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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Now It's the Runners Turn; Tale of Two Tracks

Yes, harness racing faced the possibility of the Meadowlands being closed if Jeff Gural hasn't stepped in to ensure a winter meet and we still face the closure of the Meadowlands should a lease deal not be achieved by April 1.  But this is not to say the thoroughbred industry is sitting pretty.  News has come out that the NJSEA is asking for requests for proposals regarding the sale of Monmouth Park as it is clear the state is looking to shed Monmouth Park from its portfolio.  Of course, there is no talk of shutting down Monmouth Park by May if a deal is not done, but conceivably, if there is no sale by the end of this year, Monmouth Park may be looking at a shut down as well.  While there is no slots in the future of Monmouth Park, I will be surprised if Churchill Downs isn't one of the companies looking to put in a bid..

The Governor has signed the Atlantic City legislation which includes $30 million in subsidies for both sports over the next three years.  Before anyone starts counting this money, it needs to be remembered that Christie has the right to veto NJRC minutes so while the legislation provides the subsidies to be spent, there is no guarantee  that the money will every be made available. 

A tale of two tracks:  Freehold has cut their purses and $4,000 claimers will not be racing for $2,000.  Meanwhile, Pompano Park has increased their purses and those very same $4,000 claimers will now be racing for $3,300.  With Pompano now extending their meet to forty-five weeks, one has to wonder if any horsemen will be looking to relocate south.

Where are the indictments?   It has been eleven months since the news broke that there was a race fixing scandal in Michigan and at Windsor Raceway.  Drivers have been suspended from racing, yet no indictments of drivers have yet been handed up.  At this point, prosecutors need to put up or shut up.  If there was race fixing, hand up the indictments and let's get the legal process moving.  If there are no indictments forthcoming, then release a statement saying so. 

Down under, Auckland Reactor participated in his second trial winning a 2200m non-wagering contest in 2:47.9 (Mile Rate 2:02.7) at the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club at Motukarara, coming home the last 800m in :59.8 and the last 400m in a speedy :26.8 coming from last to first with a winning margin of 3 lengths.  The only caveat to the impressiveness of the victory is that four of the six horses in the trial are trained by the same stable.  However, we will see on February 12, when the Reactor is scheduled to make his parimutuel debut at Ashburton.   

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