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East Rutherford, NJ - The business of getting the Baby Racing harness racing season underway at The Meadowlands is quickly coming into focus. Entries will be taken for this week's 2-year-old races along with the qualifiers on Wednesday morning until 10:00AM.   Based upon the number of entries it will be determined if qualifiers and babies will all go on Saturday or the number is so large they must be split over Friday and Saturday mornings.   The Meadowlands racetrack will be open for the training of 2-year-olds only on Thursday, June 4. The paddock will be used and the number of horses will be limited to 100 with a maximum of 15 for any stable. Call the Racing Office to sign up.   The gates will open at 7:00AM and the same requirements that were required for last Saturday will continue to be enforced for the training and qualifiers. A separate questionnaire must be filled out and signed for each person coming onto the property and temperatures will be taken. The number of trainers and grooms must be kept at the very minimum and social distancing must be observed.     Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - While there is excitement at the Meadowlands Racetrack for the return of live harness racing this Friday, June 5, there is also a sense of loss due to the passing of a number of horsemen and women from COVID-19. To honor the lives lost, 13-year-old Boy Scout, Alex Saldana will play Taps from the Meadowlands Racetrack's back paddock following Race 2. All drivers in attendance will be asked to form a horseshoe behind Saldana, with proper social distancing, for the 38 second ceremony. "When we learned of Alex Saldana's story we wanted to invite him out to the track," said Jason Settlemoir, COO & GM of the Meadowlands Racetrack. "He is an extraordinary young man and his playing is a fitting tribute to those we have lost within the industry and our country." Alex, an 8th grader from Oradell, NJ, has been in the news lately for playing Taps outside the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home every night to honor those veterans that have died amid the COVID pandemic. Alex's story has been featured on, WABC, and USA Today among others. Alex has been playing the trumpet since fourth grade and serves as the bugler for Boy Scout Troop 36, playing Taps at every meeting. Alex's father, David, is a detective in the Bergen County Sheriff's Office and a veteran of the Marine Corps. He will also be joined by his mother Melissa Saldana.   Rachel Ryan

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 29, 2020 - The SBOANJ would like to thank Governor Murphy for reopening harness racing in the state of New Jersey. Today (Friday, May 29), while New Jersey horsemen were busy qualifying at Gaitway Farms, with the hopes of live racing returning soon. The Governor announced the best news we have heard in over two months - racing will resume at the Meadowlands Racetrack next Friday, June 5, 2020. After weeks of working with Karyn Malinowski, of the Rutgers Equine and Science Center, to provide the safety protocols to return to racing at the number one harness track in the world, the Meadowlands, we look forward to the long anticipated start next weekend. The SBOANJ and all New Jersey horsemen are grateful that Governor Murphy and his administration, and Judy Nason and the NJRC, worked with us to reopen racing at the Meadowlands. This announcement gives the horsemen of New Jersey the opportunity to get back to business. With the successful conclusion of 24 qualifying races at Gaitway Farms, while practicing safety protocols, we look forward to the return of the best racing in North America. Good luck and safe racing. Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that Governor Murphy has granted harness racing the opportunity to resume in the state of New Jersey. Our thanks go out to the Governor for allowing all of us to get back to business.   Live racing will return to The Meadowlands next weekend Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 at 7:15 PM with no live attendance. We ask that our fans and those involved with the horses as owners and in any capacity other than those essential to the function of racing be patient as we are hopeful that with careful management and Jersey remaining healthy we will be able to open the grandstand before too long.   Qualifiers will be held on Saturday morning. Pertinent information was released earlier today on important practices and protocols for racing. Further details including the draw for Saturday's qualifying races will be released as they become know later today.   With the green light to race we may now release the live racing calendar for the balance of 2020 which may be found on The Meadowlands website later this afternoon.   Also posted will be the revised stakes schedule which will remain virtually in tact. The stakes will begin with the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for 3-year-olds on and the first leg of the Miss Versatility on Friday, June 19. The calendar may still be fluid as changes are made at other tracks regarding their intentions but any move would likely be only from Friday to Saturday.   While we are all pleased and grateful to be back racing, we must remain vigilant so far as following the protocols required of us all as long as they are in place.   Good luck and good racing to everyone.   Nick Salvi

