09/20/2001 11:00PM

Jersey tracks to rejoin NTRA

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The board of directors of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority voted on Friday to rejoin the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, bringing New Jersey's two biggest racetracks, Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, back into the fold.

Bruce Garland, the vice president of racing for the NJSEA, said on Friday that the board authorized the move after he recommended that the racetracks rejoin the association. "I felt that they had addressed our most serious concerns," Garland said.

Monmouth and the Meadowlands dropped out of the NTRA early this year along with about a dozen other racetracks in the mid-Atlantic region. The tracks had cited the NTRA's ongoing relationship with Television Games Network and concerns over the NTRA's direction.

Despite the decision, the tracks' horsemen remained in the NTRA.

Since the defection, the NTRA has distanced itself from Television Games Network, released a revised business plan, and modified its board election procedures.

Garland said the NTRA also passed a bylaw prohibiting the association from violating any state law, which Garland called "essential, since we are a state agency."

Garland said that NTRA officials had told him Friday that Monmouth and the Meadowlands would likely be allowed to rejoin beginning in January, 2002.

The NTRA has also allowed Magna Entertainment, the owner of ten racetracks, and the Maryland Jockey Club, the owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico, to rejoin the organization this year after both companies briefly dropped out.