Horse racing expected to go the distance in N.J.

Some of the top thorough-bred race horses in the country will be at Monmouth Park Sunday for the 1,000,000 Resorts Haskell Invitational.

The event adds to N.J. officials’ optimism about the future of racing in the state as the track shifts from state control to private operators.

As New Jersey gets out of the horse-racing business, the track that has been losing millions of dollars a year will no longer receive public subsidies. Monmouth Park officials say attendance and wagers are above 2009 levels.

New Jersey Racing Commission chairman Dennis Drazin said racing has a strong future in the Garden State.

“Even though it’s not the million-dollar purses per day that were offered last year, they’re certainly competitive in the region and still attracting customers,” said Drazin. “I think New Jersey is on the mind of people around the country when they go to select where they’re going to race horses. The horses are good here.”

Drazin said plans to increase the number of off-track wagering sites will help the new operator of the track make it profitable. Real estate executive Morris Bailey is close to completing a five- year lease arrangement to take over Monmouth Park.

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