Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Meadowlands is always the place to play because of the many action options offered at the multi-faceted facility that offers sports betting, horse race simulcasting and, of course, the best harness racing in the world.

But this weekend (Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10), things figure to be at a high-fever pitch, given how hot the harness handle has been of late, along with a certain football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers that will take place on Sunday, Feb. 11.

“With temperatures predicted to be springlike, we are expecting a big turnout with all that we have going on this weekend at The Meadowlands,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Last Friday and Saturday, we had our biggest weekend in terms of handle this year as $6.9 million was bet on our races.

“This weekend, America celebrates one of the biggest sporting events of the year. The Big Game starts a streak of great entertainment, food, fun, sports wagering and racing presented live. The Meadowlands provides a lively and safe weekend destination for those looking to get out socially in the Metropolitan Area. We offer live and simulcast racing, one of the world’s most popular sportsbooks and a wide variety of culinary and entertainment options.”

TOO HOT TO HANDLE: After wagering $3,276,820 last Friday (Feb. 2), the total action on Saturday (Feb. 3) was $3,631,898, meaning handle came just $92,000 short of reaching the $7-million mark for the weekend.

The last time the $7-million hurdle was cleared was Hambletonian weekend (Aug. 4-5).

The last two Saturdays produced the two biggest nights of business thus far this year. On Jan. 27, handle was a 2024-best $3,779,096.

Multi-race wagering remains extremely popular at the mile oval, as the “Big 3” – comprising the 20-cent Pick-5 and the two 50-cent Pick-4s – got big play last Saturday.

The Pick 5 took in $71,296, while the Early and Late P4s saw $95,895 and $93,557 pushed through the windows, respectively.

PICK-8 CARRYOVER: Speaking of multi-leg bets, this Friday, 20-cent Pick-8 players will be shooting for some free green, as the wager’s pool will start out with a carryover of $5,913.

The Pick-8 is offered on races four through 11, and players are reminded that past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are offered free of charge at

WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN AMATEUR? The Meadowlands Amateur Driving Club returned last Friday, and the response from bettors was vigorous. In fact, betting on the first race (the first of two MADC dashes on the card), took in $364,050, the biggest single-race handle in United States harness racing in 2024.

After the second MADC dash took in over $200,000, total handle on the amateur events was $565,835, an average of $282,917. For perspective, if $282,917 was the average for a 14-race program, the handle would total $3.96 million.

“The MADC returned with super results,” said Settlemoir. “Those races provide some of the most competitive and popular events in the nation.”

FOOTBALL SUNDAY: Professional football’s championship game takes place on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

Naturally, you can get all of your action on the big game in the No. 1 sports betting facility in North America, the FanDuel Sportsbook, which is located inside the grandstand at The Meadowlands. There are plenty of huge HD TVs spread throughout the building along with self-service and teller-operated wagering machines available.

As of Thursday (Feb. 8) at noon, the 49ers were a 2½-point favorite who were -130 on the money line in the game where the under/over was 47½ points.

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.

THE BEST WATCH PARTY: 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
  • Numerous 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 served
  • 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 SOLD OUT: Back by popular demand, the Elvis and Elton Tribute Show takes place at The Big M on Saturday (Feb. 10).

No more tickets are available as the show is sold out.

Patrons will 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 were 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.

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.

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, almost 1,300 have been eliminated, leaving 1,032 in the hunt for the top prize of $750.

Currently, the top three in the standings are Turnpike ted ($381.60), Tomahawk ($369.70) and BleedsDodgerBlue ($358.90).

There is also a prize for who picks the most winners, and currently, Tuddyboy11 and joejets are tied atop the leaderboard with 13 apiece.

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)

For more information, and to enter, go 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.

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.

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.

MARVELOUS MAYHEM: 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