12/21/2001 12:00AM

New Jersey purse subsidy advances


NEW YORK - The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill granting Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen an $18 million purse subsidy on Thursday. Supporters hope to get the bill to a full Assembly vote before the end of the year.

The bill, approved in the full Senate on Monday by a vote of 27-5, is nearly identical to a purse subsidy passed last year. The bill would give $11.7 million to Thoroughbred horsemen and $6.3 million to Standardbred horsemen.

Although Acting Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco supported last year's legislation, it is unclear this year if the governor will support the bill because of drastically different economic and political conditions.

Standardbred and Thoroughbred interests are currently at loggerheads over racing dates for next year, opening up the two groups to criticism. Also, the lame-duck legislature in New Jersey has been criticized by Governor-elect Jim McGreevey for authorizing the expenditure of too much state money. McGreevey takes office on Jan. 8.