Commission Official Targets Jersey Horsemen's Group

The executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission has charged in a nine-page internal memo that the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and contributions. He also suggested the leadership of the organization be removed.

In the memo to the state attorney general and the nine members of the New Jersey Racing Commission, Frank Zanzuccki alleges that the New Jersey THA improperly spent nearly $800,000 more than allowed from its bookkeeper's interest fund on legal fees and political contributions. He urged the commission to take over management of the $1.2-million fund.

Zanzuccki wants the attorney general to investigate his charges.

Also in the memo, Zanzuccki alleges that Dennis Drazin, counsel for the New Jersey THA and reportedly in line to be named commission chairman by Gov. James McGreevey, received more than $645,000 in legal fees from the New Jersey THA.

Efforts to reach Zanzuccki were not successful.

Francis "Bud" Keegan, president of the horsemen's group, said that while he has not seen Zanzuccki's memo, he believes it is full of false allegations and is "a game to try and discredit our organization and our officers."

"The commission should be addressing important issues like how New Jersey racing can become competitive with neighboring states, and getting our off-track betting parlors and phone betting system operational," Keegan said. "All this other stuff is trite."

The Newark Star Ledger, which obtained a copy of the memo, indicated that rank-and-file horsemen have become concerned over the management of the New Jersey THA.

Said Keegan said: "Why should horsemen be unhappy? We got them a $12-million purse supplement in 2001, we got them a lengthened season this year, and we got them eight-month stabling at Monmouth Park. I think we've done a lot for New Jersey horsemen."