Thursday, January 25, 2024

With a shot of warm air coming to the region, temperatures will be exceeding seasonal averages with readings expected in the 50-degree range this weekend, which is the perfect time to come out to The Meadowlands and sample a smorgasbord of possibilities.

First up, of course, is the harness racing, which takes place on the usual Friday (Jan. 26) and Saturday (Jan. 27) evenings with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

There figures to be plenty of action at the windows. This weekend will offer what’s been the norm at the mile oval lately – plenty of big fields – with 14-race cards being offered both nights that offer 13 10-horse fields on Friday and 12 more on Saturday.

The big fields have helped business at The Big M get off to a solid 2024 start, with four of the first five race cards seeing total handle exceed $3 million.

One wager sure to attract a lot of interest is Friday night’s 20-cent Pick-6, which will start out with a double carryover of $14,531 after no winning tickets were sold on the puzzle last weekend (Jan. 19-20).

The last time there was a similar Pick-6 circumstance was Dec. 1 of last year, when players were motivated to pump $37,927 of “new money” into the pool after a carryover of $13,662 was the starting point.

“Our Pick-6 carryovers are always popular,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “They create a lot of buzz with our players because they offer such incredible value. Since the carryover itself is not subject to the already low 15 percent takeout, it’s commonplace for a bet like this to offer what is called a negative takeout, when the return to players actually exceeds what’s wagered when there are winning tickets sold.”

FOOTBALL’S FINAL FOUR: The NFL Playoffs are starting to wind down but the action in the FanDuel Sportsbook is ramping up as Championship Sunday (Jan. 28) takes place this week with four teams looking to advance to professional football’s championship game, which is on Feb. 11.

The FanDuel Sportsbook, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands, has plenty of HD TVs, self-service and teller machines, and bar and food service. It’s no wonder that the facility is the top one of its kind in all of North America.

In the first game, the defending World Champion Kansas City Chiefs travel to Baltimore for a 3 p.m. kickoff with the Ravens. The quarterback position is a matchup of past – and likely present – NFL Most Valuable Players, as the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes has two trophies to his credit while the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson is favored to win his second award this year. The Ravens are a 3½-point favorite who are -200 on the money line in the game that has an under/over of 44½ points.

In the second tilt, the Detroit Lions, whose two playoff wins this year are the first time they’ve accomplished that feat since 1957, head to San Francisco to face the 49ers (-7, -360, 51½) in a 6:30 p.m. start.

Two great promotions continue through Feb. 11 for FanDuel customers wagering at The Meadowlands:

· NFL Playoff B&G: Bet $250 Parlay Get $50 – Place a parlay wager of five or more legs (inclusive of Same Game Parlay or Same Game Parlay+ wagers) of at least $250 and receive a $50 voucher for use on a parlay wager (inclusive of Same Game Parlay or Same Game Parlay+ wagers) at the Eligible Retail Location (up to a maximum of $200), regardless of if their Eligible Wager wins or loses.

· Football Parlay Insurance: Play a parlay wager at The Meadowlands of at least five legs (maximum 25 legs provided that all legs have a minimum of -220 odds and consist of only NFL markets offered by Sponsor) and receive a bonus of up to $2,500.

Onsite customers can also enjoy the $12 wing bar food special in the Gallery. Diners can grab some wings with various sauces and fries while watching all the football action.

Whatever the sport, for the latest odds, go 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.

A SUPER SHOW IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: On Saturday, fans of the Thoroughbred game should make plans to be in The Big M’s expansive simulcast area, as Florida’s Gulfstream Park has one of its biggest days of racing this year.

Patrons can watch and wager on a power-packed program that includes the $3-million Pegasus World Cup, $1-million Pegasus World Cup Turf and $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

The spectacular 13-race program begins at 11 a.m. The Filly and Mare Turf has a post time of 3:45 p.m.; the Turf will go at 4:55 p.m.; and the World Cup is slated to get in the gate at 5:40 p.m.

In the World Cup, which is the final race on the card, the Bob Baffert-trained National Treasure is the 9-5 morning-line favorite from post seven with Flavien Prat in the irons.

KIDS IN THE HALL: Calling all college hoops fans! On Saturday, head to The Big M and watch the Seton Hall Pirates take on the 14th-ranked Golden Eagles of Marquette at 1 p.m.

The viewing party is in the second-floor Gallery, which is the perfect game day spot.

CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Join The Meadowlands’ TV team of Dave Little and Jessica Otten this weekend as they will be on the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set with The Big M’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show.

