02/07/2017 9:22AM

Harness: Clarification on the Gural Rule

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(The following is a statement from Jeff Gural)

Over the weekend it became clear to me that most people had assumed that the Stallion Restriction Condition, “Gural Rule”, only applied to stakes races at the Meadowlands, Vernon and Tioga, when in fact the intent was to apply them to stakes, qualifiers, baby races and overnights. 

To be honest, I really thought in the long run this would help the breeders because, in my mind, we have to create new younger people to replace those of us, including myself, who are not going to live forever.  Having said that, obviously most breeders do not agree and the last thing I want to do is fight with my friends in the industry who stepped up with sponsorships to help keep our stakes program in place while we wait for common sense to prevail in New Jersey and allow us to have expanded gambling. I realized it was important for all of us to work together and I have instructed Nick (Salvi) to revise the conditions so that the restriction only applies to stakes races at the three tracks and not anything else. 

While I recognize that the rivalry last year between Always B Miki, Wiggle it Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete was not a direct result of the rule, it did show, in my mind, how important it is to have major races contested with horses that people have an allegiance to and recognize the names as opposed to our 2-year-old stakes and some of our 3-year-old stakes where the participants are mostly known only in the industry. 

On a separate note, I want to thank the industry for stepping up to help support Sam McKee and his family during this difficult time.  I understand to date the go fund me page raised over $126,000 which is truly amazing. 

Sam’s illness was a shock to everyone as he is probably the best liked person and the most talented announcer out there.  He has worked tirelessly for the industry and especially the Meadowlands and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family while he embarks on the long road to recovery.

For our part we have advised the family that Sam will be on the payroll for the foreseeable future and that anything that the family needs we are there for them.