Horsemen: Deal Struck on Jersey Racing Dates

After more than a week of meetings, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have reached a compromise on 2002 racing dates, a horsemen's representative said Tuesday.

The two sides are expected to submit the request at the state racing commission's next meeting Dec. 20. In November, the commission declined to act on a request submitted by the NJSEA because it fell short of the 141-day Thoroughbred minimum as required by newly passed legislation for off-track and account wagering.

"It looks like we've got a pretty good deal," said Francis "Bud" Keegan, president of the New Jersey THA. "We were fighting for the length of the season, and we got it."

Bruce Garland, executive vice president of racing for the NJSEA, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The new proposal is for both 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Monmouth Park would run the weekends of May 11-12 and 18-19, and the regular meet would begin on May 24. It would run 77 days, five days a week, until Sept. 1. Meadowlands would open Sept. 2 and run five days a week until Nov. 30, a total of 64 days. (Meadowlands ran 44 days this year.)

The stable area at Monmouth is expected to open April 1, and the stable area at Meadowlands would remain open until Dec. 1.

In 2003, Monmouth would run the weekend of April 26-27 and "officially" open April 30 for a total of 92 days, five days a week, through Aug. 31. Meadowlands would open Sept. 1 and run until Nov. 8, five days a week, for a 49-day session. There wouldbe stabling only at Monmouth until Dec. 1.

Both the 2002 and 2003 racing seasons would total 141 days under the proposal.

The racing commission on Dec. 20 also will consider Thoroughbred dates for Atlantic City Race Course. Garden State Park is no longer in operation.