NJ Governor Christie Letter

August 1, 2010

State of New Jersey
Office of the Governor
P.O. 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Tel: 609-292-6000

Dear Governor Christie:

On behalf of harness racing interests globally we would like to point out the facts about the economic “multiplier” of horse racing, and ask that you put aside politics, special interests and lobbyists influence and do the right thing for your state and its equine participants.

For over 30 years, since the creation of The Meadowlands Racetrack, New Jersey has held a place of prominence in the equine industry, especially standardbred, due to its strategic location, facilities, mile-track racing and a then management that understood the business and was able to attract the best horses, stables, owners and patrons. The Meadowlands became the “image of harness racing” in North America and attracted respect of harness racing industries in Europe and the Pacific Rim. That “exposure” allowed US breeders to sell standardbreds for export and to utilize some of its prized stallions during the US off-season in Australia and New Zealand. These activities generated taxable income for US domiciled persons and entities. When The Meadowlands became the home and host of the fabled Hambletonian its reputation was further enhanced and The Meadowlands established an impressive array of stakes events for trotters and pacers that benefitted both racing and horse breeding participants. Technology advancements have also enabled New Jersey based breeding farms and their stallions to breed mares worldwide using frozen semen, further enhancing the reputation of US standardbreds.

Equally important is the aforementioned multiplier effect that the equine industry contributes to the New Jersey economy:

  • Tax revenues –real and personal property, pari-mutuel, sales and employment taxes
  • Employment directly and indirectly in the horse industry
  • Taxable income to providers of ancillary services – veterinarian services, feed, tack, equipment and apparel, equine related construction, breeding and turnout farms, training centers, shipping companies, operators of yearling and mixed horse sales, lodging, food and beverage
  • Source of highly sought after simulcast signals to capture market share of out-of-state pari-mutual bettors
  • Maintains and enriches green space that is productive green space
  • Brings participants and tourists to the state
  • Provides broadcast and news coverage for the state relating to major events such as the Hambletonian, Nat Ray, Peter Haughton Memorial and others (just as NFL football, MLB and NBA basketball provide to the NJ and metro NYC area)

A recent Rutgers University Equine Science Center report supports that position clearly
“The New Jersey equine industry is valued at $4 billion and generates $1.1 billion ($780 million due to racing) annually in positive impact on the state economy. It is responsible for 13,000 jobs, more than half of which are generated by racing-related interests such as race tracks and horse breeding and training facilities. The New Jersey equine industry pays an estimated $160 million annually in federal, state, and local taxes ($85 million generated by equine operations and owners and $75 million generated by New Jersey racetracks).

A total of 176,000 total acres support equine facilities in New Jersey. Approximately 96,000 of these acres are directly related to equine activities, 78,000 are devoted to pasture and hay production, with 46,000 additional acres producing hay and forage on non-equine-related operations. Equine-related acres represent more than one-fifth of the state’s 790,000 acres in agriculture. Equine animals and operations account for 42,500 horses housed in New Jersey at 7,200 facilities. Of this total, 12,500 (nearly 30 percent) are in racing-related activities. These include 8,200 Standardbreds and 4,300 Thoroughbreds (on a total of 700 facilities) that are either actively racing or are racing breeding stock.

The Garden State stands to lose the greatest portion of its premier agribusiness that generates $780 million of economic impact annually, 7,000 jobs, $115 million in federal, state and local taxes, and 57,000 acres of working agricultural landscape and open space, if racing-related training and breeding farms leave New Jersey. Contributing to the total economic impact are New Jersey’s four racing venues: the Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway, Monmouth Park Racetrack, and Atlantic City Race Course, valued at $502 million annually.”

We suggest that you view the facts, in an unbiased manner, and make decisions regarding the equine industry that make sense, that consider sustainable economic impact in New Jersey, that value jobs and related equine service revenues and reflects that equine models do work effectively elsewhere (France, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan). Do your homework thoroughly, learn and act favorably for the equine industry and for your state.

Sincerely yours,
Stall Trot. Inc.
European Pari-Mutuel Association Annual Report

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