EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Officials with the United State Trotting Association (USTA) say the amount of money being wagered on racehorses at The Meadowlands is significantly higher than last year.
Though the first three weekends of the racetrack's season were skewed because of the racing of the Breeders Crown at the East Rutherford oval in 2014, this past weekend's wagers ranged between 18 and 21 percent higher year over year, according to the USTA.
"The first three weekends of the meet were hard to gauge," said Chairman Jeff Gural. "We were comparing to handle figures that centered around the Breeders Crown and our TVG Championships were contested on a different weekend as well. This was our first direct comparison of the meet and it is certainly encouraging."
Full fields remain the key to The Meadowlands success, Gural said.
"We have the bigger track with 10 horses across. That is where we have an edge and we have to capitalize on that," he said. "We had 254 betting interests in 26 races, that's nearly 9.8 horses per race, which is where we need to be."
Gural also added that coordinating post times has become a focal point of the meet.
There have been a few other tweaks that seem to be helping as well, including earlier postings, which adds a race over the course of the day.
On-track attendance is also an area in which Gural's team is making a big push.
"We are spending serious money in marketing and promotions to bring people to the facility for racing," he said. "We have a presence in midtown Manhattan in the form of a large digital billboard and we have other strategically located billboards throughout the New York City area."
Gural is looking forward to the next few months, he said.
"Hopefully horsemen keep entering their horses like they did this weekend and we can keep putting full and competitive fields on the track for our customers," he said. "That is the most important factor for us without question."
Racing returns on Friday with post time at 7 p.m.
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