Day At The Track

Joe Faraldo slams Jeff Gural's claims

11:05 AM 07 Sep 2017 NZST
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George Brennan and Brian Sears
George Brennan and Brian Sears

Jeff Gural says he would not have built the new Meadowlands investing $40,000,000 of his own money, if he knew at the time that harness racing drivers George Brennan and Brian Sears would leave the Meadowlands to race at Yonkers Raceway.

President of The Standardbred Owners Association of New York, Joseph Faraldo responds to Jeff Gural's claims, that were printed in a recent Harness Racing Update.

Here is his letter;

I just read in Harness Racing Update that Jeff Gural claims that his motivation in investing so much money (his or others; I’m not sure) to keep The Meadowlands open was that he was doing George Brennan and Brian Sears a “favor”.

Does anyone naively think that this investment was made other than because there was a potential to make a great deal of money and enjoy increased personal wealth from a North Jersey Casino? 

This is beyond comical;

Jeff writes to HRU that he was investing in a racetrack because he wanted to especially do these two guys a favor.

According to him, "Had I known, I doubt I would have taken the risk as I thought I was doing them a favor".

Doing them a favor!

Give me a break!

After the amusement wore off, it gave me pause to consider who was he doing a favor for when he invested in the shuttered quarter horse track at Tioga Downs?  If not for himself, then for whom?  And why wasn’t such an investment made long before the air was filling with talk of Racinos coming to New York? The Investment clearly was for a potential Tioga Racino. If this was nothing more than a “favor” as well, the scream heard when a casino for Tioga was initially rejected puts serious doubts to that premise.

Similarly, Vernon was an Investment made for a Racino, and hopefully a Casino, and again one has to wonder who was being done a favor for them?

While a Racino materialized at Vernon, which was only five miles from the Oneida Casino, a subsequent Indian compact precluded there ever being a Casino at Vernon.

Recently, the mantra then shifted to,

‘I’ll close the Racino and the Racetrack unless the horsemen agree to cut days (sound familiar) and/or I get $2 million dollars in tax relief, otherwise horsemen, the industry and government will suffer.’

Curiously, it was Jeff himself who publically stated that Vernon would be fine if Tioga was ever given the very Casino he demanded.

So far, The Albany Times Union has written two Editorials pointing to the irony that Jeff as an advocate for Casino legislation in New York was now its chief protestor, because the very Casino Legislation he championed was hurting his bottom line. 

The Oneida Indian Casino was five miles away from Vernon from day one, and the threatened closure has helped drive the Vernon VLT players away. Players at Vernon have lost confidence in the payouts offered, erroneously thinking that the VLT machines will not pay out the mandated percentages, and they have apparently returned to the reservation. The VLTs at Vernon are down some 17%.

Ask for Casinos and cannibalize the market.

One has to conclude, as has been widely reported, that the present Casinos are underperforming, simply because there are too many.

I guess for one person, the one doing everybody else a “favor” only one NY Casino would have been OK.

Getting back to doing favors, The Meadowlands scenario is no different than Tioga or Vernon. None were Investments for horsemen, whether individually, collectively or as an industry.

The investment was done to make a personal score.

Selling this as doing anyone or any entity a favor has been pretty well sold to the industry. Make no mistake about it; all these track acquisitions are calculated business decisions, pure and simple. Nonetheless, it amuses me that one has the audacity to write that favors were being done for any individual or individuals as the rationale that motivated these acquisitions. A big favor is being done for sure; for one person, and one person only.

After what Jeff did to both George Brennan and Brian Sears in individual, separate tirades at The Meadowlands, it becomes apparent that in Jeff’s mind it was the horsemen who were supposed to be doing Jeff the “favor”, by giving him convenient cover. Once George, Brian and others took their talent and skills elsewhere, and The Big M was rendered an abbreviated meet, a class B track, Jeff was left without a plausible argument for his “sacrifices” for an “industry”.

The only sacrifice Jeff has made is his Investment “on the come”, for an East Rutherford Casino; and the only “Industry” he truly cares about is his own.

It’s high time Jeff is called out for his opportunistic ways, for which he shamelessly invokes the names of our industry’s best. While calling him out invites further vilification our Industry’s best and all the others who speak out don’t need any more “favors” from this guy!

Joseph Faraldo

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