Bid Protest Challenges Landmark Deal For Private Operation of NJ Racetrack

For many years, the State of New Jersey, through the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, operated two racetracks – the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park. Within the last year, deals have been reached between the state and private operators, ending the NJSEA’s long history of operating racetracks (oftentimes at a financial loss).

Amid rumors of a potential closure of historic Monmouth Park, and the failure to reach agreement in 2011 with a private operator to lease the track from the state, a landmark deal was recently struck between the state and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association. Under that deal, the Horseman’s Association will take over the operations of Monmouth Park under a long-term lease, beginning on May 3, 2012. Part of the Horsemen’s Association plan includes the use of some of the extra acres owned by the track to create a year-round destination that will hopefully be symbiotic with the racing that takes place at the track.

However, another potential lessee of the track has filed a protest with the NJSEA, claiming thatthe award of the lease violated New Jersey’s procurement process. That protest will be heard by the NJSEA on April 16. If sustained, that protest has the ability to negatively affect the start of New Jersey’s thoroughbred season, which is scheduled to open on May 12, 2012.

Here is a link to an article in the Asbury Park Press with more information.