East Rutherford, NJ --- The Meadowlands Racetrack is proud to celebrate the lowest percentage of winning favorites in harness racing. During 2016, post-time wagering favorites have won just 32.26 percent from a sample of 155 races.
Not only is this percentage the lowest among American harness tracks currently racing and more than 13 percent lower than the average favorite’s winning percentage at American half-mile tracks, it is also lower than the percentage of the three top Thoroughbred tracks currently racing: Gulfstream (35 percent), Santa Anita (37 percent), and Aqueduct (38 percent).
Large well-matched fields have created vulnerable wagering favorites, leading to large payouts to handicappers sharp enough to solve the puzzles. This was once again on display this past Friday night when the 50-cent Pick-5 wager returned $22,094 and the 50-cent Early Pick-4 wager returned $7,445.
While multi-race exotic wagers can often prove difficult to successfully navigate, the single race wagers also paid handsomely. Friday’s average win price was slightly more than $18 while the average $2 exacta returned $121.40. Friday’s average favorite went off at odds of 8-5 while five favorites went to post at 2-1 or higher. These generous returns prove that being right just a few times per night can be profitable. The average win price and average exacta price were also higher than the 2016 averages at Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Aqueduct.
These strong pari-mutuel statistics are the main driver behind five straight racing programs featuring all-sources handle of more than $3 million, the first time a streak of this length has been achieved at the Meadowlands in more than a decade. February alone has averaged more than $3.1 million per night.
“To be perfectly honest, it is pretty cool to see the Thoroughbred players stick around and play our track,” said Meadowlands CEO/GM Jason M. Settlemoir. “The quality of our wagering product is now capable of creating crossover players and that is driving the handle numbers.”
While the Meadowlands has long boasted the top driver colony in the sport, as evidenced by four of 2015’s top five money-winning drivers calling the Meadowlands home, this year has shown a deeper level of competition. No regular Meadowlands driver is currently sporting a Universal Driver Rating of more than .300 at the Meadowlands in 2016. Tim Tetrick is the highest rated driver at .294 followed by Scott Zeron at .247, Meadowlands newcomer Anthony Napolitano at .244, fellow newcomer Austin Siegelman at .229 and Hall of Famer John Campbell at .221 to round out the top five.
Live racing takes place Friday and Saturday nights at the Meadowlands with 14-race programs beginning at 6:35 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com.
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