NJ Sports Betting Soars To Record $750 Million In Bets In September

How would the start of the 2020 NFL Season, minus the fans, impact September’s NJ sports betting handle?

Well, looking at the  $748.5 million handle reported earlier today by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the word HUGE comes to mind. Not surprisingly, 90.6% came via mobile apps.

And it’s $80.6 million more than August’s $667.9 million. This makes it back-to-back months in which the Garden State has hit all-time highs for handle.

We’re talking any legal US sports betting jurisdiction, even Nevada.

NJ sports betting revenue came in at $45 million,  good enough for a 19% year-over-year increase.

Here’s a closer look at three factors that can be attributed to the September’s results.

Broken record: FanDuel is still killing it

No matter what month we’re talking about, Meadowlands Racetrack, the land-based partner of FanDuel Sportsbook, is dominating the field.

September was no exception with $28.1 million in revenuePointsBet NJ also operates under the license, but NJ Gambling Sites understands that FanDuel accounts for the bulk of it.

For the month, the Meadowlands/FanDuel claimed a 62.3% market share.

Resorts Digital, which consists of DraftKings Sportsbook, Fox Bet, and the self-branded app, finished an extremely distant second with $4.7 million.

Borgata (BetMGM and Borgata Sports) was the only other license holder to crack $4 million in revenue,  $4.06 million to be exact.

September sports calendar was stacked

Sports bettors have never seen a September like the one that just passed.

Sure, NFL betting and the tail end of the Major League Baseball season are the norms.

However, the 2020 version also included the NBA and NHL playoffs along with PGA Tour’s U.S Open.  So besides the buzz generated by the NFL’s opening weekend, the menu of additional options resembled a gourmet restaurant for sports bettors.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the pro sports world back in March, eventually there was going to be a month where every major pro sport would be playing meaningful games.

September was it.

Will it happen again? It’s hard to predict anything these days.

Cross-selling with online casino

In case you haven’t noticed, the NJ online casino market is enjoying quite a run of its own.

September’s $87.6 million may not be an all-time high, but it’s pretty close to being one. The $87.7 million from August still tops the charts. For those keeping track, this would be five straight months of online casino revenue exceeding $80 million.

Some of it can be attributed to Atlantic City casinos operating at 25% capacity.

At the same time, the bulk of the NJ sportsbook apps out there have sports and casino offerings integrated in the same platform. Access to a shared wallet combined with cross-selling promotions makes it a win-win for operators and players.

The proof comes in the latest numbers.

How big will NJ sports betting handle get?

At the moment, there are no signs of the NJ sports betting market slowing down.

Sure the NBA and NHL recently crowned their respective champions, but NFL and college football are the bigger draws. And those seasons still have a long way to go.

And with baseball there is the excitement of the Tampa Bay Rays, not New York Yankees, shocking the baseball world as the American’s League top team. They are one win a way from making it to only the second World Series in franchise history. (Although interest in the Yankees would have probably helped boost handle a bit.)

The other came in 2008 when the  Philadelphia Phillies won it all.

But could the current scenario result in the first $800 million month in NJ sports betting history?

AP Photo/Brett Duke

Betting Apps Help Horse Racing Gallop Toward Haskell Day

With the Haskell Invitational Stakes a week away, Monmouth, Meadowlands and horse racing in general rejoice at online horse betting.

This is a week that demonstrates the genius of mobile betting.

New Jersey bettors, wagering through 4NJBETS, powered by TVG, are immune to the volatile news cycle impacting the tracks themselves.

They are also helping industries such as horse racing stay afloat.

Thanks to New Jersey online betting, Monmouth Park’s weekend schedule, with a 12:50 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will probably attract good totals.

This unfolds amid another shift from Gov. Phil Murphy, this one reducing spectator size to about 2,000 fans.

Monmouth Park betting pools cleared $3 million last Saturday and Sunday despite the shortage of fans.

Wagering will likely be strong for the Haskell Invitational Stakes on July 18 regardless of how many people are allowed in.

And Meadowlands, a harness-racing giant, realized handle exceeding $4 million last weekend and returns with a Friday–Saturday program at 7:15 p.m.

That’s the beauty of online horse betting.

Monmouth cancels Friday races due to weather

Betting alert: The bad weather that has hit the New Jersey shore area prompted Monmouth Park to cancel its Friday races.

Due to heavy rain and high winds, Monmouth canceled its six-race program slated to commence at 5 p.m. The announcement came early Friday afternoon.

