Meadowlands Caps Off Successful Meet With Hambletonian Day

Meadowlands Caps Off Successful Meet With Hambletonian Day
By Lou Monaco

The Meadowlands caps off a very successful championship meet this weekend, highlighted by Hambletonian Day on Saturday at East Rutherford.

It will be a big day for sports betting in NJ. The jam-packed 16-race card is highlighted by the 96th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian (open event for 3-year-old trotters) and the 51st edition of the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

Post position draws for both races were conducted on Tuesday. In the Hambletonian, No. 4 Captain Corey, driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt, was tabbed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for NJ gambling in the field of 10.

No. 1 Delayed Hanover, ridden by Yannick Gingras and also trained by Svanstedt, is the second choice at 7-2 and No. 6 Sonofamistery with Brian Sears in the sulky and trainer Marcus Melander is the third choice at 4-1.

No. 5 Bella Bellini, driven by Dexter Dunn and trained by Nifty Norman, is the morning line favorite amongst a field of 10 in the Hambletonian Oaks at 3-1. No. 4 Lady Chaos (Dave Miller, Linda Toscano) is the second choice at 7-2 and No. 3 Awesome Trix (Scott Zeron, Christopher Beaver) rounds out the top three at 9-2.

Post time for the Oaks (Race 14) is 5:42 p.m. ET, while the Hambletonian (Race 15) is scheduled for 6:12 p.m. Both races will be shown live on CBS Sports Network, with Fox Sports 2 (FS2) cutting into its Saratoga thoroughbred coverage shortly before post time of the Hambletonian.

First post time for Hambletonian Day is 12 p.m. ET, with gates opening at 10 a.m.

Final Weekend Marks Successful Meadowlands Meet

Harness racing’s signature track has bounced back from the continuing COVID-19 crisis in a huge way in 2021.

Here are some solid and promising figures provided by Dave Little, The Meadowlands TV host/media relations guru and USHWA Communicators Hall of Famer:

Average handle per card during 2021: $3,262,899, the highest ever during the 10 years owner Jeff Gural has had the East Rutherford landmark.

Of the 61 racecards, 43 have seen wagering of at least $3 million. There have been 31 Saturday cards, with 29 having seen wagering of at least $3 million.

During all of 2020, more than $3 million was bet on 11 occasions, so at the conclusion of this weekend, 2020's total will have been quadrupled with 29 race cards remaining.

The $4-million barrier? The Meadowlands has broken it seven times already this year, doubling 2020’s total already. During all of 2020, over $4 million was bet on just three occasions.

$6-million weekends? The track has achieved those 20 times out of a total of 30 weekends.

$7-million weekends? This has happened on 10 occasions this year (Jan. 29-30, Feb. 5-6, Feb. 12-13, Apr. 9-10, April 30-May 1, May 7-8, May 14-15, May 28-29, June 4-5 and July 16-17). During 2020 - other than Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian weekends - there was only one $7-million weekend (June 19-20), taking 36 races to get there.



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 ( 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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