East Rutherford, NJ - Over the past few days there have been conflicting messages on just what the protocols will be for Saturday's harness racing qualifiers and beyond at The Meadowlands. The situation has been fluid and things have evolved. These are the current details.   Testing for the COVID-19 is currently not mandatory but is strongly recommended by the Governor and the CDC.   Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required, face covering mandatory at all times when in the paddock area, gloves are recommended when touching common equipment and maintain the accepted social distance of six feet. The number of people in the paddock and contact with others must be kept to the absolute minimum.   Qualifiers will be held on Saturday, May 30 the time TBA after the draw. The box for those will close at 10:00AM on Friday, May 28.   Horses may be warmed up one trip only. The caretakers must not gather in a group trackside when waiting for their horses to come off the track or at any other time. This is very important.   The state requirement to practice social distancing will reduce the capacity available for stabling thus restricting the number of entries we are able to accept.   If you are stabled in New Jersey and have the opportunity to qualify at a training center please do so at the request of The Meadowlands and the SBOA of NJ to allow others that do not have that option to get their horses qualified at The Meadowlands.   If preference becomes necessary, as will likely be the case, first preference will be horses that are eligible to stakes at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs followed by those trainers who have consistently raced at The Meadowlands.   The qualifying overnight sheet will designate where each horse will be stabled until they race either from the paddock or another designated area. Please do not bring horses other than those who are in to qualify as there will be no training permitted on May 30.   The current plan has the track open to accommodate training on Thursday, June 4.   All horse people and track employees will be required to download and submit a completed questionnaire and consent to having their temperature checked with a no touch thermometer before entering the paddock gate.   VERY IMPORTANT This questionnaire must be printed out and completed so we have a hard copy. Having it on your phone or other device is not acceptable.   Please try to have this completed and ready to hand over to the guards when you arrive to avoid slowing entry through the gate.   If deemed a health risk you will be turned away. It is advised that everyone's temperature is checked to be within the normal range before you ship in to the track to avoid being refused entry. Pertinent information on protocols the state will require from horse persons to participate will be made available on the track website. Trainers are asked to have themselves and their employees familiar with those requirements and come prepared to follow the protocol as it is stated.   Only those essential to racing the horses will be granted admittance to the paddock. No others, including owners, will be admitted into the paddock or grandstand to watch the qualifiers or the live races when they begin.   The qualifiers will be available via streaming at The Meadowlands website on Saturday.   Catch-Drivers must remain outside the paddock, isolated in their vehicles and will pick up their mount as the horses exit the paddock on the way to the track then return to their car after the race. Trainers driving horses from their stable may participate in the preparation of and drive only their own horses. The locker room will be unavailable.   We ask that you explicitly follow the directions of those officials maintaining the protocol while in the paddock and on the grounds.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With the coronavirus having cost the Meadowlands 12 weeks of harness racing - a total of 24 racing days - there is no doubt Saturday (May 30) morning's qualifiers will be received in a big way. They will serve to remind us all that racing is coming back. They will serve as a step back to normalcy. "COVID-19 has had such an incredibly horrific impact on so many people, and that includes all of us in the harness racing business," said Meadowlands Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Many of us have lost friends and loved ones while so many horsemen have had to scrape by during the last three months as they continued to feed and care for their horses, not knowing when they would be able to get back to work and make some money to care for their families. We cannot change the bad things that COVID-19 has already done to us as an