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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Final Hurdle?

As previously mentioned, we are coming down the homestretch with regards to the Meadowlands being acquired by Jeff Gural. I believe it will be done very soon; perhaps as early as an agreement being reached tomorrow with the Christie administration just needing to be approved by the NJSEA (a formality). Why am I so sure? Politics. In New Jersey the state budget must be approved by July 1 and it is expected to be quite a tug a war between the Governor and the Democratic controlled legislature; especially when Christie is being considered by some as a Presidential or Vice-Presidental candidate, the desire to put a few nicks in his armor may be the goal of the legislature. If there is no budget by July 1, the government shuts down. Hence, according to Record Reporter/Blogger John Brennan, it is essential that a deal be finalized by the end of the month, to clear the decks.

In a bit of irony, according to Brennan, the track which may stop racing June 1 is not the Meadowlands, but Monmouth Park.  Yes, a preliminary agreement has been reached with the horsemen (though not yet formally approved) and  there is the matter of negotiating contracts with the unions there.    My personal feeling and hope is that Monmouth will continue to be racing.  There is no doubt in my mind that racing will occur at Monmouth but the worst thing which can happen is a go/stop/go meet like the Meadowlands has encountered thus far this year.  It's not right to the horsemen, it's not right to the people who work there, and it is not fair to the gamblers.  As we have seen, once gamblers move on to another venue, it is hard to get them back. 

Saturday night at the Meadowlands there will be thirteen races on the card, with only two fields having seven horses; all the others will be full.  In addition to the final of the Graduate and the Cutler Memorial, we have the final of the King of the Sixes (top money earners in nw6500cd last week) and a King of the Sixes consolation.  Unlike Friday night, a card worth wagering on.

I do have a suggestion for racing secretary Peter Koch who has been charged with an impossible task of assembling race cards.  It is great that they have changed the entry times for Friday and Saturday night cards, but if you have another tough week next week, why not have a double draw where if necessary you can move a race to Friday or Saturday as needed so you can have two decent cards instead of a card like Friday evening?

Those who remember the last time the State of New Jersey closed, the Meadowlands was shut down and the Hambo was in  jeopardy.  Thankfully, that will not be the case this time if the government does get shut down.  The NJRC has passed a rule which allows racetracks to operate up to seven days if a State of Emergency is Declared by the Governor due to a budget impasse provide the tracks let the NJRC know of their intention to apply for such an exemption by June 1.  No, it will not allow racetracks to keep operating day after day in the case of a government shutdown, but at least it gives them the opportunity to keep racing a few days in the hope the legislature and Governor comes to an agreement.  With the kind of year it has been, a stoppage due to budget concerns is the last thing needed.

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