Highlighted by the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, August 5, Monmouth Park has released its 2001 stakes schedule featuring 16 stakes events worth $3.6 million.
Fifteen of the 16 stakes are graded for the 72-day Monmouth meet, which begins Saturday, May 26, and runs through Sunday, September 2.
"Monmouth Park has exemplified the best in racing as sport and family entertainment for over half a century," said Bruce Garland, senior vice president/ racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. "The strength of our stakes program has been a major draw for horsemen and the wagering public and we will continue that tradition in 2001."
"Last year our stakes program drew the top horses and top outfits," said Robert J. Kulina, Monmouth's Vice President of Racing.The Haskell, one of two grade I events on the Monmouth Park calendar, annually draws the top three-year-olds fresh off the Triple Crown trail.
Last year's Haskell was captured by Dixie Union and drew a record crowd of 41,360 with the day's handle nearly $10 million.Three other grade III races are set for Haskell Day with the $100,000 Eatontown Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, the $100,000 Oceanport for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $150,000 Salvatore Mile for three-year-olds and up on the main track.
Returning to Monmouth Park for the third straight year are two major fixtures formerly run at Garden State Park and Atlantic City, the grade I United Nations for three-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on the turf and the $100,000 grade III Jersey Derby on May 27 for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The purse for the United Nations has been raised to $400,000.
The $350,000 grade II Philip H. Iselin Handicap is the meet's premier event for older horses and will be run Sunday, August 26. The $300,000 grade II Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap, which has regularly showcased the top older fillies and mares is now set to run Saturday, June 30.