Time for Act II.

Meadowlands harness racing is back, albeit without spectators.

It is the only live New Jersey racing action, although several major thoroughbred tracks — including Gulfstream Park, Churchill Downs, and Belmont Park — can be accessed for Garden State bettors via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

Bottom line? Horse racing is still getting a ton of action during the sports lockdown.

And with NJ racetracks now open, horse betting is going for the gold.

Horse betting at the Meadowlands

The Big M, which hosts major races like the Hambletonian in August, is an industry leader. The racing community was euphoric about its return last weekend and the track did not disappoint.

Betting handle was $5.5 million over the two nights.

Big-name drivers performed well. The list included:

  • Dexter Dunn
  • Yannick Gingras
  • Corey Callahan
  • Tim Tetrick

Add veteran David Miller to that group. He produced a nice upset in the opening race of Saturday’s card, guiding Alexis’s Beach home at 21-1. Golden Quest N was second and the $2 exacta paid $235.40. So Rude was anything but for those who put him in the third slot to complete a $1 trifecta return of $338.

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Sometimes, chatter matters

Before the ninth race Saturday, a New Jersey gambler considered betting a longshot.

And then he heard something from Meadowlands handicappers Dave Little and Dave Brower previewing the race.

“I was on the fence with Highalator at 42-1 and they made a comment that this horse will never be these odds again, so I dove in,” the patron told NJGamblingSites.

High praise for Highalator was all he needed. The comment propelled him to go big, making a $70 bet on a 42-1 shot. A few minutes later, he was nearly $3,000 richer.

This was a heartwarming anecdote. It revealed the magic and successful application of a tip discovered via mobile wagering.

The bettor may not have heard this information if he was attending the race in the pre-mobile era.

But he caught the comments Saturday, added it to his analysis, and took the plunge — right into money.

Granted, there are numerous tales of bettors taking advice from others and losing. But sometimes you handicap the handicappers and it works.

The winning horse also teamed with Jesse Duke N to deliver a $2 exacta of $905 and with Shnitzledosomthin, the third-place horse, to produce a $1 trifecta worth $2,115 for other bettors.

Gulfstream Park: Rainbow Pick Six exceeds $2 million

Here’s big news from Gulfstream Park: The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover pool will be guaranteed at $2.3 million on Wednesday.

Sunday, a few bettors hit the final six races, earning more than $29,000 each. But the jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners.

Otherwise, 30% carries over to the jackpot pool.

Gulfstream worked its magic again Sunday with a lucrative favorites-and-dogs package in the third race. Belle Laura won at 15-1, besting 18-1 runner-up Sensible Myth. Lovely Luvy at 7-2 was third. Scatnap, the 9-5 favorite, was fourth.

The $2 exacta paid $670, the $1 trifecta paid $1,411 and the $1 superfecta $5,334. This is another example of two favorites and two mid-price longshots forging a big ticket.

A player who figured the 9-5 and 7-2 shots would run in the top group could get lucky by combining them with the right longshots in the trifecta or superfecta boxes.

What happened here was the dream scenario of longshots winning and favorites comprising the bottom of the winning ticket.

Racing at Gulfstream Park begins Wednesday around noon. The track also runs Friday-Sunday around noon for the first post.

Belmont Park sees large betting pools

Racing is Thursday-Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at Belmont Park, and a couple of stakes races emerge this weekend. That’s good news for NJ sports betting fans.

The biggest is the Ogden Phipps on Saturday. It’s worth $300,000. The Flat Out for Thursday is $80,000, the Commentator is $125,00 on Friday, and Sunday’s Mike Lee is worth $125,000.

Top early jockeys for the Belmont meet include:

  • Irad Ortiz
  • Javier Castellano
  • Junior Alvarado
  • Joel Rosario

The betting pools have been stunning. Patterns indicate gamblers wagering heavily toward the late afternoon and early evening. If you want to wager into bigger pools, that’s a good time.

The final race pool Saturday exceeded $5 million. More than $ 3.5 million of that came via Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 wagering. The big fields and shortened meets are so popular with bettors that even one segment of a race pool, exactas, came in at over $700,000.

There was a time when $700,000 was an exceptional handle for an entire day. Now it’s one part of one race.

Churchill Downs: Where the money shows up

Churchill Downs bettors are loading up on the Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s, and Pick 6 wagering pools.

In the last race on Saturday, June 6, more than $700,000 of the $1.1 million pool on that race was riding with those pools.

This category is enticing to bettors because the takeout percentage is far less than what exactas, trifectas and superfectas demand.

Churchill Downs runs Thursday-Sunday at 1 p.m.

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.