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East Rutherford, NJ - With the possibility of a purse subsidy for New Jersey horse racing in the news, there are a few important points to be made on what remains to be done and some updates the progress of this vital piece of legislation.  The Meadowlands and the SBOA of NJ with their TrotPac initiative have been in concert with the NJ Thoroughbred Horseman's Association in a laborious effort over the past two years to have the legislation introduced and addressed.  The measure, known as NJ S2992 (18R), would provide $20 million annually for five years starting this fiscal year to be disbursed through the New Jersey Racing Commission for use toward purse subsidies and track operations at New Jersey racetracks. The first step was to have the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advance the proposed legislation to a vote in the NJ Senate which on December 10 was unanimously approved.  On Monday, December 17 the NJ Senate passed the legislation by a 40 - 0 vote successfully completing step two. These are encouraging signs to be sure, yet there remain a few important hurdles before the bill becomes law. It must first pass a committee of the Assembly that will determine the validity of the proposed request. If accepted, the bill will then be introduced into the full Assembly for a vote and must pass that house before ultimately being signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.    Nick Salvi

A source at The Meadowlands has told Harnesslink that harness racing trainer Nick Surick has been suspended indefintly by the New Jersey Racing Commission from the Meadowlands and Feehold Raceway.   Seven of his horses were just scratched from tonights racecard at The Meadowlands. They were;   Race 1 - Idle Bones N Race 4 - Mac's Secure Race 5 - Hepburn Hanover Race 5 - Livingthedream Race 6 - JK Parlay Race 9 - American Image Race 10 - Abbeylara   More news will be coming out in the following days.    Harnesslink Media

  East Rutherford, NJ - At the request of the New Jersey Racing Commission The Meadowlands has submitted a revised 2019 live harness racing schedule application comprised of 76 dates with the addition of eight racing dates in September.   Monmouth Park has submitted an application for 20 Fall Thoroughbred dates at The Meadowlands, racing Friday & Saturday from October 4 through December 7.   The Meadowlands, in conjunction with the SBOA of NJ, continues to make every effort to secure a purse subsidy for 2019. If that purse subsidy should become a reality,   The Meadowlands would add $1 million from the sports betting proceeds and will attempt to work with the management and horsemen of Monmouth Park with the ultimate goal 83 live harness racing dates and the preservation of the fall stakes program.   With the subsidy at the discussed level of $20 million with $6 million of that directed to Meadowlands purses plus the $1 million from sports betting we should be able to increase overnight purses by 75% beginning in January as well as maintaining all of the existing stakes that we raced in 2018.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will apply for 68 live racing dates for the 2019 season by the October 15, request for dates deadline of the NJ Racing Commission. The main factor in forcing us to reduce dates is the failure to obtain a purse subsidy that would enable us to compete with the Pennsylvania tracks when they open in late March. By reducing dates we believe it would help to be able to attract enough horses to race during that period and we are quite certain that without the subsidy racing more than 68 days would be impossible. The thoroughbreds have also advised us that they would like to race in the fall and they have the legal right to do that but we believe that if we were able to get the subsidy, which is split between the standardbreds and thoroughbreds, we might be able to work out a schedule that would be beneficial to both breeds. This will unfortunately force The Meadowlands to drop the fall stakes program. The Fall Final Four and possibly the TVG Championships will have to be relocated or cancelled along with The Kindergarten series. The purse account deficit is another issue as without any subsidy the funds available limiting the daily average to approximately $110,000 which is not enough to attract enough horses to fill Meadowlands cards when the PA tracks open. Fewer dates will permit an increase as we attempt to field races that will be attractive to the horseplayers. As it stands with Monmouth racing in the fall and the purse revenue status quo, the schedule will be Friday & Saturday from January 4 through Hambletonian Day August 3 then Thursday - Saturday the last two weeks of December. We hope in the next few weeks that the legislature will act on the purse subsidy legislation in which case we would revisit this with the expectation that we could increase the race dates including a modified fall schedule. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

MANALAPAN, NJ -- May 17, 2018 -- New Jersey Racing Commission Executive Director Frank Zanzuccki said Wednesday he will be retiring from his position effective July 1. He made the announcement at yesterday's NJRC meeting at Monmouth Park. No replacement has been named. Zanzuccki joined the NJRC in 1978 and served in various positions prior to being appointed executive director in 1992. The next meeting of the NJRC is July 18 at Monmouth Park. Courtney Stafford

East Rutherford, NJ - In response to horsemen's concerns over the accuracy of blood gas testing being done at The Meadowlands, equipment was brought in from Tioga Downs and Meadowlands management, with the assistance of the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC), conducted on-site TC02 testing over the weekend of March 16 and 17. The concern was over the procedure in place for TC02 testing which required the samples be shipped to a lab in California, citing the possibility that there may be deterioration of those samples during the time spent in transportation. After the onsite testing was done and results were returned to the NJRC from the California lab from that same weekend, those results were compared. That comparison of 35 samples yielded no significant difference and none of the tested samples came at all close to the threshold of what would be considered an overage. "We continue to work with the NJRC to insure that to the best of our ability horses racing at the Meadowlands are racing on a level playing field," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "After receiving questions about the possibility that shipping the samples to California may be producing inaccurate results we decided to bring our testing equipment down from Tioga to be certain that was not the case."  

