New Jersey Racing Commission

NJ Tracks Add Nine Dates for '22

Thoroughbred racing in New Jersey will get a nine-date boost in 2022. The New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) on Wednesday unanimously approved 60 dates at Monmouth Park (May 7-Sept. 17) and 11 dates of turf-only racing at the Meadowlands (Sept. 23-Oct. 29). That total of 71 overall dates represents an uptick of seven programs at Monmouth and two at the Meadowlands compared to what had been granted for '21. The NJRC also unanimously approved carrying over into '22 a $21,457 Jackpot Pick 6 pool that was scheduled to be paid...

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Daily Average Handle Down at Monmouth; Whip Ban To Blame?

Total all-sources handle at the Monmouth Park meet, which wrapped up Sunday, Sept. 26, showed an increase, hardly a surprise since this year's season included 11 more cards than the 2020 meet, which was shortened due to COVID-19 issues. Monmouth didn't fare nearly as well in the more relevant category of daily average handle. During this year's 55-day meet, average daily handle was $3,154,748, a decline of 17.13% over 2020 figures, when the average handle was $3,807,082. The 2020 Monmouth meet consisted of 44 cards. The decline begs the question:...

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Baffert Should Be Allowed To Run in Breeders' Cup

The Week In Review, by Bill Finley The Breeders' Cup announced Saturday that it had begun a review process to determine whether or not trainer Bob Baffert will be allowed to compete in this year's championship event. The outcome of that review is pending. "The Breeders' Cup Board has commenced a review process as to whether Bob Baffert will be permitted to participate in this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships," read a statement from the Breeders' Cup. "The process will include an opportunity for Mr. Baffert to present his case...

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The Week in Review: Vitali Starting a Horse at Saratoga Is Not OK

The system, whatever that has come to mean, failed badly last week when Marcus Vitali, one of the sport's most controversial trainers, was allowed to start a horse at Saratoga. Then again, should anyone have been surprised? This was just the latest example of this being a sport that is so dysfunctional, its regulatory systems so weak, that it is completely unable to police itself. Help is on its way. Some day, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will be implemented and a central body led by the U.S....

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NJ Commission Won't Commit to Request for Whip Rule Clarification

The accident and disqualification of the winner in last Saturday's GI TVG.com Haskell S. at Monmouth Park has rocketed to the top of racing's recent controversies, chiefly because of the polarizing role that New Jersey's newly implemented anti-whipping role may or may not have played in the stretch-run spill. Since the start of the 2021 meet at Monmouth, whipping a Thoroughbred has been strictly prohibited, except for the express purpose of ensuring the immediate safety of the horse or rider. As three horses battled for the lead in the stretch...

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Guild to End Insurance Coverage for Monmouth Riders

In a June 7 letter, the Jockeys' Guild informed its membership that, starting July 1, Monmouth Park jockeys will no longer be covered by Guild insurance policies. The Guild has been providing temporary disability benefits, life insurance and Accident, Death and Disability benefits to those who have chosen to ride in New Jersey. The Guild has been adamant in its belief that racing has become more dangerous at Monmouth Park because jockeys are no longer allowed to encourage their mounts with the use of the whip. In the June 7...

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JPMorgan, Four Corners Racing's Anthony Trimarchi Joins Writers' Room

It was an eventful few days for racing in the northeast, and the TDN Writers' Room presented by JPMorgan Private Bank broke down all of the latest developments in the Monmouth jockey standoff and the raids on Parx barns by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission Wednesday morning. Plus, they welcomed Four Corners Racing's managing partner Anthony Trimarchi as the Green Group Guest of the Week to discuss his experiences as a new owner in the game and the economics of racing from a banking perspective. "I was exposed to racing at...

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Battula Banned 2 1/2 Years, Fined $7,500 for Monmouth Drug Confiscation

Aparna Battula, the jockey-turned-trainer who has not started a horse since New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) investigators confiscated 83 injectable medication vials and 36 needles from her Monmouth Park tack room July 29, 2019, had her training license suspended 2 1/2 years and was fined $7,500 in a post-appeal commission ruling on those violations during the board's May 19 meeting. Commissioners voted 4-0 to impose a penalty that was slightly stiffer than the two-year ban and $6,500 fine recommended by a New Jersey administrative law judge (ALJ) after Battula had...

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Jockeys' Guild Denied Stay of New Jersey Regulation

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, denied Jockeys' Guild's motion to stay the New Jersey Racing Commission's Regulation on the use of the riding crop in Thoroughbred racing. Jockeys' Guild sought the stay of enforcement pending a decision on its appeal, which has not yet been decided. "We are extremely disappointed in this decision on our motion for a stay of enforcement. This Regulation prohibits jockeys from using the riding crop as they have been trained, increasing the risk of injury to both the horse and rider," said...

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Audit Reveals $272K in Uncollected Commission Fines

A state audit of the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) that sampled the records of 100 individuals listed as never having paid their fines for racing infractions has revealed that at least $272,000 remains uncollected, with 76% of that money being outstanding for penalties that were imposed by the NJRC as long as two decades ago. The Office of the State Auditor, which probed various aspects of the commission for the period between July 2016 through March 2020, also stated that the commission-produced equine fatality reports "are not always complete...

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Guild's Request to Hold off on Strict Monmouth Whip Rules Denied by NJ Commission

An attempt by The Jockeys' Guild to get the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) to hold off on implementing the most restrictive anti-whipping rules in the nation until an appeal gets decided in court failed Wednesday when the NJRC voted that the Guild couldn't show that not imposing a stay would create irreparable harm or hardship to riders, horses and the public. So when the Monmouth Park meet opens May 28, whipping a Thoroughbred will not be allowed by any New Jersey jockey or exercise rider except for the express...

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New Jersey Fixed-Odds Pilot Program Cleared for 2021

Even as a separate bill to allow fixed-odds wagering on in-state horse races is making its way through the New Jersey Legislature, the state's racing commission voted 4-0 Nov. 18 to give consent for licensees to try a fixed-odds pilot program during 2021 that would be limited to bets on out-of-state Grade I races. The vote was unanimous but not without misgivings, as several commissioners voiced concerns prior to the vote that fixed-odds betting would cannibalize the existing pari-mutuel system and eventually erode New Jersey's racing industry. And one New...

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