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MANALAPAN, NJ -- November 6, 2020 -- Earlier this week the SBOANJ reached out to the NJRC regarding the implementation of the new whipping rule and a possible transition period with written warnings. The SBOANJ was told that the NJRC staff considered a transition period with written warnings but decided against it. The new whipping rule became effective on October 19, 2020, but the NJRC delayed the implementation of the rule until November 6, 2020, to allow judges time to meet with drivers and explain the requirements of the new rule. The NJRC stated that the new rule is intended to protect the horses and the staff cannot delay implementation any further. As of November 6, 2020 penalties, which will be determined by the Board of Judges, will be imposed after the judges conduct their hearing. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

MANALAPAN, NJ -- November 5, 2020 -- Attention all New Jersey harness racing drivers. There will be a drivers meeting at the Meadowlands on Friday (Nov 6) and Saturday (Nov 7) at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held outside of the paddock office to discuss the implementation of the New Jersey Racing Commission's new whipping rule. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

Harness racing trainers are fuming over recent positive tests at the Meadowlands on their horses for phenylbutazone or Bute medication. They now understand that the new medication ruling calls for no use of Bute 48 hours before a Standardbred can compete in a race. The former rule was 24-hours out. The problems lie in that the trainers, practicing veterinarians and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) claim they were never sent problem notification of the new rule and when it would go into effect by the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC). Yet the New Jersey Thoroughbred horsemen and veterinarians were contacted well in advance. Bute, is probably the most widely used drug in horses of all disciplines. Bute is an inexpensive, highly effective treatment for inflammation and pain that can be injected intravenously or given orally to horses as a powder or paste.  All of these questions erupted at a New Jersey Racing Commission hearing involving three prominent trainers at the Meadowlands racetrack on Friday, July 17. Since then, other high profile trainers have also received positive Bute tests. Present at the hearing were the three trainers, Mark Ford, president of the SBOANJ, the judges at the Meadowlands and the new executive director of the NJRC, Judith Nason. The ruling in question is N.J.A.C. 13:71-23.8, which calls for special procedures for the use of phenylbutazone and that it can only be administered by a licensed veterinarian. The first offense penalties are very strict and call for first offense to receive a $500 fine, loss of purse and a 15-day suspension from racing. NJRC executive director Nason stated at the hearing that the SBOANJ was sent a letter of notification for the practicing veterinarians in NJ, the same as was done with the Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association. SBOANJ President Mark Ford stated that the SBOANJ was never sent any letter from the NJRC. All three trainers have appealed the rulings and SBOANJ President Mark Ford stated at the hearing that the SBOANJ would provide legal services for all three trainers in this case. “Why would all three of us trainers allow our veterinarians to administer Bute only 24 hours out as we always have if we had received proper notification in advance?” said one trainer. “And now more harness racing trainers are coming up with positives. We all can’t be wrong and this includes our vets who administer the Bute. "This is a case of entrapment by the NJ Racing Commission." Calls and emails to both the NJRC and the SBOANJ have gone unanswered. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 3, 2020 - The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of NJ (SBOANJ) has received notification that positive drug tests for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are showing up as racing has resumed in New Jersey. Please check New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) Rules and Regulations Subchapter 23 Medication and Testing Procedures 13:71-23.1 through 13:71-23.8 which also references the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule version 2.1 ( Revised April 17, 2014 ) for regulation details. Any questions please call the NJRC at 609-292-0613. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 28, 2020 - It is extremely important that all New Jersey harness racing horsemen work together during this extraordinary situation that we have been faced with. Currently, the Meadowlands has received an exceedingly high volume of entries for Saturday's qualifiers. At this time, we would like to ask all trainers that have the ability to qualify at a training center to please do so. We have had great cooperation from the NJRC to allow qualifiers to be held multiple days at Gaitway Farm and Magical Acres for the convenience of all horsemen. Please take advantage of those dates. Keep in mind that the more horses that qualify at training centers will allow the Meadowlands to limit the number of trainers, drivers, and caretakers on-site at one time, lowering risk factors. It is vital to the future of racing that the Meadowlands is able to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols. If you have entered horses to qualify on Saturday at the Meadowlands that you are able to qualify on one of the dates allocated to a training center, we ask you to please contact the Meadowlands and take them out of the box. Preference dates will be the last race date and there will not be a penalty for any qualifying dates. If you have any questions, please call the SBOANJ office at 732-462-2357. Thank you all for your understanding and cooperation as we move toward the return of live racing in New Jersey. Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has request permission from the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) to hold qualifying races on Saturday, May 30 that will be open to include harness racing horses stabled in states other than New Jersey.   Due to the expected overwhelming response and the physical limitations imposed by Covid 19 protocol we will give preference to entries on horses that are eligible to Meadowlands stakes then from those trainers who race regularly at The Meadowlands.   We continue to closely monitor the prospects of returning to racing at The Meadowlands as soon as possible and will continue to advise horsemen on the progress made.

