Jeff Gural late this afternoon in a press release dialed back his disappointment.regarding the lack of entries in the entry box for Saturday night's Grand Opening card at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment as he should have because in hindsight (we all become geniuses in hindsight) a good part of the blame doesn't lays on the Meadowlands itself.
There have been several times in the past I have blamed the horsemen for their lack of support, this is not one of them.
Make no mistake, imagine if you were having a grand opening and you couldn't put on a racing card, you would be upset too so I understand his frustrations. Truth is, I don't know how much of the shortage of horses can be attributed to Pocono Downs. True, it is towards the end of the season, but the Meadowlands was able to fill weekend cards during the summer when Pocono and other tracks were open. The problem lies in assuming the Final Four races would require eliminations and putting out a condition sheet as it did.
Originally, the condition sheet had the four 2yo event eliminations on the card (which could have turned into eight races), the two TVG FFA Series final preliminary legs and four overnights of higher class horses with four additional overnights, for B-2 and up on the card as substitutes. If you are a horseman and you have a horse to drop in and you see this condition sheet, how likely would you think you would get in to race or even have your raced used? Would you enter your horse(s) or look for a race elsewhere? There is a good chance you would look elsewhere for a race.
Obviously, no one could figure there would be no eliminations but it may have been more prudent to start the meet on Friday night, splitting the two year old events between the two nights and have more overnight events on the condition sheet with a note that overnights could be used on either night (a double draw). By doing this, horsemen would have more opportunities to enter their horses with a much stronger probability to get their horses raced, giving them a reason to commit to the Meadowlands this weekend.
Regardless, with adding races for C-1, C-2, and a Non-winners of 2 races, I am sure come tomorrow morning, the Meadowlands will be able to put on a competitive race card.
That being said, time to put this event behind and look forward to the Grand Opening of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. While the threat for rain and snow Saturday evening has been removed from the forecast, if the weatherman can get any inclement weather out of the area even earlier in the day, it would be appreciated.
In other Meadowlands news, John Brennan of The Record has been chosen as a winner of the Clyde Hirt Media Award from the HHI for his reporting on racing 'off the track'. Having read Brennan's writings over the past few years, it's an award well deserved. If you never read his Meadowlands Matters Blog, you should to see why he was selected.