Thursday, December 9, 2021

In Major League Baseball, one of the hurdles one must clear to be considered as one of the game’s best is to have a batting average of .300. Have success three out of every 10 trips to the plate and you might just end up in the Hall of Fame.

The .300 mark is also one to be envied by those who compete night in and night out at The Meadowlands, as in UDRS (Universal Driver Rating System), a mathematical analysis of how well one is performing, based on how often they finish in the money (first, second or third).

It’s not as if drivers don’t reach the .300 UDRS mark often in harness racing, because they do. What they don’t do, is do it very often at the top venue in the sport, The Meadowlands.

Two of The Big M’s top pilots have a shot at the .300 mark for 2021, and their names will surprise no one who follows the harness game.

Dexter Dunn, the 32-year-old New Zealand transplant who is seeking his third consecutive United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year trophy, sits atop the standings at The Meadowlands with 156 wins and earnings of $5,280,629. His win percentage is strong at 19 as is his in-the-money percentage of 45. His UDRS stands at .304.

Newly-minted Hall of Famer Tim Tetrick, a 40-year-old who was born in Illinois, also has a UDRS of .304 and his win percentage is a hair lower than Dunn’s, at 18. His in-the-money rate matches Dunn’s at 45. Where Tetrick leads the pack is earnings per start, where his total Big M bank account of $4,074,451 averages out to a track-best $7,989 per drive.

“There are only six racing cards left in the 2021 season,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “So it will be exciting to see if Dexter and Timmy can finish the 2021 season ‘batting’ over .300.”

THE WAY TO THE HALL OF FAME? Following is a list of drivers who have compiled a UDRS of at least .300 at The Meadowlands since 2016:

  • 2020: Dunn, .326; Yannick Gingras, .312
  • 2019: Gingras, .340; Tetrick, .313
  • 2018: Gingras, .341; Andrew McCarthy, .308; Dave Miller, .300
  • 2017: Gingras, .340
  • 2016: Miller, .315; Gingras, .310

It should come as no surprise that from the above list, Tetrick and Miller are already in the Hall of Fame, and Gingras will be inducted this July. Does the same honor await Dunn and McCarthy down the road?

THE FINAL SIX: There are just six live racing programs left in 2021 on the Meadowlands calendar. Racing will be conducted on Thursday, Dec. 9, Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11 this week. Next week, live cards will take place on Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 18. Live racing will then go dark until New Year’s Eve, Friday, Dec. 31.

Post time for all the programs is 6:20 p.m. At the conclusion of the Dec. 31st card, there will be a huge fireworks display to ring in 2022.

FREE PROGRAMS! Talk about a great deal! Free program pages for every race of every Meadowlands race card are always available. Just go to playmeadowlands.com to access the no-cost past performances.

SHAKE IT UP: This is a “Shuffle the Deck” weekend at The Big M.

On Thursday (Dec. 9), the voice of Freehold Raceway, Edison Hatter, will call the nine-race card.

On Friday (Dec. 10), Jessica Otten will be on set alongside show host Dave Little, while on Saturday (Dec. 11), Shades Demsky will be up front serving as co-host next to Dave Brower.

The “Racing from The Meadowlands” live simulcast pre-game show gets underway on live race nights at 5:47 p.m.

IN THE SULKY: Also on Friday, Little will interview 18-year-old driver Brett Beckwith on the track’s “In the Sulky”, which is part of the pre-game show. Beckwith recorded his first career Meadowlands win a week ago.

GUARANTEES AND LOW TAKEOUTS: The Meadowlands is the industry leader when it comes to handle and much of that success can be attributed to the opportunities that players enjoy when betting at The Big M.

The extremely popular 50-cent Pick-4 will offer a guaranteed pool of $25,000 on Thursday night when the wager is offered on races six through nine. On Friday and Saturday, the pool promise will double to $50,000 each time the bet is available, on races six through nine and 10 through 13 both nights.

The Pick-4 is one of a handful of bets that offer a low takeout of 15 percent. The other wagers include the 20-cent Pick-5, 20-cent Survivor Pick-7, 20-cent Pick-6 and 10-cent Superfecta/Hi-5. Last week, the Pick-6 pool grew to over $100,000 on Thursday after a double carryover.

GET SOCIAL: 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 Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades (@ShadesOnRacing) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).

WHO DOES BROWER LIKE? For expert selections and analysis of every Big M card, check out track oddsmaker Dave Brower’s race reviews.

For Brower’s input, which is generally available 48 hours before every card, go to playmeadowlands.com, then click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”.

TOYS FOR TOTS: Former New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will host a U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Holiday toy drive on Friday (Dec. 10) at The Meadowlands from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


Enunwa will meet and greet guests who bring a new unwrapped toy. WPIX-11 sportscaster Justin Walters will be onsite for this special event.


Toys for Tots and Enunwa will personally deliver the collected toys to children at Harlem Grown – a charitable organization in Harlem whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: The FanDuel Sportsbook, located in the grandstand at The Meadowlands, is one of the leading facilities of its type in the country, and pro football bettors will have the chance to bet on both Thursday’s NFL game and the best in harness racing on Dec. 9.

The Minnesota Vikings host the Pittsburgh Steelers and are a 3-point favorite in the game that kicks off at 8:20 p.m. If you prefer the money line, the Vikings are -176. The under/over is 43½ points.

NEW YEAR’S EVE ACTION: The College Football Playoff, the pigskin version of The Final Four, takes place on Saturday, Dec. 31, and football fans who crave action can get all they want in the FanDuel Sportsbook anytime between now and kickoff.

In the first semifinal matchup, Alabama is a 14-point favorite over Cincinnati in a game that gets underway at 3:30 p.m. Alabama is -620 on the money and the under/over is 58.

The second game kicks at 7:30 p.m. and Georgia is -8½ over Michigan. Georgia is -325 on the money line and the under/over is 44½.