'Committed To Getting Rid Of The Drugs': Jeff Gural Will Lobby For New Jersey's Harness Industry To Join HISA - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Committed To Getting Rid Of The Drugs’: Jeff Gural Will Lobby For New Jersey’s Harness Industry To Join HISA

The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.

Jeff Gural, owner of The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, told harnessracingupdate.com this week about his plan to lobby New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy to help him convince the state's standardbred industry to opt-in to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Gural said the primary incentive to convince the industry would be the end of it's $10 million annual subsidy in New Jersey.

Gural has built a reputation as a staunch anti-doping presence in harness racing, and he sees HISA as a better way forward than allowing the “status quo” to remain in place, i.e., allowing the state to regulate the sport.

Meanwhile, the United States Trotting Association is among those racing industry organizations actively opposing the HISA legislation, a position the USTA strengthened on Tuesday when it released an open letter to The Jockey Club.

“HISA is not the solution,” the USTA letter reads. “HISA failed to prevent seven deaths at Churchill Downs during Derby Week. Another horse broke down and was euthanized on Sunday.”

Gural addressed the USTA's position in his comments to harnessracingupdate.com, as well.

“[USTA president] Russell [Williams] and [USTA chair] Joe [Faraldo] could be leading us on a path of extinction once the public finds out how prevalent drugs have been in our industry,” Gural said. “As far as HISA is concerned, the industry has a choice: they can either side with Jeff Gural or Joe Faraldo. I am committed to getting rid of the drugs in the sport. I have accomplished a great deal, but there is more to do and I am not satisfied that the current arrangement where the state is responsible to regulate the sport is the way to go.

“I assume most of you will side with Faraldo so don't blame me if something bad happens. I tried to get the word out. Time will tell which of us is right but when you consider that Joe's trainer is currently serving a three-year jail sentence and the other leading trainer at Yonkers is also in jail I hope you will change your mind. I have personally spent over $1 million to clean the game up and I am not done. I will not rest until the drugs are totally eliminated and I honestly think the status quo doesn't work.”

Read more at harnessracingupdate.com and ustrottingnews.com.

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