Jersey Dates Bill Passes Assembly Committee

The New Jersey Assembly Regulatory, Oversight, and Gaming Committee passed legislation May 6 authorizing a reduction in Thoroughbred racing dates in 2010.

The bill allows the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to follow through with its plan to offer 71 days of Thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park and none at Meadowlands. A 50-day summer meet with purses of about $1 million a day is slated for Monmouth, followed by another 21 days in the fall with purses of about $250,000 a day.

Monmouth is scheduled to open May 22. For most of the spring and summer the Oceanport track will race Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays each week.

The new provisions were added to existing legislation that came about as a result of a deal between the NJSEA and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. That agreement called for 141 Thoroughbred dates from 2008 to 2016.

A statement accompanying the bill states the reduction in dates, and permission for Meadowlands to only offer harness racing, is authorized only for 2010.

Under the state off-track and account wagering law, the NJSEA is required to offer 141 Thoroughbred dates per year. The bill passed by the committee May 6 allows the number to drop to 71 in 2010.

A state law authorizing full-card simulcasts at Atlantic City casinos requires 72 live Thoroughbred dates, five of them at Meadowlands. Again, the recent legislation waives that requirement for one year.

Atlantic City Race Course and Freehold Raceway aren’t affected by the legislation authorizing the reduction in dates.