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Where he really showcased his excellence was whenever there was adversity. How many countless times did something unexpected happen during a broadcast and how quickly Dave Brower could get everything back on the rails? Dave had so much passion and knowledge about everything and everybody in harness racing. He will always be missed and always in our hearts.”

Brower, who served as lead TV personality, morning-line odds maker and program analyst at the mile oval for five years until his passing, would have loved to be a part of the Saturday program, as, in addition to the Open Pace named for him, also on tap are the $112,500 Six Pack for Open Mare Trotters (where 2022 Trotter of the Year Bella Bellini takes on Graduate favorite Jiggy Jog S), $142,260 Perfect Sting for Open Mare Pacers (where Grace Hill, perfect in five starts this year, takes on 2021 Horse of the Year Test Of Faith, who makes her seasonal debut) and $155,140 Crawford Farms Open Trot (where Cutler winner Venerate takes on It’s Academic, who was victorious at The Big M on Saturday in 1:51.3).

“People forget sometimes that it’s live TV,” said Brower, reflecting on his on-camera experiences at The Big M. “You only have one chance to get it right and when it comes down to it, we do. Our TV staff on both sides of the cameras are professionals and I couldn’t be prouder of what we are able to accomplish.”

“I met Dave Brower in the early 1990s, and he debuted on the Meadowlands’ TV show the year after I did, which was 1995,” said Brower’s longtime on-set partner, Dave Little. “You could tell right away that he was a special talent. And then he went out and proved it by doing many national Hambletonian shows during his career. I miss Dave terribly. We spent every Friday and Saturday together from four in the afternoon until midnight for five years. We shared things with each other that only close friends would. To say I miss him terribly is an understatement of grand proportion.”

GO NATIONAL: The remaining schedule for when Meadowlands’ races will be shown on either FS1 or FS2 is as follows (with highlighted races):

  • Saturday, July 1 (FS2, 8-11 p.m.; Crawford Farms and Six Pack Trots, Dave Brower Memorial and Perfect Sting Paces)
  • Saturday, July 8 (FS2, 8-11 p.m.; Meadowlands Pace eliminations, Graduate finals)
  • Saturday, July 15 (FS1, 10 p.m.-midnight; Meadowlands Pace, William Haughton Memorial, Hambletonian Maturity plus other stakes for total purses of $2.5 million)
  • Saturday, Aug. 5 (TBA, 1-5 p.m.; TBA, 6-7 p.m.; Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks plus other stakes for total purses of $3.5 million)
  • Friday, Sept. 8 (FS1, 9-11 p.m.; New Jersey Classic Series finals)

AND THEN…: Next weekend (Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8) will see the Graduate finals for 4-year-old trotters and pacers. Two-year-olds will also take the stage, competing in the opening leg of the Kindergarten Series.

In addition, that Saturday offers eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace, with top finishers coming back for the final the following week to headline “Meadowlands Pace Night” on July 15th, which is the greatest night in harness racing.

Meadowlands Pace Night will offer a laundry list of big stakes events. In addition to The $700,000 Pace, there will also be (all purses are estimated) the $175,000 Mistletoe Shalee, $250,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $225,000 Del Miller Memorial, $450,000 William Haughton Memorial, $175,000 Dorothy Haughton Memorial and $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity.

For a complete list of stakes events at The Big M, go to M1-2023-Chronological-Stakes-Purse-List-NS.pdf (

THE ROAD, WEEK 9: There are just nine days until the eliminations for The Meadowlands Pace, and in the latest edition of “Dave Little’s Road to The Meadowlands Pace” weekly Top 10 poll, all of the horses listed are expected to take a shot at taking the signature event of the East Rutherford mile oval.

The 10 horses, from 1 to 10, are: Confederate, Fulton, Voukefalas, Stockade Seelster, Christchurch, Save America, Seven Colors, Ammo, Cannibal and Hungry Angel Boy.

MUCH APPRECIATED: With just six weekends of live racing remaining in the Championship Meet, every card is a special one. But this weekend is for those who come out to the track, as both Friday and Saturday are “Fan Appreciation Nights”.

Head over to the Cafe, Rooftop Terrace or Backyard for $1 hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn and soda (limit five of each item per transaction). The discount prices are available from 6-11 p.m.

In addition, there will be $2 Bud/Bud Light draft also available at Cafe, Terrace and Backyard (for those 21-years-old and older).

Friday will have something extra special, as after the last race, there will be a dazzling fireworks show that is free to attend.

GRADUATE LEG 3: Last Saturday’s third and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds provided a look into the finals, which take place on July 8 with both the trot and pace sporting $250,000 (est.) purses.

Keg Stand took the lone dash for trotters in 1:50.4 and faces a tough task in two weeks, taking on super-mare Jiggy Jog S.

The pacers had a pair of divisions, with Mad Max Hanover and I Did It Myway strolling down victory lane.

Mad Max Hanover scored in 1:47.4 after a stretch battle with Stonebridge Helios, who the week before, established the fastest mile of the year at The Meadowlands when he stopped the clock in 1:47.

I Did It Myway gunned down Dreamfair Arnie B in 1:47.3, setting up what figures to be a dynamic four-way battle in the final.

Meadowlands Pace Night dining:


  • Center of the action with front-row seats to Victory’s giant screens; two-and four-top tables and bar seats available at $50 per person
  • Ticket purchase acts as food and beverage credit for Victory Sports Bar menu
  • 2023 Pace Night Dining Tickets –


  • Table for four near the Winner’s Circle
  • $100 per table – price is a credit towards cafe food and drink purchases
  • Purchase your table –


  • Tiered dining room with great views of the live racetrack action
  • Buffet features salads, sides, main courses, carving station and delicious desserts
  • $49.95 per person plus tax and gratuity
  • Call 201-THE-BIGM to make reservations

LITTLE BIG MAN: Saturday (June 24) night belonged to Dave Little, as the veteran member of the Big M TV team won Night 8 of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” handicapping contest in record fashion.

Little’s $500 win parlay of Mad Max Hanover and I Did It Myway turned into $5,460, a single-card record in the two-year history of the event. His profit for the night was $4,960.

As for his handicapping, Little tabbed eight winners on top, including the Early Pick-4 cold, when he turned a $36 wager into $420.

With 11 nights to go in the competition, Little has accrued $8,982, good for a profit of just under $5,000. Edison Hatter, who won Friday’s Night 7 with $600, leads the contest with four winning nights. He is second in the cumulative with $4,301.

The “Masterminds” competition will take place for the next 11 live race nights, and on-track patrons who select the winning handicapper on a given card will have a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000. The drawing takes place on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5.

The competitors are competing for a top prize of $1,000 that will be donated on their behalf to charity. Gabe Prewitt is playing for CBH Care, the charity that Brower played for last year. Jessica Otten is playing for New Vocations, Little for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, Ken Warkentin the Harness Horse Youth Foundation) and Hatter the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program.

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

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.

BREAKFAST AT THE TRACK: Every Saturday morning, head out to the Big M and check out the stars of the future, as 2-year-olds of each sex and gait take to the track during “Breakfast with the Babies.”

The races begin at 9 a.m., and if you can’t make it to the mile oval, check out the action live on (Racetrack Television Network).

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

The live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show begins every night at 5:45 p.m.

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

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 or 14: Late 10-cent Hi-5

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 Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Hatter (@Edison_1999_) and Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt).

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”.

COME TO FABULOUS FANDUEL: 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.

On Thursday (June 29), the Milwaukee Brewers are in Queens to take on the New York Mets in a 7:10 p.m. start. The Mets are a -190 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.