Standard breeders & owners association of New Jersey

Representing the drivers, trainers, caretakers, breeders and owners of New Jersey

64 Business Route 33

Manalapan, NJ 07726

Phone: 732-462-2357

Fax: 732-409-0741

Reminders:

2018 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS

October 12 - December 1

Fridays & Saturdays

7:15pm Post Time

December 6 - December 29

Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

7:15pm Post Time

 

FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm

August 24 - December 29

Fridays & Saturdays

Monday September 3

Special Holiday Race Day

Thursday December 27

Special Thursday Race Day

BACK

MEADOWLANDS 2018 HANDLE DECLINES
 
The Meadowlands Website

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- August 10, 2018 -- With the spectacular Hambletonian Day program having concluded the 2018 Meadowlands Meet of Champions, the time is here to reflect and analyze our business for the live racing season.

Each year it becomes more evident that while the big event days, both racing and non-racing related, are largely successful the overall attendance and handle are continuing their downward spiral.

A 2018 vs 2017 comparison reveals a nine per-cent decline in on track handle for Meadowlands live races, a six per-cent decline in the exported signal of those races and a five per-cent drop in the handle on imported signals (wagering other tracks including thoroughbreds). This drop in revenue is significant and of course adversely affects the purse account.

While Hambletonian Day produced the largest crown of the season and was a tremendous betting card, the live on-track handle was down by 3%. The on-track handle for the Meadowlands Pace, one of the marquee cards of the entire harness racing season, was off by a troubling 11% year over year.

The declining numbers over the entire length of the season would be even worse were they not somewhat buoyed by the "Big Event" days.

The KY Derby, Preakness, Belmont (in a Triple Crown year for 2018) bring people and the largest import handle days while non-racing draws such as Food Truck Mash Up, Camels & Ostrich racing and last but not least the inaugural edition of wiener dog races/fan appreciation night draw very large crowds of new customers, some of whom do show an interest in the racing.

The eight programs mentioned above represent nearly 25% of the live in the building handle over the 59 total live cards raced in 2018.

At the top of the list of things that adversely affect The Meadowlands business is the shortage of horses available to race here from mid-March through June. That lack of horses results in fewer races and many short field which has a tremendous negative effect on handle. With handle being the sole revenue stream feeding the purse pool, less handle results in less money for purses which makes racing at other tracks with higher purses more attractive than The Meadowlands and that cycle continues to feed off itself.

"We are desperately trying to convince the state to restore the $30 million purses subsidy which was taken away by the previous administration", said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural. "Even though it is a fraction of the subsidy going to the tracks we are competing with we believe we can restore The Meadowlands to its former self as the premier standardbred track in the world.

Without a subsidy, considering how the horse shortage decimates our field size and handle once the PA tracks open we will almost certainly have to reduce dates and eliminate some stakes. Obviously, that is a last resort but we have no assurance we will succeed in getting the subsidy restored. We hope to know by the start of the major sales."

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