Purse Supplements of $18 Million a Go in Jersey

New Jersey acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco signed into law Tuesday
a bill to allocate $18 million to the state's racing industry from the general fund. Of that amount, $11.7 million will go to boost Thoroughbred
purses, and $6.3 million will go toward Standardbred purses.

Purses at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, both owned and operated by
the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, are expected to average $280,000 to $300,000 this year, according to horsemen's representatives. Sports Authority officials have taken a wait-and-see approach on daily purses.

"This is great news for the industry -- for owners, trainers, racetrack
operators,  and breeders," said Barbara DeMarco Reiche, lobbyist for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

Francis (Bud) Keegan, president of the New Jersey THA, said approval of the purse-supplement bill is "the best news the New Jersey Thoroughbred industry has heard in years."

The move comes the week Garden State Park in southern New Jersey embarks on its last live race meet. The Cherry Hill Township track opens Friday for a Thoroughbred meet that will run through May 3. Simulcasting will cease at the track May 29, and the property eventually will be developed into a residential and commercial complex.

Atlantic City Race Course will open May 4 for a 10-day meet during which all racing will be held on the turf. Monmouth opens May 26.