Meadowlands Spared for at Least a Month

Meadowlands in New Jersey was given a reprieve as lease negotiations continue.

Meadowlands in New Jersey will remain open through May as negotiations continue on a long-term lease of the facility.

Officials announced April 29 live harness racing will commence May 7 as scheduled, and full-card simulcasts will continue uninterrupted. New York developer and racetrack operator Jeff Gural is attempting to wrap up a lease agreement with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie wants lease agreements in place for both tracks by June 1.

“With significant progress being made toward Gov. Christie’s goal of establishing a self-sustaining racing industry, the May racing calendar at the Meadowlands will proceed as scheduled,” Christie press secretary Michael Drewniak said in a statement. “New union agreements with concessions have been reached by Jeff Gural, but at this point it is clear that additional time is needed to complete work on the outstanding issues that remain.

“The live Standardbred meet will open on May 7, and simulcasting will continue. Both will be held until the end of May. The parties will continue discussions next week in an effort to try and resolve the remaining issues.”

New Jersey Thoroughbred horsemen have expressed concerns about losing some revenue from full-card simulcasts at Meadowlands, which discontinued live Thoroughbred racing at the end of 2009. It is believed to be one of the outstanding issues.

Monmouth opens for live racing May 14. Developer and Resorts Casino owner Morris Bailey is negotiating with Christie to lease the track.