In order to accommodate the new turf course that will be unveiled later this year, several stakes races were shifted from their traditional running dates. Among them the United Nations, Jersey Derby, and Red Bank. "The new turf course will be ready in late June," Dowd said. "Work continues to progress on the new surface and a late June starting point will ensure plenty of time for that course to take firm root." Stall applications for the 2006 season are due by March 13, with the backstretch set to open April 10.
The $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and a new turf course set to debut in June highlight Monmouth Park's 2006 stakes schedule, which features total purses of $4.75 million spread out over 21 stakes races. The track will offer 14 graded events. In addition to the Aug. 6 Haskell for 3-year-olds, other features of the 2006 season,which runs from May 13 through Sept. 24, include the grade I $750,000 United Nations July 8 and the grade IIMolly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes Aug. 27. "The major stakes that we're announcing today are just the beginning of what is sure to be a very successful 2006 racing year in New Jersey," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. "When the overnight stakes schedule is added in, total stakes purses will top $8 million and overnight purses will start a $330,000 per day."