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Monmouth Park meet closes with increases in overall and on-track handle

OCEANPORT – Monmouth Park showed an increase in overall handle and nearly doubled its on-track handle for this year’s 55-day meet compared to a year ago as the track concluded its 76th season on Sept. 26.

“We were happy to have our fans back, we had another memorable TVG.com Haskell Invitational and we feel good about how Monmouth Park is positioned as we move forward and return to some sense of normalcy during these COVID-19 times,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, the operators of Monmouth Park.

“This wound up being a transitional year coming out of the worst of COVID-19 a year ago. We overcame some challenging weather, especially early in the meet, purses were very good and the quality of racing was excellent,” Drazin said.

Monmouth Park’s overall handle for the meet was $173,511,161 compared to $167,511,608 a year ago, according to a press release.

The return of fans had a significant impact, with the on-track handle increasing to $15,216,978 compared to $8,917,436 a year ago.

The simulcast handle was down slightly from $158,594,172 in 2020 to $158,294,183 this year.

Monmouth conducted 44 days of live racing a year ago.

Jockey Paco Lopez wrapped up his eighth Monmouth Park riding title with a flourish on Sept. 26 by booting home six winners to bring his final total to 109 for the meet. Runner-up Isaac Castillo had 55 winners. Lopez’s eight titles are second in track history to Joe Bravo’s 13.

Wayne Potts captured the training title with 38 wins after winning the abbreviated Meadowlands at Monmouth meet last fall.

Colts Neck Stables, with 14 winners from 34 starters, was the leading owner.

Thoroughbred racing in New Jersey shifts to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford for the seven-day Monmouth at Meadowlands meet starting on Oct. 1. The six-race all-turf cards will have a first race post time of 7 p.m.

The Monmouth at Meadowlands meet will also hold live racing on Oct. 2. The Friday-Saturday schedule will continue on Oct. 8-9 before shifting to just Friday on Oct. 15 and then to just Saturday on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, according to the press release.

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