Thursday, May 30, 2024

Two weeks ago, a national television audience was introduced to Karl, the current early favorite to capture the 99th edition of the $1-million Hambletonian on Saturday, Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands.

On Friday (May 31), Big M fans will be able to head to the track and see the colt trotting sensation look for his third victory in as many seasonal tries as he goes for a three-race sweep of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old males in the event’s $240,000 final.

There is also a $240,000 final for sophomore filly trotters on the card.

Karl has had no problems while beating his foes by a cumulative 10¾ lengths in his first two outings of the year. In both starts, he paid $2.10 to win after trotting his miles in 1:53.2 and 1:52.2, respectively.

“He’s doing great,” said Karl’s trainer, Nancy Takter, the unanimous choice for Dan Patch Trainer of the Year in 2020. “I trained him [Tuesday] and he was super. He’s a very happy horse.

“He’s got a little bit of a break until late June [after the Sire Stakes]. We will only race at The Meadowlands until the Hambletonian. I may have to qualify him, but we’ll play that by ear.”

The son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious will be going after his 12th win from 13 lifetime starts Friday night. A victory would lift his lifetime earnings to $1,191,977.

“Karl certainly is the one to beat this weekend when The Meadowlands presents the New Jersey Sire Stakes,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “The entire nation got to meet the leggy sophomore two weeks ago when he dominated his division rivals on America’s Day at The Races, which was shown on FOX Sports 2. And all of harness racing will be watching him as Hambletonian Day draws ever closer.”

Speaking of America’s Day at The Races, which is produced by the TV crew at the New York Racing Association (NYRA), a coast-to-coast television audience will watch Standardbred racing’s greatest stars compete throughout the Championship Meet at The Meadowlands on the networks of FOX Sports.

Here is the schedule for the remaining eight Big M FOX Sports broadcasts with the marquee event that will be shown. Where not listed, specific networks – FOX, FS1 or FS2 – will be determined:

  • July 6: Graduate finals/Meadowlands Pace eliminations, 8-11 p.m. (FS2)
  • July 13: Meadowlands Pace final, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • Aug. 3: Hambletonian, 1-7 p.m. (TBD)
  • Oct. 18: Breeders Crown eliminations, 1-6 p.m. (TBD)
  • Oct. 19: Breeders Crown eliminations, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • Oct. 25: Breeders Crown finals, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • Oct. 26: Breeders Crown finals, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)
  • Nov. 30: Fall Final Four, 8-11 p.m. (TBD)

THE LINEUPS: These are the fields for the two $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-olds at The Meadowlands Friday night, with post position, horse, driver, trainer and morning-line odds:

PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line
1 – Glamorous Hanover – Todd McCarthy – Tony Alagna – 10-1
2 – Miss I La – Joe Bongiorno – Noel Daley – 12-1
3 – Spy Coast – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 5-2
4 – French Champagne – Tim Tetrick – Ake Svanstedt – 6-1
5 – Local Honey – Brett Beckwith – Tony Alagna – 5-1
6 – Tove Palema – Andy Miller – Julie Miller – 12-1
7 – Volcanic Blue Chip – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 8-1
8 – Buy A Round – Andrew McCarthy – Noel Daley – 3-1
9 – Allegiant – Scott Zeron – Vernon Beachy – 9-2
10 – Kinesiology – Dexter Dunn – Ron Burke – 15-1

PP – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line
1 – Benny J – Andrew McCarthy – Tony Alagna – 20-1
2 – Tony Adams S – Dexter Dunn – Ake Svanstedt – 4-1
3 – Caballero – Trond Smedshammer – Trond Smedshammer – 15-1
4 – Bright Star – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 12-1
5 – Pantoran – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 15-1
6 – Waterfall – Brett Beckwith – Tony Alagna – 8-1
7 – Karl – Yannick Gingras – Nancy Takter – 1-5
8 – Mars Hill – Todd McCarthy – Tony Alagna – 6-1
9 – Southwind Metric – Sarah Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 20-1
10 – Duke Of Walner – Tim Tetrick – Lucas Wallin – 25-1

THE SKED: Live racing takes place every Friday and Saturday at The Meadowlands with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

The Big M’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show begins every live racing night at 5:45 p.m. with The Big M TV “A”-team of Dave Little and Jessica Otten providing news, notes and selections from the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set.

