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Personalities See Meadowlands Slots Push As Logical, Essential

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Published: May 18, 2011 12:02 pm ET

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"If New Jersey racing is going to survive, and indeed thrive, casino gambling must be expanded to the racing venues.”

Those are the words of the highly respected Dr. Patty Hogan, who, in an article by the Examiner, stated that the racing industry dodged a big bullet with the crisis at the Meadowlands, but that the industry cannot rest on its laurels.

“Privatizing the Meadowlands is a giant step forward for standardbred racing in making New Jersey a viable competitor on a more level playing field with our surrounding states of New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania," she said. "It removes the state and their accompanying conflict of interest with Atlantic City in bringing alternative forms of gaming to our racetracks. If New Jersey racing is going to survive, and indeed thrive, casino gambling must be expanded to the racing venues.”

After months of uncertainty, a deal was recently worked out which will see the Meadowlands Racetrack retain live harness racing. New York State racetrack owner Jeff Gural, the new lessee of the Meadowlands' important one-mile track, has stepped up to give the 'Mecca of Harness Racing' its best chance of survival going forward.

Trainer Julie Miller believes Gural's efforts at the Meadowlands are essential for more than just the future of the East Rutherford raceway. “The agreement is vital to keep standardbred racing alive all across the USA,” she said. “With privatization, there will be an opportunity to revitalize the Meadowlands into what it once was. Preserving open space, horse racing and jobs is exactly what New Jersey needed.”

Perretti Farms manager Anthony Perretti put it bluntly, stating: “It is the best opportunity to reinvent our business. It will only happen with the support of the entire industry. This is it.”

“To say SBOANJ President Tom Luchento performed a miracle in putting this deal together is an understatement," said trainer/driver Jacqueline Ingrassia. "Now in order to compete with our neighboring states we must push for slots — it’s a no-brainer.”

(With files from the Examiner)

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