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Meadowlands to stay open through March
Friday, December 17, 2010 - by Bill Finley, Harness Racing Update

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Fair Haven, NJ --- The Meadowlands got a new lease on life Friday when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie agreed to keep the track open through the end of March.

While the Meadowlands continues to race, harness racing breeder/owner and racetrack owner Jeff Gural, who may lease the track from the state, will formulate plans he hopes will lead to his taking over the premier harness track in the United States.

The full details of the Meadowlands’ 11th-hour reprieve will be reported later today in an edition of Harness Racing Update. To read the full report on the Meadowlands situation, go to www.harnessracingupdate.com.

The plan worked out among Gural, New Jersey horsemen and the governor calls for the state to front a $1.2 million loan to the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey to keep Meadowlands Racetrack in operation for the first three months of 2011 while state officials haggle over a lease that would turn the track over to Jeffrey R. Gural.

"After March 31 at the Meadowlands, we will no longer have any obligation going forward,'' Christie said.

Should Gural not take over the track, the $1.2 million will be paid back to the state from the revenue taken in at the Meadowlands for simulcasting after March 31.

Gural, the owner of Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, attended the press conference, which took place after four hours of negotiations in the Trenton Statehouse. He said his racing interests also include ownership of more than 100 horses and two farms.

Gural has said that, should he take over the track, he will tear down the existing grandstand and replace it will a smaller facility more appropriate for the type of on-track crowds tracks have in modern times.


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