The next public meeting of the NJRC will be held next Wednesday, January 19 at the Meadowlands. On the agenda is the the decision whether to adopt the proposal to introduce the Fair Start rule used in Canada to harness racing in New Jersey (agenda item #8). In addition, to the fair start rule, there is the formal adoption of the revised Meadowlands schedule; reducing the dates from 141 days to 82 days for the 2011 meet. As you recall, until the legislation was passed by the legislature, the Meadowlands needed to submit a 141 day schedule to keep their OTW facility open. Now, with the legislative change, the schedule may be updated to reflect the actual proposed schedule.
But as for the adoption of the fair start rule in New Jersey, I remain cautiously optimistic regarding the chance of approval of the proposed rule change. Not knowing how the letters sent in during the public comment period ran in sentiment (hopefully blog readers voiced their support), nor not being aware if there was a campaign against the rules adoption by the horsemen and track operators against it, passage of the rule change is not certain.
Approval of this proposal will right a wrong that was done to horseplayers when the old recall rule was changed. Even more important, those potential customers, who happen to have the misfortune of betting on a horse who for some reason that day decides it's not racing, will not be chased away from harness racing when they get their wager back instead of their ticket becomes worthless the moment the starting car begins moving.
How big a decision is this? With the approval of this rule in New Jersey, other states may look favorably on adopting a similar rule change in their own state once the rule is in effect at America's number one harness track. After all, how do you tell your local customers that they don't have the same protection as gambler wagering into New Jersey pools?
This NJRC meeting is open to the public. The meet starts at noon with a scheduled one hour executive session with the public session scheduled to be immediately after. The meeting will be held at the Meadowlands Hambleotnian Room on the Pegasus level.