12/21/2011 1:51PM

Gural completes 30-year lease deal for Meadowlands


New York racetrack and casino owner Jeff Gural on Tuesday signed a 30-year lease with the state of New Jersey to operate the Meadowlands, a harness track in East Rutherford, according to the office of Gov. Chris Christie.

Gural signed the lease the same day that Christie endorsed an agreement reached between the state’s Thoroughbred horsemen and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority providing for the operation of Monmouth Park next year. Both Monmouth and the Meadowlands are owned by the NJSEA.

Under the agreement with Gural, Thoroughbred horsemen will have the right to run a six-day mixed meet at the Meadowlands each spring and a 15-day all-turf Thoroughbred meet in the fall or early winter. The agreement requires the Thoroughbred horsemen to cover “incremental costs” at the facility for holding the meets, according to Dennis Drazin, the legal counsel to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who negotiated the deal with the NJSEA.

“If he normally has three security guards, for example, and has to hire more for our meet, than that’s our responsibility,” Drazin said. “The starting gate and the crew we’ll need, things like that.”

The 30-year Meadowlands lease includes a five-year initial period, with options to extend the lease after that. Gural has said he plans to tear down the existing grandstand of the track and replace it with a smaller structure by 2014.