Deal Would Save Jersey Breeders' Cup

The racing commission and a horsemen's group in New Jersey have reached an agreement that would allow Monmouth Park to host the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, according to reports.

The New Jersey Racing Commission and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which have been at odds, struck a deal March 29, according to an official with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which partners with Breeders' Cup.

The racing commission claims the New Jersey THA has misused political action committee funds, and also has fought THA representation on the commission. A court date for legal action by the commission was set for Oct. 24, but the Newark Star Ledger reported the two parties would finalize an agreement in New Jersey Superior Court March 31.

The NTRA and Breeders' Cup had given the parties until Dec. 31, 2004, and then April 9, to resolve their differences. The newspaper said acting Gov. Richard Codey and officials at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority were instrumental in motivating the commission and horsemen's group to settle the matter.

The NTRA official said the organization had received word of the settlement but was waiting for official confirmation. Codey told the Star Ledger the deal was "just about there."

The situation came at an improbable time given the gung-ho effort by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to lobby and prepare for the 2007 World Thoroughbred Championships. In addition, relations between the NJSEA, which operates Monmouth and Meadowlands, and the New Jersey THA appear the best they've been for some time.

Optimism for New Jersey Thoroughbred racing has been high given the long-term agreement on racing dates and other matters between the NJSEA and New Jersey THA, as well as a deal with casinos to pump $86 million into purses over the next several years. The industry was hit hard earlier this decade by the closure and demolition of Garden State Park, as well the loss of a regular meet at Atlantic City Race Course.

The NJSEA views a Monmouth Breeders' Cup as a catalyst for growth in the racing industry.