Day At The Track

Big M Pick-5 drives Saturday betting surge

11:40 AM 15 Jan 2021 NZDT
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The Meadowlands, Harness Racing
The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was going to be difficult to match the excitement and bettor enthusiasm of Saturday, Jan. 2 at The Meadowlands when a harness racing $46,731 carryover and $150,000 guarantee led to a total 20-cent Pick-5 pool of $360,948.

Last Saturday (Jan. 9), there was no carryover off which the Pick-5 pool could build, so track management and The Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey got together to 'seed' the pool with $25,000 and give it a $100,000 promise.

What resulted was a total pool of nearly $200,000 that for a second consecutive Saturday served as the catalyst for what was a huge night of betting at The Big M.

"What a start to the year," said Meadowlands' Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Last week's 20-cent Pick-5 was seeded with an extra $25,000. The 'new money' of $170,758 brought the total pool to $195,758, and the winning payout was $25,057 for each 20-cent winning ticket.

"The $25,000 seeding was our way to thank the horseplayers for their enormous support of The Meadowlands. Their wagering has made The Big M the most popular nighttime signal of any breed in horse racing, with our Saturday Winter Meet handle averaging over $4 million. The Meadowlands remains an industry leader in lowering takeout and offers six player-friendly wagers with an extremely low 15 percent takeout every night. We are abundantly grateful to horseplayers around the world for their business."

Speaking of business, the last three Saturdays have seen plenty, with big increases over the corresponding cards from the year before. The total handle on Dec. 26, 2020 was $3,718,250, which was $800,000 more than the Saturday after Christmas 2019.

Jan. 2 of this year saw a gigantic $4,562,477 of action, an increase of $1.8 million, while $3,646,603 was put in play on Jan. 9, an increase of almost $1.1 million.

As usual, Pick-4 play was vigorous, as last Saturday saw the two pools combine for just over $180,000, an average of $90,000 per wager.

"It's been an enormous month for Strategic Wagering and the United States Trotting Association," said Settlemoir. "This is the 11th year for the Strategic Wagering arm of the USTA. It offers low takeout wagers, free program pages, carryover Information and guaranteed pools. Strategic Wagering has increased interest in harness racing and has been a big part of the wagering resurgence you see on a nightly basis, and The Meadowlands is proud to be a part of this initiative."

TODD'S GREAT, WON EIGHT: Todd McCarthy, the 27-year-old recent Australian arrival who has been tearing things up since his September debut at The Big M, won four races both last Friday (Jan. 8) and Saturday (Jan. 9). The leader of the "Todd Squad" has now recorded four wins on three occasions.

Dave Miller also did well last weekend, winning twice on Friday and four times on Saturday. He is now in Florida for the winter and has already been seen in the sulky at Pompano Park.

CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home.

Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW).

FREE FOR ALL: Thanks to an agreement between The Meadowlands and TrackMaster, past performances for every race of every Big M program are now available at no cost.

To access the free PPs, go to playmeadowlands.com.

CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews".

Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis.

On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands.

TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm.

MEAN TWEETS: Demsky has compiled some entertaining segments during his short tenure at the track and has put together an especially fun one featuring many Meadowlands personalities.

You can find Demsky's "Mean Tweets" on the track's Facebook page and on the Big M's YouTube Channel.

PRE-GAME SHOW CHANGE: This Friday, the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live pre-game show begins at the usual 5:27 p.m.

On Saturday, the United States Harness Writers Association will host a special Dan Patch Virtual Awards Show that gets underway at 5 p.m.

Among the awards to be doled out will be the 12 divisional winners in the racehorse categories, along with Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year.

The show runs approximately 30 minutes, after which The Big M's TV team will take over with its usual pre-game presentation.

Post time for the first race on Friday and Saturday is 6 p.m.

THE FIELD IS DOWN TO EIGHT: The National Football League playoffs are now in the conference semifinal stage, and you can get all your pigskin action at The Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers (-6½) at 4:35 p.m., then at 8:15 p.m., the Buffalo Bills (-2½) host the Baltimore Ravens in the weekend's most competitive game, according to the oddsmakers.

The Sunday actions kicks off at 3:05 p.m. when the Cleveland Browns visit the Chiefs (-10) in Kansas City, then at 6:40 p.m., the battle of the future Hall of Fame quarterbacks takes place when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (-3) host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Meadowlands Media Relations

 
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