(from Monmouth Park)
Monmouth Park got off to a good start May 9 with solid gains in attendance and mutuel handle for the first day of a 94-day meeting.
A crowd of 10,292 was on hand to see Acting Zippy win the opening day feature, the $70,000 Decathlon Stakes. On-track wagering topped $664,930.
Both gate and wagering totals were more than double the 2008 numbers, when Monmouth opened on a Friday. They also represented substantial gains above the first Saturday of last year’s meet, when 7,069 fans bet $512,000 on track.
Total wagering for the day was $4,279,440, topping last year’s figure of nearly $3.6 million.
“It was a great beginning for us,” said Monmouth vice president and general manager Bob Kulina. “Hopefully, it’s a sign of good things to come this summer at Monmouth Park.”
In the Decathlon, Acting Zippy took control in deep stretch and drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths, clocking a quick 1:08.22 for six furlongs on a fast track.
Acting Zippy, trained by William D. Bennett and ridden by Eddie Castro, went off second choice in the field of eight and paid $7.80, $3.20, and $2.60. Unwritten, who set the pace before giving in, finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of He’s So Chic, part of an entry favored at 11-10. Unwritten paid $4.40 and $2.80 and completed the $37.40 exacta. He’s So Chic returned the minimum $2.10 to show.
It was the second straight stakes win in fast time for Acting Zippy, who scored at Delaware Park in 1:08 1/5 in April. It was the third win on the day for Castro, who also took the fourth race with True Wood and the fifth with Brickyard.
“I wanted to stay close early,” Castro said. “Speed has been pretty good. In the stretch, he was lugging in some, and I was just trying to get him to straighten out. He finally did just before the wire and was clear by then.”
Bennett, who owns the winner in partnership with Carl Bowling, said, “He’s at the top of his game right now and can do anything I ask of him. That’s two starts in a row going 1:08 1/5. He’s very fast.”