Monmouth Park shows increases in handle as 2020 season concludes


OCEANPORT – Monmouth Park showed increases in both the daily transmission of its signal and in total average handle compared to 2019 while also avoiding any cases of COVID-19 during the combined 44-day meet that concluded on Oct. 24.

Monmouth Park’s average daily simulcast handle increased 27.09% to $3,604,413 daily compared to $2,836,148 in 2019. The overall average handle was up 20.81% to $3,807,082 daily compared to $3,151,201 in 2019, according to a press release.

“We are so grateful to everyone for supporting this extraordinary meet and, more specifically, the Governor’s Office and the New Jersey Racing Commission for allowing us the ability not only to race, but to do so with fans,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of the thoroughbred racetrack.

“And once we were green lit for racing, the entire Monmouth Park staff worked tirelessly to ensure not just great racing, but a safe environment for everyone.

“We couldn’t be more proud to report zero cases of COVID-19 over the course of our entire meet and the credit goes to the horsemen and fans who not only followed the necessary guidelines, but collectively cooperated to ensure each person’s safety.

“(Track Medical Director) Dr. Angelo Chinnici and his entire team deserve special recognition for their efforts and, literally, around the clock work. Our success this season is rooted in their dedication and Monmouth Park is better off because of Angelo,” Drazin said.

The Monmouth Park meet that ran from July 3 to Sept. 27 consisted of 36 racing days after one live card was lost due to weather. The Meadowlands at Monmouth Park meet in October provided an additional eight days of racing after one was canceled to weather as well.

The 2019 racing season was 68 days, according to the press release.

The track operated with attendance restrictions throughout the 2020 season under COVID-19 guidelines. Opening day was delayed from its original starting date of May 2 to July 3 due to the coronavirus, with the racing calendar reduced from 56 days to 37 as a result.

During the abbreviated Meadowlands at Monmouth Park meet, Jose Ferrer was the leading rider with 11 winners over the eight live racing cards. Wayne Potts topped the trainer standings with seven winners.

Trainer Kelly Breen, who captured his third Monmouth Park training title during the summer meet, ended the New Jersey racing season with a flourish by winning three races on the final day’s 11-race card, including two of the three Jersey bred stakes races.

Breen trainee Stay Smart, a daughter of Smart N Classy, won the $75,000 Smart N Classy Handicap, while stablemate Royal Urn upset heavily favored Golden Brown to capture the $75,000 Dan Horn Handicap.

Long-time New Jersey breeder and owner John Bowers bred and owns both winners.

Lil Miss Moppet ran her winning streak to four and improved to 4-for-4 at Monmouth Park with an easy victory in the $75,000 Pinot Grigio Stakes. Peter Miller trains the 4-year-old filly. She was one of three winners on the day for jockey Joe Bravo.

Thoroughbred racing is set to return to New Jersey next spring, according to the press release.