Thankfully, the proposed match race between Captaintreacherous and I Luv the Nitelife will not come to be. While match races may draw in some existing race fans to the track, it will not help bring in new customers and help develop fans. For one thing, while they provide hype, think of the third heat at the Little Brown Jug or Kentucky Futurity; snooze-fest until the final quarter.
The Post Time Show had a flashback to the Bunny Lake v. Worldy Beauty match race at the Meadowlands back in 2003.
The match race between Falcon Seelster and Forrest Skipper back in 1986 was an even bigger snooze-fest.
Secondly, the Meadowlands' interest is in seeing Captaintreacherous in the TVG/Meadowlands Classic; they will not support a match race which may derail the Captain's appearance in the Classic.
Then there is the practical matter of timing. November 23, the proposed date of the match race is opening night of the new Meadowlands facility. As well prepared as they are, there are bound to be some glitches which show up. The plant figures to be full that night already, why throw additional people into the mix which may exasperate these potential glitches and make the public's experience less than desirable?
Dearth of Racing Dates in the Midwest
Michigan is looking at an 81 day standardbred race meet schedule in 2014. Racing dates have been issued in the state with Hazel Park getting the majority of days, 44 being raced two days a week between May 2 and September 27. Before Hazel Park, Northville Downs will race 26 days, two days a week from January 31 through April 26. Sports Creek Raceway closes out the year with an 11 day meet from November 28 through December 31, again twice a week. On the other side of aisle, Mt. Pleasant Meadows, will be racing a 41 day mixed-breed race meet twice a week from the period of May 3 through September 28.
Kentucky is not exactly an overflow of racing days either . While the race dates for the thoroughbreds have not yet been finalized, Thunder Ridge Raceway will be running one more meet of standardbreds for 21 days over the period of April 23 - June 6 followed by Bluegrass Downs which will race 15 days between June 20 and July 20. Finally, The Red Mile will race a total of 22 days which includes the two week Grand Circuit meet from August 7 thru September 28. Hence Kentucky will be racing a grand total of 58 days (excluding fair dates).
Illinois is a creature of another color. While the Illinois Racing Commission has approved a calendar of 235 race dates between Balmoral and Maywood Parks with 358 thoroughbred dates. However, due to a dysfunctional legislature which seems to have a problem with approving ADW legislation whih helps fund the IRB, it is possible that there will be only 13 days of standardbred racing ( 64 thoroughbred dates) if the legislature doesn't approve a new ADW bill and fails to cover the shortfall due to the delay in approving ADW wagering this year.