NJRC approves NJTHA proposal for payment of delayed purse money

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Aug. 24, 2020

The New Jersey Racing Commission Aug. 24 approved a proposal from the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association that will expedite payment of purses that are being held up because of delays in the receipt of drug-testing results from Truesdail Laboratories.

The NJRC held a special meeting to address the testing issue, which has impacted racing in various jurisdictions. The NJTHA can begin paying delayed purse money once Gov. Phil Murphy’s office approves the minutes of the Aug. 24 meeting, and the NJRC said action was expected quickly.

Under the proposal, which was adopted unanimously, the NJTHA, which leases Monmouth Park and operates it under the name Darby Development, will guarantee repayment of any purse money that is awarded prior to receipt of a positive test. If test results are not received in a timely fashion, purse money will be paid on the 11th day after a race is made official. If there is a positive test result, the money must be paid back to the purse account within 14 days.

Purse money has been held up pending the results of tested samples for more than a month in some cases, a situation that has created economic hardship for owners and trainers. Darby Development Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Drazin said the request approved by the NJRC is for overnight races and stakes.

There have been lengthy delays in the receipt of test results in Delaware and Maryland, both of which also employ California-based Truesdail. The Delaware THA and Delaware Park in late July worked out a system by which purses are held only 14 days after a race rather than when the test results are confirmed. If a positive is eventually reported, the money must be paid back in 48 hours.

Maryland for several years has had a system whereby purses are paid within 72 hours after a race, and if there is a positive the money must be returned. Owners must signed a notarized form to participate in the program.

In response to a question from a NJRC member as to whether the state has any recourse against Truesdail, NJRC Executive Director Judith Nason said: “We’re looking into all the possible options.”

In February 2016, the NJRC approved a request submitted by the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey to permit the release of purse money prior to receipt of post- race testing results. The approval applied to all overnight races offering a purse of $25,000 or less at Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway. The NJRC on Aug. 24 increased the purse amount to $30,000 at the request of the SBOANJ, which cited higher purses that came about because of a state purse supplement approved in 2019.

Delaware commission working to avoid drug-testing issues, delays

(Monmouth Park photo by Tom LaMarra)