Thursday, July 27, 2023

The next-to-last weekend of racing at The Meadowlands means the impending conclusion of the Championship Meet has wall-to-wall stakes events certain to get harness fans’ hearts racing, with the highlighted contests coming on Saturday (July 29) when eliminations for the $1-million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks take place.

In addition, the track will host its annual “Seafood Fest” on Saturday with local food trucks serving up fresh seafood. (For more information, see below) For those who aren’t into seafood, they will not be left out, as there will be plenty of other food trucks offering up many different varieties of great things to eat.

While Saturday offers much to both the racing fan and the foodie, Friday is one for the bettor as the 14-race card will be highlighted by a carryover on the Early 10-cent Hi-5. There were no winning tickets sold last Saturday on the seventh race Hi-5, creating a carryover of $14,932. These carryovers are such a big opportunity for the player, and the mathematics prove that.

In the event there is $99,000 or less in “new money” wagered into the pool, bettors will be trying to make a score in a pot with a “negative takeout”, meaning that winning tickets will pay out more money that what will be bet on Friday, with the carryover soaking up the “rake”.

THE FIELDS: These are the fields for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations that will take place Saturday night at The Meadowlands, with post position, horse, driver (with late changes), trainer and morning-line odds. Horses who are in the top five in the official order of finish will qualify for their respective finals, which will be contested on Saturday, Aug. 5.

HAMBLETONIAN – First Elimination (Race 6)
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Osceola – Doug McNair – Gregg McNair – 20-1
2 – Oh Well – Tim Tetrick – Marcus Melander – 2-1
3 – Ghostly Casper – David Miller – Benoit Baillargeon – 15-1
4 – Djimon – Bob McClure – Shawn Steacy – 30-1
5 – Kierkegaard K – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 7-2
6 – Point Of Perfect – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 8-1
7 – Little Expensive – Andy Miller – Julie Miller – 10-1
8 – Southwind Coors – James MacDonald – Matt Bax – 5-1
9 – Gaines Hanover – Louis Roy – Claude Cadieux – 9-2
10 – Kilmister – Brian Sears – Marcus Melander – 12-1

HAMBLETONIAN – Second Elimination (Race 9)
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Tuscan Prince – Louis Roy – Luc Blais – 10-1
2 – Crown – Brian Sears – Marcus Melander – 20-1
3 – Up Your Deo – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 7-2
4 – French Wine – Andy Miller – Julie Miller – 15-1
5 – Celebrity Bambino – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 9-2
6 – Air Power – Orjan Kihlstrom – Marcus Melander – 5-2
7 – One Hundred Poof – Matt Kakaley – Jenny Melander – 30-1
8 – Tactical Approach – Scott Zeron – Nancy Takter – 5-1
9 – Excalibur Bi – Andrew McCarthy – Tom Cancelliere – 15-1
10 – Winner’s Bet – Dexter Dunn – Domenico Cecere – 4-1

HAMBLETONIAN OAKS – First Elimination (Race 7)
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Gigi Hanover – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 12-1
2 – Heaven Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Marcus Melander – 3-1
3 – Instagram Model – Andrew McCarthy – Annie Stoebe – 5-2
4 – Mambacita – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 8-1
5 – Railee Something – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 2-1
6 – Walner Payton – Dexter Dunn – Chris Ryder – 6-1
7 – Wild Jiggy S – Mark MacDonald – Ake Svanstedt – 15-1
8 – Warrawee Yes – Bob McClure – Shawn Steacy – 20-1

HAMBLETONIAN OAKS – Second Elimination (Race 8)
PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line

1 – Bond – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 5-2
2 – Pure Hope S – Mark MacDonald – Ake Svanstedt – 20-1
3 – Quick Stop – Tim Tetrick – Anette Lorentzon – 4-1
4 – Bella Macchiato – Dexter Dunn – Nancy Takter – 10-1
5 – Heart On Fire – Todd McCarthy – Tony Alagna – 12-1
6 – Secret Volo – Brian Sears – Marcus Melander – 9-2
7 – Kayleigh S – David Miller – Marcus Melander – 20-1
8 – Righteous Resolve – James MacDonald – Matt Bax – 2-1

THE BIG DAY: Hambletonian Day brings the curtain down on the track’s Championship Meet on Saturday, Aug. 5, with the biggest race card the sport offers. The first of 16 races will head to the gate at noon. The Big M’s live pregame show will begin at 11:30 a.m. and all of the action from start to finish can be seen on Racetrack Television Network (rtn.tv), as well as The Meadowlands Facebook and Youtube pages.

