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Breeders' Cup 2017

Handles Soars on Opening Day at Monmouth Park

New Monmouth Park logo
Monmouth Park kicked off its 68th season of Thoroughbred racing on Saturday with a stirring finish to the Decathlon Stakes, an enthusiastic crowd of 9,636 on hand despite monsoon-like weather, and a hefty increase in handle over last year.

All-sources wagering soared on this first day of a 61-day meeting, reaching $6,192,305, a gain of 29.8 percent over last year’s all-sources handle on opening day.

“To post a 30 percent gain in handle is incredibly positive, and certainly bested any of our projections,” said Bob Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park. “The weather didn’t cooperate, but all things considered, we couldn’t be happier.

“Last year provided us a good starting point to build on,” Kulina said, “and today’s figures are hopefully just the beginning of across-the-board gains throughout the summer.”

Rickman Racing LLC’s Pass You Bye Bye rallied on the outside under Julian Pimentel, collared the leaders in deep stretch and drew off near the wire to win the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes by one length. He raced the six furlongs in a brisk 1:09 1/5 over a track made sloppy by heavy afternoon downpours and paid $8, $4 and $3.20 across the board.

Luckysdream, second choice in the wagering, finished second by a half-length over the 26-1 Diski Dance to complete the $27 exacta. Luckysdream paid $3.60 to place and $3.40 to show, and Diski Dance was $4.60 to show.

Travelin Man, the even-money favorite in the field of six, was off badly, failed in his attempt to mount a midstretch rally, and finished fourth.

Ron Alfano trains Pass You Bye Bye, a 4-year-old son of Rock Slide who has won three of five starts this year. The Decathlon was his first stakes victory and added $45,000 to his earnings.

“He is really a nice horse,” Pimentel said. “He didn’t care for the dirt coming at him, but once I got him into the clear, he was fine. Around the eighth pole, he really kicked in and that was it.”

         

 

 

 

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