From a Monmouth Park release
Following back-to-back years with attendance and handle gains, Monmouth Park will look to do it again as the Oceanport racetrack ushers in its 70th season of racing on Saturday, May 9.
And while expectations have been surpassed since the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) leased the historic track in 2012, it’s with an eye on the future that the page is turned to the 2015 meet and beyond.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the accomplishments through the first three years,” said Dennis Drazin, advisor to the NJTHA and Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack. “We will look to build on those accomplishments as we continue to create an entertainment destination at the Jersey Shore and remain true to our core business – world class Thoroughbred racing.”
Fans arriving on Opening Day will notice many new things even before spinning through the turnstiles. Across the street, a freshly-paved parking lot will greet grandstand parkers. In the paddock, a darker wood chip will be noticeably different than in years past as will a new addition to the wagering format. Monmouth will now have a 50-cent Pick 5 on the first and last five races on the program with a 15% takeout. If no one selects all five winners in a sequence, a carryover to the very next Pick 5 will ensue.
Perhaps the biggest change won’t come on the racetrack but on the television set as Monmouth Park upgrades to high definition. A crisp, clearer picture on Monmouth’s export signal will be coupled with HiDef in-house as Monmouth has added hundreds of new televisions throughout the facility.
As for what to expect this summer, a new off-track wagering facility is slated to open in Hillsborough as is the recently-constructed restaurant just outside the picnic area. Exchange wagering has been approved and the fight to bring sports betting to New Jersey marches on. Atop the Grandstand, new racecaller Frank Mirahmadi will call the action and the Jersey Shore Six will move to a 20-cent base wager.
“There’s been a lot of effort by a great many people to bring these projects to fruition,” Drazin said. “Some have been in the works since Day One and to see them finally get implemented will be the result of years of hard work and create yet another revenue stream to the facility.”
Additionally, and in an on-going effort toward conservation awareness, Monmouth will shift more business operations to paperless, beginning with the 2015 Media Guide, which is available on-line. Further, additional recycling bins have been placed throughout the facility and the backstretch to meet these goals.
“You can’t work in an agricultural business without ensuring you’re doing everything you can to conserve resources,” Drazin said. “This is in on-going process that will be continuously evaluated to ensure we’re doing more than our fair share.”
The 2015 Monmouth Park racing season runs from Saturday, May 9 through Sunday, Sept. 27. Gates open 11:30 a.m. with first post slated for 12:50 p.m.