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Gural To Lease The Meadowlands?


Published: December 15, 2010 8:10 pm ET

Last Comment: December 21, 2010 11:41 am ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Reports indicate that New York-based racetrack owner-operator Jeff Gural could add to his collection of harness racing facilities by investing in The Meadowlands.

In Wednesday's Daily Record, Gural told writer Bob Jordan that he's in talks with Gov. Chris Christie's administration to privatize the seemingly-shunned standardbred centre.

"I've been successful in upstate New York in making people come to the track because I approach it differently. It's got to be a fun experience," said Gural, who owns both Tioga and Vernon Downs in upstate New York.

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority spokseman John Samerjan told the Daily Record that discussions on privatization were ongoing but was not at liberty to reveal specifics.

Jordan also reports that both the NJSEA and the New Jersey Racing Commission scrapped board meetings scheduled for this week to give legislature more time to finalize funding.

December 21, 2010 - 11:41 amI admire your altruism but

I admire your altruism but let us do a reality check:
NO HELP FROM CHRISTIE, well you get the picture.

December 17, 2010 - 1:00 pmWith all due respect to Mr

Bob Colbert SAID...

With all due respect to Mr Yates, The Meadowlands can be a "profitable" facility if it's run correctly. The problem is that the state runs it and honestly it's not in the best interest of the state to continue to run either racetrack. Yonkers handle is well below what the Meadowlands handles on a daily basis. Mr Gural has made both tracks he operates in New York profitable and with the location and reputation it can work. also a private owner has a better shot at getting the VLTs in the tracks then the state because of the state interest in Atlantic City.

One other thing. Don't sell the WEG racing short. It is just as important and the Meadowlands and the sport needs both.

December 16, 2010 - 5:55 pmB-Mac The numbers don't lie


The numbers don't lie about how good the Meadowlands product is compared to the competition. Check the handle sizes on FRI and SAT at the Meadowlands versus that of Yonkers where the oval in New York has purses ranging from 19,500-42,000 compared to the 7,500-17,500 range in New Jersey and you'll see that the handle in NJ dwarfs that of the competition in NY. Why? Because bettors around the world KNOW that the product at the Meadowlands is the best there is, even without Brennan and Sears during the fall. Christie is a dunce and has got to be on the take.

December 16, 2010 - 5:45 pmI have never been to Vernon

ron francis SAID...

I have never been to Vernon or Tioga, but Jeff Gural has talked a good game and indications are, that he has backed claims and intentions with positive direction. That said, turning around a "Meadowlands" is different, and more complicated than the application of common sense marketing for a smaller market operation. Hope it works for Gural, and harness racing in general. It amounts to putting out a good gaming/entertainment product. Getting the serious bgettors back, presents a major challenge. The other, is the casual gamer who is looking for an entertainment/dining experience. Harness tracks can be/should be/have to be, both. Bon chance.

December 16, 2010 - 12:33 pmJeff Gural is one of the few

John Carter SAID...

Jeff Gural is one of the few people in this industry who i could wish the best of luck to because not only does he have the best interest of the race game in his heart but he is also one of a select few who truly understands the problems that the industry faces He figured out a long time ago that the race game cannot continue to take it's customers to the cleaners every time they walk thru the door and survive.

He understands that for the race game to survive and have any chance of turning things around that they must compete with other forms of gambling by slashing the track takeout to a maximum of 10% or less in every pool. That's the good news the bad news is that even with someone like Mr. Gural buying the big m, it may be to little to late.

This industry is in a downward spiral where it may already be to late to turn it around. The next generation has already been lost to poker and sports and other forms of gambling. It may also take a collective effort by all the major players in both thoroughbred and standardbred racing to have any chance of turning the corner and we all know that is not going to happen anytime soon. Your odds of winning back, to back, to back major prizes in a lottery draw is probably higher then this industry ever working together.

To further compound the problem is the decision makers in the industry are for the most part old dinosaurs who are totally out of touch and if there is some younger blood the majority of them are in way over there head in today's competitive gaming environment. To make matter even worse is, even if Mr. Gural is able to buy the big m and reduce takeout all he can by law it would still be uncompetitive with other forms of gambling and i know that he expressed this in other interviews. He understands that a 15% takeout is not competitive with other forms of gambling, it has to be much lower.

Even though Mr. Gural understands the problems, the laws put someone like him at a competitive disadvantage. I could be wrong but when it comes to poker and sports they are able to charge what ever house take that they see fit so they can set it where it gives them the best chance to prosper. These laws need to be changed in regards to racing to put them on equal footing with sports and poker but i have yet to see an industry leader who is fighting to have these regulations changed. So in closing i do wish Mr. Gural all the luck in the world because with all the challenges he faces he is going to need it.

December 16, 2010 - 11:00 amI totally agree with Mr.

Joe Riga SAID...

I totally agree with Mr. Wood.The Meadowlands IS harness racing and with all due respect to WEG without it harness racing is done. The WEG circuit simply does not compare. At the meadowlands we have the best drivers in the world who all want to win every race they are in. The lead changes and the competitiveness of the Meadowlands simply make it the BEST harness racing to watch or bet on, whether you are a casual $2 bettor or a much more larger bettor such as myself. I have placed many large wagers on Meadowlands races because whether it's Tetrick, or Miller or Campbell or Pierce or Brennan or A Miller or Dube or Sears I always feel I get a top effort.
It will be a sad day for harness racing if the Meadowlands does not survive.
I hope it does.
I hope Mr. Gural can make it happen and I wish him all the luck in the world.

Joe Riga

December 16, 2010 - 10:33 amSomeone other than the state

Bob Yates SAID...

Someone other than the state of New Jersey owning the Meadowlands will not change anything. Bottom line is without State money or slots, there is simply not enough cash for purses to remain at the levels they are.

Its that simple.

While I applaud all of your enthusiasm for your way of life in harness racing - the sport is dying. Sorry. Thats the plain truth.

The below commented "
The Meadowlands should be a place where the best horses in the world race and both casual and hardcore racing fans support the product with 5 million dollar handles every weekend just like in the eighties and nineties."

Seriously? You still believe that? Young people who played then are now in their mid forties and fifties. The new generation plays slots and poker and has no time to look at a form - much less bet on a horse and watch it lose stride and be out of a race before it begins. There are not enough new "hardcore" players. Especially for harness versus thourghbreds.

The sport will NEVER be where is was in the 80's - never. If you want the sport to survive then at least start with realistic expectations.

December 16, 2010 - 1:17 amJeff Gural I hope you are

John Wood SAID...

Jeff Gural I hope you are successful in acquiring the Meadowlands and bringing in a management team that will make the racetrack experience fun for the casual player. Also lets not forget the serious players who have been neglected by the industry and are looking for lower takeouts to drive handle and increase betting pool size. I know you have the vision to address the needs of both type's of players the casual fan and hardcore gambler who are looking at things from a diametrically different perspective.

Few people realize but this is a defining moment for harness racing's survival resting on whether you are successful in the getting control of the Meadowlands and privatizing it. Harness racing needs someone such as Jeff Gural with vision and passion for harness racing to restore the Meadowlands to its rightful place as the Mecca of harness racing in the world. The Meadowlands should be a place where the best horses in the world race and both casual and hardcore racing fans support the product with 5 million dollar handles every weekend just like in the eighties and nineties. The alternative vision that we have today is empty grandstands, declining yearly betting handle, and purses driven by casino parlor games at racinos. The Meadowlands and harness racing futures rests on Jeff Gural's hands.

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