04/24/2013 12:57PM

Harness Racing: Meadowlands posts large gains in total handle

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The Meadowlands released a comparison of year-over-year handle for the Winter Meet which concluded on April 20.  To date, the total handle of $125,281,424 was an increase of $30,768,707 or 32.5 percent over 2012.  According to the track, based on the most recent figures provided by the United States Trotting Association, The Meadowlands Racetrack is responsible for almost 25 percent of all wagers on standardbred racing in the United States.

“The 2013 season at The Meadowlands has revolved around improving our racing product, improving our wagering format and providing the best customer service possible,” said General Manager Jason Settlemoir.  “We are asking people to wager their hard-earned dollars with us and we feel it is our responsibility to provide our customers with the most enjoyable, entertaining and customer-friendly experience possible.  We have taken great strides in 2013 to accomplish these goals.  We look forward to being able to bring that experience to a whole new level this November as we move into our brand new facility.”

Much of the success can be atributed to the addition of the Early Pick Four starting in race 3.  The wager had an average pool of $54,153 through the winter meet, with an average payoff of $2,184.  The total handle on the Early Pick Four was $2,369,171.  During the 2012 Winter Meet, there was $298,188 wagered on the now defunct Pick 6, which began in race 4.    

“There were several changes made that seemed to really hit home with our customers when it comes to our racing product,” said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali.  “First and foremost, Race Secretary Peter Koch has done an extraordinary job implementing the Classified System of racing here at The Meadowlands. The addition of the Early Pick 4 has been welcomed by our players and has turned into one of the most popular bets in harness racing.  We threw a lot of different things at the wall at once, and thankfully many of those things stuck.”

“This has been an important year for us as a business,” said Chairman Jeff Gural.  “As we begin our transition into the new building, it was important for us to build momentum leading up to that moment.  While the winter months are always best for our business, the results from this winter exceeded our expectations.  I only hope we can continue to receive the support of the industry so we can continue this momentum into the Championship Meet and ultimately into November as we open our new facility.  This year is pivotal to the future of The Meadowlands and we certainly got off on the right foot.”

The Championship Meet returns to the East Rutherford oval on Friday May 3rd and will follow a Friday/Saturday schedule through Hambletonian Day, Saturday August 3rd.