NJ Tracks Get 77 Thoroughbred Dates for 2013

Monmouth was awarded 61 days, Meadowlands 10 days, and Atlantic City six days.

There will be 77 Thoroughbred racing dates for 2013 under a schedule approved by the New Jersey Racing Commission Nov. 14.

The dates were approved pending a review of the minutes of the meeting by Gov. Chris Christie.

Monmouth Park, operated by Darby Development, was awarded 61 dates, from May 11-Oct. 6. Meadowlands Racetrack, operated by New Meadowlands Racetrack, will follow with 10 dates of all turf racing Oct. 11-Nov. 2.

Monmouth plans to race Fridays through Sundays and Monday holidays through Labor Day, with racing Saturdays and Sundays thereafter. Meadowlands will race Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

Atlantic City Race Course, owned by Greenwood Racing, was again awarded six days of turf-only racing from April 25-May 1, with April 29 dark.

The 2013 schedule is about the same as this year's slate, with Monmouth requesting four fewer days than it did for this year.

Meadowlands was awarded 82 harness dates for next year, with live racing from Dec. 28, 2012, through Aug. 2, and Nov. 23-Dec. 28. The northern New Jersey track will be a construction zone next year as work continues on a new grandstand being built on the opposite side of the racetrack where the barn area once stood.

Action on harness dates at Freehold Raceway was deferred. The Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association of New Jersey is seeking more days of racing than owner Pennwood Racing is currently willing to offer.

Freehold requested 90 days from Feb. 28-May 25 and Aug. 29-Dec. 21. The SBOANJ, which is seeking 120, earlier noted state law sets the minimum at 192 for Freehold unless horsemen agree to fewer days of live racing.

The NJRC plans to act on Freehold dates at its Nov. 28 meeting.

In another matter, the NJRC is soliciting comments on proposed regulations concerning off-track wagering and advance deposit wagering. The regulations are in line with legislative changes made in 2011 in an attempt to expand the state's OTW network.

In roughly 10 years only four of 15 potential OTW facilities--in Bayonne (Meadowlands), Toms River (Freehold), Vineland (Atlantic City), and Woodbridge Township (Monmouth)--have been built. Lawmakers have urged the racing industry to build more facilities.

The NJRC said the proposed regulations would require a racetrack permit-holder to "make progress on an annual basis" if it has applied for an OTW license. The permit-holder also must document that the OTW facility is in a suitable location and that it owns the property or has a lease of at least five years.

The NJRC would receive a detailed development plan complete with a budget and revenue projections for each proposed OTW parlor.

The proposed regulations also note the potential for a positive impact on agriculture in New Jersey.

"Horse racing involves the participation of animals which require farmland for breeding, development, and training," the document states. "The act requires that a portion of the funds derived from off-track wagering be devoted to purses for live racing in this state. An increase in off-track wagering facilities will likely lead to increased wagering and may indirectly result in an incentive to expand the devotion of land for such purposes. 

"Additionally, certain revenue resulting from off-track wagering is to be devoted to horse breeding and development in this state, which will have a direct beneficial impact."

The regulatory agency is accepting comments on the proposed regulations through Jan. 4, 2013.