Jersey Purse Supplements Go Down to Wire

The New Jersey Assembly tabled a bill Thursday that would have provided $18.2 million to the horse racing industry, including $11.7 million for the Thoroughbred industry. The measure, which passed the Senate and two Assembly subcommittees in December, is expected to come up for a vote Monday, the final day of the session.

"We're not really sure why it was tabled, but again, we're keeping our fingers crossed for Monday," said Francis "Bud" Keegan, president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

The bill is designed to aid the industry until the state's off-track and account wagering systems are fully operational. Account wagering is expected to begin this year; the first off-track sites won't open until 2003, at the earliest.

Assembly members spent most of the next-to-last day of the legislative session delivering speeches for 19 of their departing colleagues. On Monday, they will have to consider 200 measures in addition to the horse racing bill.