New Jersey Horsemen Will Lease Monmouth Park For Up To 35 Years
The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority board yesterday “authorized administrators to sign contracts to lease Monmouth Park for up to 35 years,” and the facility will now “be run by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, with the handoff expected to occur May 1, 11 days before the start of the 2012 race meet,” according to Bob Jordan of the ASBURY PARK PRESS. A previous effort “to lease the track to real estate executive Morris Bailey fell apart in December.” But the thoroughbred horsemen “revived their earlier rejected bid, with rapid progress in negotiations in recent weeks.” NJSEA President & CEO Wayne Hasenbalg said that he hopes to “have all the lease documents signed by the end of the week.” The state “shed track management responsibilities at the Meadowlands in December,” but the tracks will “remain under state ownership.” The horsemen’s association “will pay $1 to lease the track for five years and will have the choice to continue operations over three consecutive 10-year options, through 2047, with rent increasing to minimums of $250,000 and then $500,000 during the options period.” The group also “will take over management of the Favorites at Woodbridge off-track wagering facility and be given an interest in the state’s telephone and Internet account wagering business.” Development of “future off-track wagering sites also is included in the package” (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 2/28). NJSEA VP/Legal & Government Affairs Ralph Marra said that the horsemen “were in discussions" with advisers to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "about finding ways to fund the purse for the $1 million Haskell, one of thoroughbred racing’s most important races each summer” (NORTHJERSEY.com, 2/27).