As you have no doubt seen, Joe Faraldo has already made some what can be construed as anti-Gural comments regarding the potential lease of the Meadowlands. Knowing how much love there is between the two of them, it was just a question of when; not if the exchange would begin.
No doubt Joe Faraldo does some good for harness racing in New York. He represents his horsemen at Yonkers exceptionally when dealing with management there. He also has gotten involved with battles with management elsewhere, most notably Vernon Downs; no doubt at the invitation of the horsemen's group there.
There have been some battles elsewhere between Jeff Gural and Joe Faraldo elsewhere with regards to harness racing in New York, most recently with regards to the proposed NYCOTB Bankruptcy case. Now, Faraldo has made his views known regarding the possibility of Gural leasing the Meadowlands.
In this writer's opinion, Joe Faraldo reprsents the old time horsemen attitude that track management is a necessary evil and is responsible for promoting harness racing; with horsemen basically showing up to race and get as much of the purse money as possible. His worry has basically been what is good for New York horsemen and nothing else. In the heyday of harness racing, this approach was fine; these day's it is dangerous and has the potential to kill harness racing as it is now requires massive changes in a team effort to promote the sport.
As for Mr. Gural, he represents the new time owner of racetracks. The old ways don't work and the sport must change. Unlike many track operators, he feels harness racing can survive. No doubt he feels that horsemen must make concessions to permit the sport to survive. An example would be the reduction of the takeout at Tioga Downs where horsemen shared in the cut; something the horsemen at Vernon, advised by Faraldo have refused to do so up to now.
Why Faraldo has gotten involved in the Meadowlands's survival is unknown to me. He certainly was not going to be part of the solution. Why Gural got involved is clear, he thinks there is a solution for the Meadowlands; without slot machines. This may be the last chance to keep harness racing in the public's consciousness and the last thing we need is these two going at each other.
It should be noted that Joe Faraldo is a director of the USTA. If you recall, Ivan Axelrod recently mentioned in a recent edition of Hoof Beats that some directors are part of the problem of harness racing. Whether or not Axelrod was thinking of Faraldo when he made this comment I can't say.
From my perspective, the future of harness racing lies with people like Jeff Gural. No doubt there is going to be a lot of pain involved, but sometimes strong medicine involves pain. This is not to say horsemen don't need strong leadership; they have interests to protect. However, to protect those interests to the point of ensuring your own demise makes no sense.
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