News & Stats



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Last week’s editions of “DRF Harness” and “Harness Racing Update” both included well-executed stories about the use of TrackMaster ratings by racing secretaries to create competitive, evenly-matched fields at an increasing number of harness tracks, and while the way the ratings are arrived at might not be clear – or even matter – to most handicappers, the results track managers covet are there.

David Siegel, the President of TrackMaster, told HRU that his company examined the racing at Plainridge Racecourse for the 10 weeks since they opened for the 2019 season, and of those 337 races, 164 were for horses with a “TrackMaster rating of xx.x or less” or TM ratings were used as a secondary condition.

In those 164 dashes, field sizes were bigger. Fifteen percent bigger. In 61 percent of non-TrackMaster races, there was an odds-on favorite. In the TM events, there was an odds-on chalk only 35 percent of the time.

While the sampling might be small, the numbers at the Meadowlands back up the theory that the TrackMaster races are more bettor friendly. Over the last four race cards, there have been 14 races at the Big M where the singular condition was for TrackMaster ratings. Those events have seen an average field size of 9.3 and only two odds-on favorites (both lost). While six favorites did win, half of those went off at odds of at least 2-1. In addition, horses at odds of 16-1 or more hit the winner’s circle four times with two of those 30-1 or more.

DRF Harness’ Derick Giwner wrote that “the TM Rating system works very similar to the ‘ABC’ conditions that have been used on and off for many years. … The key difference is that the Racing Office doesn’t need to spend countless hours classifying and re-classifying horses.”

If increased field size and decreased odds-on favorites continue to be the result of using the TrackMaster Ratings system to write races, they’ll be around for a long time to come.

HANDLE STILL TOPS: Even with the Meadowlands’ top-tier drivers at Pocono Downs last Saturday (June 22) participating on the Sun Stakes card, wagering remained solid at the Big M.

In fact, a total of $264,314 was wagered on the first race on the program – one for amateur drivers in the GSY Series – and another $332,762 (for non-winners of $9,000) was put in play in the eighth dash on the way to an all-source total handle of $2,461,122, tops in the sport.

This Friday at the Big M, the usual front-line drivers will be on hand before the Saturday card will see the lesser-known pilots getting to shine. Both programs will get underway at 7:15 p.m. and each will feature 14 races.

Friday’s card will see Caviart Ally go for a third straight score in the Rainbow Blue Series final; Gold Cup winner Jimmy Freight take on Backstreet Shadow – who went the fastest Big M mile of the year of 1:47.4 last week – in one division of the Graduate Series for pacers; and 2018 Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice looking to get back on the winning track in the other Graduate dash.

CAN-AM CANCELED: Due to Woodbine at Mohawk Park starting their race card later than usual on Friday (7:55 p.m.) and the Big M carding an extra race, there will be no 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4 offered on June 28. The wager, which regularly sees a total pool in excess of $50,000, will return Friday, July 5.

WORTHY OF A HIGH-FIVE: Fans of the 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five have much to look forward to this Friday (June 28) evening, as they will be shooting for a carryover of $116,410 in the fifth race. You could walk away with over $100,000 for a 20-Cent bet.

As always, free program pages for the Meadowlands’ signature wager – the 50-Cent Pick-4 that begins with race eight – are available by going to or

Last Saturday’s sequence began with a 3-5 favorite and included a 9-5 shot yet still came back $207.75.

COME RUN, HAVE FUN: Maybe they’ll be no horses, but there will be racing this evening (Thursday, June 27) at the Big M in the “Corporate FunRun North Jersey 5K”.

The 5K run/walk is only part of the festivities as there will be a DJ, music, beer, food and a photographer taking pictures all night long.

For more information, go to

HOLY GUACAMOLE! The Big M’s Pink restaurant is offering a Mexican buffet on “Fiesta Friday” (June 28).

The cost is only $29.95 and you can make reservations by calling 201-THE-BIGM.

DON’T WHINE: If sampling different wines is your thing, then you must be at the Meadowlands on Saturday (June 29) for the track’s “Summer Wine Festival”.

More than 30 wineries will be on hand to titillate the palates of wine lovers. For tickets, go to

MUCH APPRECIATED: On Saturday (July 6), come out to the Meadowlands for “Fan Appreciation Night”.

The racing will be top-notch with the Graduate Finals and Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Eliminations, and after the card concludes, there will a huge fireworks show lighting up the sky.

Post time will be earlier than usual, with the first race slated for 6:35 p.m.

THAT’S MY DRIVER: Enter the “That’s My Driver” contest on Friday (July 12) for a chance to win $50. In addition, if Tim Tetrick wins a race, fans can go to the Café and get a $1 beer or soda.

For official rules, go to the track level Players Club Desk.

For those who want a great meal, that evening in Pink, there will be a $29.95 “A Bit of Italian Buffet”. Call 201-THE-BIGM for reservations.

THE BIG ONE: The “Greatest Night in Harness Racing” takes place on Saturday (July 13) with the featured $700,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace in the spotlight.

Also being contested on the card will be the Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer, Del Miller, William Haughton, Golden Girls and Hambletonian Maturity.

In addition to The Pace, barbecue lovers will be able to get their fill at the track’s “BBQ Battle”.

From 6-10 p.m. in the Backyard, get some delicious barbecue from some of the best local food trucks and restaurants in the area.

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