TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that would provide $1 million in funding to the NJ Racing Commission for a five-year grant program to aid with the care and keeping of retired thoroughbreds was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
“The sport of horse-racing has long been a vibrant and vital one for this state. The horses who run are the backbone of the industry, and the focus of patrons who attend races,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Just as track attendance and wagering begin to return to pre-COVID levels, we must also make certain that horses who no longer race are rescued and treated properly and humanely in their retirement years.”
Under the bill, a grant applicant seeking to take part in the program would have to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and be fully accredited by the Standardbred Transition Alliance, Standardbred Retirement Foundation, or Second Call Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement, dependent upon the breed primarily being rescued and re-homed by the accredited organization.
“I also would like to recognize the hard work put in on this legislation by my colleague and friend, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer,” added Senator Gopal. “Ron, who passed away last year, was a long-time friend of our state’s horse racing communities, and policy advocate for them. We continue to miss Ron, and honor his invaluable service to our state.”
Equine rescue organizations work to save horses with uncertain futures. Some are for particular breeds, while others may accept any horse breeds. Once horses retire from racing, their owners may donate them to an organization in order to find them homes as non-racing, pleasure, competition, or working police horses.
The bill, S-3091, was moved out of committee on a vote of 5-0.