Trotters on for 2012

Horsemen in New Jersey got the best of all gifts right before Christmas: the guarantee that there will be racing at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford in 2012.

The New Jersey Racing Commission awarded a license to operate harness racing at the Meadowlands to Jeff Gural and partners on Dec. 20, according to the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ).

“It was a long and arduous journey,” SBOANJ President Tom Luchento said. “I don’t consider us at the finish line yet, but the best news is that racing is on, beginning Jan. 6 at the Meadowlands. There could not have been a better Christmas present.”

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s Board of Commissioners ratified the 31-year lease on Dec. 23.

“I think about where we were and how hard all of this was,” Luchento said. “But from the brink of disaster last year, I think now we will be better off in the long run. We finally have something concrete.”