Legislation authorizing pari-mutuel wagering at the Far Hills Races was signed Wednesday by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Far Hills officials said that, because of the short time before the Oct. 15 meet, pari-mutuel wagering will be inaugurated next year. This year’s meet will be under the supervision of the New Jersey Racing Commission to provide Far Hills a preview of how a pari-mutuel meet will operate.
The legislation was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New Jersey Assembly and Senate. Sponsors in the Assembly were Assemblymen Ronald S. Dancer, John J. Burzichelli, and Jon M. Bramnick.
The Assembly’s Republican leader, Bramnick represents the district that includes the Far Hills course in Somerset County. Co-sponsors are Assemblymen Erik Peterson and Robert D. Clifton and Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin.
The Senate sponsors were Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Kip Bateman. “Wagering will expand the ability of the event to support local healthcare services and help maintain the viability of New Jersey’s horse farms,” Kean said.
The Far Hills Races support healthcare in Central New Jersey, including the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, which has received more than $17-million in contributions for the hospital and its Steeplechase Cancer Center.
“As someone who has attended the race for more than three decades, I have no doubt that wagering will add to this great New Jersey tradition,” Bateman said. “Most importantly, we’ve found a way to support open space, horse farms, and healthcare in a very exciting way. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Far Hills Chairman Guy J. Torsilieri thanked the legislation’s sponsors for their continued support of pari-mutuel wagering at Far Hills and to Governor Christie for signing the bill.
“With pari-mutuel wagering, the Far Hills Race Meet Association will be able to enhance the experience of our 35,000 guests each year and to generate new revenue for our beneficiaries,” Torsilieri said. “Far Hills is the premier American steeplechase meet, and it is our goal to make it a major event on the international racing calendar. Pari-mutuel wagering will help us to achieve that goal.”