The broadcast will start at 5:45 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday with track announcer Ken Warkentin going over some of the track’s promotions before he gives out the scratches and driver changes on the program.

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

BECKWITH IN THE HOT SEAT: Check out the pregame show on Saturday when Otten will interview Brett Beckwith in another edition of the pregame show “In the Sulky” segment.

The interview will begin at approximately 5:50 p.m.

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

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

“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).

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 playmeadowlands.com, go to the “handicapping” tab, then click “race reviews”.

STILL SURVIVING: The track’s Winter Meet Survival Challenge, powered by 123Racing, is in full swing, and when the contest concludes, cash prizes and Meadowlands swag will go to those at or near the top of the leaderboard in the free online competition.

TrackMaster is providing Platinum Past Performances for each night of the contest. The game covers the Winter Meet and concludes March 30.

The contest began Jan. 5 with 2,300 participants, and thus far, 700 have been eliminated, leaving 1,600 in the hunt for the top prize of $750.

Currently, the top three in the standings are Turnpike Ted ($324), Badactor ($300) and Tomahawk ($279).

The winner will be determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 across-the-board wager on selections for three designated races on each program.

However, to continue in the game, entrants have to “survive” by finishing in-the-money 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 all three of his selections fail to hit the board.

The prize board:

The grand prize is $750 plus a Meadowlands swag package
The second-place prize is $500 plus a Meadowlands swag package
The third-place prize is $250 plus a Meadowlands swag package
Most Winners: $200 plus a Meadowlands swag package
Highest monthly bankroll: $100 (one winner in each month – January, February, March)

For more information, and to enter, go here.

THE BIG GAME AT THE BIG M: Professional football’s championship game is not to be missed, and the best place to watch – and wager – on the action is at The Meadowlands.

The game takes place on Sunday, Feb. 11, and fans can come to the track and check out the game in the FanDuel Sportsbook. There are plenty of huge HD TVs spread throughout the building along with self-service and teller-operated wagering machines available.

MOOSE AND BANKS: There will be a VIP Watch Party with Marc Malusis and former New York Giants great Carl Banks when The Big M hosts the best watch party anywhere for the big game on Feb. 11.

The event, which will require a ticket, will feature a live Q&A with PIX11/WFAN host Malusis along with his special guest, Banks, who was twice a part of championship teams.

What can patrons expect:

· Seating that overlooks the FanDuel Sportsbook and its giant screens on the floor below

· Tons of screens from wall to wall

· Table, bar and lounge-style seating

· Football swag and other giveaways

· Seating starts at 5:30 p.m.

· Q&A at 6 p.m.

· Game time at 6:30 p.m.

About the Tickets:

· All tickets include tax, tip, and access to the game-day buffet

· Entry starts at 5:30 p.m. Your ticket guarantees a seat(s) in your section, but selection is first come, first serve

· Single Bar Seat: $60

· Two-Top Table: $120

· Three-Person Couch: $300

· Four-Top Table overlooking FanDuel Sportsbook: $250

About the Food:

· Wings with three sauces: Buffalo, Sweet n’ Spicy, BBQ

· Hot Dogs

· Hamburgers

· Chicken Fingers

· Fries

· Dessert

To purchase tickets, go here.

ELVIS AND ELTON IN THE BUILDING: Back by popular demand, check out the Elvis and Elton Tribute Show at The Big M on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Experience the music of Elvis Presley and Elton John, featuring a live band. Ralph Carey performs as Elvis and Russ Davis is Elton. Each performer will do a set before both come back to do a duet for the third and final act. Tickets are only $25.

The show will take place inside on the ground level in Trackside and begins at 8 p.m. The show will conclude at approximately 10 p.m.

Seating is limited, so get your tickets today by going here.

WINTER CHILI COOK-OFF: On Saturday, Feb. 17, one of the most popular Big M events is back again, as cooks and tasters alike will be on hand for the 2024 Winter Chili Cook-Off.

The contest will take place Trackside (on the ground floor) from 5-9 p.m., so if you think you make the best chili, enter the contest and show the judges what you’ve got.

Not a cook? Free samples will be given for the People’s Choice vote following the 7 p.m. turn-in. The Cook-off will take place in the Food Court and outdoor East Apron area.

For complete information, and to enter, go here.

A GREAT STEAK: If you’re after a top-notch steak dinner, head to The Meadowlands on Saturday, March 9, when the track hosts a steakhouse dinner in the skyboxes.

The fabulous four-course meal costs $100 per person, and to make reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM.

To check out the bill of fare, go here.