Accprdomg tp the Asbury Park Press reports that a new deal for Monmouth Park was agreed to late last night. The horsemen will be racing 141 days for a pittance of what they would have under Morris Bailey; racing for $150-$175,000 per day. As for a stakes program, there is no stakes program at this time as the state did not agree to donate the $4 million necessary to carry on the stakes calendar at the same level as last year including the Haskell Invitational. In return, the state promises to rebid the contract for Monmouth Park within a month. Racing is going to be pretty gloomy this year at Monmouth but the track is saved.
There is no talk regarding a mixed meet or a guarantee of a post-harness season Meadowlands thoroughbred turf meet. I foresee a limited field of bidders for the Monmouth Park long term lease as the lease will call for a $500,000 per day purse distribution for about seventy days. It is going to take someone with deep pockets to take the additional money needed out of their operating expenses. There is some talk the NJTHA will be bidding for the long term lease; well if thoroughbred horsemen have as much success running a meet as harness horsemen do, one would have to wonder if they would be able to survive to get to a second season.
However, in the ying and yang of New Jersey Politics, the track in jeopardy now is the Meadowlands once again. Jeff Gural has received an extension to finalize his lease of January 6 as negotiations continue with regards to supplementary revenue. This puzzles me as it was my impression this was finalized already when Bailey was in the picture. Does this mean now that the thoroughbred industry is looking for more than what was previously agreed to? While the Meadowlands is now on the hook, I do believe a deal will eventually be finalized unless the NJTHA's demands are totally ridiculous. The sooner a lease can be finalized, the better it is as harness horsemen must be getting nervous and nervous horsemen make plans to race elsewhere..
So the saga continues for another 18 days. While I am reasonably certain things will end well, you never know until the "I"s are dotted and the "T's are crossed.
10:30AM Update - Just to clarify things, both deals are not finalized. This comes from John Brennan of The Record.