10/19/2001 11:00PM

North Jersey ideal if Cup goes prime time

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Breeders' Cup officials completed a tour of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority's racing properties Friday night with an escorted look at The Meadowlands.

The Authority is hopeful it can stage a World Thoroughbred Championships at either Monmouth Park or The Meadowlands some time before the end of the decade. Breeders' Cup officials also toured Monmouth in August.

"We're duly impressed," said Damon Thayer, vice president of marketing for the Breeders' Cup. "This is the first step in a long process. We've expanded our selection horizon and we feel like the event has matured to where we can explore bringing it to new places. In order to do that we needed to expand the horizon into the future to give these new places time to get prepared.

"The facilities here are first rate, and we know The Meadowlands and the people here have enormous experience putting on world-class events."

Both tracks recently rejoined the National Thoroughbred Racing Association after leaving the organization for a year along with several other Mid-Atlantic tracks. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup previously announced that only member tracks would be considered to host the World Thoroughbred Championships.

Breeders' Cup officials have also considered staging the events at night. The lights at The Meadowlands and its proximity to New York City are two factors officials find attractive.

"Having the Championships at night is something we've discussed and thought about," said Thayer. "Could we get the time from our network partner to run the event in prime time? It's a tough time of the year because of their fall schedules, but clearly that's an intriguing idea and clearly this would be a wonderful facility to do just that."

Doubleheader on BC day

For this year's Breeders' Cup simulcasts, The Meadowlands will shift its Saturday post time to 4 p.m. and hold a 14-race doubleheader program hoping to act as a bridge signal through the end of the Championships into the evening.

The track will stage three races prior to the Breeders' Cup Classic and then 11 events following that race. Gates will open at 9:30 a.m. and 18 different simulcast signals will be available throughout the day and night.