BIG M OVERCOMES COVID, AVERAGES $3 MILLION IN HANDLE
Thursday, December 16, 2021
It was June of last year when The Meadowlands reopened after a three-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And when it did, there was little certainty.
“We opened with no fans on site and had no idea how our product would be received by a betting public that had been through so much,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “But as we move into the 2021 holiday season, New Jersey and The Meadowlands are standing tall. Breeding is up big time and handle is approaching $270 million for the 2021 racing season, a standard of excellence that has been made possible with the help of Gov. [Phil] Murphy and the New Jersey State Legislature.”
Obviously, The Big M’s loyal following has played a huge part.
“We could not have had the type of year that we’ve had without the loyal horseplayers around the world throwing their support behind The Meadowlands product,” said Settlemoir.
During 2021, nightly average handle on Meadowlands live races is over $3 million. “The only nighttime track of any breed to reach that figure,” said Settlemoir. “And with three nights of live racing remaining this year, it is very likely that our total handle will show an increase of over $100 million as compared to 2018. That season immediately preceded the Governor signing the bill in February of 2019 that cleared the way for a state appropriation earmarked to help the harness racing industry in the State of New Jersey.
“The 2018 season saw an average nightly handle of just over $2 million a night, so it’s easy for everyone to see the amazing progress we have made in New Jersey. The average handle is up $1 million a night.”
PICK-6 CARRYOVER: There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6 Saturday (Dec. 11) night, creating a carryover of $7,654 when racing returns Friday.
Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to pleaymeadowlands.com.
OTTEN HONORED: The Big M’s Jessica Otten, usually seen on live race nights doing back paddock interviews, has been named the United States Harness Writers Association’s Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award winner, which honors non-trainer/drivers in the under-30 age bracket.
The track’s Marketing Coordinator, Otten’s face has been seen the most of any harness personality on national television harness broadcasts during 2021. She has been seen on the scene on Meadowlands Pace Night, Hambletonian Day and Breeders Crown Night.
In addition to her interviews, she also appears on the track’s live simulcast presentation, which includes analysis and handicapping, and also serves as host of most of the track’s most popular promotions.
JUST THREE PROGRAMS LEFT: There are three live programs remaining in 2021 at The Meadowlands.
Live racing will take place on Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 18.
Then, there will be no live racing on Friday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 25.
The final live card of the year will be conducted on Friday, Dec. 31, with a fireworks display on tap at the conclusion of the program.
All cards kick off at the usual 6:20 p.m.
There will be no live racing on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.
$100,000 GUARANTEED: The Meadowlands’ popular 50-cent Pick-4, which is offered twice nightly, offers players a big promise that a big score could be forthcoming.
On each of the Pick-4s, which are offered on races six through nine and 10 through 13, there is a guaranteed pool of $50,000.
LOW TAKEOUT, HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Plenty of The Meadowlands’ popular wagers that sport a low 15 per cent takeout are available on a nightly basis. They are:
- Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
- Race 3: 20-cent Survivor Pick-7
- Race 6: 50-cent Early Pick-4
- Race 8: 20-cent Pick-6
- Race 10: 50-cent Late Pick-4
- Race 14: 10-cent Pentafecta/Hi-5
GET SOCIAL: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on Twitter. You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.
On race nights, stay in touch with Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades (@ShadesOnRacing) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).
COME OUT AND PLAY: It’s always best when watching and wagering on the action at The Meadowlands to come out and be there in person, but for those who either live too far away or can’t make it out to the races for any reason, they can still experience the best harness racing in the world several ways.
An affordable way to view not only the action at The Big M, but virtually all harness and Thoroughbred tracks, is to get a subscription to the Roberts Television Network. For more information, go to rtn.tv.
There are a handful of Advance-Deposit Wagering spots where one can wager on Meadowlands races. One such sight where you can make bets and watch the action live is the Television Games Network. For more information, go to tvg.com.
QUINCY RECEIVES…AND GIVES: Former New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa hosted a U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Holiday toy drive on Friday (Dec. 10) at The Meadowlands and a good time was had by all, especially those who brought a new unwrapped toy, which got them a meet and greet with Enunwa.
The toy drive benefitted children at Harlem Grown – a charitable organization in Harlem whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.
PLENTY OF ACTION IN “THE BOOK”: The FanDuel Sportsbook, located inside the grandstand inside The Meadowlands, is the place to go for all your football action.
On Thursday (Dec. 16) night in the NFL, the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers at 8:20 p.m. The Chiefs are a 3-point favorite and are -172 on the money line. The under/over is 52½.
The College Football Playoff takes place on Friday, Dec. 31, with a pair of games to determine who will play for the National Championship.
In the first game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m., top-ranked Alabama is a 14-point favorite over Cincinnati. The over/under is 58.
At 7:30 p.m., Georgia is an 8½-point favorite over Michigan in a game that has an under/over of 44½.
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: There will be no simulcasting offered at The Meadowlands on Dec. 24, 25 and 26.
The hours for the FanDuel Sportsbook are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-12 a.m. but be aware, for the Christmas holiday, the book will be open on Dec. 24 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and closed on Dec. 25.