Thursday, February 15, 2024

The extraordinary has now become commonplace at the world’s No. 1 destination for harness racing, as once again, Saturday (Feb. 10) night business last week at The Meadowlands was over the top, leaving no reason to believe that the string of super Saturdays won’t continue this weekend, when racing is conducted on the usual Friday (Feb. 16)-Saturday (Feb. 17) schedule with a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

“The Big M has been lighting it up in a big way lately,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “The last three Saturday nights of racing have seen the cumulative handle exceed $10 million.”

In fact, the total was quite close to $11 million.

On Jan. 27, $3,779,096 – the 2024 Big M high – was pushed through the windows, before $3,631,898 and $3,456,865, was wagered on Feb. 3 and 10, respectively. Over the last three Saturday programs, a total of $10,867,859 has been pushed through the windows, good for an average of $3,622,619 per card.

“The popularity of the Big M signal has certainly exceeded expectations in recent weeks,” said Settlemoir. “The sport’s flagship track is known for its large competitive fields and extraordinary wagering opportunities.

“The Meadowlands will offer two carryovers Friday to kick off another exciting weekend of racing. Carryovers attract a lot of attention here and these popular wagers have additional player friendly features.”

To begin with, the popular puzzles offer a low takeout of 15 percent with a low minimum of 20 cents that allow small players to swim in the same pool as the powerhouse punters. In addition, these carryovers lead – in many cases – to a pool that offers a “negative takeout”, meaning that players with winning tickets will actually get more money back than what was pushed through the windows that night.

The 20-cent Pick-8 failed to yield a winning ticket for a sixth straight card last Saturday, upping the carryover to $13,550 for this Friday.

In addition, the 20-cent Pick-6 also went unhit, and that carryover stands at $4,641.

The Pick-8 is offered on races four through 11 while the Pick-6 spans races eight through 13. Big M fans are reminded that past performances for every race for every Meadowlands card are available by going to

SUNDAY WAS SUPER: The people that came out to The Meadowlands on Sunday (Feb. 11) got their money’s worth as the FanDuel Sportsbook hosted one of the greatest professional football championship games of all-time. The most-watched program in the history of television had viewership in excess of 123 million people, and those viewers were treated to a thrilling 25-22 overtime win by the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers.

“With the NFL season now concluded,” said Settlemoir. “Gamblers will explore other options. With the biggest pools in Standardbred racing, The Meadowlands is working hard to become one of those wagering options.”

CHECK OUT THE SHOW: Join The Meadowlands’ TV team of Jessica Otten and Dave Little 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.

WINTER CHILI COOK-OFF: On Saturday (Feb. 17), one of the most popular Big M events is back, 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.

FIGHT NIGHT: Come on out to the track for a UFC 298 Watch Party on Saturday (Feb. 17).

The fight-night-ready Gallery, featuring numerous TVs, a variety of seating and a full-service bar, is where you can catch the action.

The main event pits featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski against surging contender Ilia Topuria.

UFC 298, with four preliminary bouts before the main event, gets underway at 10 p.m.

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

SURVIVAL MODE: 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, a little more than 1,400 of those handicappers have been eliminated, leaving 898 in the hunt for the top prize.

Currently, the top three in the standings are Tomahawk ($409.10), BleedsDodgerBlue ($398.60) and turnpike ted ($391.40).

There is also a prize for who picks the most winners, and currently, joejets leads the way with 16, followed by Tuddyboy11, who has 15, and sandralil, who has 14.

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)

PERUVIAN PAIRING: The Meadowlands will offer a tour of Peruvian flavors in a sensational five-course meal where each course is paired with a glass of wine on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The cost is just $69.95 per person (for those 21 or older), and for reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM.

To take a look at the menu, 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.

MAYHEM IS MARVELOUS: The NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is one of the greatest gambling events of the year, and you can watch and wager on every game at The Meadowlands in the FanDuel Sportsbook.

The is the tournament schedule (Selection Sunday is on March 17):

  • First Four:March 19-20
  • First round: March 21-22
  • Second round: March 23-24
  • Sweet 16: March 28-29
  • Elite Eight: March 30-31
  • Final Four: April 6
  • Championship: April 8

GO WHERE THE ACTION IS: It’s no secret that one of the main reasons many fans come to The Big M is the FanDuel Sportsbook.

With massive TV screens, self-service betting terminals and plenty of top-tier food and drink, it’s no wonder that the book, located in the grandstand at The Meadowlands, remains the No. 1 facility of its type in all of North America.

On Thursday (Feb. 15), one NBA game sure to draw a lot of interest is the Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz matchup, set to begin at 9:10 p.m.

There figures to be plenty of action on both sides as the Warriors are a 2-point favorite who are -126 on the money line. The under/over for total points is 239½.

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.