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Saturday, June 29, 2013


MANALAPAN, NJ – June 28, 2013 – A bill awaiting the governor’s signature would introduce the Standardbred Development Fund, a program to encourage boarding and foaling in the state of New Jersey.

The SDF program would exist concurrently with the New Jersey Sire Stakes “premier” events which are restricted to the offspring of stallions standing in the state.

The specific rules and regulations for the program will be determined by the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees at its July 16, 2013 meeting, assuming Governor Chris Christie signs the legislation which was unanimously approved in both the Assembly and Senate.

The Standardbred Development Fund would require that the broodmare spend 150 consecutive days and deliver her foal in the state of New Jersey for the foal to be eligible to the SDF stakes program.

“The idea behind this (which was initially suggested by Mark Mullen and Anthony Perretti) was that the Standardbred Development Fund (SDF) would replace the Green Acres program, beginning with two-year-old races run in 2016, if possible,” explained Chris Castens, the New Jersey Sire Stakes executive director.  “With the number of sires in New Jersey greatly diminished, it was the feeling that there may not be enough two year olds in 2013 to fill both the Premier and Green Acres series. 

“Discussions were entertained about completely switching the New Jersey Sire Stakes over to a mares-bred program — similar to what has occurred in Kentucky,” Castens explained.  “That idea was discarded, however, on the basis that we want to encourage (not discourage) owners to stand horses in New Jersey.

“It was decided to continue with the Premier Divisions solely for horses that are sired by New Jersey-based stallions while converting the Green Acres to the SDF,” he added.  “Agricultural considerations also came into play in the decision making.  If well received, a mare residency program can have much greater impact on the overall agricultural community than a handful of stallions would.”

While horses sired by New Jersey stallions would be eligible to all New Jersey Sire Stakes-sponsored races as well as SDF races, the SDF foals would only be eligible to SDF races and not New Jersey Sire Stakes Premier Division events or the Lou Babic Stakes.

The earliest SDF stakes races would be run in 2016.  The dates of these races and the allocations as far as the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway will be determined at a later date.

“Conceivably, the SDF could begin with the foals of 2014,” Castens said.  “If things move quickly, we could begin accepting mare registrations this September.”

The money for SDF purse will be allocated annually by the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees from the revenue received from existing sources by the Sire Stakes program.  The expectation is that purse estimates will be established in the fall of each year.

-Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