Oceanport, N.J. – Live racing will return to Monmouth Park on Saturday, May 12, it was announced today by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA). With a lease from the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to the NJTHA expected in early May, the latter will take the operational helm at the historic racetrack for this year’s 67th season of racing.
The 2012 calendar will feature 65 days at Monmouth Park and 10 all-turf days at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford. The Monmouth calendar closely mirrors the 2010 and 2011 schedules, with one notable change: four twilight cards on Thursdays in August, with a first post of 4:00 pm.
“We’re taking what we know worked in the past and coupling it with some new and innovative ideas,” said John Forbes, President of the NJTHA. “It will no longer be business as usual at Monmouth Park. We will not shy from new ideas and events that we hope prove popular with fans and horsemen alike. Our 2012 schedule is the first step in ensuring Monmouth Park’s prominence within the racing industry as we strive to enhance our simulcast appeal, develop a more fan-friendly atmosphere and provide all patrons with world-class Thoroughbred racing.”
Dennis Drazin and Bob Kulina, executives with Monmouth Park’s new management company, expressed optimism for the future of New Jersey racing.
“We’re excited that the horsemen will control their own destiny and look forward to working with them to build a long-term, sustainable racing industry in the Garden State,” the pair said.
Monmouth will race on Saturdays and Sundays for the first three weeks, after which Fridays will be added to the schedule beginning on June 1 continuing through the first week in September. The Saturday and Sunday schedule will return on Sept. 8 and continue through Oct. 7. Three holiday cards will also be offered: Memorial Day on Monday, May 28; Fourth of July on Wednesday, July 4; and, Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 3.
Thoroughbred racing at the Meadowlands gets underway on May 4and 5. Following Monmouth’s last live card on Sunday, Oct. 7, Thoroughbreds will head back to the Big M for racing on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 12 through Nov. 3. Thoroughbreds have not raced at the Meadowlands since 2009. All racing dates are pending approval by the New Jersey Racing Commission.
I agree with EZGoer's questioning of the four twilight Thursday cards in August. Most tracks have twilight racing on Fridays, namely Belmont and Saratoga, with some success. Maybe Thursday is a big social night along the Jersey Shore. We will see. Also, if t-breds are returning to the Meadowlands, somebody should help Jeff Gural pay for the transition of the main track from limestone to dirt. It's only fair. Inclement weather could make turf racing unsafe.
Just a couple of quick comments and observations from the press release:“We’re taking what we know worked in the past and coupling it with some new and innovative ideas,” said John Forbes1. What has worked in the past?? When was the last time the track did not lose money??2. Bob Kulina is a nice guy, but he has been at Monmouth since the year of the flood. Every new idea that has worked at other tracks like Churchill, Gulfstream and Saratoga is quickly dismissed by Bob. So I guess this year will bring the same stale condition book, small fields and even less NJ bred races because 'Nobody wants to bet on cheap statebreds". There is a bigger picture!!3. Four twilight cards on Thursdays in August?? Why Thursdays?? Are you looking for this idea to fail?? Why not Friday or Saturday? If no one goes to the track on a Thursday during the day, why would people go at 4 pm?4. Since the Meadowlands turf will finally be used to a certain extent, how about some turf races for lower priced claiming horses and at different distances?? Oh I forgot, the sprints tear up the turf course!!I can go on but I am glad Mr Drazin will be (hopefully) involved in the operation of the track. He is an owner, NJ bred breeder and someone who will hopefully make decisions instead of excuses, as has been the case for the last 25 years!! I wish the track hired someone like Mr ritvo at Gulfstream. He seems to have an idea as to what horsemen and horse players are looking for when going to the track.
Once again my favorite day of the year, Opening Day at Monmouth Park, is right around the corner. Can't wait and looking forward to renewing friendships with Brad Thomas, Mike Curci, Sophia Mangalee and Larry Colmus.Also it will be great to get to The Meadowlands once again for Thoroughbred racing!Mike Romagnola