09/16/2014 11:15AM

Meadowlands opens 14-day, all-turf Thoroughbred meet at new facility

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Jim Lisa/Lisa Photography
Last year's Thoroughbred meet at the original Meadowlands grandstand was unable to support night racing, but this year's 14-day meet will have a first post time of 7 p.m. Eastern for all but two cards.

A 14-day Monmouth-at-Meadowlands Thoroughbred meet will begin Thursday. The all-turf Meadowlands season will continue through Nov. 2, Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

Last year, the Meadowlands hosted 10 days of turf racing after the Monmouth Park season had ended. This year, the two meets will overlap in September, with Meadowlands racing Thursday and Friday nights and Monmouth Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The Meadowlands dates will switch to Fridays and Saturdays beginning Oct. 3 after the conclusion of the Monmouth season. There is no Sunday racing at the Meadowlands during the NFL season as the Giants and Jets share the sports complex with the racetrack.

The Meadowlands is primarily a Standardbred track now, and this will be the first Thoroughbred meet in the new grandstand that opened last November. The smaller, more modern facility was built at a reported cost of $88 million by Jeff Gural, who operates racing at Meadowlands under a lease agreement with the state. Last year’s Thoroughbred stand was the last one held at the original Meadowlands grandstand, which opened in 1976.

While last year’s all-turf meet was held during the day, first post this season will be 7 p.m. Eastern, with the exception of Breeders’ Cup Friday (1 p.m.) and Saturday (noon). Six-race cards are planned.

“I’ve always thought night racing would be very important for this meet,” said Dennis Drazin, head of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which leases Monmouth from the state and oversees the Meadowlands meet. “We wanted to do it last year but couldn’t because we were at the old facility and the lights were not functioning. At this time of year, there really aren’t any strong night signals around the country, and I think there is an appetite for it.”

The Meadowlands meet is the only live Thoroughbred racing of the year in northern New Jersey, even though the facility serves as a year-round simulcast hub and is surrounded by a large population base.

“This meet allows us the opportunity to bring our entertainment to northern New Jersey,” Drazin said. “It allows us to explore new territory and bring live horse racing to a new customer base. Also, by the end of September, the turf at Monmouth, and at a lot of tracks on the East Coast, is shot and we get to come to this unused turf. I was up there a week ago and the grass looks great.”

There are no stakes at the Meadowlands meet, and the quality of racing is modest. The Thursday feature is a $16,000 starter allowance race.

The opening-night jockey colony includes the top three top riders at Monmouth, Paco Lopez, Eddie Castro, and Gabriel Saez.

Admission, seating, and parking are free, and several special promotions are planned: Fireworks will be held after the races this Friday; Scotch-n-Smoke will feature unique scotches and cigars on Oct. 4; and an Oktoberfest food truck night is scheduled for Oct. 11.

Pink, the main restaurant at the Meadowlands, will be open, as will the Victory Sports Bar and The Lounge.

Kevin Miller More than 1 year ago
The dirt racing was the best. Who wants turf? Hope it rains every race day.
Steven More than 1 year ago
i want to hang out with your negativity! not
Walter More than 1 year ago
Maybe the night time posts will reopen the interest of the Meadowlands TB meet? Sure would be nice to see it again during the foreseeable future.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
mikey More than 1 year ago
Why don't you and your mother in law move to craigslist where you belong.With the other who knows what's
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
I really don't like Chevrolet's, Can you get me into a Lincoln if I put a few more hours a week in. I already have a house trailer down by the river, so I'm OK for a place to sack out. Just send me your email address and I'll get in touch, Thanks
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Boy Oh boy, the good ole days at the Big M's Sept to Dec meet was great. Many great horses ran there. Many great races, all the big jocks came over on Fri and Sat night for the big races. CA jocks came in too. It was a fantastic place, big crowds. Track Side dinning was always full. A very diverse crowd, form John Gotti Jr. to wall street guys to, to Sonny Werblin. I miss the good old day.. Also full fields many 10 to 12 horse fields. What went wrong?
jon g More than 1 year ago
Too many tracks,not enough horses,competition from casinos and lotteries. And greed. It will NEVER be close to the same
mikey More than 1 year ago
Yes it was hard to get a good seat.Saw John Henry and many other run there.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
oh yeah, I saw john henry run there, duh, who cares, how old are u? like 90? time to change your diaper! lol
billybudd16 More than 1 year ago
Get your thumb out of your mouth when you talk.
Craig Haugan More than 1 year ago
Whats your point?
mikey More than 1 year ago
This was a great meet in the past.Some of the best horses raced there.Thanks to the breeders cop no one raced much in Oct and after the bc they were done for the year.This great place more than any other was killed by the bc.Drazin allways has a reason why Monmouth can't do something.Only in NJ can a lawyer who owns horses be the head of a horsemen association.He will kill Monmouth even with sports betting.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
dude, your such a dufuss! sthu.
mikey More than 1 year ago
You must be a guy who bets in his house.Enjoy the 2 days of the breeders and the other handful of big days.Come back when you stop talking out os the wrong side.Bet you never went to the great old track.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
yeah Im not a degenerate like u!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Get a life and grow up.You wouldn't know a good thing if it was tied to your nose.Come back when you are 245 or better.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
ok u old fart! lol