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East Rutherford, NJ - Statement regarding the Meadowlands Racetrack's Friday, September 25th race 13 pentafecta payout. "When we noticed a carryover posted for our last race pentafecta, it immediately raised a red flag for us," stated the Meadowlands Racetrack's GM & COO Jason Settlemoir. "We reached out to our tote provider Sportech and asked them to research the wager for us." Ted Shaine, General Manger/QDC East for Sportech Racing issued the following statement: "For the 13th race Pentafecta pool on 25-SEP-20, the system encountered a software bug and did not properly detect tickets with 5/5 winners and therefore created a carryover. The carryover has been removed from tonight's (Sept 26th) card and wagers with 5/5 from last night will be paid manually. The software bug has been corrected for tonight's (Sept 26th) card." "We appreciate Sportech researching this quickly," said Settlemoir. "Racing and wagering integrity is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with Sportech and the New Jersey Racing Commission on this issue." All bettors are urged to hold their September 25th last race pentafecta tickets if they had 5-for-5 so they can be properly paid out. From the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Fire Start Hanover, Commanding Officer and Summa Cum Laude all remained perfect through two harness racing legs of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds at The Meadowlands Friday night. Fire Start Hanover had an easy time of it in the first race filly pace, sailing down the road in a lifetime-best 1:52.1 to win by 1¾ lengths with driver Victor Kirby calling the shots. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Fit To Frame, who is trained by Nifty Norman, paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favorite and ran her overall winning streak to three. Commanding Officer completed an all-chalk Early Daily Double for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. The 2-5 favorite cleared to the lead before the three-eighths on the way to a 1½-length romp in 1:52.1 in a division for colt and gelding pacers. The son of Captaintreacherous-Turnoffthelights returned $2.80 to win. Summa Cum Laude stayed unbeaten in taking another division for male pacers in race nine. Driven by Simon Allard for trainer Ron Burke, Summa Cum Laude took over the lead after Bettor Not Talk went off stride while racing on the point on the way to the half. The winner, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, scored by a length in 1:52.2 and returned $4.00 as the even-money post-time choice. A LITTLE MORE: Allard was the top driver of the night. Currently fifth in the standings at Pocono Downs, Allard won three races on the night, two of them for Burke. … Kirby guided a pair of winner’s circle visitors for Norman. … Mark MacDonald and Zeron also steered two to victory lane. … Big M TV personality Jessica Otten correctly selected the $267.40 Early 50-cent Pick-4. She also gave out best bet Mazzarati, who returned $9.80 to win. … Despite the 4-5 favorite scoring easily, the 13th race Pentafecta failed to yield a winning ticket. The next Late 10-cent Pentafecta will start out with a carryover of $14,331. … All-source wagering totaled $1,878,489. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Historically, wagering at The Meadowlands has been less than spectacular in September. In fact, the last time there was harness racing at the mile oval in the ninth month of the year, the average handle was a mere $1.6 million on the four cards conducted in 2017. But since then, a cavalry has appeared to save the day. Garden State Gov. Phil Murphy - along with the members of the New Jersey Legislature - approved an appropriation earmarked for the horse racing industry in the winter of 2019, which increased purses at the track, which created the positive cycle of bigger fields, better horses and bigger handle. Over the last four race cards of September 2020, the average handle stands at $2.5 million. "The appropriation has made quite a difference," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "We are very appreciative of the work Gov. Murphy and members of the Legislature did. New Jersey has experienced a resurgence as the leader in the harness industry, with a revitalized breeding industry. It's also allowed The Meadowlands to offer lower takeouts to bring bettors everywhere in the world back to New Jersey." THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: The Big M's betting menu offers seven wagers nightly that offer low 15 percent takeouts. There have been several adjustments to the lineup, as "jackpot" wagers have been eliminated to further lower takeout to horseplayers. The bets: Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 3: 20-cent Pick-6 Race 5: 10-cent Pentafecta Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 9: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 13: 10-cent Pentafecta FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where one can access races nine through 13 for both the Friday and Saturday programs. Those races include the 20-cent Late Pick-5, 50-cent Late Pick-4 and 10-cent Late Pentafecta, not to mention the Late Daily Double. HOT TO TROT: Last weekend (Sept. 18-19), three drivers - Dexter Dunn, Tim Tetrick and Todd McCarthy - registered five winners. McCarthy, 27, a newcomer to the Big M driver colony, has nine victories over the last three programs at the track, the first nine wins of his career at the mile oval since his arrival from Australia. On the training side, Marcus Melander, Nancy Takter and Tony Alagna had three trips to the winner's circle apiece. COME OUT, TUNE IN: Simulcast fans will have plenty of options at The Big M over the next few days. On Thursday (Sept. 24), the 75th edition of The Little Brown Jug takes center stage at the Delaware (Ohio) Fairgrounds. The top four finishers from races 15 and 16 return for the 20th race final, which offers a purse of $335,400. Post time for the first race is noon. Race 20 is scheduled for 7:36 p.m. Seven races with a purse of at least $100,000 are on Friday's (Sept. 25) card at Indiana's Hoosier Park while Woodbine Mohawk Park offers another in what has been a string of super Saturday (Sept. 26) programs of late, with the $455,000 She's A Great Lady, $215,000 Milton, $720,000 Metro and $1.3 million Mohawk Million the featured events on a night when over $2.8 million in purses will be doled out. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) 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 playmeadowlands.com to check out selections and commentary. For Friday's card, click on this link: http://www.thebigm.com/RaceReviews.aspx?racedt=9/25/2020. ALL THIS....AND SPORTS BETTING, TOO: The Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook is the place to get all of your MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, PGA and NFL action, every day from 10 a.m.-midnight. From The Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – We’ve seen this before. And before the year is out, it’s almost a certainty we’ll see it again. Allywag Hanover, a close-up third in The Meadowlands Pace two months ago, ended a personal three-race losing streak with authority Saturday night at The Meadowlands, exploding home in the final eighth of a mile to take a high-end conditioned harness racing pace in 1:49.2. “We’ve seen him get airborne before,” said trainer Brett Pelling. “He gets going faster than most horses go.” Heading into the ninth race, it was difficult to know which Allywag Hanover would show up, given his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship as the 3-5 favorite at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sept. 6. “When he came back from Canada [after finishing sixth in the North America Cup on Aug. 29], he coughed a little on the Monday before the Sire Stakes,” said Pelling. “He had some clear mucus, and he had the same thing Friday, which was very acceptable. But at Philadelphia, he came up sick, so that was pretty devastating.” After taking antibiotics and getting some rest, Allywag Hanover was ready to go Saturday after taking 12 days off. Rodeo Rock, a veteran hard-hitter with a lifetime bankroll of over $723,000, grabbed the lead at the half after brushing from an early three-hole and the 6-5 second choice had things his own way after getting clear of the field through a third fraction of :27.1 saw him reach three-quarters in 1:22.3. At the head of the stretch, Rodeo Rock was sailing along on a 2½-length advantage while Allywag Hanover was a non-threatening fourth racing with cover with plenty to do. But then he did it. At the eighth pole, Rodeo Rock still looked like the winner, but Allywag Hanover, much like he did on July 4 when he kicked home in :25.3 to win in 1:48, found another gear to nail Rodeo Rock at the finish by a neck after pacing a final quarter in :26. Like Clockwork was third. “It looked to me like he moved twice,” said Pelling. “[Driver Tim] Tetrick said the same thing. He was going, then it looked like he spotted [Rodeo Rock] and started going again.” In upping his lifetime stats to eight wins from 19 career starts, Allywag Hanover returned $3.60 to his backers as the 4-5 public choice. His earnings now stand at $234,163 for owners Allywag Stable. Pelling revealed what the plan is for his prized 3-year-old colt, who is a product of Captaintreacherous-Anderosa Hanover. “He’s going to Hoosier Park Friday for the Jenna’s Beach Boy Stakes,” said Pelling. “And he has other races, too. He’s Breeders Crown eligible. Beyond that, I’m pretty sure he’ll race beyond this year, but it hasn’t been spoken about yet.” A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy continued to make a big impression at The Meadowlands, driving three winners on the program. Andy McCarthy’s 27-year-old little brother has now won nine races over the last three Big M programs. … All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,448,703, capping a second straight weekend where wagering exceeded the $5-million mark. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Marcus Melander shined brightest at The Meadowlands Friday night, as his trainees scored three times among the 10 harness racing divisions of the first leg of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gait. Moonstone S was the first winner of the night for Melander in the third race colts and geldings trot. The son of Muscle Hill-Moonlight Kronos, who finished second in the Aug. 8 Peter Haughton Memorial, pulled the pocket after the half and sailed off to an easy 2½-length score as the 6-5 favorite with Tim Tetrick driving. He recorded his first win in five lifetime starts after stopping the clock in 1:55. Melander and Brian Sears teamed up to take the fourth race filly trot with Ineffable, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Jolene Jolene, who won for the second time in five lifetime tries. The 6-5 public choice, who was third in the Aug. 8 Jim Doherty Memorial, emerged from the pocket to win by a half-length in 1:56.2. In race seven, Melander completed his three-bagger with a second score in a colts and geldings trot as his Sonofamistery, with Sears driving, rolled to an easy 1¾-length win in 1:56.1 after racing parked out for the final half mile. The son of Muscle Hill-Mistery Woman, who broke in each of his first two seasonal starts, paid $3.00 after being sent off as the heavy 1-2 favorite. He’s now won twice from four outings. BIG ACTION: Betting was vigorous in the two multi-leg wagers that offered carryovers. The Late 20-cent Pick-5, which had $21,811 in the hat to start, attracted $123,810 in “new money” for a total pool of $145,621. Those who had tickets with the combination of 5-8-6-6-5 cashed in for $414.64. The Late 20-cent Pick-4 sported a total pool of $172,828 after $134,438 was added to the $38,390 carryover. Tickets reading 8-6-6-5 returned $344.30. … All-source wagering totaled $2,618,071. A LITTLE MORE: Lindysmusclemania stayed perfect in three starts after taking a Kindergarten division for trotting colts and geldings. The Ake Svanstedt-trained son of Muscle Hill-Possessed By Lindy hit the wire in a lifetime-best 