Private operators will take the reins from a New Jersey state agency and oversee horse racing tracks in the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.

Gov. Chris Christie last week announced that Jeff Gural, who runs two New York tracks, will operate the Meadowlands Racetrack in northeast New Jersey beginning June 1. Gural has pledged to invest $90 million to construct a new grandstand at the Meadowlands and build an off-track betting facility in Bayonne.

On June 1, Morris Bailey, part owner of the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, will take over at Monmouth Park Racetrack, which hosted the 2007 Breeder’s Cup.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority oversees the two racetracks. The administration’s goal has been to privatize horse racing at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park as the facilities struggle to attract visitors. New and expanded casino and slot developments in neighboring states have hurt New Jersey’s horse-racing industry.

“I was determined to bring this deal home,” Christie said in a statement. “There are many beneficiaries: We’re saving a New Jersey tradition with the continuation of live horse racing at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park; we are saving and creating jobs; and we are helping to preserve New Jersey farmland and a way of life for many people, from horse farm owners and employees, to jockeys to racing enthusiasts.”

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