Day At The Track

Gural 4yo rule dropped - "I'm really pissed!"

09:04 AM 21 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Jeff Gural
Jeff Gural - "the status quo is unacceptable".

"Anybody who wants to say I'm vindictive, they're right. I'm really pissed.” That was Meadowlands' chairman Jeff Gural's answer when asked by Friday about his response to the Hambletonian Society and Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) decision to drop the rule for stallion restrictions. Gural lobbied both groups four years ago for the restrictions that kept star horses on the track after their 3-year-old campaigns.

When learning earlier this week of the Hambletonian Society and WEG's decision to not extend what was a two-year trial period for foals of 2015 and 2016, Gural announced that he was going to expand the restrictions for any horse by a 4-year-old stallion to include all races at not only the Meadowlands but also Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, both of which he also owns, including stakes, baby races and qualifiers.

"I'm very disappointed. That's why I've changed the rule now so basically you won't be able to race at any of my tracks,” explained Gural. "You're right, I'm being vindictive. I'm just tired of the fact that this place was 48 hours from being closed and I stepped up to the plate and I'm killing myself and losing money, that I have to listen to a bunch of breeders complain to me that I'm hurting them, when the reality is the breeding business is collapsing. They don't understand that if we don't find new people to buy these yearlings, there is no breeding business. I have no idea how to do it other than put a good product out there.

"It's the guy who owns five percent of a stallion, who says, "If we could syndicate that horse I would take that money and buy yearlings with it.' It's the five-percent guy who is complaining. You can't make that up.”

When asked what he believed the down-the-road impact would be with the new restrictions, Gural didn't hesitate to answer.

"I have no idea and I don't really care,” he said. "Do I think someone can sell a yearling that can't race at my three tracks? No. I wouldn't buy a horse like that, why would you? You want to baby race that horse at the Meadowlands. The way I see it, if you want to race in New York or New Jersey, I own the only three tracks that aren't half-mile tracks.”

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