Facing growing competition from venues in the neighbouring states of Pennsylvania and New York, Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey has reportedly announced that it wants to offer only 68 live horseracing dates next year. Track desires ‘purse subsidy’: According to a Sunday report from the TapIntoHorses horseracing news website, the East Rutherford track will have run some 90 days of racing this year but told the New Jersey Racing Commission that ‘the main factor’ in the planned 24% decrease for 2019 was the ‘failure to obtain a purse subsidy’ that will allow it to contend with the prizes being offered by rival venues in Pennsylvania, which normally begin operations from late-March and receive funds from on-site casinos and other gambling activities. Cutback will allow venue to ‘attract enough horses’: Meadowlands Racetrack reportedly revealed via a Thursday statement that the envisioned reduction in dates will allow it ‘to be able to attract enough horses to race during that period’ with its autumn stakes program and possibly the Fall Final Four, TVG Championships and The Kindergarten series being sacrificed.
For next year, Meadowlands Racetrack has reportedly asked for permission to offer races every Friday and Saturday from January 4 to August 3 before moving to Thursdays through Saturdays for the last two weeks of December. Reportedly read the statement from Meadowlands Racetrack… “The thoroughbreds have also advised us that they would like to race in the fall and they have the legal right to do that but we believe that if we were able to get the subsidy, which is split between the standardbreds and thoroughbreds, we might be able to work out a schedule that would be beneficial to both breeds.” May ‘revisit’ schedule: The New Jersey facility reportedly detailed that it would be willing to ‘revisit’ its planned schedule reduction if legislation that would set aside roughly $20 million for each of the next five years to boost the eastern state’s horseracing industry is passed. This proposal was purportedly introduced by New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal in partnership with counterpart Paul Sarlo on September 24 and is now set to be considered by the New Jersey Senate Appropriations Committee.
Reportedly read the statement from Meadowlands Racetrack… “We hope in the next few weeks that the legislature will act on the purse subsidy legislation in which case we would revisit this with the expectation that we could increase the race dates including a modified fall schedule.” Christie decision impacts horseracing industry: TapIntoHorses.net reported that the New Jersey horseracing industry used to receive approximately $30 million in subsidies every year from the casinos in Atlantic City in exchange for agreeing not to offer slots or video gaming terminals. But, this arrangement was cancelled in 2011 by then-Governor Chris Christie before the state-run Meadowlands Racetrack and counterpart Monmouth Park Racetrack were handed over to private operators. Reportedly read the statement from Meadowlands Racetrack… “The purse account deficit is another issue as without any subsidy the funds available limiting the daily average to approximately $110,000, which is not enough to attract enough horses to fill Meadowlands Racetrack cards when the Pennsylvania tracks open. Fewer dates will permit an increase as we attempt to field races that will be attractive to the horseplayers.”
Industry group opposes ‘clearly unacceptable’ decision: Mark Ford, President for the Standard bred Owners and Breeders Association of New Jersey, reportedly responded to the planned diminution by declaring that his group was ‘as much surprised as anyone’ as it had not been given any advance notice. He purportedly moreover explained that such a move will constitute a violation of his organization’s contract with Meadowlands Racetrack that ‘is clearly unacceptable’ and will need to be addressed ‘immediately’. Ford’s statement reportedly read… “We found this particularly disappointing in that we have been working very hard with various legislators and did feel that we had made progress in getting some assistance from the state.”