It is now reported that Jeff Gural is interested in leasing the Meadowlands racetrack. That would be the best option for the Meadowlands to give it a chance to make it successful. If anyone know hows to run a racetrack, it is Jeff Gural.
Unfortunately, I don't see it happening. No disrespect to Mr. Gural. Not that I don't want to see Mr. Gural take possession of the Meadowlands, but for him to do it; he would need to overcome a fixed negotiating system; a system which has been set up to fail.
The fact is, up to now, all these lease negotiation sessions have been is political cover for the Christie Administration. Early last week, SBOANJ President Tom Luchento was complaining about not being able to talk to the Governor's office. Later in the week, Luchento mentioned he had some conversations so let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say lease negotiations began on December 6. Now we are told the state demands lease negotiations be essentially completed by tomorrow (a two day extention; should we kiss the governor's ring in gratitude?) This with Gural allegedly coming to talk to the Governor on Friday. So basically, harness racing has been given two weeks to complete negotiations on a complex lease of the Meadowlands; a whole ten days (this is the government, work on weekends?). If it takes more than two weeks with lawyer review to complete a lease agreement to build your local fast food franchise, what chance is there to complete a complex lease for a racetrack in the same amount of time?
Unless Gural hits a grand slam at first asking and the state is firm on their deadline tomorrow, the Meadowlands is toast (perhaps except for a six day race meet this year). Should the state extend the deadline there may be (the NJSEA next board meeting is Wednesday morning to be followed by a NJRC meeting later in the day) a chance, but the cynic in me still believes the Governor will be saying "We offered to lease the Meadowlands but we couldn't get someone to lease the track"; a statement he has been planning to give for a long time.
Since Saturday may be the last race card at the Meadowlands, the "B" track tour will take a week off to cover what may be the last race card ever at the Meadowlands.