For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Meadowlands Raises Purses, Throws Down the Gauntlet

There have been those, perhaps those with axes to grind, who have been questioning how successful the rebirth of the Meadowlands has been under the management of the Gural team.  Some have been wondering where are the purse hikes if things have been so good?

Well, they need not wonder any longer.  Perhaps since purse increases have not been across the board, but been strategically placed in certain classes, they have not been noticed but for the fourth time since the Gural team has been in place, the Meadowlands has raised purses; this time for the 'B' and FFA classes.  As a result, the Meadowlands has achieved parity with the Pennsylvania slot-tracks, leaving only Yonkers Raceway with higher purses.

Here is a recap of purse levels for conditions and classified purse levels along with their original purse amounts:

NW1    $10,000 (Previously $9,000) 
NW2    $12,500 (Previously $9,500) 
NW3    $15,000 (Previously $12,500) 
C-2       $9,000   (Previously $8,000) 
C-1       $11,000 (Previously $10,000) 
B-2       $16,000 (Previously $12,000, then $14,000) 
B-1       $20,000 (Previously $14,000, then $16,000) 
FFA      $35,000 If 9 or more starters (Previously $30,000) 

At the same time, with the upcoming opening of the Eastern Pennsylvania racing season, the Meadowlands has thrown down the gauntlet in an effort to keep more horses racing at the Meadowlands for the balance of the meet; in effect telling trainers if they want a place to race during the winter months, they better support the Meadowlands racing program when other tracks are open.

A trainer who has at least 20 starts credited to them from the period of March 28, 2014 through August 2, 2014 must have at least as many starts at the Meadowlands as they have at all other tracks combined to qualify for preference at the Meadowlands winter meet which starts in November.  If a trainer has at least 60 starts at the Meadowlands during the designated period, they will qualify for preference at the entry box regardless of how many starts they make elsewhere.  Those who make less than 20 starts may apply for an exception.  Failing to meet this criteria will result in being on the outside looking in when Harrah's and Mohegan Sun are closed.

Of course, some trainers will no doubt attempt to game the system to make an end run around these rules.  One possible approach could be some trainers will name second trainers to race horses horses out of town under the second trainer's name and race horses under their own name when racing at the Meadowlands thus qualifying for the preference when if all the horses raced under the trainer's own name, the trainer wouldn't qualify for the preference.  Expect management to be on the look out for this and other tricks.

It will be interesting to see if the new incentive program and purse increases will be sufficient to have full cards during the balance of the meet.

Legendary Race Caller Retires:  Vernon Downs' Jim Moran is retiring from the announcer's box after 50 years of calling the races at Vernon Downs.  There will be a send-off celebration on opening night, April 11.

Hold All Tickets:  Remember that new 5/8th mile racetrack replacing Monticello Raceway?  Don't bet on it.  Empire Resorts, which was planning to relocate the track to the site of the old Concord Hotel are checking to see if under the new casino law in New York, if they need to relocate the track.  If not, they may continue to operate at the current Monticello Raceway.  If that happens, let's see if the upgrade the 3rd floor at the old raceway to the 21st century or if it remains in the 1950's.

Oh yes, the dispute with the MHHA continues.

Decoupling is not Just for the Dogs:  Just in case you thought decoupling was an issue only facing the greyhounds, here is a does of reality as in Florida, the horse industry is fighting a battle to keep decoupling out of the revised pari-mutuel laws the legislature is considering.

No comments: