Meadowlands Seeks Stakes Sponsors

Saturday, June 24, 2023

As Grand Circuit stakes season gets underway at The Meadowlands, the cost of maintaining the extensive and expensive stakes program must be considered.

The fact is that business-wise, The Meadowlands would benefit by reducing the purse money spent on stakes racing and increasing the purses for overnight racing. Tracks in Pennsylvania and New York choose to offer very few and spend far less on open stakes despite the tens of millions in ancillary revenue they get from gaming, a resource The Meadowlands does not have.

Reappropriating dollars currently used for stakes to overnight racing would increase the overnight purses dramatically, bringing better horses and fuller fields to The Meadowlands which translates to higher handle, generating increased operating revenue.

As of the end of May, The Meadowlands is projected to spend a total of $32,890,292 in purse money over 88 live racing days in 2023, broken down as follows:

Stakes Races – $18,347,675 (56%)
Overnight Races – $14,542,617 (44%)
 *Incudes the $5.7 million ($6 million less the 5% contractually required to be paid to the SBOA of NJ) appropriation from the state of New Jersey (2023 is the final year of the subsidy) must be paid out in overnight purses only and may not be used for stakes races. 

The revenue to fund the stakes account comes from two sources;
Outside Sources (stakes payments by owners & NJSS funds) – $11,605,755
Added Money From Purse Pool (includes sponsorship funds) – $6,741,920

The public perception is that business is very good at The Meadowlands, with the steady stream of $3 million plus handles thus far in 2023. The truth is that with 96.1% of total handle being wagered remotely, the percentage of handle that is directed to the purse account and what the racetrack retains is far less that what you might think.


Below is a breakdown of each million in handle on Meadowlands races.


The other large revenue stream toward purses is the handle on imported signals (thoroughbred and other harness tracks bet at The Meadowlands) which has been in a steady decline over the past decade due to most of those customers migrating to account wagering, which results in a complete loss of that revenue for both the track and purse account.


The sad reality is that The Meadowlands suffered losses of more than $7 million in operating costs for racing only in 2022, and that number is projected to rise to more than $10 million by 2024.


Fortunately, FanDuel Sportsbook generates significant revenue and has covered the cost of the losses sustained by racing each year since 2018. It should also be noted that The Meadowlands is one of the very few tracks where purses do receive revenue from sports betting, $2.7 million in 2022.

While the revenue generated by live racing falls far short of covering the cost to the racetrack, other facets of Standardbred industry thrive as they reap the benefits of Grand Circuit stakes. The yearling sales are setting records each year. Standardbred breeders have never known a better time to sell their yearlings, the entire value of which depends upon their possibilities on the racetrack.


Breeders of racehorses are selling a dream. A large part of that dream is winning a major stakes race at The Meadowlands, which remains among the most sought-after achievements in Standardbred racing. The ultimate dream is buying that yearling colt that can become a commercial stallion and clearly several of The Meadowlands marquee stakes are considered as “Stallion Makers”.

The Meadowlands needs the support of of those in the industry who benefit most from these stakes to help cover the cost of maintaining the program at the current level by sponsoring them.


Many Grand Circuit stakes are currently sponsored by Standardbred breeders, owners, trainers and vendors. Their support is recognized and appreciated; the list of sponsors is included alphabetically below.


If you are not listed among them and would like to do your part and sponsor one of the Grand Circuit stakes, contact Jason Settlemoir at (201) 460-4025.  The Meadowlands needs all the sponsorship money we can raise, every penny of which goes directly into stakes purse account. None of it goes to cover the shortfall in operating costs.