A delay in completing the turf course at Monmouth Park, which was being reconstructed in anticipation of the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships, has prompted track officials to propose running several "all turf" cards at the Meadowlands in June.
The N. J. Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, reached an agreement in principle with New Jersey horsemen in early February to drop four dates early in the Monmouth Park meeting, add two dates in September, and run three all-turf programs at the Meadowlands in June.
Under the proposed agreement, Monmouth would drop live racing on June 1, 7, 14 and 21.
The all-turf cards at the Meadowlands would be held on three consecutive Mondays: June 5, 12 and 19.
In September, Monmouth would add two Wednesdays: Sept. 13 and Sept. 20.
"The course is 40 percent complete," said Robert J. Kulina, vice president of the Oceanport, N.J. track. "We started working on it last fall, but an incredibly wet October put us behind. Right now the base is almost completely done, but there's been a delay in putting down topsoil. The topsoil is mud, and we can't work with it when it's mud or if it's frozen. We're hoping for a dry March and April so we can finish the job.
"Optimistically, we're hoping the course could be ready by late June, but it will all depend on Mother Nature," he said.
The new Monmouth course will have better drainage and a new sprinkler system. A 5-1/2 furlong chute was added, but all of the hedges along the course, including those in the infield, were removed. Kulina said the root systems of the hedges were preventing the course from draining properly.