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Freehold Taking Tough Measures

Published: April 6, 2009 12:19 pm ET

Last Comment: April 6, 2009 5:10 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

With handle down and no subsidy on the way, the current economic conditions are forcing the owners of Freehold Raceway to make some tough decisions.

According to an article by the Asbury Park Press, the raceway has recently laid off workers, lowered purses, cancelled some marquee stakes races, and, during the weekdays, closed its Renaissance Room restaurant.

"The crowds are very sparse. You'll only find a handful of people in the grandstand, probably not even a couple of dozen. It's deplorable what's happened," longtime racing patron Ralph Christiano was quoted as saying.

The report states that the track has also been a big loser in high-stakes deals brokered by governor Jon S. Corzine's administration involving the racing and casino industries — getting shut out on the $30 million per year in purse subsidies paid by the casinos to state-owned Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack. The deal in turn restrains tracks from pursuing casino gambling, thus protecting the Atlantic City halls from competition.

Also, the track has no representation on a panel which was recently assembled to study horse racing funding issues.

"We feel Freehold Raceway in both the purse agreement and the governor's panel has been unfairly excluded. We feel that is not appropriate. The charge of the panel is to help the racing industry, and you have representatives from casinos, state-owned tracks and other state officials, but there's no one from the private racetracks," said Chris McErlean, board member of track owner Pennwood Racing.

Click here to read the Asbury Park Press article in its entirety.

(With files from the Asbury Park Press)

April 6, 2009 - 5:10 pmThe State Government should

The State Government should realize that horse racing was alive and well in NEW JERSEY prior to the arrival of CASINOS in ATLANTIC CITY--having SLOTS at FREEHOLD RACEWAY should be a NO-BRAINER for THE STATE GOVERNMENT--

Blaine Gregan,

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