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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monmouth Park Deal Blows Up - What Does it Mean to the Meadowlands?

According to The Record, the deal for Monmouth Park has 'blown up' according to the NJTHA over the old Meadowlands thoroughbred license.  The NJTHA is now heading to court, claiming the state is reneging on an agreement made back in June.  How and if this gets resolved remains to be seen; more importantly to most readers of this blog, is if the Meadowlands gets taken out as a result of this problem if it is not satisfied to the NJTHA's liking.

From what I gather from the article, my assumption this morning is correct.  The state's Attorney General is uncomfortable with handing the license over, primarily because the NJTHA does not have a track to operate, or lease themselves.  In most states, if a permit is not used, it is surrendered to the state and if for some reason the NJTHA does not run a meet one year, the license will have to be surrendered.

The state does not want to lease the track to two operators so Monmouth Park may be out at least as the basis of retaining the license.  As a suggestion, I would suggest the NJTHA to make arrangements with Atlantic City Race Course to lease the track for an extension of a turf meet.  If they can work a deal to lease ACRC to run a short meet there, even if an extension of ACRC's six day turf meet, it would probably solve the problem as they would have a guaranteed meet and those who want to see ACRC race longer would get their wish.  Then, if they wished to race longer at Monmouth Park, they could ask for days.  Of course, to lease ACRC would mean coming up with the purse money and paying for the expenses of running the meet (salaries, etc.).  The other option is if Morris Bailey is allowed to sublet the track, the NJTHA commits to running a certain number of days each year (even if as little as four days).

What does this mean to the Meadowlands?  I would be hesitant to complete the Meadowlands deal without knowing what the simulcasting situation is.  The fact is leasing the Meadowlands without thoroughbred simulcasts assured would be financial suicide.  So the Meadowlands deal likely remains hostage to the thoroughbred situation. 

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