East Rutherford, NJ — The Meadowlands Racetrack has created a task force focused on perception of practices while on the racetrack. This committee will be comprised of various industry participants including customers, horseplayers, media, racetrack management, drivers, and trainers.
The committee will be asked to observe the horses from the time they enter the track until they exit while paying particular attention to the appearance of the post parades, drivers speaking while scoring, first turn courtesy tucks, half in and half out racing style and coming off the pylons at the top of the stretch essentially creating a passing lane where one does not exist along with any other topics that they feel need to be addressed.
This initiative will begin on the weekend of April 9. The committee will take notes on the races and communicate their thoughts and observations to Meadowlands Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason M. Settlemoir on Monday mornings.
Each Wednesday, the committee will meet by conference call to hear and discuss the weekend’s observations. If necessary, the notes may be forwarded to the track’s Presiding Judge.
The committee will meet through the end of May, with the last conference call slated for Wednesday (June 2) at which time a decision will be made regarding the continuation of the initiative.
Committee Chairman Jason M. Settlemoir said, “We are appreciative of these individuals who have committed their time and effort to this taskforce. Jeff (Gural) and I are constantly getting feedback from customers, trainers and drivers by e-mail or by phone calls along with social media. We feel it is important to point things out that everyone sees when we race to all trainers, drivers, and our judges.
“Customers, whether making big or small wagers, want real answers when they bet their hard earned money on our races. They want to know why a driver provides a “courtesy” (a term better suited to the Maître d at a fine restaurant and not used in any sport other than horse racing) tuck, why a driver would sit in the middle of the track waiting for cover to develop, why are horses consistently drifting off the pylons at the top of the stretch and letting others go up the inside when there is no passing lane at any of the Gural properties.
“A couple of my pet peeves are talking on the track, and post parades, so we will address those too. Let’s face it, the product we put out is seen by almost everyone on TV not sitting live at the track. Customers see these things when the cameras happens to move past them or position on them. Talking on the track is a perception issue in my opinion and while most of the times our post parades are pretty good as they are led by design by our starter around the track.
“I look forward to hearing what the customers say and the trainers and drivers as well. I believe this is an important step to continue to improve our product.”