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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Clock is Stopped

Well, the day has come and gone and no word on the leases of the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.  It seems like we are in an episode of the Twilight Zone when time stops.

For the Meadowlands, it is not known if Jeff Gural and the SBOANJ has agreed to a six day mixed meet in the early spring where the standardbreds would race on the main turf and the thoroughbreds would race on the main track.  I assume the request for the right to have up to fifteen days of thoroughbred turf racing after the standardbreds are done would not be an issue.  The other issue is whether or not the lease for the Meadowlands is going to be a standalone lease or tied to the lease of Monmouth Park.  If tied to the lease of Monmouth Park, would it delay the building of the new grandstand?

For Monmouth Park, it appears the problem is there is no money to fund the stakes program, including the Haskell Invitational.  The NJTHA has 'respectfully' asked the NJSEA to fund the $4 million for the stakes program.  With Governor Christie, I can't see him subsidizing Monmouth even for the Haskell.  I would imagine though he may be willing to have the NJSEA 'loan' the $4 million to be repaid back.  Then again, since the state is planning to re-bid the contract next month, it is possible a lease could be given to the NJTHA with the option to give the lease up if a new longer team lease holder is found in time for this season which would eliminate the need for a loan and get them bigger purses.

No news is good news, or it can be bad news; I tend to think it is good news only because everyone is being quiet.  No statements from Gural, the NJTHA, or the Governor's office.  The meeting of the NJRC is scheduled for 1:30pm today so I imagine there is a little time left to get the leases completed and have the NJRC transfer the licenses to operate the track today.

Once again, I will keep you updated as I become aware of developments.


LI Guy said...

more questions than answers at this point in time can't be to good,imo

Pacingguy said...

I'm sure the requested $4 million for stake races is going to be viewed by Christie as a subsidy and there is a good chance that the Governor will nix that.

After the thoroughbred horsemen said they outplayed Gural, I don't see him ponying up the money for their stakes either.

Still, we heard no statement from anyone which suggests there is a news blackout which means things are not dead yet.

LI Guy said...

Can you explain to me why Monmouth and the BigM are linked together in this deal, besides the fact both were run by the state?

Pacingguy said...

Basically, it boils down to the Interstate Racing Act. Being the Meadowlands is within a certain radius of Monmouth, the thoroughbred horsemen can refuse the Meadowlands the right to accept simulcasting of thoroughbred racing. In addition, the thoroughbred horsemen feel they are entitled to a percentage of the revenue derived from thoroughbred simulcasts at the Meadowlands since it is the same breed.

There are a couple other issues, if Monmouth doesn't reopen other thoroughbred tracks horsemen may refuse to send their signal to New Jersey and the Meadowlands is dependent on thoroughbred simulcasting for most of its revene.

The state doesn't care but the thousand pound guerilla in the room is slots. There needs to be a pact on how to split slot revenue if slots come to the Meadowlands, Monmouth, or both.