11/15/2012 10:27AM

Harness Racing: NJRC approves Meadowlands dates

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The New Jersey Racing Commission on Wednesday approved 2013 dates for the harness racing meet at the Meadowlands Racetrack, but deferred taking action on dates for Freehold Raceway pending discussions between track management and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.

Freehold requested a total of 90 days, with racing Feb. 28 through May 25 and Aug. 29 through Dec. 21. Tom Luchento, president of the SBOANJ, said 90 days were too few and requested 120 days. Freehold Raceway General Manager Howard Bruno said the track was willing to explore adding races to each card, but uncomfortable increasing dates because of regulatory costs.

Frank Zanzuccki, the racing commission’s executive director, said the commission must approve dates by Dec. 1 and hoped the track and horsemen could reach a compromise prior to the commission’s next meeting on Nov. 28.

The Meadowlands received 82 dates for next year. The track will host 2013 dates from Jan. 3 through Aug. 3 and an 11-day meet from Nov. 23 through Dec. 28. It is hoped the facility’s new grandstand will be completed in mid-November for the winter meet.

Also approved were dates for a 10-day Thoroughbred turf meet at the Meadowlands from Oct. 11 through Nov. 2, with racing to take place at night. The schedule could face changes because of the construction of the Meadowlands’ grandstand.

In addition, a 61-day meet, from May 11 through Oct. 6, was approved for the Thoroughbreds at Monmouth Park as well as a six-day turf meet, beginning April 25, at Atlantic City Racecourse.

During the meeting, the commission also finalized its decision to withhold $107,500 in purses earned by then-3-year-old filly trotter Crys Dream in her 2011 Hambletonian Oaks elimination and third-place finish in the Oaks final at the Meadowlands in reciprocation of a ruling in Ontario.

Crys Dream was suspended from competition for 90 days by the Ontario Racing Commission after a class 2 positive test following her win in the Elegantimage Stakes at Mohawk Raceway on June 18, 2011.

The commission’s decision still could be appealed in court.

(courtesy USTA)