industry and a society, but we must move forward, because now that we are able, it's time to get back to work." The first of what figures to be many Saturday qualifiers at the Big M will kick off at 10 a.m. For those interested, the entry box for the qualifiers closes at 10 a.m. Friday morning. Moving forward, any qualifiers after Saturday will take place only with regulatory approval. Pari-mutuel racing at the Meadowlands is scheduled to resume on Friday, June 5 at 7:15 p.m., and once it does, live action will take place every Friday and Saturday throughout June and July with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m. At this time, the dates are pending regulatory approval. Of course, given what is now known as the "new normal", there will be no fans allowed inside the Big M for the foreseeable future. "Because of safety concerns, we will not be able to have our fans come to the track to see the races," said Settlemoir. "But we look forward to our faithful betting the races on their favorite app or online platform. As always, we are happy that our races will be shown nightly on TVG across the country. For those who might not have access to TVG, the Roberts Television Network (RTN) also carries our races live. "COVID-19 was - hopefully - a once-in-a-lifetime event. All of us at the Meadowlands are thinking about everyone affected by the loss of life during the course of the pandemic, and want everyone to know that we will conduct our business at the Meadowlands in the safest way possible for our employees and horsemen, so that we can adjust to the new normal, and then, ultimately, one day, return to life as we knew it." Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ - The State of New Jersey protocol requires all employees and harness racing horsemen to complete this mandatory Covid19 test before returning to work.   Begin by clicking on the link provided below which will lead to a televist with a doctor where you will receive a date, time and location to be tested.   Be advised that there is may 4 to 5 day lead time from making the appointment and getting your result.   All horsemen are required to have this test prior to racing at The Meadowlands on June 5.   Meadowlands Racetrack has set up testing for COVID-19 for all employees returning to work. Testing is also provided for all NJRC licensed Horsemen and State Officials. Dates of Testing: Open Everyday Time: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm Place: After Televisit, you will receive an email and SMS with date, time, and location of testing.   Procedures as follows:  ·         Pre-registration required for COVID-19 Screening: ·         Registration includes: o   Name as it appears on your photo ID o   Date of birth o   Address o   Copy of your State ID (drivers license preferable) §  If you do not have a drivers license, your state issued NJRC license should suffice o   Copy of your Insurance Card ·         Employees will NOT BE RESPONSIBLE for any out of pocket costs. All expenses for COVID testing are covered by insurance or if you do not have insurance, these expenses will be covered by the State. ·         Appointment is for Virtual Telehealth Visit with Provider for initial screening. Once screening is complete, you will receive a date, time, and location for testing via SMS and Email. ·         On-site Drive Thru Test Site Instructions o   Please follow signs to Covid/Agile testing and line up as instructed o   Stay in your car o   Only employee/Horsemen allowed o   Two person max per vehicle o   Keep your windows rolled up until you are asked by the technician to roll them down o   Have your photo ID and insurance card readily available o   ID is mandatory ·         Follow technician instructions ·         Once test is complete, roll up your window and leave the testing area ·         Test results will be provided to you as well as our Medical department

TRENTON, NJ -- May 19, 2020 -- As shuttered sectors of New Jersey's economy begin inching back to life with more outdoor activities approved, such as horseback riding, Assemblyman Ron Dancer has sponsored a resolution supporting the Meadowlands Racetrack to resume harness racing, initially without spectators. "With a proper plan in place, the Meadowlands Racetrack should be allowed to operate, especially with Governor Cuomo announcing the re-opening of all New York racetracks without fans effective June 1," said Dancer (R-Ocean). "By resuming horseracing, the gaming and racing industries would be able to generate revenue while stimulating our economy from internet wagering within the State, as well as, simulcasting the races to other states that have already approved the return of horse racing." He noted that the industry supports 13,000 jobs and has led to the preservation of more than 175,000 acres of farmland and open space in New Jersey. "We cannot let the gaming and racing industry fall to the wayside and must ensure they can reopen in the safest way possible," concluded Dancer. "This resolution would do just that and keep one of New Jersey's staple industries afloat." The resolution supports the Equine Center at Rutgers University and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey proposal to safely phase in the return of horseracing to the Meadowlands Racetrack with the "trifecta" health-related protocols of social distancing, hand sanitizing and face coverings. Courtney Stafford

