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New Jersey Horsemen Fight For Survival

Claim "Meadowlands is like the New York Yankees"
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John Campbell drives Lucky Chucky in the Hambletonian elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack - East Rutherford, NJ - Jul 31, 2010 (Photo: U.S. Trotting Association)

John Campbell drives Lucky Chucky in the Hambletonian elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack – East Rutherford, NJ – Jul 31, 2010 (Photo: U.S. Trotting Association)

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – On the day before the largest annual event in harness racing, the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack, a bus full of horsemen departed East Rutherford this morning, en route to Atlantic City. They’re not going to the casinos to gamble. They’re hoping to have their voices heard at a 10:00 a.m. summit at the Atlantic City Convention Center, where New Jersey democrats will argue for and against Governor Chris Christie’s proposed plan to sell both the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park.

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell, who’ll be in the sulky of tomorrow’s Hambletonian favorite, Lucky Chucky, was on a bus this morning along with thirty others, heading to Atlantic City. Campbell, who’s won more purse money than any jockey or driver in North American racing history, told WCBS Sports Director Jared Max that he hopes that Governor Christie realizes “the Meadowlands is like the New York Yankees. It’s a brand name in our industry. People that live in various parts of the country that aren’t familiar with what’s going on politically here in New Jersey just cannot believe it, but, it’s a realism. If we don’t get to our legislators, if our public doesn’t speak up, there is a chance that we’re going to lose the horse racing industry in New Jersey. I think it would be devastating to the agriculture business in New Jersey.”

LISTEN: Jared Max with John Campbell

Hall of Fame trainer Chuck Sylvester, who goes for a record-tying fifth Hambletonian win with Lucky Chucky, echoed the sentiments of his driver, John Campbell. Sylvester told WCBS, “If we’re privatized, we can probably exist. You just can’t run the Meadowlands with the overhead they have, no way! There’s no doubt we will exist better if we can get the slots and get a little piece of it. Things would be much better.”

LISTEN: Jared Max with Chuck Sylvester

Sylvester and Campbell agreed that adding slot machines to the Meadowlands would not only keep the racetrack afloat, but would make it a primary attraction.

WCBS Newsradio 880 Sports Director Jared Max reporting

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