Everyone has been talking about the yearling sales at Lexington on a macro level; the overall status of the sale but coverage on the micro level has been minimal. One question which some have wondered about is how the New Jersey-sired yearlings are doing at the sales. A well trusted person summed it up in one word, it begins with a 'sh' and ends with a 'ty'. This should be no surprise and is one of the main reasons for Perrettti Farms tossing the towel in. The regally bred well conformed horses are still in demand, but any horse that does not have the perfect pedigree or has the slightest defect is getting pummeled in the sales ring. Of course, having any new hot sire going to any state but New Jersey hasn't helped.
Why? Saving the Meadowlands is great, make no mistake about it. But when you are dealing with a total number of 83 racing days at the one track in New Jersey with decent purses (Freehold purses are far from decent), who is going to spend a lot of money on a yearling who most likely will be consigned to a career in the overnight races when there will likely not be enough racing opportunities for NJ sired horses? The sad truth is until there is some type of subsidy which will allow these tracks to expand racing dates and maintain quality purses, the NJ breeding industry will continue to decline. The only way you will keep New Jersey breeding farms alive is to expand conditions for NJ-sired horses to include NJ-bred horses to permit these breeding farms other sources of income as baby nurseries. Then, if NJ's fortunes improve, the program can be modified in favor of NJ-sired horses.
Rosecroft Raceway has posted their initial condition sheet for their meet beginning on October 21. No, they are not returning with a blockbuster racing program; $5,000 claimers are racing for $1,800; $15,000 claimers are racing for $3,800. What can be expected when the Maryland racing program was virtually wiped out since Rosecroft stopped racing in 2008. Purses are limited to an average of $25,000 per night but it is a beginning. This meet likely will be a refugee meet, for horses that are unable to compete at other tracks, but it is a start. This 20 day meet is a start. Next year, there will be a 34 day spring meet and a 20 day fall meet, continuing to build on the crumbs which were left in Maryland. The question is while racing is secure for 2011 and 2012, what happens in 2013? Unfortunately, it depends on what happens in the state legislature. As quick as racing has returned to Rosecroft once Penn National Gaming took over is as quick as racing can stop if additional gaming is not forthcoming.