The second week of live racing at The Meadowlands saw a total of $8,178,147 wagered on the 33 live races offered over the weekend, an increase of a remarkable 32% over comparable dates a year ago.
The letter classification races held up well, offering competitive betting affairs with moderately priced favorites. The large rewards were out there for those with an appetite for a price and some imagination.
There were a couple of bombs on Thursday, the popular Pick 5 wager returned $18,570 and the last race triple was over $14,000.
The price parade continued on Friday with two winners in the $70 range. The twelve horse field in race 10 resulted in a $6,800 super and a Pick 4 payoff of just under $4,000.
Objectively, the first few races on Saturday were chalky. Ironically those were NW X Races Lifetime conditions. A carried over Pick 5 pool of over $128,000 returned a modest $62.90 to lots of winners. A couple of $30+ winners with trifectas of well over $2,000 resulted from the letter classes later on the card.
The guaranteed wagers pretty much paid their way and the guarantees appear to be accurate, as evidenced by the pools.
The entry box has been full, giving Director of Racing Pete Koch the numbers he needs to continue with accurate classification of the overnights and full fields in virtually all races.
Competition returns with Yonkers opening on Friday and that will likely dip into the pool of horses available. Helping to ease that burden is the start of the Winter Late Closers with the Super Bowl (Thursday), Clyde Hirt (Friday) and Presidential (Saturday) picking up the slack.
On the racetrack, the star of last year's Meadowlands meet, Golden Receiver, sharpened up for his Presidential defense with a very comfortable 1:48.4 win over many of the horses he will face in the series.
The feedback on the races themselves is positive. They are being raced in a contentious fashion with plenty of flow and movement reminiscent of years gone by.
Yannick Gingras is off to a good start in defense of his dash winning title and Ron Burke again sits atop the trainer standings. It is interesting to note that after 58 races, 44 different trainers have won at least one race.
A new wrinkle in the broadcast of the races is the real time paddock interview hosted by Wendy Ross and Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden each night. They seek out trainers and drivers with interesting entries to fill in "between the lines" details on their horses.
Racing resumes on Thursday at 7:15.
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