Day At The Track

TVG & Final Four weekend big for Big M

06:02 AM 26 Nov 2020 NZDT
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When a harness racing track hosts "event programs" with marquee races such as the Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian, it's difficult to stack up a third card to match the other two in terms of excitement and impact.

But on Saturday (Nov. 21) night, Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night did well to live up to those programs with thrilling racing where divisional honors were won and lost, as well as featuring outstanding performances from some of the game's best horsemen and horsewomen at the showcase of the sport, The Meadowlands.

The human stars of the night were Dexter Dunn and Nancy Takter. Dunn locked up the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year Award while Takter sewed up the Trainer of the Year trophy.

Of the eight stakes races on the card, Dunn emerged victorious four times, guiding Manchego (TVG Open Trot), Kissin In The Sand (TVG Mares Pace), Always A Miki (Governor's Cup) and Bettor's Wish (TVG Open Pace) to victory lane.

Takter scored three victories, as her trainees - Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Always A Miki - were all handled by Dunn. In addition to that power-packed threesome, Takter also had likely Horse of the Year winner Tall Dark Stranger - the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup champion - in her barn.

Four horses made the final starts of their careers on Saturday, and, remarkably, all were seen in the winner's circle at their race's end.

Manchego, a three-time Breeders Crown winner, gunned down arch-rival Atlanta for her 33rd win from 56 career starts while Plunge Blue Chip powered clear of her foes in TVG Mares Trot after a crafty second-quarter rating of :29.1 by trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt.

Kissin In The Sand ended her time on the track with a seventh straight score, taking down defending Horse of the Year Shartin N in 1:48 while Bettor's Wish, so game in taking The Big M's Sam McKee Memorial in the summer, had another superb mile-oval performance in closing out his career with a 1:48.1 clocking in the TVG Open Pace.

WILD WEEKEND WAGERING: For a second straight weekend, betting surpassed the $5-million plateau as a total of $5,079,059 was pushed through the windows after $2,334,662 was bet Friday (Nov. 20) and another $2,744,397 on Saturday (Nov. 21).

Saturday saw steady play in the track's popular multi-leg wagers as $90,865 was poured into the Late 50-cent Pick-4 pool, $74,285 in the 20-cent Pick-5, $73,875 in the Early Pick-4, $42,871 in the 20-cent Pick-6, $23,341 in the 10-cent Pentafecta and $17,839 in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7, which might have been the smallest of the featured pools, but yielded by far the biggest payout, as one sharp player wagering into the Nassau-Suffolk Off-Track Betting hub walked away with $15,163.06.

THE SCHEDULE: Live racing will continue every Friday and Saturday night through the end of 2020. The one exception is Christmas Day. Post time every night is 7:15 p.m.

BIG GUARANTEES: The Big M offers up $140,000 in guaranteed green every racing night with a $50,000 guaranteed pool on the first race 20-cent Pick-5, a $50,000 guarantee on the sixth race Early 50-cent Pick-4 and a $40,000 promise on the 10th race Late 50-cent Pick-4. All have a low takeout of 15 percent.

FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to

Races one through five - the entire 20-cent Pick-5 - will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards this week.

TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken 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.

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

Additionally, track announcer 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.

CHECK OUT THE SHOW: As always look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. The pre-game show begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m.

This Friday, Demsky will join Brower on set Friday night while it'll be the "Dave & Dave" show on Saturday as Brower and Little will be the on-camera presence.

If you can't make it out to the track, you can watch and wager on all the action at home. Go to or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live.

A HOLIDAY WISH: "2020 has been tough on everybody," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, "so all of us at The Meadowlands want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We want everyone to stay as safe as possible while they celebrate and give thanks, so that we can get back to normal as soon as possible. We appreciate the efforts of our employees, horsemen and faithful fans for their continued support throughout the pandemic to make The Meadowlands experience the best in all of harness racing."

GET YOUR FOOTBALL FIX: The National Football League season rolls on with games this Thursday, Sunday and Monday, and you can wager on all of the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook.

Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) features three NFL games, as the Houston Texans (-3) travel to Detroit to take on the Lions at 12:30 p.m. before the Dallas Cowboys (-2½) play host to the Washington Football Team in a key NFC East matchup at 4:30 p.m. The day concludes with an 8:20 p.m. tilt between the visiting Baltimore Ravens and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (-4).

One can wager on a full slate of college football games as well. There are also other sports available to bet on in the book from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday.

From the Meadowlands


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