MANALAPAN, NJ -- May 11, 2020 -- As we work towards a plan to re-open harness racing at the Meadowlands, the SBOANJ has been in constant contact with a number of New Jersey legislators that have consistently been supportive of our program, including Senate President Sweeney and Senators Sarlo and Gopal. Senator Sarlo has been appointed by Senator Sweeney to head "The Strategy for Fiscal Recovery to Restart the New Jersey Economy" Committee and both Sarlo and Gopal were sponsors of our Appropriation Bill. Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a longtime friend of our racing and breeding industry, was one of the invited participants to a special conference call with Governor Murphy this past Saturday, when the Governor acknowledged that he is aware of what we are doing to return to "spectator-less" racing. Governor Murphy added that his team is reviewing our plan and also commented that his office would follow up this week with more specifics. In conjunction with Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, we have submitted an extremely comprehensive "Risk Management Plan" of safety and sanitation protocols to commence racing at the Meadowlands. This plan, along with significant information referencing the much needed economic benefit to New Jersey of the Meadowlands return to racing, has been presented to Governor Murphy as well as to the New Jersey Racing Commission and Douglas Fisher, the Secretary of Agriculture. Additionally, Jeff Gural from the Meadowlands and Dennis Drazin from Monmouth Park, have been appointed to the "Tourism Advisory Committee," in regard to the state's racing programs, giving us more important representation. Assemblyman Dancer also advised us that Governor Murphy said he would be making further announcements this week about the "restarting and recovery' of the New Jersey economy, and we are hopeful that there will be some indication of our future racing prospects. We appreciate the patience of our racing and breeding community in these most trying of times and we will continue to update you with any pertinent information. Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands reminds the harness racing connections of those horses made eligible to our stakes that the deadline for the final sustaining payment on a number of those races is (postmarked by) May 15 .   Yearling nominations on the foals of 2019 to race in 2022 Meadowlands Pace are also due by May 15.   Complete information on Meadowlands stakes payments and lists of eligibles may be found on the web.   The Meadowlands

Thoroughbred racing is currently occurring at only a handful of U.S. racetracks and, in each case, with no fans in attendance. But within two weeks, similar racing is scheduled to resume at West Virginia racetracks, at Santa Anita Park in California, and at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. And what about New Jersey? Operators of all three racetracks must await guidance from the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy, who, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has the COVID-19 pandemic as his top priority. The stakes are highest at the Meadowlands Racetrack, which in many respects is still the most iconic harness racing track in the world and the host of The Hambletonian — the sport’s biggest day — every summer. As it happens, there are no states with standardbred racing these days, Meadowlands track operator Jeff Gural told NJ Online Gambling. That means that his track, which had switched to a schedule of nearly year-round racing, could be the center of that sport’s universe if racing could be offered. “We have requested that the governor consider allowing us to resume racing without spectators,” Gural said. “We have worked out a set of procedures to keep it safe.” The only game in town? The potential windfall of an imminent reopening ahead of the rest of the industry was part of the proposal, Gural said. “But the administration wants to be cautious, and I don’t blame them,” Gural said, given that North Jersey and Bergen County in particular, where the track is located, have been decimated by the COVID-19 virus. While Gural appreciates the dilemma facing Murphy, he also hears dire reports from his colleagues in an industry that has suffered its own series of tragic losses from the virus. “The horsemen are starving, literally,” said Gural. “They’re desperate. They can’t work from home. The horses lead to the same expenses whether they are racing or not. “Another point we made is that the workers who would be at the track for racing already are working with the horses in their barns anyway,” Gural added. “We’re not bringing in people who otherwise would be sitting at home.” Holding races without warmups is not