The Thoroughbred meet at Meadowlands that ended Nov. 11 was negatively impacted by an outbreak of equine herpes virus which placed nearly 100 horses in quarantine.Wagering for the 33-date meet averaged $265,424 on-track (down 27.6%) and $1,642,030 total (down 11.5%). Eight of the 33 racing programs were contested over "off" tracks while only three of 25 were in 2005. The daily average of attendance of nearly 3,300 was down 18.5%."The final numbers clearly show the impact of the EHV-1 quarantine that occurred in mid-October and continued throughout the remainder of the meet," said Senior Vice President Dennis O. Dowd. "It had a devastating impact on field size and the number of races we could card each race date. We appreciate the help of the horsemen in persevering through this difficult time, as well as all of the support and services provided by the state and private veterinarians and our staff in dealing proactively with the crisis.
"This meet has been snake bitten the past few years - last year severe floods forced a one-week cancellation in the races and now the virus this year," Dowd added. "We will be regrouping to present a longer (41-day) meet in 2007 that will hopefully complement our efforts at Monmouth Park in preparation for the 2007 Breeders' Cup."In addition to the quarantine at Meadowlands, another 1,000 horses stabled at Monmouth Park were subject to "biosecurity" measures when they raced at the Meadowlands and barred from other racetracks. Horses from other facilities were not able to ship in, resulting in fewer races each program (down nearly 8%) and shorter fields (down 3.3 percent).The quarantine and extensive disinfecting procedures were imposed by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture on Oct. 26 and lifted on Friday, November 10, from all but the approximately 100 horses who either tested positive or were directly exposed to infected horses.Leading rider for the meet was Jose Lezcano, who had 46 firsts, 42 seconds and 33 thirds from 187 mounts and purse earnings of $1,457,621. The 21-year-old Lezcano is a graduate of the Laffit Pincay
Riding School in Panama. Rounding out the top five were Rajiv Maragh with 35 wins, Joe Bravo with 34, Alan Garcia with 27 and apprentice Mario Madrid with 24. Bravo finished second in money earnings with nearly $1.2 million.West Virginia-born Jason Servis captured his second straight training title at the Meadowlands, crushing the competition with 20 wins, 20 seconds and 10 thirds from 68 starters, a 29 percent winning rate and a phenomenal 74 percent in-the-money performance. His horses banked $628,830. Also in the top echelon of the trainer standings were Patricia Farro with 11 wins, Jim Ryerson and Greg Sacco with 10 each and J. Willard Thompson and Peter Walder with nine each.The owners race resulted in a four-way dead-heat among Patricia Generazio, Edward P. Evans, Joel Kligman and William Schettine with five each. Evans-owned runners accounted for top three finishes in nine of 11 tries – 82 percent.