01/07/2012 1:36AM

Meadowlands: Opening Night Thoughts


Friday night’s opening of the New Meadowlands featured a few rocky moments but ultimately hit the one mark that mattered – improvement in handle.

Total handle for the 12-race card was $2,166,584; an average of $180,548 per race. Last year the track handled $2,266,921 for a 13-race card on opening Friday; an average of $174,378 per race. On-track handle was up an impressive 55 percent when comparing the two dates- $380,499 versus $245,139.

The wagering menu was revamped for 2012 and at least one change provided mixed results. Superfectas were offered in every race but at different minimum bet amounts. Races with $1 Superfectas generated an average pool of $8,715 while races with a .10-cent minimum produced an average pool of $27,479.

Clearly bettors where more interested in the cheaper minimum. Does that mean offering a .10-cent bottom in each race will produce a higher total handle? There are no guarantees, but it seems logical.

The newly banked turns did not seem to play a major factor on opening night. A few horses closed from second-over and one from third on the rim at the three-quarter call, but for the most part there was no noticeable difference from a handicapping prospective. Driver Tim Tetrick did mention in a winner’s circle interview that the track was still “a little deep” and was not quite “ready” yet.

The video department gets major kudos for producing a first-rate opening as the simulcast signal came on the air just past 6:30 pm. It was upbeat and presented a clear message of youth and excitement.

The night began with a tote delay after the first race and there were some early issues with graphics and the split screen view of the races, but those were cleared up after a few races passed.

Wendy Ross made her debut as co-host of the in-house production in place of Meadowlands mainstay “Hollywood” Heyden. She clearly did her homework preparing for the task but has some big shoes to fill. Few people have spent more time at the Meadowlands over the last 30 years than Heyden.

Well, that is my opening night report.

There are 13 races on tap for Saturday night and you can watch them all right here on drf.com.

My analysis for Saturday’s Meadowlands card is also available for those looking for a second opinion.

Good luck!.

Related Links:
DRF Harness Starts Now!
Meadowlands Qualifying Insider

aiden kennedy More than 1 year ago
hi derick - i seen you on tv tonight and you seem like you know your stuff. i buy scott albergs picks for the meadowlands cause hes amazing but he only handicaps the meadowlands and so i wanna know if you got someone here who handicaps yonkers cause i am willing to pay and i like betting yonkers too. thanks [My Associate Editor Matt Rose is very good at Yonkers. Best of all his picks are on the DRF site for free. He typically handicaps Yonkers on Saturday and Monday. - DG]
harness guy More than 1 year ago
Hey Derick I was wondering if you could take a look at the replay of tuesday nights race 14 at northfield. Maybe im biased bacause I got DQ'd out of a nice exacta and tri but that had to be one of the worst takedowns I have seen in my 15+ yrs. of betting horses. It kept me up all night and needless to say, I will never bet another cent on northfield again. [I just watched the replay three times and can't find anything that the #6 did wrong. Judging by the chart on the USTA, I guess he must have come in on #9 and forced him off the course. Without a head-on shot, I wouldn't be able to tell for sure. - DG]
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Good signs so far, but as I understand, they also dropped all of the Pick threes except the one on the last three races, which to me is a mistake as a LOT of bettors like having that option. As I would have the betting format at The Meadowlands: $1 Rolling Doubles and 50-Cent Rolling Pick Threes on every possible set of races. 50-Cent Trifectas and 10-Cent Superfectas on all races that qualify as to betting interests. 10-Cent Pick Nine on last nine races (or all nine if a nine-race program, with carryover) 50-Cent Place Pick Six on Races 3-8 (2-7 on eight or 11-race programs, with carryover) 10-Cent Jackpot Pick Six on last six races (40% of pool carried over until there is one winning ticket) 50-Cent Pick Five on last five races (with carryover) 50-Cent Pick Four on first and last four races (with carryover) 50-Cent Super High Five on last race (with carryover, which as I would do it would usually be 1 1/2 Miles with a 14-horse field). That to me would give people more incentive to play.
Grace More than 1 year ago
With this great weather you would think betting would have been better. The races are sad to watch nowadays. The Meadowlnads best days are over. [Wagering was up on both days from last year. The cup is half full, not half empty. - DG]
Pete Brown More than 1 year ago
Great picks for race 11 @ the Meadowlands !! Thank You