particularly appealing to Gural, a horse owner himself. But he said he and other horsemen “just want to race,” so compromises would be considered. New York state of mind Gural also owns Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs in upstate New York, so he is monitoring that state as well. Cuomo has suggested in recent days that he might allow some counties north of the state capital in Albany to stage limited reopenings of businesses as soon as May 15. That’s because more than 50 of the state’s 67 counties have had relatively small numbers of COVID-19 cases. “The problem there is that so much of the purse money comes from [slot machines],” said Gural, referring to hundreds of millions derived from transfer of a portion of the gambling revenue at each “racino” complex. “We’d have to work something out with the horsemen, but I’m a little optimistic in New York,” Gural said. Monmouth Park not the same as Meadowlands The schedule at Monmouth Park isn’t the only significant difference between the state’s two largest racetracks. That thoroughbred track, which had its opening date postponed initially from May 2 to May 23 and now until July 3, also houses a full “colony” of horses. The Meadowlands, meanwhile, ships in horses from other locations on the day of the horse’s race. Even with a longer time horizon, track operator Dennis Drazin told NJ Online Gambling that he is preparing for the possibility of racing without spectators. “We should be cautious, because people are dying from this virus,” Drazin said. While other thoroughbred tracks are scrambling to reopen as soon as possible, Drazin said his schedule could prove to be an advantage. Since Monmouth Park was closed all winter, Drazin said it takes “a few weeks” to get the track and site back in racing condition. A resurgent racing purse plan — boosted both by a $10 million subsidy from the state and now what would be a condensed racing schedule — led to 2,500 applications by horsemen for the track’s 1,600 stalls. The horses are scheduled to be shipped in starting June 1, and Drazin said he expects most of the horses to be on the premises soon thereafter. That also means the presence of thousands of seasonal workers who even at that point will likely be required to take “social distancing” precautions. Drazin added that after speaking with Gural this week, he has some hope that the annual handful of thoroughbred dates that happen at the Meadowlands each year perhaps could take place on the turf this year in June — if that track has reopened by then. Freehold also in limbo The scenario at Freehold Raceway is less complicated because the track’s early-season meet was to end on May 22 anyway, so that portion of the schedule already seems lost. The next racing date is not set until late August. “That will be the new target, and we will have to see what the parameters will be in terms of how we conduct our business,” said longtime Freehold Raceway executive Chris McErlean. As for the notion of “getting rich quick” from an early return, McErlean said it’s not likely to be quite that simple. “There have been some impressive numbers posted by the limited tracks that have been open for the past month or so,” McErlean said. “But some additional tracks are coming on the calendar, and since wagering is [off-track] right now, that means the market is somewhat finite. “It might just mean that the existing dollars get redistributed, and the potential handle upside is not as great,” he added. By John Brennan Reprinted with permission of NJ Online Gambling

While thoroughbred horse racing remains in business on a limited basis, fans of harness racing across the country are melancholy. Why? Currently in the 15 states where harness racing is conducted, there are no races being run. Cal Expo in Sacramento ended its live racing on April 1. The mecca of harness racing, The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey and Freehold Raceway down the Jersey Shore, had been operating with live races up until Monday, March 16 when the sport was shut down in the Garden State due to the coronavirus epidemic. This week will mark one month of no racing at all in the state. It also means no opportunities to wager in person on sports at the retail FanDuel or  PointsBet sportsbook at the Meadowlands. Last week, owner Jeff Gural announced his hope that they would resume live racing at The Meadowlands on Friday, May 1, with two New York harness tracks which he also owns, Tioga and Vernon Downs, preparing for their live racing seasons as soon as the casinos are cleared to open. All of that is contingent on the actions by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “We are working to get the tracks open, but only when it’s safe,” Gural said in a press release. “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.” I spent a few minutes on the phone this past weekend with Meadowlands Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir to get his thoughts. “We are taking every precaution and following the guidelines set out by both federal and state governments,” he said. “In order