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Update On The ‘Big M,’ Tioga And Vernon

Published: April 7, 2020 1:56 pm ET

Last Comment: April 7, 2020 2:59 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Tuesday, April 6, an update was released in regard to what might be possible for 2020 racing and stakes scenarios at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.

The release explains that Meadowlands officials are hoping that live racing can return to the 'Big M' on May 1. The release also states that the general contingency plans depend on a number of variables, many of which are completely out of the tracks' control.

The release was also very clear to state that all three tracks will adhere to, and follow the direction of, whatever guidelines are set forth by Governors Murphy and Cuomo.

Under the current contingency plan, Tioga and Vernon will prepare for live racing as soon as the casinos are cleared to open.

In terms of stakes racing at the Meadowlands, according to the release, the only casualty thus far is the new four-year-old New Jersey Sire Stakes Maturity races that were scheduled for March and April. The track is now looking to race those stakes later in the season.

The Meadowlands’ first open stakes that is scheduled is the opening leg of the Graduate Series for pacers on May 2. “If we get open,” the release explains, “we would likely delay that race for a bit to give those horses a chance to get a start while looking for a logical spot to race it.”

Additionally, the NJSS for three-year-olds had been scheduled to begin on May 15. The Meadowlands has stated that it “might move them back a few weeks.”

The contents of the release appear below.


Status Statement for the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs

Given the current situation, the Meadowlands and Tioga and Vernon Downs are doing whatever can be done to look after our employees and be a good neighbor in the community.

We also realize the plight of the horsemen that race at our tracks and the anxiety of not knowing what the near future might hold.

It is in this spirit that we try to shed a little light on what may be possible.

It is our hope that we may be able to resume live racing at The Meadowlands on May 1, 2020. That is of course contingent on many things, most of which we do not control.

Tioga and Vernon Downs will set to prepare for live racing as soon as the casinos are cleared to open.

Fortunately, our stakes at The Meadowlands would have barely begun on the original calendar. The only casualty thus far is the new four-year-old NJSS Maturity stakes that were scheduled for March and April. We'll look to race those later in the season.

The first open stake scheduled is Leg #1 of the Graduate Series for pacers on May 2. If we get open, we would likely delay that race for a bit to give those horses a chance to get a start while looking for a logical spot to race it. The NJSS for three-year-olds were to begin on May 15 and we might move them back a few weeks.

These ideas are contingent upon whether stakes at other tracks are raced when originally scheduled.

We are cautiously optimistic that as a result of the delay to the opening of their live meet that Monmouth Park will race a turf-only meet at the Meadowlands in 2020 and not convert the main track. This potential development may give us some flexibility so far as making up live race dates in October and November.

"We are working to get the tracks open, but only when it's safe," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "I get that guys need to race, I'd like to race, too. We must adhere to the guidelines set forth by Governors Murphy and Cuomo and we will follow their direction."


April 7, 2020 - 2:59 pmThe May 2 opening leg of The

Mike Mobley SAID...

The May 2 opening leg of The Graduate can easily be rescheduled, since the second leg isn't scheduled until June 6 at Mohawk. The 5/2 leg could be pushed back four weeks, until May 30. The only race that it would interfere with that weekend is The Camluck, on May 29, IF Western Fair reopens by then and doesn't postpone the race until it opens again in the fall.


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