1:54.4, 3½ lengths to the good with Andy Miller driving the 6-5 favorite. … Speaking of favorites, they scored in nine straight races beginning in race two. By night’s end, 10 post-time choices had visited the winner’s circle from 13 races. … Live racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The first full weekend of racing at The Meadowlands since Hambletonian week saw plenty of action on a pair of popular multi-leg wagers last Friday and Saturday (Sept. 11-12), the result of sizable carryovers, and harness racing fans will have similar opportunities on a pair of prominent puzzles this week when racing resumes Friday (Sept. 18) at 7:15 p.m. Last Saturday (Sept. 12), driver Pat Berry, aka "The Blueberry Bomber", lit up the board with Harambe Deo in the 10th race at odds of 33-1, which served as the reason that the 20-cent Late Pick-5 and 50-cent Late Pick-4 failed to yield a winning ticket. As a result, both wagers will have sizable carryovers to titillate the palates of those who sample the Big M's betting menu this Friday. A week ago, the Early 20-cent Pick-5 had a carryover heading into Saturday's card, and after $151,228 in "new money" was poured into the pot, the total wager was just over $188,000. Those who correctly selected five winners (there was a 6-5 shot and a 4-5 during the sequence) cashed in for $271.46. The 20-cent Pick-6 saw almost $14,000 in new action, which ran the total pool to $20,760. Players with winning tickets were singing the praises of trainer-driver Eric Abbatiello, whose superb handling with Like Clockwork led to a score at odds of 20-1 in the anchor leg (race eight). The payoff was $6,222.48. This Friday, bettors will shoot first for the Late 20-cent Pick-5 (races nine through 13), which has a carryover of $21,811, before getting a rare opportunity by betting into a Late 50-cent Pick-4 with a carryover, which stands at $38,390. Friday will mark the first time in 2020 that a Pick-4 (races 10 through 13) has had a carryover, thus, it is likely that this will be the biggest pool of the year. On Meadowlands Pace Night (July 18), a total of $191,288 was pushed through the P4 windows for the high-water mark of 2020. "Carryovers create added interest in our already popular multi-leg bets, which always offer a low 15 percent takeout," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "At The Meadowlands, our fans can always shoot for a big score, and with low-minimum base wagers, players can bet a little and win a lot." SUPER SEPTEMBER: From management to patrons, all who follow Big M racing with interest are grateful to Gov. Phil Murphy and the members of the New Jersey legislature, whose efforts to see racing get the money it needs to flourish have shown results. Last weekend, handle was over $5 million. The last time racing was offered in September - 2017 - handle was $3.4 million over the two race cards. Saturday's total wager of $2.7 million was up over a million dollars as compared to the Saturday three years prior. TODD SCORES FOUR: It took driver Todd McCarthy, 27, one night to stamp himself as a player in the Big M driver colony. The younger brother of standout pilot Andy McCarthy won four races - his first four career wins at the mile oval - on Saturday night's card. For complete details of his big night, click on http://playmeadowlands.com/News.aspx?id=20716. BET LITTLE, WIN BIG: "Racing from the Meadowlands" TV personality Dave Little had a memorable Saturday night - as did those who followed his picks - by turning three dimes into one big dime. The former longtime handicapper and columnist at the New York Daily News gave out both the Early 20-cent Pick-5 as well as the Early 10-cent Pentafecta. The Pick-5 returned $271.46, but since Little had both 6-1 shots who deadheated in the third race, he and his followers had two winning tickets on his $24 bet. The 10-cent Pentafecta, in which Little used three horses in the win position then one more in positions two through five (3x4x5x6x7), proved that a small investment ($24.30) can end in a big payout ($580.70). In the end, betting $48.30 with Little ended up in a big $1,123.62 windfall. Until, of course, Little failed to hit either of his Pick-4 plays or Little's Late Double! "You're only as good as the last ticket you give out," lamented Little. The sampling is small, but the average payouts at the Fall Meeting have been impressive. The Pentafecta's average payoff is $565, the Pick-5's is $892 and the 20-cent Pick-6 checks in at $4,175. You can always find Little's plays, as well as those of Dave Brower, Ken Warkentin and Jessica Otten on Twitter at #playbigm. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where one can access races nine through 13 for both the Friday and Saturday programs. Those races include the 20-cent Late Pick-5, 50-cent Late Pick-4 and 10-cent Late Pentafecta, not to mention the Late Daily Double. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and 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 playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. For Friday's card, click on this link: http://playmeadowlands.com/RaceReviews.aspx?racedt=9/18/2020. 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: The Big M's "Racing from The Meadowlands" pre-game show can always be seen on race nights live. On Friday, join the usual team of Brower and Little sitting on the set - socially distanced, of course - giving out Big M news and notes, as well as both Pick-4s during the evening. Saturday will find Little hosting with Otten in the co-host's chair. The show kicks off nightly at 6:42 p.m. with a hello from Warkentin, who provides the night's program changes. For those looking for access to the show, as well as the live racing, all they need to do is go to rtn.tv, so that they can access all the action on the Roberts Television Network. ALL THIS....AND SPORTS BETTING, TOO: The Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook is the place to get all of your MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, PGA and NFL action, every day from 10 a.m.