Tom Luchento and Chris Ryder have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Ballots were returned by 438 of the 789 members and counted on Monday, Oct. 19, by the accounting firm of Drucker, Math & Whitman, certified public accountants in North Brunswick, NJ.
In the only contested category – driver/trainer – Luchento was re-elected and Ryder was a winning challenger. Incumbent Kelvin Harrison and challenger Nancy Johansson were the others on the ballot. In uncontested categories, Thomas Pontone [owner], Michael Gulotta [breeder] and Dr. Richard Meirs [breeder] were re-elected.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to continue on the board of directors,” said Luchento, who has a dozen years of experience and is the incumbent president and chief executive officer of the SBOANJ. "Both 2015 and 2016 are pivotal years in our efforts to revitalize harness racing in New Jersey. This Board has a full agenda of challenges.
"This is no slam dunk, but we are hopeful to get expanded gaming – casinos - at our racetracks to make our purses on par with any in the country,” Luchento added. "We continue to work for sports wagering, historic racing and other alternate gaming options just as long as our purses are the beneficiaries.”
This was Chris Ryder's first bid for a seat on the SBOANJ Board of Directors. "I had been thinking about [running for the Board] for 10 or 12 years, but with my two boys off to college now, I had more time available,” said Ryder, 60, who maintains a stable of 25 at Winners in Chesterfield, NJ.
"My main concerns are insurance [for horsemen] and the New Jersey-owned and bred races,” noted Ryder, a New Jersey resident and horseman since 1989. "I want to listen and be independent, and make the best decisions I can. I intend to represent the grassroots. I've been there; I'm still there. I want to represent all horsemen. I thank everyone for their support.”
In other SBOANJ news, the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey will be meeting with Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeff Gural to review the racing dates for 2016.
"The Board was not happy with the dates proposal that the Meadowlands issued this week and will be meeting with Jeff Gural on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, to open a dialogue about the dates,” said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "We want to come up with a plan that will be good for everyone, and we think there are some better alternatives.”
Dates will come before the New Jersey Racing Commission in November.
The Board will hold its re-organization meeting on Nov. 9, 2015.--By Carol Hodes/SBOANJ