Haskell, Meadowlands Pace Highlight NJ’s Big Racing Day

Haskell, Meadowlands Pace Highlight NJ’s Big Racing Day
By Lou Monaco

As New Jersey’s fixed odds wagering bill collects dust on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk waiting for his signature, the state is preparing for its biggest horse racing day of the year on Saturday.

Those who participate in NJ sports betting are in for a treat when the 54th running of the $1 million dollar Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Stakes takes place at iconic Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

For the first time in its history, the runners-up in all three jewels of the Triple Crown series will line up in the starting gate when they go to post at approximately 5:45 p.m. (NBC) for Race 12 of a solid 14-race card to entice those gambling in New Jersey.

Haskell’s Field

The field of seven 3-year-olds over a mile and an eighth is led by the Doug O’Neill-trained and runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, Hot Rod Charlie. He is the 6-5 morning line favorite and will leave from post position 4.

Mandaloun, trained by Brad Cox and runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, is the 2-1 morning line second choice and will leave from post position 3.

Preakness Stakes runner-up Midnight Bourbon, a half-brother to 2017 Haskell winner Girvin, will have seven-time Monmouth Park leading rider Paco Lopez aboard and depart from post 6 and is the morning line fourth choice at 9-2.

The Haskell winner will receive an all-expenses-paid spot to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November as the Haskell Stakes is part of the “Win and You're In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The rest of the card at the New Jersey track offers four additional graded stakes: the $500,000 Grade 1, United Nations; $300,000 Grade 3, Monmouth Cup; the $250,000, Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes, and the $150,00, Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes.

Last year’s Haskell saw Authentic, the sport’s Horse of the Year, triumph en route to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Fixed Odds Wagering

There was an expectation and belief that fixed odds wagering would have been implemented before Saturday’s Haskell with Murphy’s signature.

While that is still pending and with Murphy in support of the bill, eventually Monmouth Park would become the first track in the U.S. to offer the wager.

Fixed odds wagering will allow bettors to retain the odds at the time of their bet instead of pari-mutuel wagering, where odds are not finalized until betting is completed.

Australia-based BetMakers Technology Group would deliver and manage the new fixed odds wagering at the state’s lone thoroughbred racing track in Oceanport after entering into an exclusive 10-year agreement with New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development, LLC in 2020.

Harness Racing’s Meadowlands Pace

After the Haskell concludes, take a drive north on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike to take in one of harness racing’s biggest races of the year, the 45th running of the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace in East Rutherford.

The Pace will be race nine of a huge 14-race card and will go off at around 9:46 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 2.

In the field of 10, No. 4 Southwind Gendry, with Yannick Gingras driving, is the morning line favorite at 3-1. No. 1 Perfect Sting, with David Miller in the bike, is the program’s second choice at 7-2. No. 7 One Eight Hundred (Tim Tetrick) is the third choice at 9-2.

“Pace Night is always something special,” track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir said in a news release. “It’s just more special this year coming on the heels of the pandemic. The Meadowlands is expecting a big crowd and we are pulling out all the stops for our guests to enjoy the party on the biggest night in harness racing.”



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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