-midnight. From The Meadowlands    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarthy, McCarthy! No, not Andy of Hambletonian fame, but little brother Todd, who stole the show at The Meadowlands Saturday night. The recent Australian invader won four times on the 13-race card to record his first harness racing victories at the mile oval. There figure to be many more to come. McCarthy, 27, arrived from Down Under at the end of August and has made an immediate impact racing in the States, winning 11 times from 87 starts entering action Saturday. "Australia was good to me. It's been great for years," said McCarthy. "I was the top driver at Menangle Racetrack in Sydney for the last five years. The timing was tricky [to come to the States] the way things are in the world right now, but it was a good time to come over and give it a go. The racing here is definitely faster and a little more aggressive, but so far it's been great and I'm really enjoying it." So did those who bet him Saturday night. McCarthy got the ball rolling in the third race, finishing first in a dead heat. Guiding A Major Omen, he managed to catch Griffon Hanover at the wire to record his first career Big M win in 1:52.2 in a low-end conditioned pace, paying $7.20 to win. Both horses went off at odds of 6-1. Somebodyitreasure and McCarthy hooked up to destroy their foes in a non-winners of two pace by 5¾ lengths in 1:49.4 as the 6-5 favorite in race four before Flyingevenbettor N gave McCarthy his third win of the night in the sixth race non-winners of four pace in 1:51.2 as the 1-2 public choice. Completing McCarthy's grand slam was 7-1 chance The Bettormack N, who got the better of 3-5 favorite Ocean Colony nearing the finish of race seven. The time for the mile in the mid-range conditioned pace was 1:50. "I've had a good night," the understated McCarthy said. "With a lot of help from some good horses and some good trainers. I've been a lot busier than I thought I'd have been. I think for anyone in the harness racing industry, you look at America, The Meadowlands is the pinnacle. To crack one tonight and then to get a few more after that, it was pretty awesome." Big brother Andy has been in his corner. "Andy's been a key factor in throwing a lot of work my way," said Todd. "The fact that he's been away [racing in Canada] has been a help. He's told some of the trainers, 'I'm away, you can throw my brother down on something'." McCarthy said he plans to race at Philadelphia, Pocono Downs and The Meadowlands in the coming months. "I've enjoyed every track I've raced at," said McCarthy. It shows. BOMBS AWAY! Driver Pat Berry, aka "The Blueberry Bomber", was up to his old tricks again, guiding three winners on the card, none close to being the post-time public choice. Berry scored with Always The Sun ($15.20 to win) in the first race and Imageofarocker ($12.00) in the fifth before saving his best for last, winning with 33-1 shot Harambe Deo ($68.40) in the 10th. On March 7, the last night of racing before the coronavirus shutdown, Berry swept the late double that paid $2,700.40 with horses who went off at 47-1 and 27-1. A LITTLE MORE: With a carryover of $37,159 serving as the catalyst, Early 20-cent Pick-5 players got to shoot for a total pool of $188,387. Those correctly selecting five winners cashed in for $271.46. ... With Harambe Deo providing the big upset, neither the Late 50-cent Pick-4 nor the Late 20-cent Pick-5 were hit. When racing resumes, the Late Pick-4 will have a carryover of $38,390 while the Late Pick-5 will start out with $21,811 in the hat. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,744,326. ... The Big M's next live racing program is Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing fans of The Meadowlands' multi-leg wagers will no doubt be betting with both hands Saturday (Sept. 12) night, as after Friday night's Early 20-cent Pick-5 and 20-cent Pick-6 failed to result in winning tickets, each will offer big guaranteed pools. Thirty-two to one longshot Lear Seelster won the first race at the mile oval Friday night, leading to an Early 20-cent Pick-5 that did not have a ticket with five winners. Those with four correct cashed in for $108.22. Those who play the wager Saturday evening will have a shot at a huge score, as a carryover of $37,158 led Big M management to guarantee the pool at $100,000. Bettors can expect a final pool much larger than that as the last time a Pick-5 had a carryover on July 31, a total of $382,726 was pushed through the windows. The Pick-6's payoff leg was taken by 9-1 chance Stonebridge Reef, resulting in a carryover of $6,810. The track has guaranteed that pool at $20,000 for Saturday's card. Those who had five winners Friday walked away with $71.94. The last Pick-6 carryover (also on July 31) resulted in a total pool of $74,489. Free past performances for both Saturday's Early 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 1 through 5) and 20-cent Pick-6 (Races 3 through 8) are available at The Big M's website, playmeadowlands.com. FOUR SCORES FOR MILLER: Driver David Miller had the hot hand on the Friday program, visiting the winner's circle four times. Before the betting card began, Miller guided Reign Of Honor to victory lane in the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for trotting 4-year-old horses and geldings in 1:55.1. Then it was Miller time for the bettors. "The Buckeye", who is fifth on the all-time driver dash-win list with 13,037 victories, got his night started with the classy Dayson ($2.60 to win), who scored in 1:54 in a mid-range conditioned trot in race seven. He then scored one race later with 9-1 shot Stonebridge Reef ($21.00) in 1:54 in a 2-year-old non-winners of two pace before capping his night with a natural hat trick in the ninth behind The Last Chapter ($15.20), who took an upper mid-range conditioned trot in 1:53.4. A LITTLE MORE: The new 10-cent Pentafecta is worth a long look for players. Despite even-money favorite Lifetime Royalty scoring in the 13th race, the bet requiring one to correctly select the top five finishers paid $371.33. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,359,729. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With Labor Day now in the rear-view mirror, sweaters and jackets will begin to make their way out of closets everywhere, which means The Meadowlands Fall Meeting shifts into high gear this weekend with harness racing being conducted on both Friday (Sept. 11) and Saturday (Sept. 12) at the mile oval for the first time since the first week of August. Post time is 7:15 p.m. for both programs. The Meadowlands will race every Friday and Saturday - except for Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 - through the end of 2020. The big track just off the New Jersey Turnpike saw total wagering of almost $2.6 million on Opening Night last Saturday (Sept. 5), and that number may increase twice over the upcoming weekend, now that all Big M fans should be aware that the track is back. The betting was significant, given the history of September wagering at the track, where an average of $1.8 million was pushed through the windows over the course of four programs in 2016, and $1.6 million was bet in 2017 for the same number of cards. The last two times racing occurred in September was 2016-17. Optimistic breeders in the Garden State - as well as optimistic bettors - will no doubt point to the help that Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature have provided the industry as playing a part in the highly favorable September handle comparison. The highest Meadowlands Pace Night handle since 2008, highest Hambletonian Final handle since 2012 and a record-breaking Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park further prove that those in power in Trenton are behind the racing industry. There is plenty to look forward to this weekend for the player. Of the 26 races scheduled to take place this Friday and Saturday, 25 of them will have 10-horse fields, which create the big pools that bettors love. Value is always available at The Big M, where only three winning favorites scored last Saturday, setting up some prolific payouts since the average win price was $11.40 (odds of 9-2). Low takeouts and low minimums mean bettors can bet small and hit big. Some of the Saturday night highlights included the payouts for the 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($1,428), 20-cent Late Pick-5 ($1,968) and 20-cent Pick-6 ($2,128). On a nightly basis, the track now offers seven popular wagers with low 15 percent takeouts: Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 3: 20-cent Pick-6 Race 5: 10-cent Pentafecta Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 9: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 13: 10-cent Pentafecta FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where one can access Races 9 through 13 for both the Friday and Saturday programs. Those races include the 20-cent Late Pick-5, 50-cent Late Pick-4 and 10-cent Late Pentafecta, not to mention the Late Daily Double. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) 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 playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on this link to check out Friday's card: http://playmeadowlands.com/RaceReviews.aspx?racedt=9/11/2020 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: The Big M's live "Racing from The Meadowlands" pre-game show can always be seen on race nights at 6:45 p.m. On Friday, join Brower and Otten as they give in-depth analysis of the night's featured action, as well as news and notes from the world of harness racing. Saturday will find the usual team of Brower and Little sitting on the set - socially distanced, of course. For those looking for access to the show, all they need do is go to rtn.tv, so that they can access all the action on the Roberts Television Network. From The Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Over the past two years, Highalator has impressed time and again at The Meadowlands, and Saturday night at the mile oval, he brought his ‘A’ game once again in defeating a talented harness racing field in the featured $18,500 high-end conditioned pace. Unlike his Big M score on June 6 at odds of 42-1 from post 10 from off the pace, driver Ricky Still had the 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher on the go early from post 8, following 6-5 favorite Angers Bayama around the first turn. Angers Bayama – seeking his fourth straight win – led at the quarter in :26.2, but Highalator surged to the top shortly thereafter, securing the lead at the three-eighths before being permitted to rate the half in :54.4. Donttellmeagain was now on the move as Tim Tetrick asked that one for pace, and the pair made up ground racing on the rim down the backside and around the far turn, and were just off the leader’s flank at the head of the stretch. But just as he did while sweeping the 2019 Golden Receiver Series at The Big M, Highalator found more. Through the stretch, Highalator had to contend with a pesky Donttellmeagain to his outside and Angers Bayama to his inside. But Highalator was up to the task, fending off that two-pronged attack to score by a safe head after pacing his final quarter in :26.4. Angers Bayama finished second with Donttellmeagain third. The Jenny Bier trainee, who paid $11.00 to win as the third choice, stopped the clock in 1:49 and now has 36 wins from 80 lifetime starts for owners Jenny Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. His earnings are now just shy of $600,000. A LITTLE MORE: Hambletonian champion Ramona Hill qualified Saturday morning, winning from off the pace in 1:53.1. … The program marked the start of The Big M’s new 10-cent Pentafectas. The fifth race combination of 9-3-4-10-1 was good for a payoff of $689.34, while the 13th race paid $132.07 for a ticket bearing the combination 3-8-5-2-4. The second and third choices finished in the top two in both races. … Wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,594,313. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It may have only been four weeks since Ramona Hill beat the boys in a thrilling Hambletonian where wagering soared to heights not seen in some time, but for impatient Meadowlands fans, the wait for harness racing to return to the top track in the game is finally over, as live action at the mile oval resumes Saturday (Sept. 5) at 7:15 p.m. Given the "new normal" that is life in the COVID-19 era, Saturday will not only mark the return of live racing, but simulcast fans will get a huge bonus as they'll be able to watch and wager on thoroughbred racing's biggest event, The Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs, which has a post time of 7:01 p.m. Normally, The Derby would have been contested on the first Saturday in May. Fans interested in finding out about limited attendance capacities, COVID protocols, seating and dining options at the Meadowlands Saturday should click on this link: Hambletonian Day business saw handle exceed the $5-million mark ($5.7M) for the second time in 2020, while betting on the Hambletonian itself totaled $845,469, the highest number since 2012. The July 18 Meadowlands Pace was the centerpiece of the other $5-million handle, reaching that lofty plateau for the first time on Pace Night since 2008. Betting throughout the Summer Championship Meet (June 5 through August 8) was vigorous, as average nightly handle rose 10 percent as compared to 2019 at $3,172,554. Handle per race increased eight percent to $232,421, and total wagering was $63.4 million, up more than $9 million. "The Meadowlands wishes to thank our faithful fans for their incredible support throughout this tumultuous year," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Now, as we move forward with our Fall Meeting, we know that our new expanded low-takeout wagering menu will offer horseplayers a plethora of not only low-takeout options, but bets that offer low-minimums as well, from start to finish on every Meadowlands program." What's new on the betting menu are the Late Pick-5 and 10-cent High-Five, which brings to seven the total number of wagers on a given night that sport low 15 percent takeouts. That means that players can play "bookend" 20-cent Pick-5s, one on the first five races on the program and the second on the last five. The 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five has been eliminated and been replaced with a traditional, non-jackpot version, which means that multiple winners - instead of just one - can cash in. The minimum bet has been lowered from 20 cents to 10 and the wagers will be offered on the fifth and 13th races nightly. Here is what bettors are sure to find a very tasty menu of low-takeout wagers, effective Saturday night: Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 3: 20-cent Pick-6 Race 5: 10-cent High-Five Race 6: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 9: 20-cent Pick-5 Race 10: 50-cent Pick-4 Race 13: 10-cent High-Five WANT TO BET THE DERBY "ON THE GO"? The Meadowlands will offer Kentucky Derby wagering on both Friday and Saturday for those who need the convenience of a walk-up window given the track's reduced capacity. There will be a betting window in Lot M off Berry's Creek Road. Tellers will take action from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Programs will be available for sale for not only the Derby and Meadowlands races, but for simulcast action as well. DON'T MISS THE SHOW: Big M fans will be able to catch the Derby and then the show. The live simulcast "Racing from the Meadowlands" in-house pre-game show will begin immediately after the conclusion of the Kentucky Derby. THE SCHEDULE: Starting Sept. 11, racing will be conducted through the end of 2020 on Fridays and Saturdays - except for Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 - with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m. MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The next can't-miss night at The Big M is Saturday, Nov. 21, when better than $2.8 million in purses will be up for grabs on "Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night" as the Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory, Governor's Cup and all four TVG Finals highlight a spectacular card. From the Meadowlands  

The Meadowlands Racetrack still has limited seating and dining available for this Saturday, September 5th. Doors open at 9am with the first race at Churchill Downs off at 11 am. The Kentucky Derby post is scheduled for 6:50pm with live harness racing at 7:15pm. Due to limited attendance capacities and COVID protocols, onsite attendance is limited to the following: Cafe seating Backyard BBQ & Grill seating East Deck dining West Deck dining (begins at 5:30pm) three hundred pre-paid general admission tickets Cafe picnic tables are available and guarantee the guest seating for both simulcasting and live racing. The Cafe will have waitress service and be tented for guest comfort. Guests can dine on racetrack staples including chicken wings and French fries, cheese steaks, burgers, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream and more. Reservations must be pre-paid and are $100 per table. Each table seats up to four people. The $100 is also a food credit that can be used at the outdoor Cafe on Kentucky Derby Day. The credit is valid on Saturday, September 5th only. Backyard seating is also available for Derby Day. The Backyard BBQ & Grill opens at 11 am and will have waitress service. Guests can dine on delicious summer-time grilled fare including burgers, sausage and hot dog along with brisket, ribs and mac & cheese. Backyard reservations must be pre-paid and are $25 per person. The $25 is also a food credit that can be used at the Backyard BBQ & Grill and Backyard Bar. Reservations for Backyard dining can be made by emailing Jennifer Jordan at jjordan@arkrestaurants.com. Please include your phone number in the email. All Backyard diners should enter via the Backyard entrance. Three East Deck high top dining tables remain available. The East Deck has waitress service and is covered for guest comfort. Guests can dine on great BBQ from the Backyard BBQ & Grill. Reservations must be pre-paid and are $100 per table. Each table seats up to four people. The $100 is also a food credit that can be used at the Backyard Grill on Kentucky Derby Day. The credit is valid on Saturday, September 5th only. The West Deck has a $29.95 pre fixe dinner menu featuring a variety of cold salads. Grilled items along with a selection of pre-packaged desserts are also be available. