Friday, March 4, 2011

Whad up wit dat? The future of Monmouth Park

We interrupt this regularly scheduled handicapping contest blog to shout out "whad up wit dat" regarding the future of Monmouth Park. reported that the powers-that-be are looking for a lessee for Monmouth Park, but only if they run 141 days. In other words, sure you can come in and run the track, but only if you return to the pre-2010 model that the track itself acknowledged wasn't working: modest purses that barely keep up with slots-fueled competition elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic, tired five-horse fields running in front of 3,000 people on summer weekdays, tumbleweed after Labor Day, etc. Blech.

And I reckon a 141-day meet would be even worse than 2009. How could anyone get excited for ~$325,000 in daily purses after they were one mil last summer? Hamburger Helper isn't terrible thing by itself, but when you go from Hamburger Helper to a real burger back to Hamburger Helper...ugh. Plus, NYRA is on the upswing with its slots thingamajig coming up, so wave goodbye to Todd Pletcher's 'A' and 'B' teams and to John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez, say hello to Pletcher's 'C' team and Felix Ortiz and Luis Rivera.

Unless I'm missing something here, good luck in finding a lessee who will sign on with the 141-day stipulation.

Would you lease a retail store if you had to stay open 16 hours a day in February?

Would you lease a boardwalk concession stand if you had to stay open until November?

Would you lease a church if you had to hold service on Tuesday afternoons?

(OK that last one doesn't really make sense, but it's been a long week, cut me some slack.)

You get the point.

I think the horsemen who are now saying a 141-day meet is "etched in stone" will be ready to compromise if and when there are no qualified bids and they are faced with a 0-day meet.

And now back to our regularly scheduled handicapping contest blog.


  1. I think the 141 day meet is a "show of bravado" on the part of the horsemen. The subsidy-less purses cannot support that kind of a meet this summer.

    Nor do I think Forbes/Drazin would want to take a step back from the painstaking gains made last year. But one thing is clear...the clock is ticking and neither the purse structure nor racing dates have been settled.

    By this time last year we had the exciting announcement of the Summer Elite Meet. I'll settle for 1/2 the excitement this year.

  2. And the fact that nothing's settled at this late juncture is in itself a negative, as I'm sure horsemen are making plans for the summer. Add it all up and it's Grim City.