Live coverage of the Hambletonian (post time, 4:45 p.m.) will be shown to a national television audience on FOX SPORTS (WNYW-Ch. 5; FOX 5 New York) as part of the “Saratoga Saturday” broadcast that will also show the Whitney Stakes (post time, 5:43 p.m.) from Saratoga. The show is put together by the TV team at the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

But that’s not all the stakes action that will be seen coast-to-coast.

There will be a second show, this one to be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). “Saratoga Live” begins at 6 p.m. and will feature the Hambletonian Oaks (post time, 6:30 p.m.) as well as the final two races of the day at The Spa.

Big M TV’s Jessica Otten and Gabe Prewitt will be providing the commentary on The Meadowlands events.

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

  • Saturday, Aug. 5 (FOX, 3-6 p.m.; FS2, 6-7 p.m., Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks, plus other stakes events for total purses of $3.5 million)
  • Sunday, Aug. 6 (Hambletonian replay show on CBS Sports Network, 2 p.m.)
  • Friday, Sept. 8 (FS1, 9-11 p.m.; New Jersey Classic Series finals)

“All of us at The Meadowlands have been so pleased with the partnership we have with the TV crew at The New York Racing Association (NYRA),” said Settlemoir. “They, along with the team at Fox Sports, put out a first-rate product on a show that is normally seen, in large part, by a Thoroughbred-centric audience. These shows have helped us display our competitive harness races to a fan base who now might be more likely to follow harness racing in addition to the runners.”

THE HAMBO’S A DREAM: Head over to the American Dream Mall before the races on Saturday, July 29 to have some fun that’s tied into “America’s Trotting Classic.”

While it’s true it’s actually a week before the $1-million Hambletonian for the best trotters in the world, the event is called “Hambletonian Day at American Dream” and takes place in The Garden Court, where you can get a chance to pet and take a photo with a live pony. The free event also includes horse racing memorabilia, trophies and free discount offers and much more.

For more information, go to American Dream – Fantasy, Fashion, Food, Family, and Fun

Want more good stuff? For Meadowlands and Hambletonian discounts, go to Exclusive Meadowlands & Hambletonian Discounts – MLCVB – The Meadowlands Liberty Convention Visitors Bureau

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.

IMPRESSIVE STAKES MENU: While you enjoy your food, feast on these stakes events that will take place (purses are estimated) during the card: the $1-million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $300,000 John Cashman Memorial, $275,000 Cane Pace, $275,000 Sam McKee Memorial, $175,000 Lady Liberty, $175,000 John R. Steele and $90,000 Shady Daisy.

SEAFOOD FEST: The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations take place on Saturday, July 29, and the perfect meal to compliment such good racing can be found at the track’s “Seafood Fest”.

Enjoy fresh and delicious seafood from area food trucks and restaurants from 5-11 p.m. Some other food options include lobster rolls, fried clams, fried fish, grilled shrimp, shrimp tacos, crab fries and more.

Among the food trucks expected to be on hand include Angry Archies (Jersey City-based food truck), Clyde’s Homemade Italian Ice and Ice Cream, Latin Bites, Cat Like Reflexes, Antojitos de mi Tierra, Green Dog Mobile, Rod’s Fish N Chips, The Mozzarella God, DAW Concessions, Magic Mike’s Smoked Meats, The Original Golden Brown and Michael’s Backyard BBQ.

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 (adoptahorse.org)

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

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

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), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Edison 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 playmeadowlands.com, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

LITTLE, OTTEN ARE ‘MASTERFUL’: Nights 15 and 16 of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” handicapping contest went to Little and Otten, respectively.

On Friday (July 21), Little connected on a win parlay that created a hit of $1,190, while on Saturday (July 22), the consistent Otten scored with three win and place bets, enabling her to finish the night with $962.50.

The Masterminds competition will take place for the next three 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 vying for a top prize of $1,000 that will be donated on their behalf to charity. Currently, Little is atop the leaderboard with $10,593.05, followed by Prewitt ($8,296.40), Otten ($6,866.50), Hatter ($5,744.50) and Warkentin ($4,285.00). The second-place finisher earns $500 for their charity, with third-through-fifth-place getting $250.

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, 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 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 https://playmeadowlands.com/event/2023-horseplay-toyota-giveaway/2023-05-05/

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.

On Thursday (July 27), the Washington Nationals travel to Queens for a 7:10 p.m. game with the New York Mets. The Mets will send their most reliable starting pitcher during 2023, Kodai Senga, to the hill. Senga has a record of 7-5 and an ERA of 3.27. The Mets are a -205 favorite in the game that has an under/over of 9 runs.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go to https://www.fanduel.com/sportsbook-meadowlands7

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.