Over a quick lunch break I had the pleasure of reading Oceanport Councilman and member of the Borough's "Monmouth Park Task Force" Joseph Irace's biting commentary in this week's Red Bank Hub. No means by design, but my recent blog posts and relative thinking about Trenton making New Jersey's live racing program the sacrificial lamb for the umpteenth revival effort for Atlantic City echo much of Mr. Irace's commentary, though he gets a few extra fist pumps for dubbing Atlantic City "a financial and social corpse."
I entirely agree with Mr. Irace's thesis in the guest column, with two caveats - the notion of pitching the Meadowlands as the track primed for casino-style gaming could be perceived by some as a not-in-my-back-yard posture, and slot gaming at the track is not the antidote to a fragmented, dysfunctional racing industry, where the tracks and horsemen have for too long served their own interests ahead of the horseplayer (lower-takeout propositions, such as Monmouth's new Place Pick 6 are a good, albeit late, start). But, in the end, Mr. Irace's points about Trenton forsaking the state's racing program for the benefit of AC remains very well taken, especially when considering that all parties need to agree on a plan to stem the tide of a shrinking pool of discretionary dollars (i.e. wagers) from leaving New Jersey for Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.
Meanwhile, I saw that Manahawkin's Victor Hartley took down the $200 contest (and a berth to the NHC next January) at Monmouth Park on Sunday with a courageous play (as I speculated on Monday) on 30-to-1 Padraig in the Woodbine finale. Congrats to Victor!
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