Press Release from the Borough of Oceanport
The Commission recognizes what we in Oceanport already knew – Monmouth Park is the centerpiece of horse racing in New Jersey and the key to a sustainable, profitable, horse racing industry in this state for years to come.
Many conclusions reached in the report are well known. The recommendations on how to move forward however, have been hard to come by; although many have quietly feared them for years.
The only surprise in the report for Oceanport is the Key Issue-Area Recommendation that calls for “Planning to begin immediately to divest the NJSEA of all responsibilities related to venue operations, including…Monmouth Park Racetrack…accomplished by sale, lease or license agreements through a request for proposals.”
Although owned by the NJSEA since 1986, Monmouth Park Racetrack was a privately owned, profitable enterprise since 1946. The prospect of private ownership or privatization through lease or license agreements is not immediately cause for alarm although the Borough will require any number of protections prior to such an arrangement taking place. The governor’s pledge to work with the local officials on developing these recommendations into successful results is a positive step. This follows the great success currently being realized with the 50 million in 50 days format at Monmouth. In the end, the preservation of horse racing and jobs locally, the equine industry and open space across the state, as well as the preservation of this historic racetrack is the shared interest of many.
The impact of the report will be the topic of discussion for Oceanport’s Monmouth Park Task Force in a special meeting called for next week. The Task Force was formed in early 2010 by Mayor Michael J. Mahon and is co-chaired by Council member Gerald Briscione to inform the council on issues related to the preservation of Monmouth Park
Racetrack for live horse racing. Members include Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry.