February 2017
SMT WT FS
1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728
Reminders:
2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
January 26 - March 11, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

March 17 - August 5, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

September 8 - September 16, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

November 17 - December 2, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

December 7 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
January 5 - March 25, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Special Race Day Monday February 20, 2017

March 31 - May 6, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

September 1 - December 9, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays



Links
 
 

LUCHENTO'S SUMMIT ON GAMING II STATEMENT

TOM LUCHENTO STATEMENT FOR SUMMIT ON GAMING II
Friday, September 10, 2010 in Pegasus at the Meadowlands

We are sitting in the Pegasus Dining Room which for many years was New Jersey’s answer to Windows on the World, offering fine dining, a million-dollar view and great racing entertainment.

My name is Tom Luchento and for three decades I was a horseman, sitting in the sulky, racing horses here as an owner, driver and trainer. I’ve put away my racing colors and now come before you as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. I am honored to represent the drivers, trainers, owners, breeders, caretakers and all the thousands of people who make up the standardbred racing community in New Jersey.

And we are a community. We are taxpaying citizens who have planted our roots in New Jersey, many investing in farmland, keeping the green in the Garden State. Our corporate headquarters are not in other states but here in New Jersey where we shop in the stores, barbecue with our neighbors, educate our children, pay our taxes and pay tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike as we bring our horses to race at the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway.

For a longtime, all roads would lead horsemen to the Meadowlands. It offered not only the richest purses in our industry but also the most spectacular facility, with a barn area and racing surface second to none.

Now we are experiencing an exodus of horsemen that endangers the future of racing in New Jersey and will lead to the sale of our horse farms and their development into housing and malls, a loss of 20 percent of agricultural acreage in this state. When the farms and training centers shutdown, when our horsemen leave for the slots-enhanced purses available to them in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the migration will also include veterinarians, blacksmiths, tack shops, hay and grain growers and all the others that make up layers of support people.

The Meadowlands draws international travelers who come here to see the best in harness racing. While harness racing does not match the public interest for baseball or football in the United States, standardbred racing is a major sport in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Australia. We are a magnet for their top horses, horsemen and wagering. Just last month on Hambletonian Day here, $2.4 million of the $8.4 million wagered that day came from European countries.

The Hanson Report, which this committee has rightly questioned, fails to recognize the importance of horse racing as a component in this state’s valuable agri-business.

The Hanson Report ignores all the money that the Meadowlands Racetrack has contributed to the state’s economy for nearly 35 years. The Sports Complex was built on the back of the track, based on its ability to be the cash register to pay for its financing. The Complex was unique in its construction without a dollar from the state treasury or from taxpayers.

Year after year those of us in racing watched millions of dollars that we helped to earn be spent on not only the Arena and Stadium here but also for the more far reaching projects that the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority was asked to take on, including Atlantic City’s Convention Center.

Our alternate gaming proposals have never been about hurting Atlantic City. We have suggested that the casino owners have the chance to benefit from slots at the Meadowlands as operators and with the cross-promotional opportunities that will help their revival as a destination resort.

Where once there was an argument that slots at the Meadowlands would hurt Atlantic City, it does not seem possible that this carries any weight now. The landscape has changed. The casino operators should look to themselves – their enemy is not a gaming facility three hours away from Atlantic City but the casinos and racinos which have already opened an hour away, including those built by their own members.

Atlantic City’s leadership and the casino operators themselves, cannot seriously believe that the harm has not already taken place. All that they will accomplish by denying the slots to the Meadowlands is that North Jersey gamblers will go to Yonkers and soon go to Aqueduct as well, losing more revenue for the state of New Jersey.

The people in racing have not been a burden on the state. They have contributed in so many ways. The state stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if racing is cast aside.

Our proposal to install slot machines at the Meadowlands represents a valuable asset to New Jersey. At the same time that state government is slashing social services in an effort to balance its budget, we are saying to the legislature that there is a mechanism to help the schools, senior citizens, the homeless, developmentally disabled, open space projects and lower property taxes. Nothing would please us more.

I’d also like to tackle another misconception that has been perpetrated. The casino industry has not been supplementing racing. The casino industry has been, to put it in our parlance, horse trading for the past several years. They paid us to make up the difference of what we were losing by not installing slot machines at the tracks. It bought them time during which they should have been preparing to reinvent themselves as a gaming destination.

I might also add that while our last agreement was for three years, the state awarded the casinos with a lifetime tax abatement on what they give away in perks. So do not be fooled by their generosity to racing. They were richly rewarded and continue to be the beneficiaries of this arrangement.

Without dissecting the Hanson Report here, it offered four suggestions for the future of racing. Three are recipes for failure and the fourth is something that we are seriously exploring – privatization. We have interested buyers but progress in that area is based on our ability to structure a long-term lease or purchase which currently is not on the table.

To move on to the next step, we need to work with the legislature to create a plan to provide a bridge to a more permanent solution that permits a long-term lease or purchase agreement.

We propose to follow the model of Monmouth Park’s elite meet and trim the Meadowlands racing schedule to 100 dates with purse money that will lead our industry.

We propose that the Meadowlands evolve into a gaming facility with racing among the many offerings. This is not only about making horse racing solvent – it is about a dramatic flow of funds for the state treasury, upward of a billion dollars a year.

So while this plays out in the media as dispute between legislators, as a battle between north and south, as a conflict between casinos and racetracks -- the loser is the state of New Jersey.

I thank the committee members for their time and attention.


[Link below to USTA's YouTube page which features video of Summit testimony]
Click Here

Send this story to a friend  Share on Facebook

AN ORANGE CRUSH GRAND SLAM AT THE MEADOWLANDS

Andy Miller entered the weekend in ninth place in the Meadowlands driver standings, but Friday night reminded fans why the “Orange Crush” can still get it done with four wins including a score in the featured trot with Opulent Yankee ...

WHHC LEG SPICES MEADOWLANDS SATURDAY NIGHT

Racing at The Meadowlands on Saturday, February 25 is an interesting mix of a dozen pacing races. Included among them are four divisions of the second leg of the popular “Race for the G-Notes” series made ultra-competitive by the ensuing scramble for the coveted ten positions in next week’s $15,000 final ...

FOX VALLEY STEFFEN HIGHLIGHTS SUPER BRETT DOUBLE

Leading drivers Brett Miller and Jim Marohn, Jr. stayed hot on Thursday at the Meadowlands on a day where temperatures were unseasonably into the 60s ...


FRIDAY MEADOWLANDS HIGHLIGHTS

On Friday night The Meadowlands will present an eleven race program conducted under spring-like conditions with temperatures in the 60's all weekend ...

A CONVERSATION WITH JOE BONGIORNO

Joe Bongiorno plans on working nearer to home this year, but hopes to be no less busy. The 23-year-old New Jersey resident, who in 2016 set career highs with 2,754 starts, 399 wins, and $3.79 million in purses, drove frequently at Ohio’s Northfield Park last season, but plans to cut down on long commutes this season ...

HOLLOWAY FILLIES LEAD THURSDAY CARD

The Thursday, February 23 card opens with a pair of interesting three-year-old fillies from the Joe Holloway barn competing in a Non-Winners pacing class as the evening's first race ...


RACING FROM THE MEADOWLANDS WELCOMES LES STARK ON SATURDAY

With Racing From The Meadowlands host Sam McKee on the mend, several industry participants have been recruited to support the existing team on The Meadowlands broadcast ...

ALBERTO CONTADOR STORMS TO SECOND STRAIGHT

Alberto Contador lowered his lifetime mark for the second straight week at the Meadowlands, winning the featured $15,000 conditioned pace in 1:49.4 ...

ROSE RUN PARKER DOMINANT IN 2017 DEBUT AT THE MEADOWLANDS

Rose Run Parker, the two-time Indiana Sire Stakes champion, was a dominant winner at the Meadowlands in his 2017 debut ...




News Archives

RSS (what's this?)