To highlight the anxiety people are feeling wondering what is in the report the Christie commission is scheduled to deliver on June 30, take a look at Wednesday night's card at the Meadowlands. This may be a preview of what racing may look like at the Meadowlands next year without a purse enhancement or slot revenue.
The feature race is the second race, the $83,800 Acorn Stakes for 2yo trotting fillies which highlights the first night of Grand Circuit racing at the Meadowlands. Here is a list of the other races on the card that evening:
1st Race - $10,000 Trot - 2 year olds colts and geldings - non-winners of 1 pm race lifetime
2nd Race - The previously mentioned Acorn Stakes
3rd Race - $10,000 Trot - 2 year old fillies - non-winners of 1 pm race lifetime
4th Race - $10,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming
5th Race - $9,200 Trot - $15,000 claiming
6th Race - $10,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming
7th Race - $11,500 Trot - Non-winners $6,500 last five starts
8th Race - $8,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming; fillies and mares
That's right, only eight races on the card for Wednesday night and if not for the Grand Circuit being at the Meadowlands, the feature race would have been a non-winners of $6,500 last five starts event. The only good thing you can say is with the exception of the first race, the fields are full. Thursday is a little better. However, it is clear without help; the Meadowlands will become another Balmoral.
Without slots or a purse enhancement the Meadowlands will not be able to compete against the racino tracks being supported with slot revenue and the horse supply will get even worse. Those gamblers faithful to the Meadowlands will have no choice but to abandon their favorite track and we run the risk of losing them forever to the thoroughbreds or other gaming options. If they flee to other tracks, harness racing may be able to survive, but if they flee us completely, the whole sport may collapse in several years.
Make no mistake. The fight for the Meadowlands is everyone’s fight. For once the industry must look past their parochial interests and look at the big picture. Those who race elsewhere need to throw their financial support to either promote or fight the recommendations in the upcoming report. With the support of all, we have a chance. If out of state groups are complacent about their local market and think the problem at the Meadowlands is not their problem, they may learn the hard they were wrong; perhaps too late.