A release issued Wednesday, January 23 from the Meadowlands Racetrack states that wagering was 'absolutely through the roof' over the three days of live racing last weekend at the East Rutherford, New Jersey oval.
Objectively, the comparable weekend in 2012 was compromised by the only significant snowstorm of last winter. However, the total wagered from all sources on M1 races was $8,184,843, a whopping 29 per cent increase from last year. To gain more perspective, the 2013 total was also 28 per cent higher than like dates for 2011 and on par with 2010.
"It appears that the changes we made to our wagering format and racing product are continuing to work," said the track's Racing Operations manager, Darin Zoccali. "Initially, the biggest gains were in our export. Now we have turned our attention to enhancing our live racing experience and the numbers this past weekend reflected that.
"We have put forth great promotions including 'Captaintreacherous,' where already over 1,600 entries have been placed to win a share of the (U.S.) pacer of the year. In the immediate future, the Meadowlands' racing fans will continue to see enhanced promotion for our live product.
"This Saturday we will be rolling out our $2 Daily Double Promotion, where racing fans that purchase a live program will receive a free $2 wager on a Meadowlands Daily Double."
Throughout the cards, the pools were high and the prices fair. Newcomer Eric Carlson delivered another bomb on Thursday returning $114.80 with Ladybones, then spun right back and paid $23 in the next race with Palms Beach, resulting in a Pick 4 payoff of $27,000.
The release also cites some crunched numbers, stating that although Yannick Gingras is the defending dash champ, drives first call for top barn (the Burke stable) and is certainly a fan favourite at the Big M, his current Return On Investment (ROI) is a remarkable +30% (a 30 per cent return on win bets). 2012 HTA Driver of the Year Tim Tetrick, on the other hand, is currently sporting a ROI of -64%.
Early dash leader David Miller has been on some roll and is currently six wins up on Gingras from an equal number of starts. His ROI is just about flat at -1%.
Trainer-wise, Ron Burke leads with 11 wins from 78 starts and sends out many heavily bet entries. Again citing number-crunched information, the Meadowlands states that a great disparity exists between Burke's ROI at -32% versus hot starter Nick Surick (six wins from 13 starts) whose ROI is whopping +223%.
On the oval, Golden Receiver continues to impress. The release states that he dominated ten rivals in the second leg of the Presidential and should face no serious challenge' in the $103,000 final on Saturday.
More compelling are the Super Bowl and Clyde Hirt finals. The lady trainers wield the power in the Super Bowl, with Julie Miller's entry of Helios and Windsun Galliano and Jenny Melander's Wisenheimer the strong horses heading into Saturday's $51,000 title bout.
In the Hirt, Holdingallthecards and One Through Ten are on a collision course for the $67,400 final. This shapes up as an interesting betting race, including several talented horses with a chance that will be overlooked in favour of the headliners.
New Meadowlands General Manager & CEO Jason Settlemoir had this to say: "The racing since the beginning of the meet has been tremendous. The racing office, led by Pete Koch, has done an outstanding job producing races that are competitive and great to watch.
"Our customer service initiatives, such as the daily promotions, new enhanced Terraces Buffet on Friday and Saturday and free admission and programs on Thursday and Friday have been well received. Those attractions, along with revisions to the wagering format and later post time of 7:15 p.m. are yielding the desired result.
"The handle on the exported signal has been superb and now I can see the on-track handle starting to turn the corner. I am genuinely excited about the progress we are seeing on most fronts. If we get a little help from Mother Nature, Saturday's card featuring the three series finals promises to be outstanding night of racing."
Racing resumes on Thursday, starting right off with the current darling of the horizontal wagering crowd, the Pick 5.http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/1-23-13/big-m-handle-continues-sparkle.html