Live racing resumes at Monmouth on Saturday, July 11, with a first post of 12:50 p.m. for the 12-race card.

Monmouth Park was not the only track to make this decision. Yonkers Raceway in New York, a harness-racing establishment, postponed its Friday card because of the weather in its area.

This is a rare summer development for tracks, but they make similar determinations during the winter in the Northeast because of cold temperatures and high winds.

As of Friday afternoon, Meadowlands is still planning to run its meet starting at 7:15 p.m., officials told NJGamblingSites.

Online betting as horse racing’s savior?

And here’s the other thing. There is as yet no end to horse racing options for betting. Until pro sports return in full at the end of July, horse betting will still garner a lot of attention from bettors.

For instance, New Jersey bettors can also plan for the last weekend of wagering at Belmont Park and a bizarre now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t program at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky this week.

Keeneland, which had its April season wiped out because of the coronavirus pandemic, gained approval for a five-day meet from Wednesday through Sunday.

And you don’t want to miss it, especially Saturday’s terrific stakes-filled card.

Because of NJ online betting, you won’t have to.

This week and others like it reveal the beauty of the PASPA repeal. Two years ago, if this coronavirus had hit, the horse-racing industry would have shut down, and probably the UFC, golf and NASCAR, too.

Even while the MLB, NHL and NBA navigate their returns, mobile wagering has already shown that it can bolster, if not rescue, many sports.

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Monmouth Park weekend of horse racing set

Monmouth Park will have loaded fields for most of the weekend meet.

Friday, the program resumes with four of the six races having eight-horse fields and the final two listing 14 entries. That may not be the final number to run, but both races will likely have double figures.

Here’s a shout-out to anyone in the vicinity of the big payouts in Monmouth’s first weekend.

Fun Prospect was exactly that, winning the third race last Sunday at 35-1 after drifting up from a 20-1 morning line.

Final Ritual, at 15-1, ran second and completed a $1,936 exacta.

Brimstone, 5-1, was third and closed out a $1 trifecta of $6,658.

Monteleone, the favorite, was fourth and concluded a $1 superfecta of $5,587.

That wasn’t the only way bettors cashed in on this longshot.

Race three winner Moe City and race five winner Look at Joyce were both 7-2. Putting the longshot Fun Prospect in the middle of those two choices returned a pick three of $1,967.

That’s a hefty payout for taking a stab with two short-priced horses and one longshot.

On Saturday, Panama Papers had his credentials in order, winning at a whopping 73-1. Gravitas, at 6-1, finished off a $2 exacta worth $1,468. Channel Stuffer, third at 7-2, wrapped up the $1 trifecta worth $4,012. Fame to Famous, at 6-1, finished the $1 superfecta.

What did that pay? How about $11,760?

This is the summer of prices, too.

Big M sees a big handle: $4 million in bets

Racing at the Meadowlands resumes Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Betting totals subsided slightly over the weekend, but the track still had more than $4 million in wagering pools over two nights.

Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras and Dexter Dunn remain hot as drivers. Andrew McCarthy and David Miller come up with big nights occasionally.

The Meadowlands has two significant events in its upcoming calendar. On July 18, it’s the Meadowlands Pace.

And on Aug. 8, it’s the Hambletonian, one of harness racing’s biggest events.

Keeneland: Hello and goodbye

This is your chance to catch this track. Keeneland has the oddest of race meets, which symbolizes the new normal of 2020 and sports.

It has a five, yes, five-day abbreviated meet.

And it’s this week. Organizers are happy they got anything, because the track’s scheduled April meet was wiped out due to coronavirus concerns.

Nonetheless, you won’t want to miss it. Not only is the Kentucky facility one of racing’s most noted, but it will also host the Breeders Cup in November.

Keeneland packs a wallop into Saturday’s card, with six races paying more than $100,000.

Besides the Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland showcases:

  • The $400,000 Central Bank Ashland.
  • The $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley.
  • The $250,000 Madison.
  • The $ 150,000 Shakertown.
  • The $150,000 Appalachian.

This appeals to a significant segment of horse-racing bettors who prefer the big races that draw the elite jockeys, trainers and horses. They believe the form cycles for these horses are more predictable. They throw heavy money at it.

This is another luxury of the mobile betting age. There was a time when going to watch nine live races was a lot. If one of them was a stakes race, that was a big deal.

Now, weekend bettors can line up a series of big-ticket races and perhaps nothing else. They can handicap the big events, plan wagers and contribute heavily to betting totals.

