Just another big night at The Big M

East Rutherford, NJ — The final “circle-worthy” date on the 2021 harness racing calendar proved to be deserving of every bit of bright ink, as handle cleared the $3 million mark on “Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night” last Saturday (Nov. 20) at The Meadowlands, marking the first time since 2013 that that hurdle was cleared on the final big night of racing of the year.

“We are thrilled that the handle was very strong for the TVG Finals and the Final Four,” said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “The inaugural TVG in 2013 featured the much-hyped race between the classic champion and richest horse of all time, Foiled Again, and the 3-year-old sensation, Captaintreacherous. We have never been able to get near that handle figure until this year. The total handle of almost $3.4 million was sensational, when you consider that 2013 was the only year that TVG Finals Night did over $3 million. That is, until this year.”

Total play on last Saturday’s card was $3,390,635, which was just $100,000 less than what was put in play in 2013.

The Winners: The eight-pack of stakes events had purses that totaled $2,689,100, and the winners of those races read like a who’s who of big 2021 hitters:

• TVG Open Pace: Allywag Hanover locked up divisional honors with an off-the-pace win in 1:48.1.
• TVG Open Trot: 2019 Hambletonian champion Forbidden Trade put his hat in the ring for a possible divisional Dan Patch Award.
• TVG Mare Pace: Lyon’s Sentinel clinched her division after getting some revenge on arch-rival — and Breeders Crown winner — Rocknificent.
• TVG Mare Trot: Brett Pelling trainee When Dovescry continued her fabulous campaign by taking down Atlanta.
• Governor’s Cup (2CP): Early Action took down Hammering Hank, who lost for only the third time in 11 starts this year. Early Action, who was fifth in the Breeders Crown and second in the Kindergarten, has won eight of 13 starts during 2021.
• Valley Victory (2CT): Fast As The Wind skimmed the cones for a second straight start to take down primary foe Coach K Hanover to complete a sweep of the Kindergarten and Valley Victory.
• Three Diamonds (2FP): Niki Hill likely swung a few Horse of the Year voters into her camp after another thoroughly dominant performance. She’s lost only once this year in 10 starts and has banked $904,557.
• Goldsmith Maid (2FT): A second straight masterful drive from Brian Sears got the Marcus Melander trainee Joviality S to the winner’s circle three weeks after her Breeders Crown score.

See You Friday: The day after Thanksgiving, live racing resumes at The Big M. Racing will take place Friday and Saturday. Post time for the first race is 6:20 p.m.

“On behalf of Mr. Gural, and everyone at The Meadowlands,” said Settlemoir, “we would like to wish everyone a joyous, happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.”

Meadowlands TV’s “Racing from The Meadowlands” live pre-game show gets underway both nights at 5:47 p.m. with the track’s regular team of Dave Brower and Dave Little providing on-set commentary.

Free Programs! Talk about a great deal. Free program pages for every race of every Meadowlands race card are always available. Just go to playmeadowlands.com to access the no-cost past performances.

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.

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_).

Who Does Brower Like? For expert selections and analysis of every Big M card, check out track oddsmaker Dave Brower’s race reviews.

For Brower’s input, which is generally available 48 hours before every card, go to playmeadowlands.com, then click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews.”

Low Takeout, High Expectations: Plenty of The Meadowlands’ popular wagers that sport a low 15 percent 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 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
• Race 7*: 20-cent Pick-6 (* — Race 8 on Saturday)
• Race 9*: 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool) (* — Race 10 on Saturday)
• Race 12*: 10-cent non-jackpot Pentafecta/Hi-5 (* — Race 13 on Saturday)

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