Monmouth triples purses; runs 3 days a week

Posted: May 18, 2010

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Monmouth Park will offer record purses of $1 million a day and a shorter season when the 50-day summer meet begins Saturday.

The schedule through Labor Day features daily purses that triple the $331,000 paid out last year. The $1 million a day in purse money will be the highest in North America and the most paid out over an extended meet at Monmouth.

The higher purses were achieved by a drastic reduction in racing dates. The 141 days raced last year at Monmouth and the Meadowlands have been compressed into 71 days, all at Monmouth. The Meadowlands will not host thoroughbred racing this year.

Monmouth will race Saturday and Sunday on the opening weekend before starting a three-day schedule (Friday through Sunday) except for holiday weekends. In the past, Monmouth raced five days every week in the summer.

After Labor Day, Monmouth with continue with a fall meet through Nov. 21, racing only on Saturday and Sunday for purses averaging $250,000-$300,000 a day.

"This is a game changer, not just for racing in New Jersey, but for the entire region," said Dennis Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority which owns and operates Monmouth and the Meadowlands. "The longevity of the racing season is nearly identical to what it's been the past several years. With fewer dates and the highest purses in the country, we're more than a little optimistic that significant gains in attendance, handle and field size are quickly on the horizon."

The top event of the meet is the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds on Aug. 1. Track officials hope to lure Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky to a rematch in the Haskell.

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