The following is a statement from Freehold Raceway on meeting with horsemen and members of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.
Howard Bruno, General Manager, Freehold Raceway: "We appreciated the opportunity to speak with the Freehold based horsemen on Wednesday afternoon regarding the incident that occurred last Friday (Jan. 10) and any concerns the group had in general with racing at Freehold Raceway. Our expectation and understanding of this meeting was to have direct, one on one conversation with horsemen, without third parties, to promote a healthy exchange and dialogue from both sides.
"Regarding the Jan. 10 starting gate incident, we have been conducting an investigation and continue to seek out additional information. We are aware that the New Jersey Racing Commission is also conducting an investigation and we are cooperating fully with any requests. We are grateful that the majority of individuals and horses escaped serious injury and our thoughts and support go out to all of those involved in this accident and wish them a speedy recovery.
"Freehold Raceway takes seriously any constructive comments regarding the racetrack and overall safety concerns expressed by horsemen. As most are aware, winter racing in general, and especially during these most recent few weeks, has brought extreme weather conditions to the Mid-Atlantic region. We have confidence in Mike Fagliarone and his team in meeting these challenges. I pledged at the meeting we would continue to work with the SBOA and we will look at possible outside experts to review our track and maintenance procedures with an eye for continued improvement. I also expect that the SBOA will follow up on our request to create a more formalized protocol to proactively address any concerns regarding track or racing conditions going forward. Without any direct feedback it is difficult to take appropriate actions.
"Finally, I have made myself available to any member of the media that has wished to speak to me directly on the details of last Friday's incident or on any other matter involving Freehold. We will certainly keep the racing community apprised of any further developments, but want to ensure all participants that we share the same goal of a fair, consistent and safe racing experience for all involved.” (Freehold)