Two businessmen who have made fortunes in Manhattan real estate — and who each has a background in casino gaming — are trying to put the finishing touches on deals to take over New Jersey’s horse racing tracks from the state.
At this point, they aren’t partners. They seem to each be going after control of the racing track business.
Which, if run correctly, could be highly profitable.
Morris Bailey is trying to take over Monmouth Park at the same time as his friend Jeff Gural eyes Meadowlands Racetrack.
But while Jeff Gural, who is eyeing The Meadowlands Racetrack, and Morris Bailey, who has his sights on Monmouth Park, have been friends for more than 20 years, Gural said their simultaneous efforts are simply a coincidence.
“I know Morris well enough, but I didn’t even know he owned a lot of thoroughbreds until he called me about possibly managing Monmouth Park,” Gural told the New Jersey Record newspaper.
Governor Christie proclaimed last summer that he wanted the state to get out of the money-losing horse racing business, even if it meant closing the two racetracks. That set in motion two very different scenarios.
On the Meadowlands side, Christie — after months of discussions with the leaders of the state’s harness racing industry — told the group in mid-December that he intended to close the track instead of reopening as scheduled in early January.
Gural said he visited with Christie aides in Trenton almost immediately — with the understanding that if a solution wasn’t reached that day, the track was doomed.
Now there is hope.