Meadowlands Reports Big Losses for 2002 Meet

(from track release)
The Meadowlands Racetrack posted across-the-board losses for the 62-day 2002 Thoroughbred meet, which ended on Saturday night.

Average on-track daily handle came in at $424,830, a loss of 30.6% over last year. The total average daily handle was $1,824,599, which represents a decrease of 19.6% over the 2001 season. And on-track attendance for the 62-day meet, the longest Meadowlands Thoroughbred meet since 1998, was down 16.8% to 4,068 fans per day.

"We had to run 141 days between our two racetracks, that's the letter of the law and our agreement with the Thoroughbred horsemen and we followed it," said Bruce Garland, senior executive vice president of racing. "Unfortunately our current purse structure can't afford to run that many dates; thus, the poor quality at the tail end of the Meadowlands meet."

On-site handle, which combines the live and imported simulcast wagering at the Meadowlands, did post a gain of 4.7% over 2001.

Also posting a gain was Tuesday racing, which was switched form a night program to an afternoon card for the 2002 season. The total wagered on Tuesday's races was $2,131,892, a 53% gain over Tuesdays in 2001.

Overnight purses for the 2002 season came in at $188,000 per night, with gross purses hitting $11.67 million, the fifth highest in Meadowlands history.

Taking home leading awards for the 2002 season were jockey Eddie King, trainer John McCaslin and owner E & G Stables.