Sunday, March 27, 2011
Whad up wit dat? The future of Monmouth Park (Part II)
Is it me or is there a disconnect between reality and Monmouth Park's posted racing dates?
Earlier this weekend I caught this interview of Jeff Gural, the prospective white knight of the Meadowlands. I was impressed by the dude -- seems like he knows his stuff, he is ready to make sweeping changes at the Big M, and at the same time he came across as very realistic and pragmatic about the whole situation (I was struck by his "I don't mind losing $10 or $12 million for 18 or 19 months" quote). Gural has been in the picture for about three and a half months from what I understand, he has arranged $100 million funding, and he is now in the nitty-gritty phase of dealing with the unions.
So, sounds pretty far along and promising, and they're still saying best-case scenario is for racing to resume at the Big M by June or July.
Meanwhile, Monmouth Park is still soliciting bids through the end of the month, "prior to the due diligence process"! And Monmouth is planning to open its meet on Saturday, May 14?
What happens if all bidders (eight so far, from what I have read) decide to not move forward beyond their initial interest? What if the erstwhile bidder isn't qualified or cannot reach agreement? What if something falls apart during due diligence? Even let's say best case, something moves forward, how long will due diligence take? Monmouth Park ain't no lemonade stand -- any entity considering sinking millions into the track and operating it for a five-year period is going to want to make sure everything is right.
Add it all up and unless I'm missing something here, simulcast signals will be the only racing seen and heard at Monmouth Park on May 14. I suspect there will be some semblance of a Monmouth meet this year, but I'd guess it will some abbreviated job, perhaps starting around July 4 or maybe even a few-week deal centered around the Haskell.
Maybe I'm just Gloomy Gus, but I think no live racing at Monmouth this year is a more likely outcome than starting on May 14.