As predicted, the Meadowlands' streak of $3 million handle days has ended at nine, likely the result of one less race and four seven and three eight horse fields on the thirteen race card. Clearly, the lack of horses as a result of Saratoga opening contributed to the shortage of horses. Of course, a $2.8 million handle is nothing to sneeze at.
With the shortage of horses and its expected deepening, the Meadowlands is forced to lower the bottom of the conditioned and claiming ranks with non-winners of $3,500 last 5 starts and $7,500 claimers likely to make an appearance next weekend along with the amateur driving series making its return. No one likes going this low but no sense complaining about it; you have to do what you need to in order to get enough races on the card. Besides, as we have already seen, full fields wins out over class almost all the time. Serious horseplayers rather wager on ten horse fields instead of seven so you have to give them what they want.
Of course, the question is, how low do they go with Pocono and Harrah's both opening soon? I suspect this is as low as it gets but if necessary, they will drop the bottom lower if necessary. This is the reality of being a track without slots.
Some people have asked with the Meadowlands trumpeting all these $3 million nights, where the purse hike is? Truth is, the track has overpaid purses so all this extra wagering has gone towards paying down the overpayment and possibly kept purse levels from dropping further.
Ever wonder why your pick seemingly always drops further after the race begins? Odds are it is computer wagering. This article from the Thoroughbred Daily News goes further into it.