Day At The Track

New wagers paying off at Big M

05:02 AM 28 Feb 2020 NZDT
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On February 7, management at the Meadowlands gave their harness racing wagering menu a big shakeup, and while the early returns on the new 20-cent-base Pick-5 and additional 50-cent Pick-4 have been solid, the bet that's provided the biggest jolt of energy has been the 20-cent Pick-6, which looks fresh off a considerable layoff.

"When you go back to the days when the Pick-6 was a staple at many tracks," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "You have to remember that when the bet was flourishing, the multi-race options were the Daily Double and the Pick-3. What happened was, as those racetracks added Pick-4s and Pick-5s to their wagering menus, the Pick-6 got lost in the shuffle."

The Pick-6 is now back and it's experiencing a renaissance at the Big M.

When the Meadowlands last offered a Pick-6 in 2012, the Opening Night pool of $3,302 created a one-day carryover of $1,975. The next night saw a pool of $2,610 and a two-day carryover of $3,534. Remarkably, one week later, the four-day carryover had only reached $8,435.

Three weeks ago, the first Pick-6 pool of this era was $17,985, or five times more than the initial 2012 pot. The next night, the pool expanded to $24,474 and one sharp player had the only winning ticket and walked away with $20,797. That's quite a before ($5,912) and after ($42,549) when comparing the first two pools during the different eras.

On Saturday (Feb. 15), in only the fourth time the Pick-6 was offered, the bet failed to yield a ticket with all six winners, creating a carryover (the first in eight years) of $14,376 that served as the catalyst for a total pool of just over $91,000 after $76,682 in "new money" was wagered the following Friday. Since the carryover money is "rake free", bettors were actually wagering into a rare "player's advantage". Instead of a takeout, the bettor's edge was 3 percent.

"When the Meadowlands decided to bring back the Pick-6, it had to be a better version that would allow people to participate without waiting weeks for the carryover to build up," said Settlemoir. "We wanted to go with the traditional no-jackpot format. The 2020 version would lower the minimum to 20 cents and lowered the takeout to 15 percent. It didn't take very long to realize that the new version of the Meadowlands' Pick-6 was a hit."

The popularity of the Pick-6 is continuing to build momentum. The most recent pool was its biggest yet, as $29,150 was pushed through the windows on Feb. 22.

"So far, the revamped version of the Pick-6 has exceeded all expectations," said Settlemoir. "And the new wagering menu has definitely brought new eyes to the Meadowlands product. The 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544 on Feb. 22) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($75,592 on Feb. 21) also established season highs last weekend."

Other wagering highlights from last weekend include:

  • All-source total handles of $2.68 million on both Friday and Saturday
  • Average handle per race for the 26-race weekend of $206,806
  • An Early Pick-4 pool of $89,159 on Saturday

REMINDER: The Meadowlands races every Friday and Saturday with a first race post time of 6:55 p.m. The live "Racing from the Meadowlands" simulcast show gets underway at 6:22 p.m. Joining Dave Brower this weekend on set will be Tioga and Vernon Downs' TV personality Brett Risi.

The wagering menu includes the 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), which has a guaranteed pool of $25,000; 20-cent Pick-6 (race four); 50-cent Early Pick-4 (race six), which has a $50,000 guarantee; and 50-cent Late Pick-4 (race 10). All four wagers offer a low 15 percent takeout.

Free program pages for the Early Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five are available at and

PICK-6 CLARIFICATION: Payouts for the Pick-6 are done in this fashion:

· When there are ticket(s) with six winners, all the money in the pool (minus the 15 percent takeout) is returned to those winners

· When there are no tickets with six winners, 25 percent of the pool is paid out to those with five winners (a "consolation"). Then, 75 percent is carried over to the next time the wager is offered

WISHES IT WAS ALWAYS FEBRUARY: Last year, Yannick Gingras crushed the Meadowlands like Godzilla during February, winning seven races on Feb. 1 followed by a six-bagger the next night. He finished the month with a ridiculous 33 wins.

While he hasn't been quite as dominant during the second month of 2020, he has been dominant nonetheless. The 40-year-old pilot ripped it up last weekend, winning five races on both Friday and Saturday, to up his monthly total to 19 with two race cards remaining.

Trainer Ron Burke also excelled last weekend, sending out seven winners, five of which were handled by his go-to driver Gingras.

WHHC QUALIFIER: On Saturday (March 7), the Big M will host its March World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier. The top two finishers will qualify for the WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, go to


On Feb. 28, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker.

Every live racing night, place a win bet on the fourth race, and if you win, get the "winning experience" and have your picture taken in the winner's circle. Those who qualify should proceed to the winner's circle immediately after the race.

From the Meadowlands Media Department



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