OCEANPORT: Officials at Monmouth Park are now asking New Jersey voters to cast a "yes" vote on Question 1 tomorrow as representatives of the Oceanport racetrack have reached an agreement with their counterparts at The Meadowlands that they say would ensure millions of dollars for New Jersey's racing industry.
Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot asks Garden State voters to approve two new casinos outside of Atlantic City with at least 2% of the revenues generated earmarked for horse racing.
"Without enabling legislation guaranteeing meaningful sums to horse racing, the 2% included in the ballot measure was not enough to allow New Jersey racetracks to meaningfully compete with their counterparts in every surrounding state, all of which have casino fueled purses and revenues," a release from Monmouth Park states.
Monmouth Park officials say an agreement has been reached on Nov. 7 between the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NJTHA), the Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association and Jeff Gural at New Meadowlands Racing (NMR).
"Today's agreement will guarantee, in addition to the 2% from the referendum, that if Mr. Gural's NMR is granted one of the two new casinos he will dedicate $30 million per year for purses to be divided equally between Thoroughbreds and standardbreds as well as an additional $5 million per year dedicated to the operating expenses at Monmouth Park and $2 million more to allow for both dirt and turf racing at the Meadowlands beginning in 2019," the release states.
"Today's agreement is a great one for everyone involved with New Jersey horse racing," said Dennis Drazin, advisor to the NJTHA. "We urge everyone who works in horse racing, who is a fan of racing, who works on a farm or is anyway directly or indirectly related to this great industry to vote yes on Tuesday. A yes vote secures a bright future for Monmouth Park, New Jersey's equine industry and the vast open spaces and green acres that it supports."
However, Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace and Mayor Jay Coffey say they continue to oppose Question 1 and urge people to vote it down.
Coffey and Irace issued the following statement on their stance on Question 1 today:
"Only in New Jersey would you have a Constitutional Amendment that has a 'side deal' attached to it! And this side deal hasn't even been signed. Irrespective of the deal between Gural and Drazin --- neither of whom are elected officials or have the best interests of the citizens of the state of New Jersey in mind --- this proposed legislation is still incredibly flawed: we don't know where the casinos are going to be built, how much money is going to be raised, how they are going to he taxed and how the taxes are going to be spent. This is New Jersey's version of Obamacare. We're being told that we'll get the important details AFTER we pass the constitutional amendment. Drazin's 'side deal' with Gural is actually the proof in the pudding that this proposed amendment is a bad one. If two guys have to hammer out a side deal to fix what's wrong with it, that speaks volumes."