OCEANPORT - Following Monmouth Park's Opening Day for 2019, Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are lauding an optimistic mood among the Park’s breeders, jockeys, and employees for the upcoming season, crediting their new $20 million subsidy to New Jersey racetracks for sunny forecasts on the track’s economic future.
“Horse racing is an important part of our State's heritage and culture, and a key driver of our economy," said Houghtaling (D-Neptune).
"Not only are these funds supporting a time-honored tradition, they're also supporting thousands of jobs and the preservation of more than 175,000 acres of farmland and open space.”
A Rutgers University study found that the horse racing industry accounts for approximately 13,000 related jobs in the Garden State, as well as a contribution of more than $1 billion to the State’s economy.
“Following some hard times, it’s great to see these racetracks back on their feet,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “With tracks like Monmouth Park and Freehold Raceway gearing up for an outstanding and exciting season, we’re already looking forward to seeing how this industry's resurgence will help our local economies grow and thrive.”
“For a long time, we saw that New Jersey’s historic horse racing industry was struggling to make ends meet,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “But thanks to these new supplementary funds, we’re seeing a rush of optimism that hasn’t been present for years. Daily purses are increasing in size, empty stalls are being filled, and onlookers are due for an exciting and invigorating season to come."
The $20 million in racetrack subsidies is an allocation from the State’s general fund, and will be divided equally between the thoroughbred and standardbred industries. Of the funds allocated to the thoroughbred industry, 100 percent will be allocated to Monmouth Park overnight purses. Of the funds allocated to the standardbred industry, 60 percent will be allocated to Meadowlands overnight purses; 16 percent to Freehold overnight purses; 12 percent to the New Jersey Sire Stakes purses; 6 percent to purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses; and 6 percent for breeders awards purses.
These funds will also be disbursed for each of the four fiscal years after 2019 unless the Legislature decides, after review, that they have not substantially improved the racing industry in New Jersey.
The bill responsible for the allocation, S2992, was signed into law on February 14 earlier this year.