Christie vetoes Racing Commission minutes over $15M in subsidies

TRENTON  – Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed minutes of the N.J. Racing Commission over approval of $15 million in subsidies to augment horse-racing purses.

Christie, who has said repeatedly he wants the state’s horse racing industry to become self-sustaining, said in the veto: “The actions of the Commissioners of the NJRC appear to constitute an abdication of their responsibilities as Commissioners to protect the best interests of the State of New Jersey and its citizens.”

He vetoed the minutes of the meeting that was held on Wednesday.

The state recently completed an agreement to turn track operations at Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park over to a private operator, Jeff Gural, a New York real estate developer. 

The Governor stated that the allocation of the purse subsidies had no demonstrated basis, rationale or request in the record. Specifically, part of the allocation involved awarding subsidies to groups that did not request money, including $7.5 million that the NJRC directed to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority for purses at Meadowlands Racetrack.

The governor’s office said that funds were also allocated for the benefit of the Standardbred Breeder’s & Owners Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, yet those two organizations specifically asked that no monies be allocated for purse enhancement. Additionally, groups that did request money were allocated a much greater amount than requested.

The veto letter is attached.

Christie vetoes Racing Commission minutes over $15M in subsidies