With nearly half of Monmouth Park’s $50 million unique summer meet over, the Oceanport, N.J. track reports attendance, wagering and field size all continue to show double-digit or better gains over last year.
For the first 24 days of the 2010 meeting -- with Monmouth racing Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Monday holidays -- average attendance is 10,572. The average on-track betting is $752,718 and average daily total betting is $7,672,255.
Compared to the first 24 days of the 2009 meet (using only Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday Monday cards), the daily attendance is up 13% and on-track handle is up almost 43%, according to the track. But total handle has taken the sharpest turn, jumping nearly 118% over last year.
In an effort to revitalize New Jersey racing, Monmouth decided before the season to cut back its racing week and greatly expand purses and the number of races offered per program.
“Everyone at the Sports Authority had high hopes for this bold experiment,” said Dennis R. Robinson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. “To say at the midway point that this meet has been a success is an understatement. We’re cautiously optimistic that the second half of the Elite Summer Meet will continue to exceed all expectations.”
The average field size for this meet, through racing of July 11, is 9.0, a gain of 21% over last year, when field size averaged 7.44 horses.
Increases, according to Monmouth officials, are even more dramatic when the first part of the 2010 meet is compared to the first 40 days of 2009 (racing through July 11).
Those comparisons show average daily attendance is up 44.5% over 2009; on-track handle improved 89%, and total handle has jumped a whopping 156%.
Monmouth's experimental portion of the meet runs through Labor Day, Sept. 6, with the highlight of the 2010 stand still to come. The centerpiece will be the 43rd running of the $1 million Izod Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 1.