MANALAPAN, NJ - March 19, 2020 - The New Jersey Racing Commission held a meeting at Monmouth Park yesterday (March 18) where Governor Murphy's Executive Order #104 relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak was addressed. Effective March 16, 2020, all three New Jersey racetracks, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands, and Monmouth Park are closed until the Governor either revokes or modifies his order. The minimum days closed could be 30 but due to the current conditions, the number would seem to be much greater. The SBOA will evaluate the Coronavirus outbreak mid-April to determine the next course of action. It is very important at this time we all work together, the SBOANJ will be scheduling meetings with both harness tracks and NJRC to establish priorities and possible economic relief for the horseman. Click the link to view the full Executive Order #104 Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - When requests for racing dates were submitted to the New Jersey Racing Commission in October, Monmouth Park applied for live racing on the main track at The Meadowlands from October 2 through December 5, 2020.   The NJ legislation regarding live racing at The Meadowlands grants the Thoroughbreds the right to race live in the fall, should they choose to do so. The past several years they have confined their live racing to short, turf only meets that allowed us to race a Fall Standardbred meet, but their plan for next year is to convert the main track and race a longer Thoroughbred meet.   As a result, The Meadowlands is currently working out the details for for the 2020 live racing season without a Fall live meet.   Live Standardbred dates applied for in 2020 will number the same (90) as in 2019, will begin Thursday, January 2 racing on Friday and Saturday (with a few Thursdays added along the way) ending on September 19.   The absence of live racing in the Fall will affect the stakes schedule. That situation is currently being addressed with the focus on continuing all existing stakes with minimal conflict and racing the TVG and Kindergarten Finals on closing weekend in September.   There will be a consistent, weekly schedule for 2-year-olds to race over the mile track, starting the first week of July continuing right through mid-September. That will include the Kindergarten legs and final, the Grand Circuit Haughton & Doherty Memorials and the New Jersey Sires Stakes. The later schedule will allow for the NJSS to be raced after the Hambletonian next year.   It is our intention to use the revenue (added money) not being spent on the Fall Freshman Final Four to increase the purses for the Kindergarten legs to $20,000.   We are hopeful that the Fall Freshman Final Four will find a temporary home in 2020 and are confident that can be accomplished.   At present there are no plans to offer Late Closers during the 2020 racing season.   The Meadowlands will continue to offer updated details on the 2020 live racing and stakes season as they develop.   From Nick Salvi, at The Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - With the major yearling sales coming up, we felt it necessary to have those with an interest in harness racing be made aware of a few recent developments involving The Meadowlands for 2020 listed below. On Wednesday, September 18 at a meeting of the New Jersey Racing Commission, a request by The Meadowlands to eliminate Lasix for 2-year-old Standardbreds racing in New Jersey for 2020 and 2021 and for the 2021 Meadowlands Pace was rejected. This request was opposed unanimously by the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and by some practicing veterinarians. It is our intention to re-submit this request within the next six to eight months once we have a better understanding of how the public is going to react to the negative press that the thoroughbred industry has recently received. In addition, we have been officially notified by the Monmouth Park Thoroughbreds that they intend to exercise their option to convert the surface of the racetrack and race on the Meadowlands main track from October 2 through December 5 next fall. While it is still possible that they will reconsider based on the costs, we must assume that there will be no live harness meet next fall at the Meadowlands. Should that occur, The Meadowlands would extend the 2020 live meet beyond Hambletonian Day, racing until mid-September. Regarding a few of the important stakes that have historically been raced during the fall meet, our intention would be to race the Kindergarten Classic Finals and TVG Finals right after the Little Brown Jug and prior to the beginning of the Lexington meet. It is as of now unclear what will be done with the Fall Freshman Final Four stakes which have annually taken place at the end of November. In any case, we thought it important that everyone be aware of these developments so you may plan accordingly. From the Meadowlands Media Department

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 9, 2019 - Attention all New Jersey horsemen and anyone planning on racing in the Garden State, the New Jersey Racing Commission will no longer be accepting cash. All owners, trainers, and grooms must now pay for their license with a check or money order. Thank you for your cooperation. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