to come back, it has to be safe and we have to do it safely, meaning without fans in grandstand. “Safety is of the utmost priority for everyone involved — employees, horsemen and the horses themselves. The cleanliness of the track has always been a top priority of mine, even before all of this happened. That hasn’t changed. We sanitized everything, from the back paddock, to the grandstand to the betting terminals and this will continue. “We are at the mercy of the virus and stressing safety is paramount for us but at the end of the day, we have to go by and will abide by what the CDC, federal and state governments say.” Two of the sport’s biggest races, The Meadowlands Pace (July 18) and Hambletonian (August 8), are currently scheduled as planned. Freehold Raceway’s current meet was going to end Saturday, May 23 during Memorial Day Weekend and would then be off for the majority of the summer. Its fall meet is scheduled to return on Friday, August 28, racing Friday and Saturday (also New Year’s Eve Day, Dec. 31) till the end of the year. Freehold also hopes to have a retail sportsbook on its property when it re-opens for business. “We’re taking things day by day and at this point it’s tough to put an estimate on when we may return to live racing and/or simulcasting,” said Freehold general manager Howard Bruno. “Ultimately, we will follow the direction of the Governor’s Office, health officials and the New Jersey Racing Commission for timing and any additional guidance. “We are moving through the licensing process for sports wagering and are hoping for a fall opening, but this is contingent on getting all the necessary approvals.” Until then, both tracks wait to see if or when they will open their doors. “This has been tragic and surreal and it really came over a 48-hour period with everything shutdown,” Settlemoir said. “We had to make decisions that were in the best interest to employees, patrons and our personnel. We will always like to err on the side of caution and that’s what we are doing. “I’m one of those guys that always stays positive and at the end of the day Mr. Gural has been fantastic with all of our employees throughout all three tracks and OTB locations. It’s a pandemic and we have to make sure we are doing everything to get back on track. Normal is not normal right now and we will get through it as a racing community.” What about the harness industry as a whole? Nobody is racing anywhere. The horses still need to be cared for. It’s a real dilemma. “We continue to discuss this on a daily basis not only here in New Jersey but with tracks around the country,” Settlemoir said. “At the end of the day, we want to re-tool and re-energize 110 percent as we always have to make this sport even better than what it was. We will make it through this like we always have.” By Lou Monaco Reprinted with permission of the Gaming Today

Freehold, NJ --- Freehold Raceway announced today the cancellation of the 2020 Dexter Cup Trot and the Lady Suffolk Trot due to the continued closure of live harness racing and shelter in place orders from Governor Phil Murphy due to COVID 19. The finals for both races were scheduled for Saturday, May 2. All nominating and sustaining payment refunds will be handled by the Hambletonian Society in accordance with published race conditions. "We looked at possible alternate dates, but with an already crowded fall stakes season and other tracks looking to move signature races to the fall, cancelling the races became the best option for this year," said Howard Bruno, Freehold Raceway General Manager.   Freehold Raceway

Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural is an extremely successful — and wealthy — real estate mogul who, now in his late 70s, is very comfortable with revealing his state of mind. And when it comes to horse racing, Gural on numerous occasions has been quite straightforward about the daunting challenges ahead as his track struggles to survive. It’s no easy task, when competing with racetracks in New York and Pennsylvania that receive hundreds of millions of dollars in annual subsidies from slot machine revenues from those tracks. So when Gural told on Wednesday his very optimistic sentiments about the recent horse racing doping scandal, it’s particularly worth noting. More than two dozen industry figures were swept up in indictments March 9 after a federal investigation uncovered evidence of the alleged scheme that crossed both the standardbred and thoroughbred industries. For the past decade, Gural has been banning trainers that he had come to believe were cheating, often taking public criticism from those horsemen and also others interested in the industry over his “playing sheriff” without incontrovertible proof. Now Gural says he feels “100%” vindicated, particularly given that some of the trainers he had banned were named in the indictment. Wire taps worked “We cannot just rely on drug testing, as we have been doing, because it doesn’t work,” Gural said. “Having a federal investigation, with the use of wire taps — that’s the way to go to catch them. I