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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Light Goes On...

as Jeff Gural has finally realized what others have known for a while.  For all practical purposes, he is alone in running the Meadowlands.  The accolades and cheers when he first saved the track have long been silenced.  It's lonely at the top.  It's about time he realized it.  The writing has been on the wall.

HRU reports in today's edition that Gural is looking to overhaul next year's racing schedule, in particular cancelling racing in June in favor of concerts or less likely, scuttle stakes races in order to jack up overnight purses.  In other-words, he is looking to make better use of the facility to make money instead of losing money.    

Maybe it was naive to think the industry would rally around the Meadowlands as he initially thought. In the ideal world, Harrah's, Mohegan Sun, Yonkers, and the Meadowlands would coordinate schedules so everyone would be able to maximize race fields.  That's not going to happen.  Trainers loyal to the Meadowlands? They haven't and there is no reason to suspect they will.  Top drivers?  While some drivers have remained behind loyally, many have moved on to greener pastures.

The only thing certain in harness racing is everyone is in it for themselves.  As such Gural has decided it is time to look out for his own interest which is the bottom line.  If it is more profitable to put on concerts, he's going to do it.

In the interview, it was broached what would happen if gaming doesn't come to the Meadowlands.  It is quite possible the Meadowlands would pull a Hazel Park and send the standardbreds packing, in favor for thoroughbreds or quarter horses. Auto racing is another possibility (though talk of car racing in the past has not been favorable) as is just becoming an entertainment center.  He has a facility which has the potential to be profitable and he knows it.  

For the first time, it seems everyone knows where everyone stands; no false illusions.  Everyone is in it for themselves.  Unless things change, the standardbreds may be on the outside looking in.

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