Horsemen and state officials in New Jersey have reportedly reached agreement on dates and purses for the 2012 Monmouth Park meet, ending the question of whether the track would be open next year and under what circumstances.
According to the Asbury Park Press, horsemen have agreed to a 2012 meet of 141 days with average daily purses of $150,000-$175,000. The newspaper reported that funding is about $4 million short of maintaining the track’s stakes program, raising the question of whether the track’s showcase event, the Haskell Invitational (gr. I), will be renewed in 2012.
The agreement was reached Dec. 19 after a lengthy negotiating session between Dennis Drazin, representing the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association; Ralph J. Marra, an attorney representing the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state agency that owns Monmouth and Meadowlands; and others representing the state and legislature.
Monmouth's future was thrust into question earlier in December when the state, horsemen, and developer Morris Bailey met to sign an agreement under which Bailey would lease Monmouth for five years. That deal, reached in June, fell through at the last minute due to part of the agreement that would have allowed the New Jersey THA to have some Thoroughbred dates previously run at Meadowlands, which will have Standardbred only racing under a lease it has agreed to with Jeffrey Gural.
As a result of the Bailey lease agreement falling through, the state will re-bid the lease, with stipulations that the Monmouth meet consist of 70 days per year with average daily purses of $500,000, the Press reported.
Efforts to reach John Forbes, New Jersey THA president, were unsuccessful Dec. 20.
The New Jersey Racing Commission has not yet announced 2012 Thoroughbred racing dates at Monmouth and Atlantic City Race Course, which in recent years has offered six days of turf racing in the spring.