There is a feeling present at The New Meadowlands that had been absent for the past few years. Excitement pervades the grandstand and there's definitely a buzz throughout the industry. The Meadowlands is becoming cool again!
The competitive racing and climbing handle have resulted in an enticing product for the horseplayer. The results are often subtle; an example being a logical winning favorite might pay $8 rather than $6. The larger exotic pools often equate to more generous returns. An exacta that reads $40 off the parlay may well return $50.
The mutuel pools, particularly on the exotics, have been strong throughout the meet. The early Pick 4 on Friday was not hit and the carry-over rolled into the late Pick 4 resulting in a pool of nearly $140,000. Saturday's late Pick 4 was nearly $120,000 on its own.
Compared to last season's data, all-sources wagering on M1 races is up 33% in 2013. Friday's total was up a fantastic 60% over the like date in 2012. Live handle in the building is rising and Winners at Bayonne OTW had its best day ever on Saturday.
Racing Operations Manager Darin Zoccali spoke to the increased handle, "While I anticipated a positive response to our racing product, this has been overwhelming. All three of our guaranteed multi-race exotic wagers are performing at extremely high levels. Bettors like to bet into big pools and the money wagered continues to grow.
"The racing itself has been just fantastic. Peter Koch has done a tremendous job of classifying the horses. Many of the races are difficult, but this game is supposed to be challenging. That's what makes it great.
"In addition we have made some adjustments at Winners Bayonne and have seen a dramatic spike in our business there as a result. We are very appreciative of our customers' support and the excitement building around The Meadowlands is really great to be a part of."
The racing product itself continues to be stellar. Saturday's card featured the return of this year's top performer Golden Receiver and the finals for three winter series as highlights, but the overnight racing has clearly been the star thus far in 2013.
General Manager and CEO Jason Settlemoir addressed the new attitude in the building, "Customers are seeing a dedicated effort to customer service, which in my eyes is paramount to the success of any business. We respond to all customer e-mails (email@example.com) and comment cards, which are read each week at the staff meeting. I personally respond to most and then instruct staff to follow up once the comment has been addressed.
"We have something special going on thus far, but the reality is that other tracks are getting ready to open and tap in to an already fragile horse supply. Considering that our sole source of income is based upon handle, field size and parity in the races are key. We are grateful to the horsemen who have supported us thus far and hope they will continue to support our efforts at the entry box."
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