Monmouth Park proved the place to be this Memorial Day Weekend with a record-breaking 60,114 fans spinning through the turnstiles to enjoy Thoroughbred racing at the Jersey Shore coupled with the fourth annual food truck festival. Monday’s program was highlighted by Kenzadargent’s 3 ¼-length victory in the $75,000 Miss Liberty Stakes.
“The numbers we saw this weekend are indicative of the strength of our racing product and fan-friendly entertainment destination that we continue to build at Monmouth Park,” said Dennis Drazin, advisor to Darby Development LLC, operators of the Oceanport racetrack.
For the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the holiday weekend, Monmouth saw an increase of 37.4% in attendance over the same figure last year. The total handle for the three days was $15,008,303, a 22.4% increase over last year, as the on-track handle came in at $2,264,176, a 15.5% gain. Through the first three weeks of racing, attendance is up 23.3%, with on-track and total handle both showing double digit gains.
In May of 2012, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association signed a lease of the racetrack and subsequently hired Darby as its operator.
“Where we could make cuts, we’ve made them; where we saw areas for improvement we enhanced them; and, where we saw opportunities for expansion, we pounced on them,” Drazin added. “Should this meet’s early successes continue, we will reevaluate some projects that have been placed on hold as well as look at some infrastructure improvements to the facility.
“For us this is really just the beginning. To have come so far in such a short time is a testament to the dedication of our most valued resource, our employees. But even more importantly, it’s our fans, and that’s who we will continue to work for to deliver world-class Thoroughbred racing at a facility that is second to none.”
Since the horsemen’s association took the reins of the historic racetrack, Monmouth has seen the addition of a 36-hole miniature golf course (Blue Grass Mini Golf), four mega screen televisions, a High Definition signal, the construction of an OTB in Hillsborough and a new free-standing restaurant adjacent to the picnic area.
On the racetrack Monday afternoon, Martin Schwartz’s Kenzadargent waited for room on the fence before bursting through at the top of the straight and opening up to score a daylight victory. Trained by Chad Brown, Kenzadargent returned $5.80, $4 and $3.40 as the favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares. Patsy’s Holiday completed the $31.60 exacta and paid $6.20 and $5. It was a neck back to Evidently, who rallied to pay $8.40 to show.
“I was on the rail the whole way and was very comfortable,” said winning jockey Jose Lezcano. “She finally got the hole as we hit the turn. She had plenty left for the stretch because she was behind horses the entire race. That was an impressive performance.”
A 4-year-old filly by Kendargent from the Epistolaire mare Quiza Bere, Kenzadargent was bred in France where she raced before coming to the U.S. last summer. She now sports a record of 4-7-1 from 16 career starts.
Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Saturday, May 30 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m. The 2015 racing season goes through Sunday, Sept. 27 with the highlight of the meet, the $1 million William Hill Haskell on Sunday, Aug. 2.
As always, the racetrack is open seven days a week for simulcasting from across the country and around the globe.
Source: Monmouth Park