In a last-minute move on Tuesday, outgoing New Jersey acting Gov. Don DiFrancesco vetoed and slashed a purse supplement bill which would have given the horse racing industry $18 million. DiFrancesco cut the appropriation to $6 million, which means that, instead of getting $11.7 million, the Thoroughbred industry will only get $3.9 million. The standardbred industry will get $2.1 million.
According to Barbara DeMarco Reiche, lobbyist for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, lawmakers are in the process of filing another bill, one which would give the industry the $11.7 million it had received in 2001.
Francis "Bud" Keegan, president of the NJTHA, said that purses would be drastically affected this year if the $11.7 million isn't granted.
"They'll be low, to put it mildly," he said. "We need the supplement to keep this industry alive before off-track wagering and phone wagering kicks in."
Keegan said he hoped that incoming Gov. Jim McGreevey, who takes office on Jan. 15, would see the importance of the full purse supplement.