East Rutherford, NJ — Just because Hambletonian Day is in the rearview mirror doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of stakes action to come during the current Fall meeting at The Meadowlands.
When live racing resumes Friday (Oct. 16) at 7:15 p.m., the marquee event will be the $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, featuring the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Captain Corey, who is unbeaten in four lifetime outings.
The Kindergarten Classic — also for juveniles — is up next with its final two legs on Oct. 23 (leg three) and Oct. 30 (leg four) before the series climaxes with four big-money finals worth approximately $800,000 on Nov. 7.
Two weeks after that comes the third-biggest program — after the Hambo and Meadowlands Pace Night — on The Big M’s yearly calendar, as eight big-time stakes events take place on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals night on Nov. 21.
Two-year-olds will be in the spotlight as the Governor’s Cup (colt pace), Three Diamonds (filly pace), Valley Victory (colt trot) and Goldsmith Maid (filly trot) make up the Fall Final Four, with total purses of about $1.8 million.
Year-end divisional honors — as well as Horse of the Year — could be determined by what happens in the four TVG finals, which are the Mares Trot, Open Trot, Mares Pace and Open Pace, a fabulous four-pack which will see just over $1 million get doled out.
A year ago, Six Pack locked up older male trotter honors by gunning down Manchego — at the time, the best horse in training — in 1:50 in the Open Trot. Despite being beaten in a stretch-battle thriller by Caviart Ally, Shartin N — who finished a nose behind in 1:48.3 — went on to be selected as HOTY.
Simulcast Heaven: Two sets of year-end championships will be offered at The Meadowlands on its simulcast network, one for the star performers of harness racing and the other for the best in the Thoroughbred game.
Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind., will play host to the 2020 edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing’s year-end 12-race extravaganza for horses of all gaits, sexes and age.
More than $6 million will be on the table over the course of two race cards, as Friday (Oct. 30) will see the four events for 2-year-olds, before a Saturday (Oct. 31) eight-pack that will include four races for 3-year-olds and four more for open types. Post time each night is 6 p.m.
Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., is the site for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will begin with five events on Friday (Nov. 6) and conclude on Saturday (Nov. 7) with nine more races, the last of which is the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The first Breeders’ Cup race on Friday is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., while Saturday’s opener goes at 12:02 p.m. The Classic has a post time of 5:13 p.m.
Last Weekend: Threes were wild over the course of last weekend (Oct. 9-10) at The Big M. Three drivers, Corey Callahan, Victor Kirby and George Napolitano Jr., and two trainers, Bruce Saunders and Jeff Cullipher, all won three times over the course of the two programs.
Last Saturday’s “bookend” 20-cent Pick-5s provided pleasing payoffs for players. The wager that spanned races one through five paid $887. With the exception of race four, where a 14-1 shot brought a challenge for the bettors, the other four winning horses’ odds were just 6-5, 5-1, 4-1 and 4-5.
The Late Pick-5 returned $13,654, yet, except for one race, the winning prices were not outrageous. The winners’ odds for the sequence were 8-1, 9-2, 8-5, 21-1 and 8-5.
Free PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, go to playmeadowlands.com, where one can access races nine through 13 for both Friday and Saturday’s program. 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.
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: As always look for the “Racing from The Meadowlands” live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. It begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m.
If you want to watch all the action at home, go to rtn.tv to catch every race live.
Get Your Sports Action: When at The Big M, be sure and visit the FanDuel Sportsbook, where you can watch and wager on all the NFL, NLCS, ALCS and college football action. The book is open for business from 10 a.m.–midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m.–2 a.m. on Saturday.