Day At The Track

Big M return sees fast miles, solid betting

04:23 AM 12 Jun 2020 NZST
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The Meadowlands, Harness Racing
The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Right from the get-go, the return of harness racing at the Meadowlands on Friday (June 5) after the 12-week coronavirus shutdown provided big thrills.

The Nancy Takter-trained Manchego became the fastest trotter of 2020 with a 1:50.3 clocking in the first race before Takter's mare Kissin In The Sand became the season's fastest pacer - regardless of sex - after stopping the clock in 1:47.4 eight races later.

Betting was unaffected by the three-month layoff, as $2,882,819 was wagered Friday before $2,743,510 was pushed through the windows Saturday. The average per race was $216,397.

Action at the Big M has now exceeded $2.5 million on nine straight occasions and 14 of the last 15 cards at the industry's handle leader. Over the last seven weekends of racing, wagering has surpassed the $5-million mark six times.

It's a good bet that those handle hurdles will be cleared this weekend, as Friday's (June 12) card will see $160,000 in guaranteed pool money.

The Meadowlands' "Big Four" wagers of the 20-cent Pick-5 (Race one, $40,000), 50-cent Early Pick-4 (Race six, $50,000) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 (Race 10, $40,000) offer their usual pool promises, and this week, the 20-cent Pick-6 (Race four) will offer a $30,000 guaranteed pot as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative after last Saturday's P6 resulted in a carryover of $6,843.

The carryovers in the track's 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Fives continue to swell, as the fifth race on Friday will begin with $46,622 in the hat while race 13 has $55,057 waiting for anyone who is the lone ticket-holder with the correct top five in official order of finish.

Some payoffs of note from last week include Friday's Pick-5 (which returned $4,422) and Pick-6 ($6,337), and Saturday's Early Pick-4, which came back $11,361 after $80,205 in action was taken.

While 54 percent of last week's races were won by horses who were sent off at odds of 3-1 or less, the average win payoff nonetheless was almost 7-1, at $15.81 for every $2 bet. The always popular Big M exactas resulted in an average return of $122.

Over 700 horses dropped into the entry box for this weekend's (June 12-13) races, so there promises to be full fields from start to finish during the 26 total dashes that will take place this Friday and Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m.

"All of us at the Meadowlands were so glad to get back racing," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Our horsemen and employees did a great job of following safety protocols in this "new normal', post-COVID-19 world. We encourage our fans to keep following our live action on the Roberts Television Network (, TVG ( or their favorite ADW (advance deposit wagering) platform. Unfortunately, we still cannot have people in our building. Hopefully, it won't be too much longer before we can have our fans back in the grandstand at the Meadowlands."


Driver Tim Tetrick swept Saturday's late double to finish the weekend atop the driver standings with five victories. He was followed by Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Andy McCarthy, who had four apiece.

On the training side, Takter and Jeff Cullipher both saw three of their students visit the winner's circle.


For free past performances of Friday night's Pick-6, Early Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five, go to At the website, you'll also find track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's race reviews and selections as well as track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog, which offers commentary and selections.

Meadowlands Media Relations


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