The Aug. 6-7 weekend of racing in New Jersey generated on-track attendance of more than 75,000 and a handle record of more than $21 million, according to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.On Aug. 6, Meadowlands hosted the $1.5-million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters and recorded attendance of 31,245, the highest attendance at the East Rutherford racetrack since 1990. On-track handle of $3,398,009 was the highest since 1994, while total handle of $9,015,019 was the highest ever at the track and a North American record for harness racing.On Aug. 7, Monmouth Park attracted 43,789 patrons for the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I). On-track handle was $3,699,825, while total Haskell day handle was $12,129,836, the third-highest in history.Total two-day handle, including bets made at more than 450 wagering outlets throughout North America, was $21,144,855, a record for the NJSEA tracks.Monmouth Park is the 2007 host site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships."This was a great weekend for New Jersey," NJSEA president and chief executive officer George Zoffinger said in a release. "The eyes of the entire horse racing industry were on the Garden State this weekend, and the racing fans, horsemen, and employees at both tracks really rose to the occasion. We put our best foot forward in front of national television audiences, and it was a great day of racing at both tracks."The Hambletonian aired on CBS, while the Haskell was featured on ESPN2.
"From a racing perspective, you can't get any better than this," NJSEA vice president for racing Dennis Dowd said. "Other than the Kentucky Derby/Oaks days, I can't think of another two days back-to-back at any racetrack in North America that generates so much interest in horse racing and business results than the New Jersey Championship Racing Weekend at Meadowlands and Monmouth Park. We will hopefully continue to build on this momentum."