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2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
March 17 - August 5, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

September 8 - September 16, 2017
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November 17 - December 2, 2017
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December 7 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
September 1 - December 9, 2017
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Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays



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KEEP HORSE RACING INDUSTRY ALIVE

KAHLE: DON’T LET HORSE RACING INDUSTRY DIE
Ellynn Kahle 5:44 p.m. EDT August 6, 2015
Asbury Park Press

Last Sunday was a great day for New Jersey racing and Monmouth Park, with close to 61,000 people attending to see American Pharaoh in the Haskell Invitational. Or was it?

Horse racing, which used to be the only gambling in New Jersey, has taken a back seat to casino gambling. Last month, Showplace Farms, a training center that houses 400 Standardbred horses, announced it will be closing in October, ending a 35-year business and freeing up 150 acres for development in western Monmouth County. Something has to be done to stabilize the horse racing industry in New Jersey, because if we don’t, there will not be one.

Monmouth Park, with a 145-year history, is a vibrant, beautiful, historical venue in Oceanport. It brought us the Breeders Cup here a few years ago, and on Sunday, brought American Pharaoh here, a Triple Crown winner. They are doing what they can to diversify the park to bring in more people, but it is not enough. In order to have racetracks succeed, we need to subsidize the purses for the winning horses so that the quality horses come here. We can do that by supplementing them with gambling revenues. Without this, the park will fail and the horse farms will close.

Why should New Jersey residents, especially those who don’t go to the tracks, care if the horse racing industry fails? According to a study done by Rutgers University in 2006, horse racing employs about 6,000 persons statewide, with equine being the third-largest agricultural product in New Jersey and the number one livestock commodity.

There are 7,600 horse facilities in New Jersey, with every county represented. Besides the economic importance of the industry, the facilities maintain 81,000 acres of open space, which in turn provide an enhanced quality of life for New Jersey residents. If we stand by and do nothing, this would all go away. The jobs will be going to one of our neighboring states and the land will be developed.

Pennsylvania recently installed slot machines at seven racetracks, five casinos and two resorts, which will be overseen by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board. They are anticipating the revenue generated per year will be $30 billion. This money will not just benefit horse racing. It will be divided by giving 48 percent to the facility operators, 34 percent to the State of Pennsylvania, 5 percent toward economic development, 4 percent to local communities, and 9 percent for race purses. The distribution of these revenues is important to note, as this would work for New Jersey. If we were able to provide slots statewide, the economic boon would be for all the residents of the state. It would even benefit Atlantic City and its casinos, both of whom are failing.

Atlantic City is dying and so is horse racing. Our Legislature needs to reconsider gambling revenues and gambling at racetracks or at other venues such as the ones proposed for Jersey City and the Meadowlands, now before it is too late.

Wherever the additional gambling is allowed, a portion of the funds must be dedicated for the support of all our racetracks.

Casinos are all around New Jersey’s borders and our residents are flocking to them, taking their money out of state. As the mayor of Atlantic City, Don Guardian, said, “That $5 billion that people spent in Atlantic City on gaming is now being split by 30 casinos in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, when just six years ago it all belonged to Atlantic City.” Since 2006, Atlantic City casino revenue has fallen by more than 41 percent, and continues on the deep slide. Why travel an hour and a half to Atlantic City if you can cross over to a surrounding state in a half hour?

Gov. Chris Christie was booed by the 61,000 people who were at Monmouth Park last Sunday for his stance on gaming and horse racing. Please call, text or write him to ask him to revisit this before it is too late. Perhaps since he is running for president, he will have gained a better global vision of what it happening here and how he can help change it. I also encourage you to reach out to your local legislators, who can help unlock the hold that southern New Jersey legislators have on this important issue for the entire state, and can hopefully help them see that it is not just about them.

--Ellynn Kahle is an Oceanport councilwoman.

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