Power Cap

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03 March 2010

Belmont Stakes Run At Monmouth?

When New Jersey elected governor Christie last year it seemed like a referendum against the incumbents and the ubiquitous corruption blanketing the region. Unlike most elected officials in the last two years Christie has been a pleasant surprise. Christie is backing a plan to boost purses at Monmouth to $1 million a day. During his six years in office as US Attorney general Christie gained the reputation as something of a corruption-buster, having won convictions or guilty pleas from 130 public officials, both Republican and Democrat. Christie did not lose a single case. While NJ is poised become the premier Northeast venue, vultures are circling New York racing. Don't be surprised if the Belmont stakes in run at Monmouth as soon as 2011 as the situation at NYRA is more dire than many believe.

Monmouth Park

It looks like Christie is listening to smart racing people; unlike New York he is acting on their advice. Christie has come up with a branding approach for New Jersey racing that will define New Jersey racing as an upscale event. For the first time in recent racing history an American track is actually positioning themselves in the market as something other than just another track running yet another race that you can make yet another bet on. Monmouth already has trumped the attendance figures of Belmont; the appealing shore location helps, but now Monmouth is positioned to trump the handle and prestige as well.

New Jersey has proposed a 50 day meet that will only race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 22nd to labor day. The purses will be tremendous; with $1 million a day for the horsemen. Certainly those barns shipping up to New York after the Preakness will want to race at Monmouth and not Belmont. While Jersey is actually running an appealing product, downtrodden Belmont will osculate between$38K statebred/horsemen welfare races and conditioned claiming events. Who will be at Belmont for this extravaganza? The same 1,000 or so beleaguered degenerates that show up everyday until they die.

Monmouth attendance will surge as this become a destination venue that will drive tourism into the area. The scarcity factor of only running on weekends will further make the Jersey shore the place to be. With a fairly new turf course, a familiar 1 mile dirt oval that horsemen prefer and close-in shipping from Philly, Maryland, Delaware, New York and Fair Hill; Monmouth fans can look forward to a horse racing renaissance on the Jersey shore. The expectation is for high class racing, large purses and full fields. This is destination racing that appeals to all demographics; with great racing and a Oceanside location this is a venue that will attract the young and old to the Jersey shore.

Give credit to Christie for matching the product to the venue. With it's seaside location Monmouth should be an upscale meet like Del Mar, not a racing factory like the Philadelphia Park. Give credit to Christie for having the courage to do what's right. This is a leader with that listens to sharp thinkers and has the courage to implement their plans. Like all worthwhile efforts implementing this plan will not be easy; a 50 day meet will not be in every trainer's interest. Christie had the courage to pinch the few for the collective good of all. Trainers with cheaper claimers may have to race at venues like Belmont or Phily that have mundane, unappealing products that card low end races. New Jersey bred horses may not find as much opportunity this year at Monmouth as the high class allowance and stakes horses dominate the entry box. Pushing these barns out of the state was surely not the easy thing to do, but it will prove to be the right thing to do. When the racing is a success, the grandstand is packed, the hotels fill up and Monmouth has a positive buzz all of the apprehension to new ideas will be forgotten. So rare it is to see a man do the right thing for the collective good. Often times these decisions are based on avarice. A decision like this could never happen in neighboring state like New York which lacks vision or leadership.

Chris Christie

Across the Hudson in New York, the state bred welfare races and conditioned claimers will continue to attract a crowd of hardened gamblers, stoopers and the mentally ill. The formerly prestigious New York stakes races are consistently a disappointment. These stakes races have short uninteresting fields that are consistently relegated to early part of the card. As the quality of races in New York has declined the stakes races have proven to be an unattractive wagering proposition. With little to no new ideas in New York the game is suffering a painful death; "little me too" style social marketing initiatives has not atoned for the horrible product. NYRA has waited through a nine year long slot machine farce that has reduced New York racing into a pathetic groveling parasite. NYRA needs to break free from the clasp of Albany and try to replicate the virtues of Monmouth. The Big-A and Belmont needs to be positioned in the market and the venues must be upgraded.

the carcass of the Big-A rots
Second Floor
While New Jersey is set to flourish the parasites have multiplied at NYRA. You know death is imminent when the vultures have begun to descend on the carcass. Contrast Christie's bold leadership to Spitzer's and Paterson's whore mongering, drug use and political opportunism. These two New York governors are men without a moral compass. Their behavior ipso facto demonstrates that they are not fit to lead. Spitzer's lack of a moral compass was his undoing; it looks like Patterson is following in his footsteps. It is men like this with a lack of character that are poisoning the waters that all New Yorkers drink. A culture of corruption pervades the entire state. OTB balances their books by not paying their debts. This is a abject lack of leadership in New York and it is flavoring everything we do. No longer can NYRA play the victim and passively let their product deteriorate. NYRA must stop wasting time on twitter and start pressuring Albany to find the courage it needs to make the right decisions.


Anonymous said...

Monmouth certainly looks like a destination. Prime time.

Anonymous said...

If they are able to keep the Jersey Bred program alive, soon it might not be so bad to drop a foal in NJ. I like the idea and think that since MP does do a great job both on the front side and from what I've witnessed on the back side as well. I do hope that this happens and YES I feel that a 3 day week will allow for full fields and better wagering. Some of the smaller players will lose out and either leave the game or move to PA or NY. Problem is that both NY and PA, don't carea hoot about the owners, players, or their own employees so the Jersey folks are in for a rude alarm clock sounding off. Just not sure Jersey will welcome the Pletchers of the game. Yes he has a lot of horses...but he also is a known cheat. In this State, you can get away with it for some time, then we take you out back...
I'm looking forward to see what Big Chris actually agrees too.
Jersey Josh

Unknown said...

For someone who cut their teeth on Jersey racing,this is great news.With the closing of Atlantic City and Garden State and the rumors of Monmouth's demise things looked very bleak.Good to know that hope lives.Best of luck MP!

Frank said...

Monmouth is a nice little track. I always enjoy going there. But, it is a summer only venue, a boutique meet. So to compare it to Winter Racing at Aqueduct or even Belmont is not accurate.
If you want to compare it to a NYRA venue, it should be with Saratoga, which is far and away superior to Monmouth. And that would still be the case even with the purse increase (if that ever happens).
Maybe you should compare The Big A to the NJ venue - Atlantic City race course, they are both dumps.

Plus, let's be real, anytime you have horse who needs a little more medication, you take him to Monmouth where almost anything goes. So let's not get too polyanna.

Joseph B said...

They only race at AC for four days out of the year to maintain a simulcast permit compared to Aqueduct which is a six month racing facility. I was in the closed off parts, it is a hopeless dump and subgrade for NY racing. Belmont was built too big so even when there is a decent crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 people it looks sparse.

G. C. said...

Now that Belmont has trimmed stakes purses and eliminated stakes races altogether these Monmouth ideas are looking better than ever.

Wallyhorse said...

The $1 Million a day meet will definitely be an indicator of quality racing, but Monmouth actually is running 71 days this year, including a 21-day, Friday-Saturday only meet after the "Million Dollar" meet with a $300,000 a day purse structure.

What really needs to happen and would benefit everyone in the mid-Atlantic region would be for there to be a three-state circuit where Monmouth runs from just after July 4-Labor Day while Delaware Park runs two meets: A spring meet from just after the Derby through July 4 and right after Labor Day through the Breeders' Cup in early November, with Philadelphia Park running the rest of the year. That to me would allow for a much higher purse structure at all three tracks and not competing against each other.

gc said...

Yes Wally horse has it right. There is no need to run all three tracks all year.