In an entry on April 11, we discussed a bid protest filed by an unsuccessful bidder who submitted a proposal in connection with New Jersey’s decision to lease Monmouth Park Racetrack to a private operator. A hearing took place on the protest on April 16. The hearing officer assigned to the protest recommended that the protest be overruled and that the lease of Monmouth Park to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Asssociation be permitted to go forward. On April 19, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (“NJSEA”) approved the hearing officer’s report, and on April 20 the Governor’s Office approved the report.
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.