Gural Supports Plan for Drug Oversight Bill

The operator of Meadowlands, which primarily offers Standardbred racing, said June 1 he supports a lawmaker's plan to introduce legislation in Congress that would provide oversight of equine medication and drug testing.

Jeff Gural, who leases the New Jersey track and rebuilt its grandstand a few years ago, also said he'd like to see harness racing be part of the legislative effort. The bill, to be introduced by U.S. Representative Paul Tonko of New York, is called the Thoroughbred Horse Anti-Doping Act of 2015.

"I was extremely pleased to read about Congressman Tonko's plans to introduce legislation that will lead to much-needed medication reform in horse racing and about the coalition that has been formed to move that initiative forward," Gural said in a statement released by Meadowlands. "As someone who has gone to great lengths to get performance-enhancing drugs out of the sport, including the implementation of 'house rules,' I fully support these efforts and I hope the Standardbred industry will follow the Thoroughbred racing initiative."

A summary of the Tonko-proposed bill indicates it deals only with Thoroughbred racing. But the measure would tie permission to continue interstate simulcasts—and in turn advance-deposit wagering over state lines—to adoption of policies enacted by the Thoroughbred Horseracing Anti-Doping Organization.

Numerous harness tracks rely heavily on out-of-state Thoroughbred simulcasts. The overview of the proposed bill doesn't explain how cross-breed simulcasts would be affected.

Gural also has an agreement with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to host a short all-turf Thoroughbred meet in late summer and early fall at Meadowlands which, despite intense competition for horses from tracks in neighboring states that supplement purses with gaming revenue, continues to outpace all harness tracks in terms of average daily pari-mutuel wagering.