East Rutherford, NJ — Live racing at The Meadowlands expands to three race cards a week with the addition of Thursdays during the month of December, and the Big M will have some new blood providing the play-by-play.
Let’s be clear, the voice of the Meadowlands, Ken Warkentin, isn’t going anywhere, but four different voices will be heard on each of the Thursday programs during December when those race callers will ‘Borrow Ken’s Binoculars’ as Warkentin takes his act downstairs to work on the ‘Racing from the Meadowlands’ live and recap productions before returning to his regular gig as track announcer on Fridays and Saturdays.
First up this Thursday night (Dec. 6) will be a fan favorite, Larry Lederman. The former long-time voice of Freehold Raceway, Lederman has also called the action at Garden State Park and Atlantic City Race Course as well as other tracks during his career.
On Dec. 13, Jason Settlemoir will be in the booth. The Big M’s chief operating officer and general manager, who, when 12-years-old called his first race in his native Ohio, is Roger Huston’s assistant announcer at the Little Brown Jug and serves as the Big M emergency caller anytime Warkentin hits Turnpike traffic when making his way North from Freehold.
Peter Kleinhans will be next on Dec. 20. He is a horse owner, trainer, amateur driver and occasional television personality. His resume includes stints as the race caller at the now-defunct Lakeshore Meadows, as well as Hoosier Park, Chester Downs (now Harrah’s Philadelphia) and Red Mile.
‘Racing from the Meadowlands’ primary co-host Dave Little, who is the Grand Circuit week announcer at Goshen Historic Track and calls the action at the Orleans County Fair (Barton, Vt.), will complete the four-Thursday guest announcer run on Dec. 27.
During December, racing will be conducted on a Thursday through Saturday basis with the usual 7:15 p.m. first-race post time. Big M fans need to be aware that there will be no live racing on Saturday (Dec. 15), when the New York Jets host the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium.
Bet TNF At The Big M: This Thursday evening (Dec. 6), the Tennessee Titans will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football. Catch all of the action — and get your action — at the Big M’s FanDuel Sportsbook, which is open seven days a week. Kickoff is 8:20 p.m.
Pick-4, Win More: Last Saturday (Dec. 1), Big M fans bet $98,453 into the track’s popular 50-cent Pick-4 pool, coming just $1,547 short of a second straight six-figure Saturday night Pick-4 pool.
The wager has a low 15 percent takeout and sports a guaranteed pool of $35,000 on Thursdays and $50,000 on Fridays and Saturdays. Free program pages are always available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com.
Good Things Come In Threes: Three drivers tallied three victories over the course of last weekend’s racing (Nov. 30-Dec. 1): Mike Merton, Corey Callahan and Big M dash-leader Andy McCarthy.
Trainer Patti Harmon also had three that visited the winner’s circle over the two race cards.
Catching The Holiday Spirit: New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was at the Meadowlands on Monday (Dec. 3) greeting fans for a good cause.
Enunwa and the Big M hosted a massive Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection drive, meaning hundreds of area children will have a bright holiday season.
All of the toys will be given to Harlem Grown, an organization dedicated to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives.
For those who would still like to donate, bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Big M through Saturday (Dec. 8).
The Clydesdales Are Coming: On Friday (Dec. 7), the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will make a stop at the Meadowlands.
Come out and take a selfie with the majestic animals on the East Apron from 6-7:15 p.m. Then grab a Bud or a Bud Lite and watch the Clydesdales parade on the track after the conclusion of the first race.