The top horses for the Blue Grass Stakes include:

  • Basin, who finished second to Charlatan in one of the Arkansas Derby races in May.
  • Enforceable, the winner of the Lecomte Stakes earlier this year.
  • Art Collector, who was impressive winning a recent Churchill Downs allowance race.

Don’t miss Belmont Park’s final weekend

New Jersey bettors have a passionate love for New York tracks.

One of them is Belmont Park, which scored a victory with fans by being able to run part of its meet this year. It began on June 3. The season concludes Sunday, July 12.

Racing this week runs from Thursday through Sunday at 1:15 p.m. This is a good chance to obtain one final fix of Belmont racing.

The track did manage to unfurl at least one stakes race per day, and it salvaged the Belmont Stakes, a jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Tiz the Law captured the 2020 event on June 20 at 1 1/8 miles to at least keep the Belmont tradition alive. It is hoped, and believed, that the Belmont Stakes will return to its classical 1 1/2-mile distance next year.

Monmouth, Meadowlands Prep For Reopening Racetracks To Eager Horse Betting Fans

Two of New Jersey’s racetracks, Monmouth and Meadowlands, will reopen to fans July 2. And just like at Atlantic City casinos, there are safety procedures.

For the first time this summer, New Jersey bettors will have two live tracks open.

While the Meadowlands harness racing program continues Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m., the big news of the week is the return of Monmouth Park.

The storied Oceanport facility opens its 75th live-racing thoroughbred campaign on Friday, July 3.

New Jersey online bettors can access the action at 4NJBETS, powered by TVG. They can also attend the track, which is operating at 25% capacity.

It is likely the track will be able to accommodate several thousand fans most days, but details on live attendance are still being worked out.

Here is an overview of Monmouth Park operations for bettors and the public, broken into a couple of areas.

Know before you go: Health and safety guidelines at Monmouth

The track released a set of protocols on Monday for attending fans.

Parking and admission will be free every day. That does not include TVG.com Haskell Day on July 18. Haskell ticketing details will be announced in the coming days.

All fans must enter through either the main Grandstand or Clubhouse entrances. Advance tickets are not required.

Prior to entry, all in attendance will receive a health check screening consisting of a temperature check and brief health questionnaire. Masks are required to enter.

There will be no outside food or beverage of any kind allowed in during the 2020 racing season.

Speaking of food, the track received some unexpected bad news Monday on the indoor dining front.

Gov. Phil Murphy paused the resumption of statewide indoor dining, which had been scheduled to start Thursday. Murphy cited coronavirus spikes in other states.

Monmouth has an indoor-outdoor restaurant, Blu Grotto, which will presumably only be able to utilize its outdoor operation. Like many COVID-19 regulations, this one is subject to change later.

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What about the William Hill sportsbook?

Monmouth Park will open its gates to fans at 11 a.m. daily starting Thursday, July 2.

That’s when simulcasting wagering and the William Hill Sports Book will be available for the first time since the track was shut down on March 16. The sportsbook will be following all guidelines in terms of capacity limits and social distancing.

Oceanport Centennial Stakes kicks off at Monmouth

At Monmouth, the live horse racing season begins Friday and runs through Sept. 27.

It will operate on a Friday–Sunday schedule, with the Friday first post at 5 p.m. (except Sept. 4 – 12:50 p.m.). Saturday and Sunday posts will be 12:50 p.m., except the Haskell, July 18, when the first race goes at noon.

Friday’s card will be headlined by the initial running of the $75,000 Oceanport Centennial Stakes.

Awesome Anywhere, who dominated in a starter allowance race at Oaklawn Park on March 1, will be the most noted of eight older horses.

Awesome Anywhere shook off a contentious early pace and captured the six-furlong March 1 event in a blazing 1:08.76. His jockey on Friday, Paco Lopez, has six riding titles at Monmouth Park.

The training title will be the most wide-open in several years. Jorge Navarro, who won seven straight crowns, will not return. Nor will Jason Servis, who often finished second to Navarro.

They were both indicted for alleged doping of horses in March. Although they have pleaded not guilty to federal charges, neither is allowed to race here for the foreseeable future.

Six trainers stabled on the grounds have a Monmouth training title to their credit. The list includes:

  • Kelly Breen
  • Jane Cibelli
  • Tim Hills
  • Bruce Alexander
  • Dan Lopez
  • Ben Perkins Jr.

Bettors should keep a keen eye on horses entered by those trainers. Breen and Jose Delgado are the two leading returnees from 2019. Breen won more than $1 million in earnings and Delgado more than $600,000 last year.

