East Rutherford, NJ — This weekend is the first of summer, and that means The Meadowlands will now turn the “fun dial” to 10 for the next seven weeks with the best in racing and on-site promotions.
For starters, this weekend will feature an extra race on both programs, as the Friday (June 24) and Saturday (June 25) presentations will feature 14 one-mile dashes, with both openers slated to go at 6:20 p.m.
The Friday card features three $30,000 divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacers, while on Saturday, there will be six divisions of the Graduate headlining the card. Graduate participants include Bella Bellini, Venerate, Test Of Faith, Ahundreddollarbill, Carbine, Charlie May and Linedrive Hanover.
Wine Is Fine: On Saturday, come out to The Meadowlands for the “Summer Wine Festival.”
The event is rain or shine, but weather reports are calling for sunny skies and warm temperatures. General admission gets you four hours of tasting (from 5:30-9:30 p.m.). Those with VIP tickets get to go in one hour earlier.
For complete information and ticket pricing, click here.
June 30-July 2: June 30 will mark the first of two straight Thursday night live racing programs. Post time is the usual 6:20 p.m.
On Saturday (July 2), four $175,000 (est.) stakes events highlight the card, as the Perfect Sting (for 3-up pacing fillies and mares), Roll With Joe (3-up Open pace), Crawford Farms (3-up Open trot) and Six Pack (3-up trotting fillies and mares) sit atop the marquee.
While the card takes place, patrons can take advantage of “Fan Appreciation Night,” with discounted prices available from 6-11 p.m. on concessions. The lower-cost food and beer will be available at the Café, Rooftop Terrace and Backyard.
Approximately 10 minutes after the last live race, fans can stay and watch a fabulous fireworks display.
For complete details, click here.
July 7-9: July 7 marks the second consecutive Thursday night race card. Post time is 6:20 p.m.
To spice up the Thursday night festivities, there will be $2,500 in prize money as well as a seat in the World Harness Handicapping Championship final at The Meadowlands on Sept. 10 at stake in a WHHC Qualifier.
The entry fee is only $100, and for all the information you need to get involved, click here.
Saturday (July 9), there will be a huge race card, highlighted by eliminations for the $700,000 (est.) Meadowlands Pace. In addition, there are four Graduate finals on tap, making for a card no harness fan will want to miss. The program will be shown live to a national television audience, as Fox Sports 2 (FS2) will have a three-hour live presentation beginning at 8 p.m.
Plus, if you like barbecue, this is the night for you.
Some of the best food trucks and restaurants in the area will be on hand from 5-11 p.m. for patrons to enjoy some great food while they enjoy some great racing.
Vendors can compete for $2,500 in prize money.
For complete details, click here.
July 16: The “Greatest Night in Harness Racing” features a true Big M original, the $700,000 (est.) Meadowlands Pace final. Hammering Hank and Beach Glass, currently 1-2 in Dave Little’s “Road to The Meadowlands Pace” weekly Top 10 poll, are expected to get behind the starting gate.
The Pace Night list of stakes races includes the $450,000 (est.) William Haughton Memorial, $285,000 (est.) Stanley Dancer Memorial, $250,000 (est.) Del Miller Memorial, $200,000 (est.) Mistletoe Shalee, $175,000 (est.) Dorothy Haughton Memorial and $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity.
If you can’t make it out the track, no worries. Catch all the action live, along with the rest of the nation, when FS2 once again shows The Big M races from 8-11 p.m.
Pace Night Dining Options: Twenty-five Café picnic tables or the buffet in Pink Restaurant? The choice is yours for Meadowlands Pace Night dining, with reservations now available.
Tickets for the Café seating can be purchased by going to this link.
On Pace Night, there will also be food trucks, a t-shirt giveaway, games, carnival rides and a handicapping contest for those 30-years-old and younger.
July 23: The featured racing is the Tompkins-Geers for male and female trotters, and you can have some delicious corn on the cob while you watch the races on “Corntastic” night at the track.
July 30: The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations highlight the card alongside action for pacers in the Tompkins-Geers, as well as female trotters in the Miss Versatility.
Also, that night there will be a feast for patrons as the track’s “Seafood Festival” will begin at 6 p.m.
There will be many local food trucks serving up some tasty seafood, and in addition, there will be the second annual “Chowder Cook-off,” with the winner walking away with $500.
Aug. 6: The final day of racing is grand, and what better day to offer the granddaddy of them all, the $1 million Hambletonian?
Post time is noon.
Of course, the fillies will not be left out, as the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks is the top race on the undercard.
In addition, the $400,000 (est.) Peter Haughton Memorial, $400,000 (est.) Jim Doherty Memorial, $300,000 (est.) John Cashman Memorial, $275,000 (est.) Cane Pace, $275,000 (est.) Sam McKee Memorial, $175,000 (est.) Lady Liberty, $175,000 (est.) Dr. John Steele Memorial and $90,000 (est.) Shady Daisy will be contested on the single biggest day of harness racing in the world.
For those who can’t get to the track, the sixth and final FS2 live telecast of the year will take place from 6-7 p.m. as part of the New York Racing Association’s “Saratoga Live” and will showcase The Hambletonian.
Speaking of Saratoga, racing fans can get in on the action in The Big M’s expansive simulcast area and watch and wager on the Whitney Stakes.
Brower, Warkentin Are Masterful: Dave Brower and Ken Warkentin were the winners last Friday and Saturday, respectively, of The Big M’s “Battle of the Masterminds” handicapping contest, where some lucky fan can walk away with $10,000.
On-track patrons can enter every racing night, selecting the handicapper they think will win that night’s edition of the tournament. If that handicapper wins and that patron’s name is drawn from the entry box, they win a $200 betting voucher plus a $50 gas gift card.
That patron is then also entered into the grand prize drawing, which takes place on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 6), one day after the conclusion of the competition.
Free Programs: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands program are available 48 hours before a given card. To access the no-cost official program pages, go to playmeadowlands.com.
Get On Twitter: 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), Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).
Insideharness.com: Marty Marsh’s insideharness.com provides bettors with insights from trainers and drivers on many Meadowlands races every night.
All one has to do is go to the website and sign up to access the inside dope.