11/10/2010 4:49PM

New Jersey approves 2011 racing dates


The New Jersey Racing Commission on Wednesday approved 141 live Thoroughbred racing dates for 2011, in a decision that allows racing interests to comply with state law while seeking changes to statutes that enforce minimum live-racing dates.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which runs Monmouth and the Meadowlands, had requested the dates to comply with the existing statutory minimum of 141 live dates. However, the New Jersey legislature, Gov. Chris Christie, and the state’s racing industry have all vowed to work together on a legislative package later this year or early in 2011 that would amend that minimum, and it’s widely expected that racing dates in New Jersey will fall below that number next year. The legislative package also includes a host of other changes for the racing industry.

“We approved the dates, but in all likelihood those won’t be the days that will be raced,” said Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the commission. “We’re in pretty much the same situation we were last year.”

Under the statute, the NJSEA cannot offer simulcasting or take wagers via account-wagering platforms unless they offer the minimum amount of dates.

This year, legislators passed a one-year waiver to the minimum to allow Monmouth Park to run a total of 77 live Thoroughbred racing dates. Under that schedule, Monmouth ran a 50-day meet offering approximately $800,000 a day in purses, and it is currently running a second live meet of 27 days in which the track is distributing approximately $330,000 a day. The NJSEA is expected to attempt to push for legislative changes that would allow for a similar schedule next year.