Jeff Gural was already a well-established member of the harness racing community as a breeder, owner, proprietor of two breeding farms and two upstate New York racetracks/casinos (Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs), when he was approached in 2010 to head the group which privatized the sport’s premier facility, the Meadowlands.
With a limited window in which to accomplish the deal, he worked his way through negotiations with politicians, horsemen, and labor unions to finalize the acquisition.
The chairman of American Racing & Entertainment formed New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC and assumed control of racetrack operations in December of 2011. A new 155,000 square foot grandstand, costing nearly $100 million, was built on the backstretch side of the racing oval and opened on November 23, 2013.
Gural also opened Winners Bayonne OTW, an $18 million, 22,000 square foot offtrack wagering facility located in Bayonne, New Jersey in July of 2012. Jeff and his wife, Paula, are the owners of Allerage Farms, with locations in Stanfordville, NY and Sayre, PA.
Gural, who lives in Manhattan, is chairman of the commercial real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which manages and leases more than eight million square feet of properties. His father, Aaron, was a real estate developer. Jeffrey Gural earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He and his wife, Paula, a geologist, have three children, Eric, Roger and Aileen, and six grandchildren.
He has been an owner and breeder of horses for more than 35 years. Allerage Farms has produced numerous stakes winners, including the millionaire Muscles Marinara and the Hambletonian Oaks winner Fern, who banked more than $1.2 million.
Gural’s humanitarian efforts away from the racing industry include serving as president of the New York Chapter of the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, member of the board of the USO, chairman of I Have a Dream – NY, co-sponsor of the Chelsea Elliot I Have a Dream Project, member of the board of directors for Starworks, vice president of The Broadway Association, and member of the board of the Settlement Housing Fund.
He is the recipient of many awards in racing, including the USHWA President’s Award, Upstate NY USHWA Hall of Fame, USHWA Unsung Hero Award, USHWA Proximity Award, the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program’s John W. Galbreath Award, Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame, Stanley Bergstein Messenger Award from Harness Tracks of America, Frederick L. Van Lennep Award from the Hambletonian Society and Horse Racing Insider Executive of the Year.