Thursday, December 14, 2023

The 20-cent Pick-8 wager at The Meadowlands has started to build its identity as a parimutuel puzzle that was made for the carryover crowd.

In fact, the last two times the bet yielded a ticket or tickets with eight correct selections, it came after a triple carryover on both Nov. 4 and Nov. 18 that yielded payouts of $3,975.10 and $12,079.00, respectively.

Since the inception of the Pick-8 on Oct. 20, the biggest pool has totaled $12,295, with one winning shrewd player walking off with the payout of over $12,000 at the conclusion of the sequence.

The anticipated pool for this Friday (Dec. 15) will crush the previous best because it is nearly three times the size already. The current number of race cards when the P8 has gone unhit is five. The carryover heading into Friday’s program is $35,785.74, which sets up some very interesting possibilities.

“The record Pick-8 carryover creates what figures to be an enormous negative takeout advantage for our players,” said Meadowlands’ Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Carryover mania will hit another fever pitch on Friday night. The Pick-8 is a non-jackpot wager, offered on races four through 11.  A minimum bet of 20 cents allows everyone the chance to play, and a low takeout of 15 percent creates the perfect storm for a negative takeout, which creates an enormous edge for our players.”

Take last Saturday (Dec. 9), for example.

A carryover of $22,581 sparked enough interest in players to wager $20,740 in “new money”. Only the new money is subject to the low takeout, which left $17,629. When you add the carryover, you get a grand total of $40,210. So, the return to the winning players – had there been any – would have been an unbelievable 194 percent for a wager that normally returns 85.

“Low takeouts are a big component in making these dream scenarios for horseplayers possible,” said Settlemoir. “Add in full, competitive fields, and the chances for making a score increase tremendously.

“Thanks to our loyal horseplayers, big pools have been the norm this year. Going into the final three weekends of 2023, the average nightly handle this season is north of the $3-million plateau. None of this is possible without the support of horseplayers around the world, and we want to thank each and every one of them.”

If $35,000 in new money is pushed through the windows on the Pick-8, that would create a total pool of approximately $65,000, which computes a return to the players of 182 percent.

A big weekend on track

SISTER ACT II: Jenna Otten is back on the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set this Friday, and will be sitting next to big-sister Jessica on the live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show, which gets underway at 5:45 p.m.

CLASSIC ROCK SHOW: The Past Masters will be back at the track this Saturday (Dec. 16) playing a live show of classic rock and roll in Trackside.

The show, which is free to attend, kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

Come enjoy live music, live harness racing plus food and drink specials.

THE BIG FIGHT: Welterweight champion Leon Edwards takes on Colby Covington in what promises to be an exciting UFC bout on Saturday.

If you can’t make it to Las Vegas for the fight, catch all of the action in the second-floor Gallery at The Meadowlands.

The fight is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. The doors in the Gallery open at noon for fans to enjoy college football.

KLECKO IN THE HOUSE: One of the most-popular players in New York Jets history, 2023 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Klecko, will be at the track Saturday signing autographs from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Nineteen years ago, the Jets honored Klecko by retiring his No. 73 jersey.

Klecko became just the third Jets player to have his number retired, joining two other Hall of Famers: Joe Namath (No. 12) and Don Maynard (No. 13).

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

THE SKED: There are just six live racing days left on the 2023 calendar at The Big M.

Live action will take place every Friday and Saturday through the end of the year.

Post time for every program is 6:20 p.m. with the live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show at 5:45 p.m.

“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 Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM) and Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover).

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

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”.

TOYS FOR TOTS A GREAT CATCH: Former New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was once again on hand helping the U.S. Marine Corps collect toys for boys and girls in need at The Meadowlands’ yearly Toys for Tots drive that concluded Saturday (Dec. 9).

“I can’t say enough how much we appreciate Quincy helping us year-after-year with this extremely worthy cause,” said Settlemoir. “At this time of year, it’s important to remember that small gestures can go a long way toward making a child’s holiday a happy one. So, not only do we appreciate the efforts of Quincy, but also those of the U.S. Marine Corps and our fans who were nice enough to bring a toy to the track so that a child’s holiday could be brighter.”

The collection drive was a resounding success, with well over 400 toys donated.

Enunwa, along with New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Tibodeaux, were onsite at SBH Systems in the Bronx this week to hand out the toys.

SBH Health System is committed to improving the health, wellness and well-being of the Bronx community. The diverse healthcare providers and staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality care.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: “On behalf of Jeff Gural, I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our horsemen, staff, and, of course, our patrons,” said Settlemoir. “Thank you all for your efforts that helped make 2023 a big year for all of us at The Meadowlands. Much health and happiness to all for 2024.”

MORE FOOTBALL IN FANDUEL: The FanDuel Sportsbook is the No. 1 facility of its kind in North America, and is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands. This weekend, the action will be fast and furious in the “book” as the NFL will have three games on the Saturday schedule.

Things will begin on Thursday (Dec. 14) with the Los Angeles Chargers visiting Las Vegas to take on the Raiders (-3½ on the point spread, -162 on the money line, under/over 34½ points) at 8:15 p.m.

On Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings travel to the Queen City to face the Cincinnati Bengals (-2½, -164, 40) at 1 p.m. before the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Colts (-1½, -120, 42½) in Indianapolis at 4:30 p.m.

Finally, at 8:15 p.m., the Detroit Lions (-4, -198, 47½) host the Denver Broncos.

On Sunday (Dec. 17), local football fans will have to choose which game to watch in the 1 p.m. window as the New York Jets and Giants will both play at the same time. Unless, of course, they head for the FanDuel Sportsbook and watch and wager on both games simultaneously.

The Jets are in Miami (-8½, -430, 37½) to take on the Dolphins while the Giants will head for The Big Easy and play the New Orleans Saints (-6, -275, 39½).

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.