Monmouth Park Plans to Start Horse Racing July 3 Amid Pandemic
OCEANPORT — In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Monmouth Park Racetrack has delayed the start of its live racing schedule in time for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Dennis Drazin, CEO of Monmouth Park operator Darby Development, said in a written statement that the park has the safety of staff, horsemen and fans in mind and called the plans "fluid."
Drazin said they would consider racing with no live spectators in the stands and that any definitive action is subject to the approval of Gov. Phil Murphy. He also said Murphy has shown "exceptional leadership" through this ongoing public health crisis.
Monmouth Park's 2020 racing season is slated to open on Friday, July 3. A revised stakes schedule will see 35 races totaling $5,050,000 — led by the $1 million TVG.com Haskell July 18.
Instead of being an invitational, the Haskell will be a stakes race this year with nominations closed June 26, according to Drazin.
The schedule calls for 37 live racing days on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from July 3 until Sept. 27.
The Oceanport venue now is set to open its stabling area on June 1. Monmouth Park’s history dates back to July 30, 1870, when the track first opened.