Forbes Tells NJTHA's Side Of The Story

Published: December 13, 2011 11:39 am EST

New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President John Forbes has taken the opportunity to go on the record in regard to the failed deal which would have seen control of Monmouth Park transferred from the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority to real estate executive Morris Bailey


On Monday, December 12, New Jersey Governor addressed the media and put the blame for the deal falling apart on the NJTHA. Gov. Christie said that a handshake deal was in place, but that the thoroughbred horsemen's group then requested eight hours later that the state fund the industry to the tune of $5 million.

The issue --- which according to Forbes began over the non-transfer of thoroughbred race dates at the Meadowlands Racetrack --- caused an impasse which has since seen Bailey step away from the deal entirely. Gov. Christie yesterday declared that the New Jersey thoroughbred horsemen have until Tuesday, December 20 to reach a deal or else there would not be thoroughbred racing in the state any more. Gov. Christie did indicate that a lease at the Meadowlands Racetrack for harness racing meets is safe and not impacted by the Monmouth deal.

An article by Bob Jordan in the Asbury Park Press has quoted Forbes as saying that the race-date transfer issue was what caused the initial divide. Forbes also claimed that Bailey stepped away from the deal because of the way the Christie Government handled the situation.

“The deal fell apart because the Governor’s Office advised us at the negotiating table (on December 2) for the first time that a key component of the deal (the transfer of the race dates) was not going to be delivered. Then it was one thing after another,” Forbes was quoted as saying in the APP report.

The article goes on to explain that Bailey walked away from the deal due to the way the Christie Government “mishandled him," according to Forbes. "They kept changing things. He (Bailey) felt something is really wrong with this process. The guy doesn’t want to do business this way.”

(With files from the Asbury Park Press)

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Everywhere I hear people saying the Meadowlands lease is safe, but I have yet to see it in a newspaper or press release. Here are my concerns if the Meadowlands goes it alone.

The big question if the Meadowlands deal goes through is what about simulcasting agreements? Do thoroughbred tracks elsewhere support New Jersey horsemen (by revoking permission to simulcast to New Jersey) or do they hang the NJTHA out to dry. If Monmouth Park is closed does the NJTHA have any legal standing under the Interstate Racing Act to block signals to the Meadowlands or does the NJTHA cease to exist for practical purposes accept at ACRC where the distance is too far to restrict the Meadowlands from simulcasting running races.