Dates Cut in New Jersey Opposed by Horsemen

At a meeting of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association at Monmouth Park Wednesday night, horsemen opposed a proposal to cut September dates at the Oceanport track to 3 days per week in order to keep purses at the current $300,000 level.

By running 5 days per week through the end of September, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has warned that purse levels will fall below $200,000, which includes the fall Meadowlands meet.

Dennis Drazin, counsel for the NJTHA, suggested to the membership that one way to save money and boost purses at Monmouth would be to scrap the Meadowlands stand, scheduled for Oct. 1 to Nov. 8, and hold the dates at Monmouth.

"We could save nearly $2 million by not having the track surface turned over at Meadowlands from the Standardbred to Thoroughbred, and save another $800,000 in stakes money," he said. "But the reality is that the Sports Authority, operationally, said it's impossible at this time to cancel the meet. There are issues with the unions, and they can't backfill canceled Thoroughbred dates with Standardbred dates. What we're looking at is lower purses and lots of litigation, at least in trying to not run at Meadowlands."

The Sports Authority has guaranteed purses at Monmouth at $300,000 through Sept. 1, the traditional summer meet. This year, an additional 20 dates will be run in September.