WHO’S CALLING THE RACES? With Ken Warkentin away on holiday, Gabe Prewitt of The Red Mile will be calling the races on both Friday and Saturday night.

TALKING HEADS TO TANGLE: The Meadowlands’ fifth annual Sportscasters Charity Derby takes place on Friday (May 31) and features two harness races to benefit charitable organizations selected by area sportscasters.

Each sportscaster will be teamed up with a Meadowlands driver in a jog cart and will compete against other sportscasters in a field of four in a one-mile race.

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will donate $5,000 to each of the two winning sportscasters’ selected charities, and, in addition, will also make a $1,000 donation to each charity selected by each sportscaster.

There are three new faces in the 2024 edition of The Derby: Chris Lopresti, Chelsea Sherrod and Perry Sook.

CHARITY RACE 1 (After race three, with affiliation and charity):

  • 1. Chris Lopresti (WFAN-660 AM, CBS Sports Radio, SiriusXM); St. Barnabus Hospital Health System
  • 2. Don LaGreca (ESPN-NY 98.7 FM); Ronald McDonald House
  • 3. Chelsea Sherrod (SNY); Grow Our Game
  • 4. Mark Cannizzaro (NY Post); Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

 CHARITY RACE 2 (After race five)

  • 1. Maria Marino (Action Network); American Cancer Society/Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
  • 2. Marc Malusis (PIX11, SNY, WFAN); Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • 3. Perry Sook (PIX11); St. Barnabus Hospital Health System
  • 4. Keith Irizarry (MLB Network); Cavan McGovern Family Research Fund

PICK A WIENER: The sixth annual running of the Meadowlands Racetrack Wiener Dog Derby takes place on Saturday (June 1).

This event is free to attend.

Approximate Wiener Dog Derby post times:

  • Race 1: 6 p.m.
  • Race 2: 6:15 p.m.
  • Race 3: 6:32 p.m.
  • Race 4: 6:52 p.m.
  • Race 5: 7:30 p.m.
  • Race 6: 8 p.m.
  • Race 7: 8:25 p.m.
  • Race 8: 8:50 p.m.
  • Race 9: 9:15 p.m.
  • Race 10: 9:40 p.m.
  • Final: 10 p.m.

There is $1,500 in total prize money up for grabs, with qualifier winners earning a $100 betting voucher. The winner of the final gets a $500 betting voucher.

  • There will be 10 wiener dogs in the final
  • Qualifiers will be run in-between the live harness races. The final will be held once all qualifiers are complete
  • Only dogs permitted in the track and in each race are dachshunds. All canines must be currently licensed and up to date on all shots, including rabies vaccination
  • Only canines registered to participate are allowed at the track. No canine “viewers”

For more information, email Rachel Ryan at

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A CAR? When you come to The Meadowlands, you can make a score at the windows. But now, you could also walk away with a brand new 2024 Toyota Camry LE AWD by participating in the track’s HorsePlay Giveaway, which takes place every race day until Friday, Aug. 2.

The HorsePlay Giveaway is sponsored by Purple Haze Stables.

For complete information, and to enter this extremely popular promotion, go here.

“The Meadowlands is a great summer place, a beautiful safe and secure venue where you can relax, have fun and be entertained while enjoying live racing every Friday and Saturday,” said Settlemoir.

SURVIVAL UPDATE: The Meadowlands Summer Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, kicked off on Friday, May 3. Cash prizes and Meadowlands swag are up for grabs in this free online contest.

The game covers the Meadowlands Championship Meet and will conclude on Saturday, Aug. 3.

Currently, Ryebread64 leads the way in the Challenge with $273.00, followed by Boonners Stable ($264.50) and ishman17 ($260.80).

As for most winners, there is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, as Ryebread64, yankee22 and Boonners Stable have 12 apiece.

The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 “across-the-board” wager (win, place and show) on selections for three designated races on each program.

