2013-09-12 / Front Page

Law seeks to encourage horse breeding

State Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer’s bipartisan plan to increase the number of standardbred horses in New Jersey has been signed into law by Gov. Christie Christie.

The legislation, A-4033 (S-2759), expands the Sire Stakes program by allowing stallions from other states as long as the mare stands at a New Jersey breeding farm for at least 150 consecutive days between conception and the birth, and that the birth occurs in New Jersey.

The expansion would create a new program called the Standardbred Development Program.

“It’s a shame that a state whose state animal is the horse has just three stallions and a few hundred mares left, when it wasn’t that long ago that New Jersey’s equine economy was fueled by dozens of stallions and thousands of mares,” said Dancer (ROcean, Burlington, Monmouth and Middlesex). “We can preserve Jersey-bred horses, farms and jobs while our horse racing industry rebounds.”

According to a press release, Dancer introduced the measure after competition from other states that have casino-style slot machines have harmed New Jersey ’s horse industry — most visibly with the moving of the breeding stallions to Pennsylvania from Perretti Farms in Upper Freehold Township, which is in Dancer’s 12th Legislative District.

“Expanding the Sire Stakes will help save our horse industry, which used to be a $1 billion industry that provided jobs for 13,000 people to care for 42,000 horses on 7,200 farms across 176,000 acres of open space,” Dancer said. “This will help regain our footing against competition from other states.”

The Sires Stakes program was established in 1971 to encourage the breeding of Standardbred horses, trotters and pacers and is funded by a percentage of the bets by racing fans that provide purses for New Jersey horses at specially designated races.

The new law was also sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Ruben Ramos and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner.

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