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Dispute Over Freehold Cancellation

Published: August 22, 2012 7:52 pm ET

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Freehold Raceway has cancelled qualifiers scheduled for Thursday, August 23.

In a release issued by Freehold Raceway, track management states that the decision to cancel the qualifiers was made after the track received a letter Wednesday from an attorney representing the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ), which cited concerns regarding track conditions. The letter cited “unsafe and dangerous” racing surface conditions.

”We disagree with the SBOANJ’s assessment of the condition of the racetrack, however, the safety of our racing participants is our highest priority and due to the serious nature of these claims, we advised the SBOANJ that we had no other choice but to cancel qualifiers scheduled for tomorrow,” said General Manager Howard Bruno. “We do question the timing of the letter as there have been no site visits made by any member of the SBOANJ since we closed in May and we had a very uneventful live racing season earlier this year as it related to our racing surface."

The SBOANJ stated in a release that the decision to cancel qualifying races on Thursday, August 23 was solely made by Freehold Raceway.

“We notified Freehold that we had concerns about the inconsistency of the racing surface and that we wanted to be able to evaluate the track after Thursday’s qualifiers,” said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, which represents horsemen in contracts and negotiations with the state’s racetracks.

“We wanted to give Freehold a chance to address our concerns,” noted Luchento. “It was solely the decision of the track’s management to cancel the qualifiers. Our concerns over the racing surface have been ongoing, and we wanted to make sure it was fit for racing when the meet opens on August 30. The horsemen competing in the 12 qualifiers would have been able to test the surface and share their insights, but Freehold chose to take the position of cancelling the qualifiers.”

Freehold is scheduled to reopen for live racing on Thursday, August 30.

(With files from Freehold Raceway & SBOANJ)


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