The vans arrived just before midday Monday as the Monmouth Park stable area opened its gates for the 2001 summer meeting. Among the first arrivals was trainer Willard Thompson who has a string of 44 horses set for this year's 56th season.
"I'm very glad to be back at Monmouth," said Thompson, who captured training titles here in 1975, 1976 and 1977. "I've been coming here for 30 years and I have no intentions of ever missing it."
With a capacity of 1,600 horses, Monmouth Park's stable area may be overflowing this year. "We've had a tremendous amount of stall applications this year," said Sean Greely, Monmouth Park's Racing Secretary. "We'll be operating at full capacity with a lot of familiar faces along with some new ones from all over the country. The way the stable area will be filling up seems to signal a strong, competitive racing meet from all aspects."
The racing surface will open for training towards the end of this week with the 72-day summer season beginning on Saturday, May 26 and running through Sunday, September 2.