The Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey elected Mark Ford as its president at a reorganization meeting held Nov. 16 at the association’s offices in Manalapan.

Ford, one of the leading trainers in Meadowlands history, owns and operates the Mark Ford Training Center. He fills the position occupied for more than a dozen years by Thomas Luchento.

“We made tremendous gains while Tom was president,” Ford said in a prepared statement. “And we will redouble our efforts to expand racing opportunities in New Jersey, pushing ahead with plans for an expanded gaming referendum in 2016. We thank Tom Luchento for his leadership and know he will continue to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors.”

In the election of other officers, Mark Mullen was named first vice president, Robert Boni second vice president, Chris Ryder third vice president, Alfred Ochsner Jr. treasurer and Anthony Romano secretary.

New Jersey’s two harness tracks — the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway — have been awarded a combined 200 racing dates for 2016.

The dates were approved at the New Jersey Racing Commission meeting Nov. 18 in Trenton.

Mark Ford, attending his first commission meeting as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ), advised the commission that the SBOANJ was reluctantly accepting the Meadowlands dates as an experiment for 2016.

“We are concerned about losing dates in January and February and replacing them with September and October dates,” Ford said.

The Meadowlands requested 90 dates, Fridays and Saturdays only (plus Sunday, May 8), from Jan. 2 through Aug. 6 and from Sept. 9 through Dec. 31 (dark on Dec. 24]. Post time is 7 p.m.

Freehold received 110 dates, racing Jan. 1 through May 21 plus Aug. 26 and 27, and Sept. 2 through Dec. 10. Racing days will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus three holidays on Mondays — Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and Sept. 5. Dark days are Sept. 1 and Nov. 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

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