East Rutherford, NJ - With the possibility of a purse subsidy for New Jersey horse racing in the news, there are a few important points to be made on what remains to be done and some updates the progress of this vital piece of legislation.  The Meadowlands and the SBOA of NJ with their TrotPac initiative have been in concert with the NJ Thoroughbred Horseman's Association in a laborious effort over the past two years to have the legislation introduced and addressed.  The measure, known as NJ S2992 (18R), would provide $20 million annually for five years starting this fiscal year to be disbursed through the New Jersey Racing Commission for use toward purse subsidies and track operations at New Jersey racetracks. The first step was to have the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advance the proposed legislation to a vote in the NJ Senate which on December 10 was unanimously approved.  On Monday, December 17 the NJ Senate passed the legislation by a 40 - 0 vote successfully completing step two. These are encouraging signs to be sure, yet there remain a few important hurdles before the bill becomes law. It must first pass a committee of the Assembly that will determine the validity of the proposed request. If accepted, the bill will then be introduced into the full Assembly for a vote and must pass that house before ultimately being signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.    Nick Salvi

A source at The Meadowlands has told Harnesslink that harness racing trainer Nick Surick has been suspended indefintly by the New Jersey Racing Commission from the Meadowlands and Feehold Raceway.   Seven of his horses were just scratched from tonights racecard at The Meadowlands. They were;   Race 1 - Idle Bones N Race 4 - Mac's Secure Race 5 - Hepburn Hanover Race 5 - Livingthedream Race 6 - JK Parlay Race 9 - American Image Race 10 - Abbeylara   More news will be coming out in the following days.    Harnesslink Media

  East Rutherford, NJ - At the request of the New Jersey Racing Commission The Meadowlands has submitted a revised 2019 live harness racing schedule application comprised of 76 dates with the addition of eight racing dates in September.   Monmouth Park has submitted an application for 20 Fall Thoroughbred dates at The Meadowlands, racing Friday & Saturday from October 4 through December 7.   The Meadowlands, in conjunction with the SBOA of NJ, continues to make every effort to secure a purse subsidy for 2019. If that purse subsidy should become a reality,   The Meadowlands would add $1 million from the sports betting proceeds and will attempt to work with the management and horsemen of Monmouth Park with the ultimate goal 83 live harness racing dates and the preservation of the fall stakes program.   With the subsidy at the discussed level of $20 million with $6 million of that directed to Meadowlands purses plus the $1 million from sports betting we should be able to increase overnight purses by 75% beginning in January as well as maintaining all of the existing stakes that we raced in 2018.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will apply for 68 live racing dates for the 2019 season by the October 15, request for dates deadline of the NJ Racing Commission. The main factor in forcing us to reduce dates is the failure to obtain a purse subsidy that would enable us to compete with the Pennsylvania tracks when they open in late March. By reducing dates we believe it would help to be able to attract enough horses to race during that period and we are quite certain that without the subsidy racing more than 68 days would be impossible. The thoroughbreds have also advised us that they would like to race in the fall and they have the legal right to do that but we believe that if we were able to get the subsidy, which is split between the standardbreds and thoroughbreds, we might be able to work out a schedule that would be beneficial to both breeds. This will unfortunately force The Meadowlands to drop the fall stakes program. The Fall Final Four and possibly the TVG Championships will have to be relocated or cancelled along with The Kindergarten series. The purse account deficit is another issue as without any subsidy the funds available limiting the daily average to approximately $110,000 which is not enough to attract enough horses to fill Meadowlands cards when the PA tracks open. Fewer dates will permit an increase as we attempt to field races that will be attractive to the horseplayers. As it stands with Monmouth racing in the fall and the purse revenue status quo, the schedule will be Friday & Saturday from January 4 through Hambletonian Day August 3 then Thursday - Saturday the last two weeks of December. We hope in the next few weeks that the legislature will act on the purse subsidy legislation in which case we would revisit this with the expectation that we could increase the race dates including a modified fall schedule. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

MANALAPAN, NJ -- May 17, 2018 -- New Jersey Racing Commission Executive Director Frank Zanzuccki said Wednesday he will be retiring from his position effective July 1. He made the announcement at yesterday's NJRC meeting at Monmouth Park. No replacement has been named. Zanzuccki joined the NJRC in 1978 and served in various positions prior to being appointed executive director in 1992. The next meeting of the NJRC is July 18 at Monmouth Park. Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - In response to horsemen's concerns over the accuracy of blood gas testing being done at The Meadowlands, equipment was brought in from Tioga Downs and Meadowlands management, with the assistance of the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC), conducted on-site TC02 testing over the weekend of March 16 and 17. The concern was over the procedure in place for TC02 testing which required the samples be shipped to a lab in California, citing the possibility that there may be deterioration of those samples during the time spent in transportation. After the onsite testing was done and results were returned to the NJRC from the California lab from that same weekend, those results were compared. That comparison of 35 samples yielded no significant difference and none of the tested samples came at all close to the threshold of what would be considered an overage. "We continue to work with the NJRC to insure that to the best of our ability horses racing at the Meadowlands are racing on a level playing field," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "After receiving questions about the possibility that shipping the samples to California may be producing inaccurate results we decided to bring our testing equipment down from Tioga to be certain that was not the case."  

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