Delgado was a sizzling 51–81 in the money last year. This is important for gamblers who bet heavily across the board on key horses in trifecta and superfecta wagers.

Haskell excitement builds

The nominations list for the $1 million Haskell indicates the making of a strong field. There were, as of Monday, 33 nominations for a race that may have one-third of that total at the starting gate.

Santa Anita Derby runner-up Authentic is one of three runners nominated from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. Cezanne and Uncle Chuck are the others.

Baffert has won the Haskell Invitational a record eight times, doing so in 2015 (American Pharoah), 2014 (Bayern), 2012 (Paynter), 2011 (Coil), 2010 (Lookin at Lucky), 2005 (Roman Ruler), 2002 (War Emblem) and 2001 (Point Given).

Bettors will recognize a few other names in the Haskell portfolio. Several just ran in the Belmont Stakes.

Dr. Post, who finished second, is nominated. So is Max Player, who came in third. Tap it to Win, who led that race until the final turn before fading, is also on the list.

The Belmont also produced Pneumatic, who ran fourth, and Sole Volante, a disappointing sixth, in the Haskell nominations field.

In major races, owners pay an initial fee to nominate a horse. They will pay a second fee close to the time of the race if they decide to actually enter their horse in the event.

Factors influencing that decision include whether a more preferable race has opened up and how the horse is training.

What to expect at the Meadowlands

The Meadowlands, on the other hand, has had live racing at its track since May. The only difference now is it can let fans back in at 25% capacity.

Here’s an update from the Meadowlands on Twitter:

Guests can order from a server and eat and drink outside at the apron tables as long as there is six feet of social distancing between parties.

Outdoor dining will resume on Friday and Saturday nights for live racing.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands also reopens this week, with all the proper social distancing measures in place.

Horse racing at the Big M: best bets

The Meadowlands continues its live racing schedule Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. While its well-known drivers have done well, a couple of new forces to be reckoned with emerged last weekend.

Keep your eyes on Andrew McCarthy.

He secured four winners Saturday, all well-priced. Two of them paid 6-1, one returned 9-1 and a fourth was 23-1 — quite a night for anyone with a McCarthy angle.

David Miller, whom we’ve mentioned before as an overlooked veteran star, secured three wins Saturday.

The Big M has also run true to form, with top drivers Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Tim Tetrick getting their share of victories.

In fact, Tetrick won last Friday with favored Odds on Sarasota. When longshot Duck N Roll finished second, the exacta paid $251.

The Meadowlands pattern has been one of the top drivers performing well, with some races producing nice, surprisingly good payouts.

New Jersey Racetracks Open Gates For Fans July 2, And That Includes Sports Betting

Atlantic City casinos aren’t the only gambling halls reopening. Meadowlands, Monmouth and Freehold will be open at 25% capacity on July 2, too.

New Jersey racetracks are on a roll.

Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands (as well as Freehold Raceway) have been greenlighted by Gov. Phil Murphy to take live bets starting July 2.

The racetracks can take bets in person at their sportsbooks and lounges as long as they follow gathering limits, Murphy said.

And just like Atlantic City casinos, the racetracks can operate at 25% capacity.

Here’s more from Monmouth’s Twitter account:

The timing could not be better for Monmouth, which opens its delayed live-racing season on July 3. By the time the Haskell Invitational dawns on July 18, the attendance capacity may be increased.

It’s also welcome news for the Meadowlands, a harness racing institution that runs Friday and Saturday nights.

The track conducted a nearly unheard-of 18-race card last Saturday and cleared a $4 million all-source handle, according to track officials. The Meadowlands exceeded a $7.5 million handle for the weekend.

That’s WITHOUT spectators. Imagine what might happen now.

The COVID-19 crossover

For both tracks, Murphy’s announcement means allowing several thousand spectators on the properties under social distancing protocols.

The measure ensures jobs for employees at those facilities, along with revenue from food, beverage and handle.

There’s a silver lining in the pandemic cloud, too.

Since March, even more bettors have become familiar — and comfortable — with online wagering. They’re betting on tracks throughout the country from inside New Jersey.

That will carry forward into betting on their apps at live events.

If track patrons see long lines in front of a teller or automated machine, they can turn their phone into a handheld bookie and avoid getting shut out.

New Jersey residents can bet on horses via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG. For all other sports, there are 17 legal NJ sports betting apps to choose from, including William Hill and FanDuel Sportsbook.

