News & Barn notes

Monmouth Park Season Opener On Saturday, May 5

April 27, 2018


Monmouth Park is offering a unique entertainment trifecta for its 2018 season opener on Saturday, May 5, one that combines a live racing card, simulcasting of the Kentucky Derby and a variety of on-site tavern areas to get into the spirit of Cinco de Mayo. 

Gates open at 10 a.m. to accommodate a Kentucky Derby card that begins with a first race post time of 10:30 a.m. 

A special 1:45 p.m. post time is set for the first of Monmouth Park’s 52 race cards during a meeting that runs through Sunday, Sept. 9. 

“It’s a great way to start our 73rd season of racing,” said Dennis Drazin, Chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack. “With new bundled stakes days throughout the season, coupled with innovative and exciting promotions and events, we’re looking forward to another year of world-class racing and entertainment.”    

The $75,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes, the opening day feature at a mile on the turf for 3-year-olds and up, kicks off the stakes season, one highlighted by the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, July 29.  

The United Nations, also a Grade 1, will be renewed on Saturday, June 30, and tops a card featuring the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin, Grade 3 Eatontown and Lady’s Secret Stakes.       

Monmouth Park’s opening day will also include a hat contest, a best dressed couple contest and a red carpet for photo opportunities. In addition, there will be live music throughout the day. 

Jorge Navarro, seeking a record sixth straight training title, heads a deep roster of conditioners that includes newcomers Keith Nations, Michael Stidham and Kent Sweezey. Navarro won a track-record 65 races last year, eclipsing the mark of 59 he set in 2016.

Five-time leading jockey Paco Lopez returns to ride on a full-time basis, having won Monmouth Park riding titles from 2013-16 and in 2010. Lopez, along with Joe Bravo (13 riding titles), are the only riders in track history to have won five or more riding titles. 

The bundled stakes format will see multiple stakes race days on May 26, June 17, June 30, July 29, Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 cards. 

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