When I was growing up I often went to the Meadowlands (and Roosevelt Raceway and Belmont, of course…since I lived only 10 minutes from that track)…. so it’s good to see that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave his approval to the leasing of  The Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park.

The Meadowlands, which offers harness racing, will be leased to Jeff Gural, and Monmouth Park, which conducts thoroughbred racing, will be leased to Morris Bailey.

“I was determined to bring this deal home,” Governor Christie said. “There are many beneficiaries: We’re saving a New Jersey tradition with the continuation of live horse racing at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park; we are saving and creating jobs; and we are helping to preserve New Jersey farmland and a way of life for many people, from horse farm owners and employees, to jockeys to racing enthusiasts. I want to thank all involved, from staff in the Governor’s Counsel’s Office, to the executive staff of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, to Mr. Gural and Mr. Bailey, as well as representatives of the thoroughbred and standardbred horsemen.”

Both leases will take effect on June 1.

The Monmouth Park deal must still be approved by representatives of the thoroughbred horsemen. The state has been in negotiations with Gural since late last year.

“First, I want to thank Governor Christie and his staff for all their hard work on something I initially thought was impossible,” said Gural, the New York investor and developer who will assume control of and redevelop the Meadowlands Racetrack.

“The deal that we’ve reached together will be good for the taxpayers, good for horse racing and great for the Meadowlands. I look forward to returning the Meadowlands to its former glory and pre-eminent position in horse racing in the United States.”

The Meadowlands is home to the Hambletonian, harness racing’s most prestigious event.

Monmouth Park hosted the 2007 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and runs the $1 million Haskell Invitational.

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