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NJ sportsbooks open at racetracks, too

Speaking of which, both racetracks feature large sportsbooks on the property. FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands is consistently the breadwinner of the NJ betting industry.

And the Monmouth Park Sportsbook by William Hill was the first retail book to open, in 2018.

The return of fans means those retail sportsbooks will be open as well. Of course, social distancing and limited capacity rules will be in place. And additional details are forthcoming.

Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operator of Monmouth, said in a press release:

“We know our fans are as eager to return to Monmouth Park as we are to have them back.”

Monmouth Park’s million-dollar move

Monmouth Park hits the racing spotlight for New Jersey bettors as its live season approaches.

The track made additional news last week by announcing a $1 million bonus for any horse that sweeps its July 18 Haskell Invitational Stakes, the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby and the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The $1 million Haskell will be contested for the 53rd time. The $3 million Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled from its traditional first Saturday in May slot due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic was originally scheduled for the fall, and its Nov. 7 date at Keeneland remains intact.

In 2015, American Pharoah swept the three races en route to his Horse of the Year title.

Linking the Haskell with those events is a smart move for Monmouth Park.

Unlike in past years, the Haskell’s positioning within the major-race structure is uncertain.

The Haskell Invitational normally lures the nation’s top horses with its high purse and ideal placement between the Belmont Stakes and the fall racing season.

But the Belmont ran two weeks later than normal in 2020. Its Saturday winner, Tiz the Law, will be entered in a later race, the Aug. 8 Travers at Saratoga, instead of the Haskell.

That’s why Monmouth made a shrewd move by dangling a bonus throughout the Haskell, Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup races. The track will likely draw at least a couple of additional top horses to its signature race.

New Jersey’s role in historic bonus concept

The 1985 Haskell involved a horse that shook up the horse-racing industry, forcing it to employ a Triple Crown bonus.

The horse didn’t even win the Haskell, but he was the Horse of the Year. His name? Spend a Buck.

Here’s what happened. In 1985, the new Garden State Park announced a four-race bonus worth $2 million.

Any horse winning the Cherry Hill Mile and Garden State Stakes in April, the Kentucky Derby in early May and then the Jersey Derby on Memorial Day would gain the lucrative prize.

It was utterly improbable to capture four significant races in seven weeks. This was considered a nice publicity stunt, garnering attention for the new track.

But then Spend a Buck won the first three legs of the challenge. After he won the Kentucky Derby, Spend a Buck’s handlers did what racing officials considered unthinkable. They skipped the Preakness in favor of the Jersey Derby.

The racing world was aghast.

Spend a Buck’s handlers were called every name under the sun. A Kentucky Derby winner had snubbed the Preakness in an age when the Triple Crown WAS racing. (There had only been one Breeders’ Cup then).

Spend a Buck gets a race named after him at Monmouth

Spend a Buck went on to win the Jersey Derby, collected the Garden State bonus and became an Eclipse Award winner in 1985. His handlers had made the correct call.

When did his run of luck end? At Monmouth Park, in the Haskell.

Spend a Buck finished second to Skip Trial and was never a prominent horse again. But he remained important at Monmouth, which named a stakes race for him.

The racing world ultimately launched a bonus for horses with the most points over the three Triple Crown races. That was designed to ensure that owners entered the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

In 1987, another New Jersey racing official — Atlantic City Race Course owner Bob Levy — won that bonus with his horse Bet Twice.

Meadowlands going great guns

The Big M, one of the nation’s premier harness-racing facilities, continues to maximize its compact race schedule.

Its seven-figure handle and big fields indicate the backlog of available horses.

And the Meadowlands supplied a whopping first-race payday Saturday.

Ideal Son, at nearly 40-1, shocked the field. The Mighty Marner, Power Dreaming N and Run One Over N completed the first-four order of finish.

The $1 superfecta paid $23,224.50. The $2 exacta was $992, and the $1 trifecta was $4,245.

There is no way to believe that one could have logically nailed that superfecta. But a good betting nugget going forward is to note the conditions.

This was a small-claiming-level purse of $3,500, a 12-horse field and a tepid favorite, according to the track handicappers.

Combine those factors, and you at least know the underlying conditions leading to a big payout. Then, maybe, you get lucky.

The Big M returns Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Horse Betting: A Big Win At The Big M Highlights NJ Racetrack’s Reopening

The Meadowlands restarted its horse racing last weekend, the first New Jersey racetrack to reopen. And one lucky bettor walked away with a big win.

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.

