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HRN Original Blog:
Racing At The Jersey Shore

March Madness at Monmouth Park?

Last year at this time everyone was worried about the future of thoroughbred racing in New Jersey. There was a distinct possibility that there would not be any racing at Monmouth Park.  New Jersey’s Governor insisted that racing be privatized and that there would be no more subsidies from the state.
 
It was a struggle that required skillful negotiations to strike a deal that allowed Monmouth Park to once again have its 71 day summer meeting. However, the financial outlook based on thoroughbred racing’s daily handle is still not promising.
 
The Governor insists that there would be no slots at the state’s racetracks for at least a five-year period. He had made a commitment to Atlantic City and their casino industry to give them that period of time to pull themselves together. That left the racetracks in a very difficult position. They are not going to be able to make ends meet without an additional source of income.
 
Instead the racetrack has turned to sports betting as that source. Monmouth Park has joined forces with the Governor and his staff to challenge the federal law that blocks sports betting in the United States. Betting on sports is illegal unless you live in Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. At the heart of their legal challenge is just that fact that if sports betting is available in four states then why shouldn’t it be legal in any other state.
 
A US District Court has given the pro sports leagues and the NCAA until Jan. 20th to present their case against New Jersey. In the mean time Monmouth Park is going ahead with plans to begin taking sports bets.
 
The two biggest sports betting events of the year are the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament. Monmouth Park had planned to offer betting on the Super Bowl, but Hurricane Sandy and Monmouth Park’s role as a recovery command center has delayed their plans.
 
Now Monmouth Park is looking to take bets on March Madness. If the court gives the go ahead then they will take real money Vegas style wagers. If no legal decision has been reached the track will still take bets but the payout will be in prizes instead of cash. 

 

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Older Comments about March Madness at Monmouth Park?...

Just so you see the difference with handle. Look at Aqueduct less than two thousand in attendance, handle 500 to 600 k a day. And this was true even without the casino.
That should be any state wanting to overturn the Federal Wire Act of 1961 must sue to do so.
With all due respect, Monmouth put itself in its own hole. When Bailey wanted to take over the track he proposed 77 days of racing with purses of 400 to 500k a day. But the thoroughbred people said they coud not make money with that and proposed over 140 days of racing. Bailey refused to lose that much money so backed out for that reason among other issues. To save Monmouth the TB people over and borrowed from the NJ Sports Authority over 4 million just to be able to have stakes races and the Haskell. They are on schedule to borrow another 4 million to hold their stakes. So instead of taking Bailey's offer and shortening their calendar and having a financial backstop they have had to borrow further endebting themselves and king Monmouth financially insecure. The problem is simply put while the crowds are decent size, the on track handle is poor. The seven day turf meet at Meadowlands shows the problem--first Friday meet handle was $84k. But attendance was almost 2000. Now Monmouth is scrambling for revenue with sports betting. Any stake that wants to have sports betting must sue to overturn the Federal Wire Act of 1961. Christie may be a jerk, but Monmouth has dug their own hole. Contrast this with the Meadowlands. Gural is building anew grandstand to cut costs, doing some very interesting promotions and has a group putting 120 million into the facility.
anyone would have to be "off" in the head or have great inside info to bet March Madness: GREAT basketball, horrible prognostication quotient. THAT is since the last 60's and 70's when John Woden retired
Yes, Gary, the NJ legislature did pass the Sports betting law a n umber of years ago. This has led to the court battle over the federal law prohibiting sports betting.
That's a tough situation. Seems the Governor needs to keep the casinos ($$$) happy at the cost of the race tracks. Even though DE can take sports betting action, they cannot take single-game action, only "parlay cards" and the such, due to a successful agrument from the NJ casinos to the federal courts. Matt, it was my understanding the NJ passed a Sports betting law (for the casinos) a few years back? Am I mistaken?
Interesting development.
Good on ya Gov Christie!!!! Why not scratch off march madness?...just sayin'

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.