For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gural Regrets, Tight Racing Rules, Shelly Goudraeu, Political Observation

In today's HRU, Jeff Gural admits if he had to do it over, he would never have bought the Meadowlands.  Handle is down about $400,000 a night due to the simulcast fee dispute blocking some markets and he is facing a $2-$3 million a year loss.  In the interview, he also discusses how disappointed he is in the support he is getting from those in the industry; many who look out for #1 instead of the industry itself.  I realize that is human nature but you would think some would look at the big picture..  As for a casino coming to save the day?  Even Gural admits it is no slam dunk as it is possible a track may be operated by someone else.

Come spring time when the Pennsylvania tracks open, Gural is wondering if there will be enough horses to even card races twice a week as he realizes most horsemen will race for the money instead of supporting the Meadowlands.  What happens if it looks like a casino is a lost cause?  Gural suggests it is possible that the trotters may get the boot for the thoroughbreds or even convert the track to a NASCAR facility.

Gural admits some of the horse shortage has to do with banning trainers who have large stables and thus not able to enter at the Meadowlands.  Gural has no second thoughts about banning these individuals though he is surprised none of the other area tracks seem to be interested in knowing why these trainers have been excluded.  That to me is perhaps the most shocking thing out of the interview.  Has the industry so lost its way that it doesn't even care why someone is excluded at one track and allows them to participate without a question?  Anyway the interview, while sobering is a must read.

I came across this article from Deadspin about Japanese horse racing and how it keeps its squeaky clean image with regards to racing.  While in the perfect world it would be great if American racing was like this, we know it never will happen.  However, there is no reason why the states can't get together via a compact and form a centralized regulatory agency to handle racing from assigning race dates, uniform racing rules, marketing, and wagering.  With a centralized agency, economies of scale could be obtained allowing for better control and promotion of racing.  Of  course, that assumes horsemen would go along with this.  Well, one can only dream.....

Cal Expo has a race Saturday named the Shelly Goudreau Memorial in remembrance of the talented driver who died too young in a racing accident at Hollywood Park.  While Cal Expo should be commended for honoring Goudreau, a race for non-winners of $20,000 lifetime (or $30,000 lifetime to be claimed for $10,000) seems not to be enough.  Being Goudreau was successful on both the Yonkers-Roosevelt and Meadowlands circuits, it seems to me either the Meadowlands or Yonkers could name a late closing series after Shelly.  It just seems fitting.

Stepping into the political arena for a moment, if you thought New Jersey Governor Christie would be leaving office early as he ran or became President, you better figure on him being Governor for the full term.  The guess here is he decides not to run for the Republican nomination as ethic issues come back to bite him.  Even if I am wrong and he does run for the nomination, expect him to flame out before the nominating convention.  Of course, the fear then becomes what does he do as a lame duck, Governor with no need to build his public persona for national consumption?

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