Day At The Track

Blockbuster $2.8 million card at Big M

05:02 AM 22 Nov 2019 NZDT
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The final true monster card on harness racing's 2019 calendar takes place Saturday (Nov. 23) night, when just over $2.8 million in purses will be up for grabs in eight stakes events on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night at the Meadowlands.

Seven of the horses in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll will be in action. In three events, two of those horses will go head-to-head.

The 6-year-old super mare Shartin N (No. 1 in the poll), the presumptive leader in the Horse of the Year race, will take on the top 3-year-old filly in training, Warrawee Ubeaut (No. 4), in the $175,000 TVG Mares Pace. A win by Shartin N puts her on the inside track for the HOTY hardware, a loss could put that award up for grabs.

Bettor's Wish (No. 2) is another 3-year-old who will take on older foes, as he'll tackle defending Horse of the Year McWicked (No. 10) in the $350,000 TVG Open Pace. Bettor's Wish is off an impressive score in the Matron in 1:49.2 and is harness racing's high money-earner this year, with a bankroll of just over $1.5 million. A TVG win would undoubtedly help his Horse of the Year cause, but he would have to beat the standout who sealed up last year's HOTY trophy (McWicked) in the very same event last November.

The final matchup of Top 10 horses comes when the sport's hottest horse, the great mare Manchego (No. 5), a winner of six in a row, takes on the boys in the $350,000 TVG Open Trot. Standing in her way will be double New York Sire Stakes and double Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee (No. 6), who has banked $1.1 million in 2019.

Atlanta (No. 8) is the other Top 10 member who will be on the card. She'll be a short price in the $175,000 TVG Mares Trot off an easy win in a prep at the Big M in 1:52.2. One of the great trotting mares of all time - Atlanta's Ron Burke stablemate Hannelore Hanover - a lifetime earner of more than $3 million, will also be behind the gate making the final start of her stellar career.

The four TVG events are just half the story. The Fall Final Four races - all for 2-year-olds with divisional honor impact - include the $401,850 Governor's Cup for pacing colts and geldings (where Papi Rob Hanover is the 3-5 early favorite); $505,050 Valley Victory for trotting colts and geldings (Breeders Crown winner Amigo Volo is 8-5); $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for trotting fillies (Senorita Rita is 2-1); and $411,00 Three Diamonds for pacing fillies (Lyons Sentinel is 2-1).

EARLY START, BIG ACTION: The Saturday night program, which will have an earlier-than-usual first race post time of 7 p.m., features an enhanced wagering menu. It will include:

20-cent Survivor Pick-6 (Races 1-6)

$40,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-5 (Races 3-7)

$75,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-4 (Races 8-11)

Rolling Pick-3s

GETTING IT DUNN: Driver Dexter Dunn's star continues to rise, as the regular pilot for horses such as Manchego and Bettor's Wish has been red hot during November at the Meadowlands, winning 17-of-60 drives, good for a gaudy win percentage of 28.

Yannick Gingras and Tim Tetrick have more than earned their keep as well, as both have nine victories through the first three weeks of the month with still four November race cards remaining.

TOYS FOR TOTS: Come on out to the track on Monday, Dec. 2 and bring an unwrapped toy for a child at Harlem Grown. Not only will you help a youngster have a happy holiday, but you will also get to greet New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa - the honorary Captain of the 2019 Toys for Tots Campaign - as the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Annual Holiday Toy Drive Reception takes place at the Meadowlands.

FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will host the event, where some of Enunwa's Jets teammates are expected to attend.

For those who cannot make it but would like to help, they can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the track between now and the night of the event.

FANDUEL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: With Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28) just a week away, here is the holiday operating schedule for the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook:

Thanksgiving Day: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

New Year's Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

New Year's Day: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.

For more information, go to

GIVING OUT THANKS: "On behalf of Jeff Gural and I, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our employees, horsemen and officials for all they do to help us maintain a great racing product. I would also like to wish our faithful fans a joyous Thanksgiving holiday. This is a time for family and friends, and I sincerely hope everybody gets to spend some quality time with the special people in their lives," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir.

From the Meadowlands Media Department



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