TRENTON – Reports surfaced this morning that the lead investor in the a deal to privatize horse racing operations at Monmouth Park pulled out, which set Gov. Chris Christie off on the hard-bargaining thoroughbred horsemen.
“(The) thoroughbred horseman are completely untrustworthy,” he said.
The deal being brokered by real estate mogul Morris Bailey would have guaranteed another five years of racing at the Oceanport track. But as Gannett’s Bob Jordan reports, Bailey’s exit from negotiations leaves the state and the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority holding the bag for an operation that lost $6 million in 2010.
Agents of the administration were assured a deal had been reached recently, but eight hours later a lawyer for the horsemen “demanded $5 million in purse subsidies,” Christie said. “That’s why Mr. Bailey is gone… Morris Bailey walked away because of the thoroughbred horsemen.”
Christie is still hopeful to come to a “reasonable and equitable compromise” to keep the track open, and held up another real estate mogul, Jeff Gural, who swooped in to save the Meadowlands Racetrack, as an example of how the privatization process – however painful – can work.
But it’s on the horsemen, Christie said: “They need to come to us in the next week with a deal that works…(and) stop extorting the taxpayers.”