really believe that from now on, no one will be using these illegal drugs because it’s too risky. “We accomplished something by getting rid of the bad guys. It will be interesting, once we get back to racing, if certain trainers are still racing — and how they perform,” Gural added. The fact of the investigation did not surprise Gural, because he and The Jockey Club for the past four years have paid the 5 Stones investigative firm to look into such allegations. “We were very much aware of the FBI investigating, but I didn’t personally know who they were investigating. I had to read the names when the indictments came out,” Gural said. “I feel like we really accomplished something, and I understand there could be more arrests coming. And some might find it in their interest to cooperate.” The timing of the March 9 indictments was unusual. The COVID-19 pandemic already had begun to dominate the news cycle, and two days later the NBA suspended its regular season after a player tested positive for the virus. That swept the doping scandal off the front pages and virtual front pages in the U.S. and in numerous countries where horse racing remains quite popular. Mixed feelings on indictments timing “Part of me is glad that the sport didn’t get as much of a black eye,” Gural said. “But if not for all this about the virus, people would be demanding we make changes right away. “My concern is that this all shows we must turn oversight over to the federal government. It’s not fair that I should have to pay for this [initial investigation]. “We can’t have 30 different states trying to catch these trainers — we need a law passed in Congress,” Gural added. The Jockey Club, as well as Gural, supports the Horseracing Integrity Act pending in Congress, which calls for a single anti-doping authority to oversee rules of testing of medications that might give particular trainers and their horses an unfair advantage — an edge that could even prove fatal for those horses at times. Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin, whose track’s seven-time defending champion trainer was swept up in the indictments, has called for even more sweeping reforms in light of the indictments. Meadowlands — back to business? The worldwide pandemic has shuttered the Meadowlands Racetrack, a mecca for harness racing since it opened in 1976, for more than three weeks. Gural said his employees have had to be furloughed, although he said he is still paying for their health insurance. “Maybe hurting the most are the trainers and grooms, who have no income,” Gural said. “And nobody knows what to do with their horses. Maybe we can get back to racing soon, even if it’s without any customers.” Aqueduct Raceway in Queens tried the latter approach last month, only to shut down after a backstretch worker who lives at Belmont Park and worked at Aqueduct tested positive for the virus. Gural said that the Meadowlands is helped by the fact that horses have not stabled at his East Rutherford track for a number of years. “We have a plan for how to practice social distancing of employees, we can check the temperature of everyone who comes in, and so forth,” Gural said. Asked if that could mean a return to live racing in mere weeks, not months, Gural said, “I hope so. People are definitely looking for something to bet on.” By John Brennan Reprinted with permission of New Jersey Online Gambling

East Rutherford, NJ - 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 harness racing 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 preparing 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 4-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 3-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." The Meadowlands and Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ - With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Bergen County extremely hard the Meadowlands Racetrack wanted to help the community in any way possible. After learning the Meadowlands YMCA was working with Table to Table to distribute meals to families in need, the Meadowlands Racetrack and its restaurant partner Ark Meadowlands pitched in to help feed the local community. The racetrack donated over 500 meals along with fresh vegetables, cases of water, gatorade and soda to the Meadowlands YMCA. Employees volunteered their time to help pack up the meal boxes and bag the vegetables. "When we learned that our community was in need, we knew we could help immediately," said Jason Settlemoir, COO & GM of the Meadowlands Racetrack. "I'd like to thank Jennifer Jordan for organizing this food drive for us and Marianne Rotella, Marcello Esposito, Lisa Smoter, Rachel Ryan and Raul Perez for working so hard on getting this done." "We are looking forward to our return to racing when it is safe to do so," continued Settlemoir. "We encourage everyone to remain at home and stay healthy and we look forward to seeing everyone back at the track." For updates on the Meadowlands Racetrack visit . For ways to help the Meadowlands YMCA visit  

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