In a bill revised to addrss certain concerns of Governor Christie, the NJRC will be in charge of distributing subsidies to race tracks over the next three years. Instead of $30 million a year, it will be $30 million for three years. With the distribution of the subsidies being under the control of NJRC, and the Governor having to approve or veto their minutes, the reality is the Governor controls the purse strings.
I am not saying it would happen but if the first year the subsidy is $15 million, all $15 million can go to the the thoroughbreds at Monmouth Park with zero going to the Meadowlands. However, if the Meadowlands has been leased and the state is off the hook for any debt, expect Christie to favor the thoroughbreds as long as the state, through the NJSEA is on the hook for the expenses. Where hopefully, Gural and company will be on the hook for the Meadowland's expenses.
Accidents to a harness driver is frightening thing. First of all, you are dealing with the immediate injury and possibility of death. Then there is the therapy. All tough to deal with. Then comes the problem of many trainers will have moved on and forgotten you. Is it a case they just found the new hot driver, or are they afraid you won't psychologically recover from the spill; being fearful of making a racing move? Years ago, Jack Parker Jr. was in an accident at the Meadowalndss which basically made him persona non grata with trainers and his career was close to being over.
Now Aaron Merriman who races primarily at the Meadows and Northfield Park is dealing with the same. Back relatively early from his injury, he now is at the stage where he needs to prove himself to the trainers, no longer getting the number of live horses he once did. Unless you are a driver like John Campbell, your resume of work is past history. In many ways it is frustrating. The ability is still there. Everything a driver learned to get to the level they were before the injury is still there. Yet, here these drivers are forced to prove themselves almost as if they were that provisional driver. It is a shame trainers don't automatically assume you will return to the level you were before the accident. Your resume should be worth something; trainers who gave a driver first or second call before injury should give the driver the same respect they had for them beforehand until the driver can't prove their ability to drive the way they did before. Unfortunately, it is the driver who must prove themselves to the trainer.
Well, a .326 UDR in these first two weeks of 2011 don't make a year, but I suspect he is on the verge of showing those trainers he is back. It won't be long till he is given the respect he was given before the injury. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Merriman showed loyalty to those trainers who believed in him upon his return and gave them preference over those early doubters? It would be the ultimate payback.,