Columbus, OH --- is reporting that harness racing trainer Ron Burke will appeal to the New Jersey Racing Commission the decision to disqualify What The Hill from first in last Saturday's $1 million Hambletonian final at the Meadowlands. Burke added that What The Hill underwent throat surgery early on Monday morning and the colt is now "50-50" to race in the Zweig Memorial on Aug.18 at Vernon Downs. To read the full story on, click here.    Just an opinion Watching the replay several times and the real cause looks to be Devious Man pushing in on Guardian Angel causing What The Hill to check Guardian Angel. Also Perfect Spirit ran out in the straight helping to exact the interference. Victor Gio looks to have checked International Man and no action was taken. This is just this writer's opinion. You be the judge and watch the following video several times. Hambletonian Disqualification The full replay of The Hambletonian

The New Jersey Racing Commission has cleared the out-of-competition tests screened to date on the harness racing entrants in the $1.2 million Hambletonian, to be raced Saturday, Aug. 5 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This procedure has been routine for nearly a decade in the Hambletonian Society sponsored and owned Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks races, as well as the $6 million Breeders Crown events. For the past three weeks samples were drawn from possible Hambletonian entrants stabled throughout New Jersey, as well as Ontario, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. All horses were tested with the cooperation of the participating horsemen and state and provincial racing commissions in those jurisdictions. "I would like to thank the New Jersey Racing Commission for their diligence in this area as well as the racing commissions in Pennsylvania, Ontario, New York and Delaware for their cooperative work with New Jersey," said John Campbell, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "These state and provincial jurisdictions working together on all fronts is paramount to any success our sport will have moving forward, and the Society applauds this initiative. We would also like to thank the horsemen for their continued support and cooperation." All Hambletonian and Oaks horses will report in advance of race time to a secure stakes barn at The Meadowlands. Random out-of-competition testing has continued through Friday night. All contestants will be post-race tested according to standard NJ Racing Commission procedures and all winners on Saturday and randomly chosen horses from each field will be subject to the "Super Test" screening, which detects the broadest array of substances. The out-of-competition drug testing is used to detect evidence of blood doping, and is a condition of entry for the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks. This testing is in addition to earlier out-of-competition testing done privately by the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Hambletonian Society, the only standardbred racing organization to prohibit the use of raceday medication in its signature races, the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian Maturity, remains committed to the integrity of racing and the welfare of the Standardbred horse. These policies can only be implemented with the full cooperation of the New Jersey, Ontario, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania Racing Commissions. The Society owns and administers 131 stake races, and over the last 25 years through the use of racing conditions has addressed embryo transfer, cloning, out-of-competition testing, and added language to address the emerging threats of exotic drugs and blood doping. The Society has forged strong bonds with its host tracks, host track commissions and provincial regulatory bodies and has shared in additional testing and retention costs. Post time Saturday is 12:00 noon for the closing day of the Meadowlands Championship meet, a stakes-laden internationally simulcast event.  

As a result of a hearing held on Nov. 30, the New Jersey Racing Commission has suspended harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt 15 days and fined him $500 as a result of a positive test on Resolve in the $273,600 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot on Aug. 6 at the Meadowlands. Svanstedt also received a second positive on his trotter Blue Muse, who won an $8,000 amateur race on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands with his wife, Sarah, driving, and received the same penalties. The positives were for Dexamethasone, which is a Class C violation as recommended by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. With Ake Svanstedt driving, Resolve won the Cashman in a career-best 1:50.2, besting Obrigado by 1-1/4 lengths. As a result of the positive test and subsequent disqualification of Resolve, Obrigado is now the official winner of the race. According to the New Jersey ruling, Svanstedt's two 15-day suspensions will be served consecutively, starting on Jan. 2, 2017, and continuing through and including Jan. 31, 2017. The ruling also states that "in addition to the penalty issued, a total of two Multiple Medication Violation points, as recommended by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, shall be assigned as a result of these Class C violations."   Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) John Cashman Memorial TVG FFA Trot     Courtesy of 

