(TRENTON) — A resolution Assemblyman Fred Scalera sponsored calling for New Jersey to continue to support holding the Hambletonian harness racing triple crown event at the Meadowlands Racetrack was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.
The bill (AR-71) was released by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.
The Hambletonian is the premier American harness horse race and has been held at the Meadowlands since 1981. After May 17, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority holds the exclusive right to renew the contract for the stakes for an additional five years, but if the contract is not renewed the Hambletonian Society may advertise for bids for the stakes beginning in 2013.
“It’s hard to imagine this slice of Americana not taking place at the Meadowlands, and we have to make sure it stays there,” said Scalera (D-Essex/Bergen/Passaic). “This is the richest and most prestigious event in the United States Trotting Triple Crown and the only such event held in New Jersey. It attracts spectators to New Jersey from around the world and is vital to our horse breeding and racing industry. We cannot let it leave.”
Scalera noted The Meadowlands Racetrack is perfect for the Hambletonian because it must be completed on a one-mile track and the Meadowlands track is one mile.
“This race has become a New Jersey tradition and it must stay that way,” Scalera said. “It’s good for our economy and the idea of keeping it in New Jersey is worthy of our support.”
The Meadowlands is the longest running host of the Hambletonian in its 85-year history. This year’s race is scheduled for Aug. 7 and will carry a purse of $1.5 million.
The resolution is set to be considered Monday by the full Assembly.
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