Little Change in 2016 NJ Dates Requests

Monmouth, Meadowlands ask for a combined 71 Thoroughbred racing programs.

Monmouth Park and Meadowlands have applied for a combined 71 racing programs in 2016, according to a request submitted to the New Jersey Racing Commission. It's the same number the two tracks requested for this year.

The NJRC will meet Nov. 18 to consider racing dates for next year.

Monmouth, operated by Darby Development on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, has asked for 57 programs from May 14 to Sept. 25. The track would race Saturdays and Sundays in May, as well as Memorial Day, May 30; Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from June through Aug. 28, as well as Monday, July 4; and then Saturdays and Sundays in September, along with Friday, Sept 2, and Monday, Sept. 4.

Meadowlands requested 14 all-turf programs from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8, with racing Thursdays and Fridays in September as well as Wednesday, Sept. 28; and then Oct. 1, and 5-8. The turf meets are operated by Darby Development.

Atlantic City Race Course, which in January abandoned its six-day meet scheduled for April, didn't submit a request for 2016 racing days. The track no longer offers daily full-card simulcasts but does operate an off-track wagering facility in Vineland in Cumberland County.

Meadowlands submitted an open-ended application for 90 harness programs next year from Jan. 2 to Aug. 6 and Sept. 9 to Dec. 31. In an earlier release track officials said there could be dual-breed programs in September, with harness racing on the main one-mile surface and Thoroughbred programs on the grass.

Freehold Raceway requested 110 daytime harness programs from Jan. 1 to May 21; Aug. 26-27; and Sept. 2 to Dec. 10. Racing would be held on a Thursday-through-Saturday schedule along with some Monday holidays.

This year's Monmouth-at-Meadowlands turf meet produced a 19% increase in pari-mutuel from the 2014 meet. For the 10-session meet, average daily total handle was $1,235,552, compared with $1,038,747 last year, when eight six-race cards were offered. Wagering was up 25% from 2013, when an average of $988,547 was wagered on nine six-race programs.

"Cleary, the momentum is on our side," said Dennis Drazin, adviser to Darby Development. "We're thankful to all the horsemen that continue to support this meet and to the fans who have truly embraced it. We'll look to build on this success and continue to offer full competitive fields next year and in the years to come."