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. Seating begins at 5:30pm. Guests not interested in dining can purchase an admission only ticket for $10. It guarantees track entrance through the Simulcast Entrance from 9 am - 7pm. If tickets remain a limited number cash walk-ups may be taken at the Simulcast Entrance. Guests must make dining reservations for track admittance and guaranteed seating. All must wear face coverings while not at their table, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All are also encouraged to download and fill out the required the health questionnaire (available here) to speed up the check-in process. There is no valet parking available. To purchase tickets visit PlayMeadowlands.com/Derby by Rachel Ryan, for The Meadowlands

Columbus, OH – “It’s a disaster for the harness racing industry and would be catastrophic, no two ways about it. It would cost thousands of jobs and be devastating for breeders,” said Meadowlands Owner Jeff Gural regarding the announcement that NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget proposal includes that elimination of the $20 million purse subsidy for horse racing. Gural emphasized that it’s critical that NJ horse racing stakeholders contact their legislators before the budget is approved. “Everyone in our industry needs to reach out to their local legislators,” urged Gural. “The budget won’t be finalized until the end of September.  We have a month to convince the governor and legislators not to eliminate the subsidy.” To contact your local NJ legislators, click here, enter your municipality and send an email to each one. To call your representatives in the NJ Senate and Assembly, click here and select your district for phone numbers. In Wednesday’s (Aug. 26) njonlinegambling.com story, John Brennan reported that among NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget proposal cuts to try to counteract the loss of revenue due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic “is a $20 million cut from an annual horse racing purse subsidy that was signed into law in February 2019. That money was to be split each year equally between the Thoroughbred horsemen at Monmouth Park and the harness racing communities of Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway. “The subsidy is a mere fraction of the hundreds of millions in slot machine revenue subsidies allocated to racetracks in New York and Pennsylvania, but it has helped the bottom line of all three tracks in both 2019 and 2020,” wrote Brennan. In addition, AJ Sabath, President/CEO of the Advocacy & Management Group, which serves as a government affairs advisor to the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, issued the following statement: “Yesterday (Aug. 25), the Governor proposed what he wanted the budget to look like from his vantage point. I want to reassure you that this is only the beginning of the budget process. The budget is now in the hands of the Legislature. Between now and the September 30th budget deadline, the Legislature will be negotiating their own budget with the Governor. Legislative leaders have their own budget priorities with the power to add and remove what is in the final budget. “This is not the time to be discouraged that the $20 million for purse appropriation was not in the proposed budget. We need to keep advocating for our industry. The foundation of our years of advocacy has made it clear to policy makers that our industry is part of the fabric of what makes New Jersey the state it is in the Union.” To read the complete njonlinegambling.com story, click here. from the USTA Communications Department

As would be expected, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s $32.4 billion budget proposal announced on Tuesday includes countless spending cuts to try to counteract the loss of revenue due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a cut of a $71.3 million state subsidy toward New Jersey Transit, along with many trims in the $5 million to $25 million range. Among those is a $20 million cut from an annual horse racing purse subsidy that was signed into law in February 2019. That money was to be split each year equally between the thoroughbred horsemen at Monmouth Park and the harness racing communities of Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway. The subsidy is a mere fraction of the hundreds of millions in slot machine revenue subsidies allocated to racetracks in New York and Pennsylvania, but it has helped the bottom line of all three tracks in both 2019 and 2020. But what’s next? “I think it’s premature to comment, really,” Dennis Drazin, who operates Monmouth Park for the state’s thoroughbred horsemen, told njonlinegambling.com Wednesday.   “What this means is that we will have to continue to press for it to continue,” Drazin added. Still time for a budget revise The budget will not be finalized until the end of September, and no doubt there will be many negotiations in the form of — well, horse trading — in the virtual version of the Trenton statehouse in the weeks to come.   The compromise reached when the bill originally was passed was for five years and $100 million to the industry, but only via an annual review in which the horsemen would need to provide tangible proof that the subsidy was having a beneficial effect.   The racetracks indeed had improved bottom lines before the pandemic hit, with larger purses leading to larger race fields — which led to increased “handle,” or amount wagered. The 2020 subsidy already has been paid, so there is no immediate impact on the state’s horse racing industry.   The subsidy bill and then law did not appear as part of a preliminary Gov. Murphy budget, nor was it part of the final budget passed in mid-2019. So if conditions improve by next spring, it’s possible the subsidy plan could be revived.   