Jersey Commissioners: Comments Don't Reflect Facts

In response to comments made by representatives of the New Jersey
Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Thursday regarding a Wednesday meeting in Trenton to resolve issues related to off-track and account wagering legislation, the New Jersey Racing Commission has issued statements from commissioners Basil Plasteras and John Tucker.

"We are sincerely disappointed in the comments made by (NJTHA officials) John Forbes and Frank Keegan regarding the recent meeting of track operators held at the commission offices," Plasteras said. "These comments are harmful to the process and in no way reflect the facts."

All parties were said to have agreed not to discuss what occurred at the eight-hour meeting.

Said Tucker: "The New Jersey Racing Commission offered its services as a neutral party in an attempt to resolve the impasse between (horsemen and the racetracks). We will remain neutral but will not remain silent if either party attempts to misrepresent the facts. Many of the initial issues raised by the NJTHA were resolved because the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority made positive proposals toward those issues.

"The horsemen who were directly involved in discussions also bargained in good faith. The issue of live racing dates and live racing protection was not resolved, but movement was made on both sides. In fact, the commission is hopeful that with continued good faith and less acrimony, there still can be a basis for resolution."

Keegan, president of the NJTHA, responded to the commissioners' comments: "Never was there any intent on the NJTHA to make this a personal or contentious negotiation. The NJTHA is an organization that represents 4,500 people that race in New Jersey, and all are interested in preserving live racing. Our membership deserves to know what's going on, and sometimes the truth hurts, because we have nothing to hide."