East Rutherford, NJ --- The Meadowlands and Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey have jointly announced that the current preference system when taking entries for overnight races at the Meadowlands will be postponed until November 2014.
The SBOA approached Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment management due to a series of complaints horsemen had regarding the preference system used for taking entries. Working together, both the Meadowlands and the SBOA have determined it is best to postpone the system until November 2014.
"We want to reward the people that support the Meadowlands when the slot tracks open in Pennsylvania in March," said SBOA President Tom Luchento, "but we don't want to hurt the smaller stables in the process. In addition, it seemed there was a great deal of confusion and a lack of understanding in what we were trying to do. We need to regroup and give the horsemen advanced notice on what is going to be happening. But, this postponement is just that, a postponement. We will be utilizing a preference system come November 2014 at the Meadowlands."
Meadowlands management is in full agreement.
"The last thing we want to do is hurt the smaller stable with this system," said Jeff Gural, Chairman of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. "It appears that it what has happened in some instances and that was the farthest thing from our intention."
In addition, in order to help alleviate some of the strain on the entry box, the Meadowlands intends to draw for 13 races on Thursday night, as long as the entry box can support that number of races.
"We have heard from the horsemen loud and clear," said Gural, "and in addition to postponing this system, factoring in that Yonkers is not racing this week, we will card 13 races on Thursday, so some of the horsemen struggling to get their horses in can get raced."
The SBOA and the Meadowlands will be keeping track of trainers' entry statistics for overnight races at the Meadowlands compared to every other track beginning in March and running through Hambletonian Day. It it those statistics that will be used to determine who receives preference in racing at the Meadowlands beginning in November 2014.
To avoid this situation next year, both the SBOA and the Meadowlands will be giving advanced notice on their plan, including details on how a system will be implemented.
To be clear, how often you race your horses at the Meadowlands from March 2014 through August 2014 will determine your order of preference for entering horses at the Meadowlands beginning in November 2014. In addition, there will be no advantage given for having a larger stable. Everyone will be on a level playing field.
Details for how Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will keep track of these figures and how that information will be implemented into a preference system in November will be made clear prior to March 2014.