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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Update: Monmouth Park Deal is 'Dead'; Meadowlands Colateral Damage?

Morris Bailey, the individual who was supposed to take over Monmouth Park has indicated he plans to bolt from the plan to lease Monmouth Park after Monday's collapse in the negotiations.  Of course, he has threatened such before, but this time it was the thoroughbred horsemen who walked away from the deal over the Meadowlands thoroughbred license.  Bailey's lawyer, when asked if the deal truly is dead, his attorney said, never say never, but he thought talks could not be revived.

As typical when it comes to thoroughbred and standardbred relations, part of the failure has now been aimed at Jeff Gural, claiming the thoroughbred people out-negotiated Gural, anticipating a proposal to allow off-track wagering at Xanadu (the article says Meadowlands, but that had been negotiated so they must mean the entertainment center supposedly being completed), claiming Gural did not realize it would entitle thoroughbred horsemen a share of the revenue if they had the license and now he is trying to back out of that. 

Now to add a little intrigue NJRC Chairman, Dennis Drazin, who has a thoroughbred background, has resigned from the NJRC.  Is this a protest move or by resigning does it allow him to get involved with the thoroughbred negotiations?

As things look now, Monmouth Park is closing after simulcasting on December 23.  While racing isn't scheduled to resume at Monmouth Park until May, they will not be earning any funds for their purse account after that day.

What does this mean to the Meadowlands?  Right now, the last day employees are supposed to be working for the NJSEA is December 23.  Will the state extend the employees at the Meadowlands or will the Meadowlands be forced to close after December 23?  I am not privy to anything, but I can't see without a signed lease how Gural can take on the employees and implement the 20% pay cut he claims is necessary without having a signed lease and to sign a lease without knowing what your revenue stream will be is 'gutsy' to put it nicely (remember, how Rosecroft lost all their thoroughbred signals 'coincidently' after a dispute with the Maryland Jockey Club).  If a lease is not signed, the state would have to be willing to keep the Meadowlands employees on their payroll, something not known they are willing to do and if that is the case, it would be interesting to see if thoroughbred horsemen start withdrawing permission for their signal to be transmitted to the Meadowlands.

If I was a standardbred horsemen, plan on racing at the Meadowlands, but have Plan 'B' in place,  The situation is still fluid.

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