Thursday, November 9, 2023

Four fabulous performances last Saturday (Nov. 4) kicked off a month-long frenzy of stakes action that takes place at The Meadowlands during November.

The Crawford Farms Kindergarten Series finals for 2-year-olds saw competition for horses of each sex and gait, and the most exciting finish came in the pace for colts and geldings when 2-1 second choice Lou Vuitton (Sweet Lou-Shark Lightning) survived a three-horse photo by a head after a pulse-pounding 1:51.1 finish for driver Dave Miller – who guided the winners of two of the finals on the night – and trainer Ron Burke.

The filly pace went to Caviart Belle (Captaintreacherous-Eloquent Grace), who paced a gigantic final quarter of :26.3 from well off the pace to score in a lifetime-best 1:49.4 for Yannick Gingras and Nancy Takter as the 6-5 public choice.

On the trotting side, Sambuca Hanover (Bar Hopping-Snow Angel Hanover) pulled off an 8-1 surprise for Miller and Nifty Norman in the dash for fillies from just off the pace in a lifetime-best 1:54.2.

Breeders Crown champion Karl was the evening’s star attraction, and the son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious delivered in the division for colts and geldings in a thoroughly dominant mile from post 10, winning by 3¼ lengths in 1:53.2 as the 1-9 public choice as Gingras and Takter ended the night with a tag-team Kindergarten double.

The stakes carousel stays in motion this Saturday (Nov. 11) when $250,000 in purses are up for grabs in the New Jersey Garden State and New Jersey Home Grown, which are events for 2-year-olds of each sex and gait.

The Garden State and Home Grown are part of what will be another big weekend at the mile oval. Betting last week (Nov. 3-4) totaled over $5.5 million, including $3.075 million on Saturday, the 51st occasion this year from 73 race cards where betting busted the $3-million barrier.

“The Meadowlands offers horseplayers around the world a very unique wagering menu,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “We have come a long way from offering one Pick-4 a night. This makes it possible for players to take a variety of paths in their quest to make a score. Big fields and low takeouts are an essential part of making the playing field for our horseplayers as attractive as possible.”

THE GREAT EIGHT: The Meadowlands provides eight opportunities for the player to make a score trying their luck betting in pools with a low 15 percent takeout. The lineup of The Big M’s “Great Eight” is as follows (all wagers – with the exception of the Pick-7 – are carryover eligible):

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 2: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 4: 20-cent Pick-8
  • Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guarantee)
  • Race 7: 20-cent High-5
  • Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guarantee)
  • Race 11: 20-cent High-5

BET A LITTLE, WIN A LOT: Players at The Meadowlands know they can take advantage of wagers with small minimum-base investments in an effort to make a score.

Last Friday, some big returns came in the Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($3,545) and the eighth-race $1 Trifecta ($4,207) and 10-cent Superfecta ($1,974).

Saturday’s huge hits came in the fifth-race $1 Trifecta ($9,786), 20-cent Pick-5 ($8,909), 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 ($6,715) and 20-cent Pick-8 ($3,975). The Pick-8 featured a double carryover.

SISTER ACT: This week at The Big M, you’ll have some double vision, as they’ll be two Ottens on set for the price of one.

Jenna Otten, 23, will join big-sister Jessica, 26, on set Friday for the pregame show and all of the usual on-camera handicapping spots during the course of the 14-race card before heading to the back paddock Saturday to conduct horsemen interviews.

Jenna just finished her first year as co-host on the Scioto Downs TV in-house broadcast and also got some national exposure with Jessica on Fox Sports during Ohio Sire Stakes Super Night.

“I’m nervous and excited about the chance to work at The Meadowlands,” said Jenna, “and very grateful for the opportunity.”

DID YOU SAY FREE? Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

WITHERITE’S RACE REVIEWS: Race reviews and selections by The Meadowlands’ morning-line odds maker and program analyst James Witherite are available 48 hours before a given race card. To access, simply go to, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

THE SKED: The Meadowlands will race every Friday and Saturday through the end of the year, with two exceptions.

There will be no live racing on Friday, Nov. 24, while there will be live action on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Post time for every program is 6:20 p.m.

MORE SIZZLING STAKES: After eliminations (if necessary) are contested on Saturday, Nov. 18, the “Fall Final Four” and FanDuel Championships will make up a can’t-miss, date-circling-worthy night of competition on Saturday, Nov. 25 when an estimated $2.65 million in purse money will be up for grabs on what is the third-biggest night of the Big M calendar year after Hambletonian Day and Meadowlands Pace Night.

