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HRN Original Blog:
Racing At The Jersey Shore

Horse Racing Nation Fans Meet the Monmouth Park Jockeys

Jockeys at Monmouth
Photo: Matt Shifman
 
Guest Blog by Ben Massam  
 
Following the conclusion of racing on Friday, Monmouth Park hosted the inaugural ‘Joes versus Jocks Mini Golf Festival’ to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.  As the sun set over the Oceanport oval, numerous fans, jockeys, and other fixtures of the Monmouth Park racing world participated in the 18 hole charity event at the newly-constructed adjacent mini-golf course. 
 
Horse Racing Nation fielded a team, and we had the chance to speak with a number of participants about racing at the Jersey Shore. By the end of the contest, golfers not only felt satisfied with their contribution to a worthy cause, but also got to meet with the athletes they see on the racetrack every day. 
 
Brian Leckie (@bleck1022), who has been to every Haskell Invitational since 1997, described the opportunity to play mini golf alongside the likes of Larry Collmus, Joe Bravo, Paco Lopez, and Elvis Trujillo as “a dream come true for a great cause.” Leckie is a devoted fan of Monmouth Park racing and went on to call it “one of the best horse racing experiences of my life—right up there with a visit to Claiborne Farm and attending the 2006 Breeders’ Cup.” 
 
Leckie played alongside Kevin (@RutgersKev) as guests of Horse Racing Nation in the tournament.  Kevin, who has been attending the races since a very young age, noted that, “it was great to ask a few broadcasting questions to Larry Collmus.  He’s the voice of American thoroughbred racing.”
 
Kendrick Carmouche, regularly one of the best jockeys on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, told participants about his background in thoroughbred racing: “I’m more than a jockey. I’m a horse person. Whether it’s racehorses or visiting horses on a farm, they are a big part of my life.”  Carmouche is named to ride six horses on Haskell day, including last year’s champion New Jersey-bred, Javerre, in the Teddy Drone Stakes.
 
As well-known Jersey Shore jockey Joe Bravo greeted golfers at his post on the course, he reminisced about his favorite racing memories, including a victory in the 1997 Donn Handicap aboard Formal Gold and a dominant win aboard first-time-starting Dehere at Monmouth during the summer of 1993. Bravo gets the call back on Micromanage in the Haskell for Todd Pletcher after riding him to a convincing score in the Long Branch earlier this month.
 

Sunday’s 14 race card of racing at Monmouth Park gets off to an early start, set for a first post time of noon. The Haskell Invitational goes off as the 13th race, a 6:18pm scheduled post. 

 

Ben Massam can be found on Twitter at @NJthoroughbred

 

 

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Older Comments about Nation Fans Meet the Monmouth Park Jockeys...

I was impressed with how many of the jockeys, when asked about a favorite horse, said that they just love horses and love to ride or they mentioned a favorite claimer who had won a bunch of races for them. Brian and Kevin are great racing fans who know their stuff!
Sounds like a great day for the fans ... thanks for the report, Ben!

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.