New Jersey Racetracks Are All Smiles As Horse Racing Returns This Weekend

Meadowlands will post its first horse race on Friday, while Monmouth plans to reopen July Fourth weekend. No fans, but horse racing is back at New Jersey racetracks!

It’s post time, New Jersey!

It took mere seconds after an announcement from Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday to change the industry vibe for New Jersey betting.

Murphy allowed horse racing to resume this week, sparking welcome news for New Jersey’s three racetracks.

The Meadowlands saw a quick opportunity.

One of harness racing’s most storied tracks quickly assembled qualifying races the following day. It prepares to open live racing, though without spectators, this Friday at 7:15 p.m.

For Monmouth Park, it signaled a sigh of relief. The Oceanport facility, which has already lost 20 of its projected 56 racing dates, looks all-clear for a July 3 opening.

Freehold Raceway gained confirmation that it can resume its harness racing schedule on or about Aug. 28.

Garden State bettors can access the action online via 4NJBets, powered by TVG. Members get a live-streaming video to enhance the racing experience.

The Big M: Meadowlands reopens on Friday

First up is the Meadowlands, a jewel in the harness-racing community affectionally dubbed The Big M.

In the near term, it is committed to racing on Friday and Saturday, presumably with a 7:15 p.m. first post.

Dave Brower, who sets the official morning line at the Meadowlands, expects a surge of betting support throughout New Jersey.

“People are chomping at the bit,” he told NJGamblingSites. “We are excited to get back. I think betting totals are going to blow people away.”

Brower expects Meadowlands to have 14- and 15-race cards, an increase over previous years, and contain large fields. That combination could produce skyrocketing online handle.

It already bears a psychological effect on Facebook and Twitter.

One social media post was visual, revealing a smiling horse. The other was audible.

“The sound of horses back on the track is like music to our ears,” it read, including a video with horses trotting in unison during qualifying runs.

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Big races at Meadowlands

Meadowlands Racing has been an industry staple since the 1970s. It holds one of the sport’s signature events, the Hambletonian, each year.

The “Hambo” carried a $1 million purse last year. Totals for 2020 were not immediately announced, but throughout the racing industry, stakes race purses have been cut.

The Hambletonian is scheduled for Aug. 8. The Meadowlands Pace, listed at $682,650 last year, is tabbed for July 18, with eliminations on July 11. That makes the race a pleasing spectacle, as bettors can follow the progress of contenders through a qualifying round.

Bettors may not be able to establish insight on more than 100 horses each night, but they can sketch the outlines by following leading drivers. That list includes:

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

It is believed the Meadowlands will run into September and conduct a series of thoroughbred turf races in the fall. Like everything else in the sports world, that’s a fluid situation.

“This year, you have to take everything with a grain of salt,” Brower said.

Horse betting at Monmouth Park returns

Two-thirds of a loaf is better than none.

Two-thirds is roughly the percentage of racing Monmouth Park will be able to complete after it reopens July 3.

The revised lineup calls for Monmouth Park to begin racing Friday through Sunday every weekend in July and August, with a Saturday through Monday lineup on Labor Day weekend.

Monmouth then will drop Fridays and run Saturdays and Sundays through September.

This schedule will end a difficult period for the track, which performed a diplomatic soft-shoe with Murphy while 20 of its dates disappeared in April.

Rather than address the situation at intervals, Monmouth decided in April to forfeit the entire May and June portion of its schedule in one announcement. It also backed Murphy’s leading role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The track banked on a July 3 resumption and Murphy’s support to salvage the rest of its campaign.

The move paid off and Monmouth retained a big ally.

Dennis Drazin, the chairman and CEO of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth Park, has said the purse money not used in May and June will bolster the remaining cards.

That would ensure bigger fields and meaningful wagering handle.

Haskell Invitational still set for July

The track will also preserve its most cherished event, the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational. It will take place Saturday, July 18.

On Haskell Day, admission gates open at 8 a.m.; post time for the first race is 12 p.m.

This is the event that gives Monmouth pedigree outside of its borders. It usually involves the nation’s top horses.

In 2019, the Haskell was won by Maximum Security, who later captured the $20 million Saudi Cup, the industry’s richest race.

Other big Haskell champions include Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, top filly Rachel Alexandra and Belmont Stakes winner Bet Twice.

Freehold reopening set for summer’s end

Freehold Raceway initially had 85 racing dates split between January through May, and late-August through Dec. 31 schedule.

Its actual comeback date is slated for the final weekend in August. The track will run Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 31. Post-time is 12:30 p.m.

New Jersey tracks and bettors are having a winning week and it will only get better.