The Fall Final Four is made up of the Governor’s Cup (2-year-old colt and gelding pace), Three Diamonds (2FP), Valley Victory (2CGT) and Goldsmith Maid (2FT). The FanDuel four-pack is made up of the Open Pace, Open Trot, Open Mare Pace and Open Mare Trot. All eight events figure to have great impact when ballots are cast at year’s end for Dan Patch divisional honors, as well as Pacer and Trotter of the Year.

BIG SIMULCAST THURSDAY: There are a pair of big-time events taking place Thursday (Nov. 9) that are sure to satisfy the appetite of any simulcast patron.

Rosecroft (Maryland) Raceway will host the $125,000 Potomac Pace and features a matchup of the top two horses in the older male pacing division.

Duking it out in the Potomac are Tattoo Artist and Bythemissal, with a Dan Patch divisional trophy very much up for grabs.

Bythemissal, sent off at 9-5, pulled off a minor upset in the Breeders Crown over 4-5 favorite Tattoo Artist in 1:48 over a track rated ‘sloppy’ at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, ending Tattoo Artist’s seven-race winning streak.

On Thursday, Bythemissal (Gingras driving) is the 6-5 morning-line favorite from post seven while Tattoo Artist (Louis-Philippe Roy) is 9-5 from post one.

The Potomac is race 12 (post time, 10:55 p.m.) on a 14-race program.

In addition, harness racing’s No. 1 attraction will be in action in the $170,850 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Delaware’s Dover Downs.

Confederate, the Brett Pelling-trained son of Sweet Lou-Geothermal, will depart from post seven in race 12 on a 15-race program, and is listed as the 2-5 morning-line favorite in the dash that has a probable post time of 8:10 p.m.

HEARTBREAKING NEWS: Cody Dorman, the 17-year-old Kentucky boy that two-time Breeders’ Cup champion Cody’s Wish is named after, died on his way back home from the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Cody suffered a medical event on our trip home to Kentucky yesterday and he has passed away,” the Dorman family said in a statement. “On Saturday, Cody watched his best friend, Cody’s Wish, display his usual perseverance and toughness in winning a second Breeders’ Cup. Those are the same characteristics Cody has showed time and again for the 18 years we were blessed to have him. We have been completely amazed to experience the impact Cody has had on so many people, through the journey that this wondrous racehorse has taken us all on.

“With Cody’s diagnosis [of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome] at birth, we always knew this day would come, but we were determined to help Cody live his best life for however long we had him. Anyone who has seen him at the racetrack, especially around Cody’s Wish, understands that in many ways he taught us all how to live, always keeping a positive attitude and being more concerned about those around him than himself.”

Settlemoir wanted Cody’s family to know that people are thinking of them at this incredibly difficult time.

“The Meadowlands family sends our deepest sympathies to Cody’s family,” said Settlemoir. “We thank Godolphin and the Dorman family for gracefully sharing the unforgettable journey and friendship between a boy and a horse.”

In October of 2018, the Dorman family went to Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm, which was arranged by Keeneland and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Farm manager Danny Mulvihill had about 40 foals to choose from to meet the wheelchair-bound Cody and chose a mild-mannered 6-month-old weanling.

“The foal came up, laid his head on Cody’s lap and just spent some quiet time with Cody,” said Mulvihill.

The connection between the two was instant, and Godolphin named the horse Cody’s Wish to honor Dorman. The colt would go on win eight of his 10 races since 2022, including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile twice and three other Grade 1 stakes.

(Thanks to Daniel Tran of

FOOTBALL IN FANDUEL: The FanDuel Sportsbook is the No. 1 sports wagering facility of its type in North America, and it’s located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands.

Week 10 of the NFL season finds both the New York Jets and New York Giants in action on Sunday (Oct. 12).

The Giants travel to Dallas for a 4:25 p.m. kickoff in the Lone Star State. The Cowboys are a 17½-point favorite who are -2200 in the game that has an under/over of 39½.

The Sunday Night Football matchup has the Jets traveling to Sin City for an 8:20 p.m. game with the Las Vegas Raiders. The Jets are a 1-point favorite who are -110 in the game that has an under/over of 36½.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go to here

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.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m. The Lounge opens at noon on Sundays.