East Rutherford, NJ – On the final day of the Championship Meet at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, Yannick Gingras won four races to catch Dexter Dunn for the driver’s title, defeating the defending United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year, 86 wins to 85.
That’s about the only time anything went wrong during 2020 for Dunn, who is an overwhelming favorite to win DOTY for a second straight season as 12 of the 13 USHWA chapters have nominated the native New Zealander to take home the award as the sport’s top pilot.
At the current Fall Meet at The Meadowlands – which kicked off Sept. 5 – Dunn is on his way to taking home the leading driver trophy. With just three race cards remaining in the calendar year, the 31-year-old reinsman has 43 wins, which puts him six ahead of Todd McCarthy in the standings.
Dunn, not surprisingly, also sits atop the UDRS (.336, well ahead of Dave Miller’s .275) and win percentage (.216 to McCarthy’s .146) heaps among drivers with at least 100 starts. He also has 26 seconds and 28 thirds, giving him 97 on-the-board finishes (.487).
Dunn’s 128 overall Big M victories lead the way for the entire year.
Some highlights from Dunn’s spectacular 2020 include:
• Has earnings of $11 million, no other driver has $10 million
• Won four Breeders Crown finals at Harrah’s Hoosier Park
• Won four times at The Big M on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night
It’s been a remarkable rise to stardom for Dunn, who is currently the game’s top driver while participating in just his second full season in the U.S. since his arrival from Down Under in mid-November of 2018.
DID YOU SEE? If you were playing Meadowlands races Saturday (Dec. 12) night, probably not.
An incredibly resilient, thick fog shrouded the mile oval, allowing patrons a clear view of just the opening and closing 10 seconds of the first eight races on the card, no doubt reminding some of the 1988 NFL playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles known as the “Fog Bowl”.
DID YOU MAKE A SCORE? Whether it was Friday night (Dec. 11) or Fog Night (Saturday, Dec. 12), there were some healthy payouts to be had.
The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 returned $5,568 Friday despite those who cashed in only needing six winners to do it. Twenty-four hours later, the wager returned $1,110.
Those with winning 20-cent Pick-6 tickets also had a happy weekend, walking away with $3,331 and $1,786 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
A HOLIDAY WISH: “On behalf of myself and everyone in our Meadowlands family,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!”
IF WEATHER IS AN ISSUE: If you can’t make it out to The Meadowlands in the aftermath of the snowstorm that hit Northern New Jersey, you can watch and wager on all the action from the comfort of your own home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live.
The Television Games Network (tvg.com) shows all Meadowlands action live and offers opportunities for those who want to bet on Big M races as well.
TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm.
FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com.
Races one through five – the entire 20-cent Pick-5 – will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards.
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 the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”.
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.
THE SCHEDULE: Live racing at The Big M will be conducted this Friday (Dec. 18) and Saturday night (Dec. 19) with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m.
There is no live racing on Christmas Day, Friday (Dec. 25).
There will be live racing Saturday (Dec. 26) with a post time of 6 p.m.
In addition, The Meadowlands will be closed for simulcasting on both Dec. 24 and 25.
HOLIDAY AT FANDUEL: More football is a good thing.
Faithful fans of The Big M’s FanDuel Sports Book will have plenty of National Football League games on which to bet in the next five days.
There will be one game on Thursday (Dec. 17), two on Saturday (Dec. 19), 12 on Sunday (Dec. 20) and one on Monday (Dec. 21).
For those who like to bet a “Local-Team Parlay”, the Jets (+17½) travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams Sunday at 4:05 p.m. while the Giants (+5) host the Cleveland Browns Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
Next week for the Christmas holiday, there will be some changes to the schedule at the FanDuel Sports Book.
On Dec. 24, bets will be taken until 6 p.m. The book will be closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
During a normal week, hours in the track’s FanDuel Sports Book are from 10 a.m. – midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Saturday.