New Jersey in Line for New Racing Commission

New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey has signed into law a bill that will reconstitute the membership of the state racing commission.

The bill had been amended several times before McGreevey signed it, primarily because of his concerns about whether the four proposed horsemen's representatives --two Thoroughbred and two Standardbred--should be allowed to keep their licenses to race and train in the state and be allowed to breed horses in the state. The bill passed with the stipulation that horsemen race, train, and bred horses in states other than New Jersey.

The new law also allows one permanent seat on the commission to be represented by Monmouth County, primarily because two of the remaining three tracks in the state--Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park--are located there. The law requires three commission members to represent the southern New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, and Salem.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association will nominate two persons each by May 24. McGreevey will appoint the chairman, as well as help create a task force to study issues important to the state's racing industry.

"The best way to help us survive is to ensure that the racing community works together, and that our regulatory commissioners are passionate and knowledgeable about Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing," said Francis "Bud" Keegan, president of the New Jersey THA. "The Thoroughbred industry looks forward to the governor sitting a new commission with the hope that we can work together constructively and harmoniously for the betterment of our industry."