06/29/2006 12:00AM

Budget threat to Jersey racing


There is a slight chance horse racing could become a victim of the New Jersey's budget crisis, according to Dennis Dowd, the senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

"There is a 10 percent chance we could be shut down," said Dowd.

The state faces a July 1 constitutional deadline for passage of a new budget. Gov. Jon Corzine has threatened to shut down state government if the legislature does not come up with an acceptable budget. Stewards, drug-testers, and state veterinarians could be laid off, forcing a halt to Thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park and harness racing at The Meadowlands.

In the event of a government shutdown, Dowd is optimistic that those posts will be designated essential personnel, allowing racing to continue.