09/15/2016 12:10PM

New Jersey bill comes too late to bet on Far Hills races


Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has signed a bill allowing for wagering on the steeplechase races held at Far Hills, but the signature came too late to offer betting on the Oct. 15 card this year, according to officials with the company that has been hired to administer the wagering.

Dennis Drazin, the adviser to the horsemen-led group that runs New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, said the bill requires a 30-day notice to localities before betting can be offered. He said officials with the New Jersey Racing Commission said on Thursday that the conditions could not be met since the timetable requires the locality to also give its residents time to submit public comments. Christie signed the bill Wednesday.

“Unless someone pulls some strings in the front office, we can’t do it this year,” Drazin said. “We’ve run out of time.”

The Far Hill steeplechase card includes the Grand National, the most prestigious steeplechase event in the U.S. According to the event’s organizers, the card typically attracts 30,000 attendees each year.

Drazin said that Monmouth plans to include the Far Hills meet on its dates application for next year. If wagering is approved, Drazin said that win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta betting would be allowed on the card, and that Monmouth’s simulcasting officials would market the signal to sites in the U.S. and Europe.