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has applied to the New Jersey Racing Commission requesting ninety one racing dates for the 2017 live harness racing season.   Those dates include racing seven Thursday cards from January 26 through March 9. The Meadowlands will also race four Thursday cards from December 15 through December 29 in 2016. Hopefully there will be enough horses available to fill three days of racing. This decision was made in response to a request by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOA of NJ) requesting more live dates during that time period.   Another important decision made in view of the robust market for yearlings at the recently concluded Lexington Selected Yearling Sale is to maintain as many of the Grand Circuit stakes at as close to current purse levels as possible, despite the burden of a purse account that is currently overpaid by $5 million.   For the record, the total amount in purses for all stakes at The Meadowlands in 2016 will be $17.7 million with nearly $6 million of that coming from the stakes percentage of the purse account.   The reality of sustaining a stakes program anywhere close to what we are accustomed to at The Meadowlands will require industry support via sponsorship of these races. We hope to be able to find sponsors for all of our stakes and Jason Hall will be reaching out to the major owners, breeders, vendors and other participants to hopefully raise enough in sponsorships to keep the majority of stakes programs in place.   40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK Track to honor past, present and future during live racing on Saturday, October 22 The past and present will meet when the Meadowlands Racetrack celebrates its 40th anniversary during the opening weekend of its fall harness meet on Saturday, October 22. Fans will receive the official #40andForward long-sleeve t-shirt (free while supplies last) to commemorate the 40th anniversary beginning at 6:30 p.m. Post time is 7:15 p.m. In addition, a special autograph session will take place from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. featuring stars of the Meadowlands both past and present. Meadowlands Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob “Hollywood” Heyden will interview historic Meadowlands figures throughout the evening on the television broadcast. Gallo Blue Chip, who earned more than $4.2 million during his Hall of Fame racing career and won the 2000 Meadowlands Pace, will lead the post parades during the evening. To further celebrate, a different legendary Meadowlands figure will drive the horse each race including Ted Wing, Bill O’Donnell, Greg Wright, and Cat Manzi. The race card will be top-notch as well with eliminations for the $6.2 million Breeders Crown. Following the final race of the evening, a spectacular fireworks show will light up the sky over East Rutherford. Admission and general parking are free. For more information, visit   Meadowlands Media Department            

MANALAPAN, NJ -- September 23, 2016 -- Despite the suspension of a statewide campaign to encourage residents to support casino gaming outside of Atlantic City, the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey today announced that it would continue its grassroots efforts to help pass the ballot question that could provide much needed revenue to bolster New Jersey's struggling harness racing horsemen. It's frustrating that the best financed advocates for casino gaming in North Jersey decided to pull the plug on their statewide campaign,' said Mark Ford, President of the SBOANJ. " Our members now must use our limited financial resources to drive the message to voters that a YES vote on Question 1 will provide our industry with additional revenue to continue offering the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey important entertainment and quality of life benefits. Even if others are stepping back from the fight, the horsemen have no choice but to step up and do our part." This November 8th, voters will choose whether to allow casino gaming outside of Atlantic City. If the ballot question passes, the New Jersey Legislature could authorize two new casinos to be built in northern New Jersey. A percentage of the state tax revenue collected from the new casinos would be dedicated to supporting the horse racing industry. The SBOANJ has scheduled series of media interviews, public appearances, and social media events to highlight the Association and the benefit its members bring to their towns and communities. Courtney Stafford

With an eye towards horseplayers, the Meadowlands has announced a change to its Pick Four carryover rule that has been approved by the New Jersey Racing Commission. Starting with the Friday, March 11 program, a Pick Four carryover pool will be moved to the corresponding Pick Four wager on the next live racing card. For example, if the Early Pick Four is not hit, the carryover amount will be moved to the following night's racing card instead of the same night's Late Pick Four. The change is designed to give the track more time to promote the important carryover to horseplayers. Carryovers serve as takeout reductions and have proven to drive wagering handle exponentially when effectively promoted. The Pick Four wagers have provided very generous returns at the Meadowlands in 2016. The Early Pick 4 has returned, on average, $2,503 for a 50-cent wager while achieving an average pool size of $52,409. The Late Pick 4 has provided horseplayers with an even larger pool to wager in to. The average pool size has been $64,732 while the average 50-cent return has been $2,220. With the return to 13-race programs, the Pick Five wager has been moved back to its former slot beginning in Race 1. The 50-cent minimum wager is averaging a pool size of more than $43,000 while providing an average return of $10,865. Post Time Change Starting with racing on Friday, March 11, post time will be moved back to 7:15 p.m. This post time change had previously been announced as starting on Friday, March 18 but will be moved up to this weekend. Live racing at the Meadowlands takes place on Friday and Saturday nights with 13-race programs beginning at 6:35 p.m. For more information, visit Justin Horowitz

