Horses returned to Monmouth Park in New Jersey the morning of April 14 to prepare for a 99-day meet that gets under way May 9.
The first of the arrivals came from the barn of Greg Sacco. Foreverness, owned by John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, was the first to set foot in the Monmouth backstretch at 6:15 a.m. EDT before being bedded down in Barn 6.
“It’s fantastic to be home,” said Sacco, who will have a stable of 40 for the 2008 meet. “It’s part of our tradition. My family hasn’t missed a racing season here, going back to 1946.”
Joining Sacco for opening day of the stable area were trainers Frank Costa and Jim Ryerson. Costa was second in the trainer standings at the 2007 Meadowlands meet, the most recent Thoroughbred meet in New Jersey.
Some new faces expected at Monmouth this year are A. Ferris Allen, Steve DiMauro, Anthony Dutrow, and Barclay Tagg, who trained 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide.
The racing surface is scheduled to open for training April 16. The meet runs through Sept. 28, with first post set for 12:50 p.m.
The live Thoroughbred racing season in New Jersey actually begins April 23 with the first of six all-turf programs at Atlantic City Race Course. Atlantic City wraps up its meet May 2, with Monmouth opening a week later.
Meadowlands, currently open for harness racing, will offer Thoroughbred racing beginning Sept. 9. The track will race one day a week in September before expanding its schedule in October after Monmouth closes.