07/07/2006 12:00AM

Monmouth cancels Friday


Monmouth Park has canceled its Friday card, the second straight program lost to the New Jersey state government budget crisis.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and the state legislators reached a deal Thursday afternoon on a new budget, the first step in ending the government shutdown that forced the closure Wednesday of the state's racetracks and halted all simulcast and account wagering.

In the speech announcing the deal, Corzine said the shutdown would end in 24 to 36 hours as he awaits passage of budget bills in the Senate and Assembly. Only then will Corzine lift the shutdown order and send regulators, including the New Jersey Racing Commission, back to work.

Racing can not be conducted without on-site supervision from commission staff that includes stewards, state veterinarians and parimutuel auditors.

A decision on the Friday night harness card at the Meadowlands will be made Friday afternoon. The Meadowlands has already lost three consecutive cards to the government shutdown.

The 36-hour timeframe set by Corzine should allow Monmouth to reopen Saturday for the running of the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations Stakes.