The current law sends the $10 million to the harness racing, or standardbred, side in differing increments.   The Meadowlands purses claim $6 million, another $1.6 million goes to Freehold purses, and there is also $1.2 million to New Jersey Sire Stakes purses and $600,000 each to purse bonuses for New Jersey-sired horses and for breeders award purses. Freehold resumes its harness racing schedule this weekend, after having been off since early March — about half of which was previously scheduled as dormant anyway. The track will now feature races — so far, with limited attendance — until the end of the year. The Meadowlands schedule peaked with The Hambletonian card on Aug. 8, with a three-week break ending on Sept. 5, which also happens to the the amended date for the Kentucky Derby. That track also will continue on weekends for the rest of 2020. Monmouth Park is continuing to offer races on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until its season concludes on Sept. 27. Horsemen to get paid in spite of drug lab’s tardiness The state Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association was given the green light Monday to guarantee $7 million in purse money earned at Monmouth Park races this summer, but which has been delayed by a state-approved laboratory’s failure to return drug testing results for horses that raced as long as six weeks ago. The same lab had similar issues last summer, creating uncertainty in the minds of bettors over which horses were clean. By John Brennan Reprinted with permission of NJ Online Gambling

East Rutherford, NJ - On Saturday, September 5th (Kenucky Derby Simulcast Day) as an added convenience for our harness racing wagering public due to reduced racetrack capacity, the Meadowlands Racetrack will offer a walk-up Teller window in Lot M off of Berry's Creek Road. Tellers will be available for wagering from 10 am through 7:00 pm. Limited hours will also be available on Friday, September 4th. Programs will be available for sale along with past performances for the Kentucky Derby. For Derby Day details including dining options visit PlayMeadowlands.com Meadowlands Media Relations

Hightstown, NJ — The moments following Ramona Hill’s win in the Hambletonian Stakes were unlike any Andy McCarthy ever experienced as a driver. “The feeling I got when I crossed the wire, I’ve never had that before, that amount of joy and emotion,” McCarthy said. “I don’t want to compare it to my kids being born, because that’s a completely different thing, but it was definitely emotional. Heading back to the winner’s circle, I’ve never felt anything like it in my life on the racetrack. Embracing the moment, just the feeling of joy, it’s unbelievable.” McCarthy and Ramona Hill captured the 95th edition of the Hambletonian this past Saturday at The Meadowlands. The duo won the $1 million event by one length over Ready For Moni in a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.1 for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert LeBlanc, and In The Gym Partners. Ramona Hill, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Lock Down Lindy bred by Crawford Farms, became the 15th filly to win harness racing’s top race for 3-year-old trotters. The Hambletonian was McCarthy’s fifth win of the day on the stakes-filled Big M card. He won four of the afternoon’s first six races, including the Shady Daisy with Reflect With Me and the Jim Doherty Memorial with Darlene Hanover, and the fast start was beneficial. “It’s good to get some good vibes going for the day,” McCarthy said. “Confidence has such a main role in how you drive, I think. When the ball’s rolling and things are going good, you feel like you can do nothing wrong. For me, anyway, confidence is definitely a major player in how I do.” McCarthy’s biggest challenge was finding a way to enjoy the wins without getting too pumped up along the way. “You want to celebrate, and you want to feel that emotion, but you also don’t want to carry that over to the next drive,” he said. “You want to stay focused and you’ve still got work to do. I like to be confident but calm at the same time. I don’t want to be carrying too much emotion with me, just really stay focused on the job at hand. There are a million things that can go wrong in a race and you have to be super focused and aware of these things.” A native of Australia, the 34-year-old McCarthy has raced regularly in North America since 2007. He has seen his purse earnings increase annually since the start of 2013, reaching a career-best $7.67 million last year, when he ranked ninth among drivers in North America. In 2019, McCarthy became the eighth driver in history to win at least four Breeders Crown finals in a year. He became the first to accomplish the feat without driving a favorite. Last year, he also made his first appearance in a Hambletonian final, finishing seventh with Pilot Discretion. This year with Ramona Hill, he was fourth after a quarter mile, moved to the front on the backstretch, and cruised to victory. Her time equaled the stakes mark set by her sire Muscle Hill in 2009. “In my mind, I had the best horse in the race,” McCarthy said. “I just wanted to be safe through the first turn. Once I got through the first turn, I thought I could win the race however it went down.” McCarthy followed the Hambletonian while growing up in Australia but became more focused on the race after arriving in the U.S. to compete. He is the 28th different driver to win the Hambletonian in the 40 years it has called The Meadowlands home. “When I was a teenager, I started following the American racing more,” McCarthy said. “Back then, it was kind of pre-social media days, so it was kind of hard to keep up with it. I always liked American racing and I loved the Hambo. As far as thinking I could win it one day, that was a different story. “Once I got over here and went to the Hambo every year and watched it, it’s become the race. It’s the race you want to win, for sure. I’m just very lucky and privileged to be able to do that.” by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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