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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reviving New Jersey's Moribound Breeding Industry and Gural Speaks

There is no secret that the New Jersey breeding industry is in the toilet and unless the Meadowlands is saved, the final flush is about to occur, but even with the Meadowlands being saved, the limited racing opportunities which will exist at the Meadowlands will do little to revive the industry; stabilization at best is what there is to look forward to which is not much as many of the NJ yearlings were sold below cost which is a situation unsustainable. 

Here is my plan for reviving the New Jersey breeding industry.

  1. Modify the program which has some races designated with a 25% bonus for New Jersey Owned and Sired, (sometimes preferred) to become a program for New Jersey Sired or Foaled.  This way, breeding farms which have open space due to artificial insemination could induce mares which are bred to other states stallions to reside in New Jersey making up some of the business loss.  Realistically, New Jersey horsemen will be unwilling to eliminate the New Jersey owned condition so they would continue to be included with a 15% bonus paid to them.
  2. Introduce a new program for New Jersey sired horses with a 50% bonus for maidens through non-winners of three races.  This will allow racing opportunities for those owners with not ready or never ready for stakes time a chance to recoup part of their investment.  Meaning races at the Meadowlands would go for the following purses for NJ Sired horses:  Maidens (or nw1cd), would race for $11,250 (instead of $7,500); nw2cd would race for $13,500 (instead of $9,000) and nw3cd would race for $18,750 instead of $12,500).  At Freehold, these horses would race for similar incentives.
  3. For lack of a better term, replace the NJ Green Acres races at Freehold and have a New Jersey Sires Stakes Silver division for those horses who are a step bellow the better New Jersey bred stakes horses to give them a chance to earn decent money as a two, three or four year old campaign).  For those that did not quite make the big time, the New Jerseys Sires Stakes would have a four year old program.
  4. For the top tier NJ Sired, rename the NJSS to the NJSS Gold division for two and three year olds and add a division for four year olds to reflect Mr. Gural's intention to limit open stakes races for horses sired by five year olds and up; leaving opportunities for the four year olds to earn big money.
  5. More stakes races for NJ Sired horses, again not only for the top horses, but races designed for the second stringers.
Of course the question comes how do we to pay for these new programs?  The bonuses paid for NJ Sired and NJ Sired and Foaled programs will come from the regular purse account.  I would restrict the breeders awards only to those horses who were sired and foaled in New Jersey, with the remaining funds being used to help seed the NJSS Silver division..  I would suggest introducing a 3% surcharge on all claims to be used towards funding the NJSS program.  Additional financial resources may be needed, but these will need to be raised without increasing the takeout.

Inquiring minds have to ask why does Tioga Downs easily come to a 5 year agreement with their horsemen, yet it is almost impossible to come to a deal with Vernon Downs horsemen?  What makes it even harder to understand this is many of the horsemen race at both tracks.  The only conclusion I have can come to is the leadership of the Vernon Horsemen needs to be replaced. 

Jeff Gural spoke last night at the Meadowlands.  For those who missed it, here is the interview (it is in two parts):

   Jeff Gural Interview Part 1

Jeff Gural Interview Part 2

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