However, to continue in the game, entrants have to “survive” by finishing in-the-money (first through third) with at least one of their selections each day. Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game. To aid in the player’s survival, a “lucky horseshoe” is given. The lucky horseshoe is a “free pass” given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or if all three of his selections fail to hit the board.

What the players are shooting for:

The grand prize is $750 plus a Breeders Crown Night at the Races package

The second-place prize is $500 plus Meadowlands swag

The third-place prize is $250 plus Meadowlands swag

Most Winners selected: $200 plus Meadowlands swag

Highest monthly bankroll (May, June, July): $100 plus Meadowlands swag

The deadline for selections each day is 30 minutes before the 6:20 p.m. post time for the first race; 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. After 30 minutes to post, all selections are final.

For further information, go here.

A GREAT CAUSE: Ten local New Jersey charitable organizations were selected to compete in the Meadowlands Charity Handicapping Contest last Saturday (May 25).

The contest offered a $15,000 total donation/prize pool, with every charity receiving a donation. Prizes were awarded as follows: 1st Place: $5,000, 2nd Place: $3,000, 3rd Place: $2,000, 4th Place: $1,500, 5th Place: $1,000, 6th-10th: $500.

The top five finishers were Pacing for the Cure ($78.80), ACT Now Foundation ($54.50), North Jersey Friendship House ($50.10), Special Strides ($49.60) and Fighting H.A.R.D. Foundation ($46.30).

All who attended the races on behalf of the charities had a night of fun, and all 10 charities had their checks given to them while getting their pictures taken in the winner’s circle.

FREE PROGRAMS EVERY NIGHT: Past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available free of charge. All one has to do is go to to access the information.

“X” MARKS THE SPOT: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on X (formerly known as 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 Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Little (@DaveLittleBigM) and Warkentin (@kenvoiceover).

RALLIS’ RACE REVIEWS: For some help with your handicapping, check out the race reviews of The Big M’s morning-line odds maker and program analyst John Rallis.

Rallis’ reviews are available 48 hours before a given card, and all one has to do to access the information is go to, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews.”

THE GREAT EIGHT: The Meadowlands’ appetizing betting menu got a little tastier several weeks ago with the addition of a second 20-cent Pick-5, to join the pair of 50-cent Pick-4s already on the bill of fare.

There are eight wagers nightly that offer a chance for players to make a big hit while betting into big pools that offer a low takeout of just 15 percent. Here is the lineup:

  • Races 1-5: Early 20-cent Pick-5
  • Races 2-8: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 (mandatory payout nightly)
  • Races 4-9: 20-cent Pick-6
  • Races 6-9: Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 7: 10-cent Pentafecta (Hi-5)
  • Races 8-12: Late 20-cent Pick-5
  • Races 10-13: Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 11:10-cent Pentafecta (Hi-5)

BET THE RANGERS IN THE BOOK: The FanDuel Sportsbook, the No. 1 facility of its type in North America, is something Meadowlands fans are well aware of. After all, it’s located inside the grandstand at the mile oval.

With numerous huge-screen TVs, plenty of comfortable seating and food and drink options, serious sports bettors know that the book at the track is the place to be.

Local hockey fans have been on the edge of their seats watching the New York Rangers compete in the National Hockey League playoffs, and why not? The Broadway Blueshirts are just six wins away from winning one of sport’s biggest prizes, the Stanley Cup.

The Rangers and Florida Panthers are currently tied at 2 games apiece in the Eastern Conference finals with the winner of the best-of-seven series heading to the Stanley Cup Final. Game 5 of the series takes place Thursday (May 31) at 8:10 p.m. at Madison Square Garden, but there is no need to pay a king’s ransom to go to the game. Hang out at the FanDuel Sportsbook and watch (and wager) on the game on a giant-screen TV.

The Panthers are a -125 favorite (+220 minus a puck-and-a-half) in the game that has an under/over of 5½ goals. The Rangers are +104 and -265 plus a puck-and-a-half.

The current odds to win the Stanley Cup have the Dallas Stars and the Panthers as the co-favorites (+230), followed by the Edmonton Oilers (+290) and the Rangers (+370).

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

The FanDuel Sportsbook is open Monday-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.