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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
March 31, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
New Jersey Racing Commission
- Frank Zanzuccki, Executive Director

 

Lee Moore
609-292-4791
or
609-203-5380

 

AG, Racing Commission Announce Settlement of Suit Against Horseman’s Association

TRENTON – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and New Jersey Racing Commission Executive Director Frank Zanzuccki today announced that the Racing Commission has reached a legal settlement with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association that avoids protracted litigation, and paves the way for the 2007 Breeders’ Cup championship races to be held at Monmouth Park.

“This is an important day for horse racing in New Jersey,” said Zanzuccki. “This settlement agreement not only helps to ensure the integrity of the sport, it clears the way for the Breeders’ Cup races to be held in our state. The goal of the Racing Commission in filing its original lawsuit against the THA was to ensure that funds earmarked for programs intended to benefit the horsemen and backstretch personnel were in fact used for those purposes. This settlement allows us to achieve that goal.”

Under terms of the settlement agreement, funds subject to the Racing Commission's regulatory jurisdiction will be returned to the control of the Racing Commission. Those funds include 2.9 percent of all purses, including those supplemented by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and the money in the Thoroughbred Horseman's Bookkeeper Interest account.

In addition, by-law changes will formalize conflict-of-interest and anti-nepotism provisions for officers and board members of the THA. Also, said Zanzuccki, the THA will be subject to an orderly budget process going forward, and its budgets must adhere to the regulatory requirement that 70 percent of the funds subject to the Racing Commission's oversight will be used for programs to benefit the horsemen.

Other provisions of the settlement include that the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Bookkeeper interest account will be replenished by the THA in the amount of $150,000.

The THA has also agreed to elect a new governing Board, and has committed to having a majority of that Board consist of new members.

The settlement agreement was approved today by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Alexander D. Lehrer, sitting in Monmouth County.

Racing Commission Chairman John J. Tucker thanked Acting Governor Richard Codey for his assistance in helping to resolve lingering differences between the two sides in the legal dispute. He credited the Acting Governor with playing a key role in resolving a situation that, left unresolved, could have resulted in the Breeder’s Cup races being held in another state.

The Breeders’ Cup consists of eight thoroughbred races in one afternoon. The combined $14 million purse attracts top horses and jockeys, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic – the final race of the day – is the richest horse race in the United States. Prior to the settlement agreement, Breeders’ Cup officials had expressed concern about bringing the championships to New Jersey in a climate of legal disagreement between the Racing Commission and the THA.



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