Bill to lower Monmouth dates minimum passes Senate committee

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: May 18, 2017

The New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee May 18 unanimously passed legislation that would lower the required minimum number of Thoroughbred racing days per year at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands to 50.

The bill, which passed on a 5-0 vote, states that the minimum, currently 71, can drop to 50 with consent of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The organization leases Monmouth and offers some turf racing at Meadowlands under an agreement with operator Jeff Gural.

The state Assembly passed the legislation on a 77-0 vote in December 2016. It was received in the Senate and sent to the Economic Growth Committee in January.

Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the NJTHA, already announced plans to race 50 programs at Monmouth and another six at Meadowlands this year on the expectation the legislation would become law. Officials have said the reduction in dates is necessary to maintain a purse structure comparable to that of 2016, and that the number could increase should the economics of racing improve in the future.

The original request for 2017 racing dates as submitted to the New Jersey Racing Commission was for 57 programs at Monmouth—including one day of pari-mutuel steeplechase racing at Far Hills—and 15 all-turf cards at Meadowlands.

(Monmouth Park photo by Tom LaMarra)