Effective immediately the request submitted by the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey to permit the release of harness racing purse money prior to post race testing results has been approved by the New Jersey Racing Commission. This approval was granted on an experimental basis through December 31, 2016 and applies to all overnight races offering a purse of $25,000 or less conducted at the Meadowlands and Freehold Racetracks. “After extensive negotiations, on what seemed to be a simple request, we have reached an agreement,” said SBOANJ President Mark Ford. “Thanks to the management at the Meadowlands, Freehold and the Racing Commission our members will no longer have to endure lengthy wait times before receiving their purse checks.” Purse checks at Freehold and the Meadowlands will continue to go through the normal bookkeeping process and then immediately released.  Checks will be put in the mail before the post race tests are completed.  For example all the checks from Friday, February 12, 2016 were placed in the mail today Friday, February 19, 2016. This directive does not apply to horses selected for post-race testing in stake races, overnight races in excess of $25,000 or the release of claim money prior to receipt of testing results. Courtney Stafford

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 19, 2015 - New Jersey's two harness tracks - the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway - have been awarded a combined 200 racing dates for 2016. The dates were approved at the New Jersey Racing Commission, meeting on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Trenton, NJ. Mark Ford, attending his first Commission meeting as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, advised the Commission that the SBOANJ was reluctantly accepting the Meadowlands dates as an experiment for 2016. "We are concerned about losing dates in January and February and replacing them with September and October dates," Ford said. The Meadowlands requested 90 dates, Fridays and Saturdays only [plus Sunday, May 8], from January 2 through August 6 and from September 9 through December 31 [dark on Saturday, December 24]. Post time is 7 p.m. Freehold received 110 dates, racing January 1 through May 21 plus August 26 and 27, and September 2 through December 10. Racing days will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus three holiday Mondays - January 18, February 15 and September 5. Dark days are September 1 and November 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 17, 2015 - Veronica "Ronni" Dugan-Julien, of South Hackensack, NJ, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the age of 55 years. Beloved wife for 23 years of Meadowlands judge Lawrence M. Julien, she was the devoted mother of Eleanor Julien of South Hackensack, NJ. She worked as the licensing coordinator for the New Jersey State Racing Commission at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. She was an NJRC employee since 1985. "She worked for the New Jersey Racing Commission for more than 25 years," said Larry Julien. "She tried to help the horsemen. As many of the horsemen know, she fought a long battle with cancer." The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Margaret of Cortona Church, 31 Chamberlain Avenue, Little Ferry, NJ. The family will receive friends at the G. Thomas Gentile Funeral Home, 397 Union Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 on Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 p.m. She also leaves her sisters and brothers: Kathy McGuire and husband James of Port Monmouth, Michele DelFino and husband Anthony Jersey City, Margaret Dorobis and husband Joseph of Whiting, Patrick Dugan and wife Maryann of Parlin, and John Dugan and wife Sheila of Bayonne. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest donations to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. For more information, visit By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Racetrack magnate Jeff Gural hates dishonesty. Once you know that, it’s easy to understand why the man who spent more than $100 million to build a new grandstand at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey said he was “really angry” with Standardbred trainer Corey Johnson. Both horses Johnson raced in the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands in November of 2014 — including Traceur Hanover, the winner of the 2-year-old colt pace — later tested positive for cobalt. The lab in Hong Kong Gural personally employed to do the testing reported each horse had five times the threshold level of cobalt typically found in a horse’s system. Gural, 72, also was irked that the New Jersey Racing Commission had allowed Johnson to race in the Breeders Crown in the first place. The Ontario Racing Commission suspended the trainer on the Monday before the Crown finals after another horse he trained received a positive test for elevated total carbon dioxide (TC02) levels at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. “The guy embarrassed the sport,” said Gural, who maintains a sizeable list of trainers banned from racing at the Meadowlands as well as the two smaller harness tracks he also owns in upstate New York — Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Yet, Gural couldn’t bar Johnson’s Crown entries because the Breeders Crown is operated by the Hambletonian Society, which defers to the sport’s state and provincial regulators to determine a participant’s eligibility. The New Jersey Racing Commission allowed Johnson to race because the trainer had not had a hearing in Ontario prior to the Crown finals. After the cobalt positive, Gural not only banned Johnson from racing at his tracks, he also banned entries from Quebec-based owner Richard Berthiaume, the owner of both of Johnson’s Breeders Crown entries. “We’ve now made changes to our rules so that can never happen again,” Gural said, explaining the language in those rules is so broad that the track will now be able to reject entries for all stakes races at his tracks, even those operated by outside groups. The Breeders Crown will return to the Meadowlands in 2016. Gural is puzzled why people in horse racing call him a polarizing figure. To read the extensive full article written by Dave Briggs click here. Dave Briggs is the co-editor of Canadian Thoroughbred magazine and a freelance horse racing columnist and features writer. For 18 years, he was the editor of the harness racing trade publication The Canadian Sportsman.

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