From a Monmouth Park release

Off the heels of across-the-board gains in 2013, Monmouth Park has done it again, sporting increases in live and simulcast handle as well as attendance for the 57-day racing season which concluded on Sunday, Sept. 28.

“I am especially grateful for the support of our horsemen and the dedication of the staff and management of Monmouth Park,” said Dennis Drazin, advisor to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack. “Last year we thought we had turned the corner and this year’s successes have put us on firmer ground as we continue to build a better racing program and entertainment destination that is second to none.”

Average attendance in 2014 was 9,296, a 3.4% increase over last year, when the track ran 61 live cards. Average on-track handle showed a jump of 5.6% to $538,540, compared with $510,106, the average in 2013. Total simulcast handle came in at an average of $4,060,081, a 3.3% improve over last year’s $3,930,540 average.

“With the strong possibility of sports betting on the near horizon, and the likelihood of casino expansion outside of Atlantic City, the future for the gaming industry and horse racing in New Jersey looks brighter than it has in quite some time,” Drazin said. “In addition to our hopes of adding these new revenue streams, we are on the verge of opening a new OTB in Hillsborough, have begun building a new restaurant near Bluegrass Mini Golf and next year will complete construction of a 7,500-seat amphitheater.”

The meet was once again highlighted by the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational, which saw Bayern cruise to an impressive 7 ¼ length victory in the Shore’s signature race. Other highlights included Main Sequence’s impressive performance in the United Nations Stakes and the return to the races for Classic-placed Itsmyluckyday, winner of Monmouth’s Salvator Mile.

Paco Lopez rode an impressive 120 winners, providing the 28-year-old journeyman with his third Monmouth riding title. Lopez broke a 53-year-old record when on May 17 he rode seven winners on a single card. He equaled that record just three weeks later on June 6. Among his 13 Monmouth Stakes victories this year were four graded events: Red Bank, Salvator Mile, Oceanport and Jersey Shore.

Top trainer was a repeat of 2013 with Jorge Navarro collecting the trophy for leading conditioner after sending out 43 winners. White Wabbit Wacing LLC enjoyed their first owner’s title, having sent out 24 winners for the meet.

Thoroughbred racing in New Jersey continues at the Meadowlands for all-turf cards through Saturday, Nov. 1. The Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet will race live on Fridays and Saturdays, first post 7 p.m.