Monmouth Park, which opens for its 75th season of live racing July 3, will be permitted to operate at 25% capacity starting July 2, the track announced June 23. The move comes after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy gave approval for the track to do so as part of the state's stage 2 loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.
A day before the meet begins, Monmouth will open for simulcast wagering and sports betting July 2. The track has been closed to fans since March 16 when restrictions were put into place to slow the spread of the virus.
"We're grateful for Gov. Murphy's leadership throughout this pandemic and look forward to getting back to some semblance of business as usual in these times of a new normal," said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, operators of the racetrack. "We know our fans are as eager to return to Monmouth Park as we are to have them back."
The 37-day live Monmouth Park meet will run from July 3—Sept. 27, running Fridays through Sundays. Post time on Fridays will be 5 p.m. ET, except for Sept. 4 when it will be 12:50 p.m. Saturday and Sunday post times will be 12:50 p.m., except on TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) day on July 18 when the first race is at noon.
Monmouth also said Tuesday that owners will be permitted to watch their horses work from a designated area at the track from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Fridays through Sundays, starting June 26.
Another track in the northeast, Delaware Park, is also allowing fans but announced Tuesday it was reducing attendance to 1,000 patrons, whether seated inside or outside, to better monitor the compliance of the required COVID-19 patron safety protocols.
Only 500 patrons will be allowed access to the specific clubhouse and grandstand area and wristbands for admittance will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to a track release. As compliance improves, the capacity limits may be increased in the clubhouse and grandstand. There are no changes to the track's grove and picnic areas.
Racing at Delaware Park continues through Oct. 1. The track's stakes highlight is the $400,000 Delaware Handicap (G2) July 11, preceded a week earlier by the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (G3) July 4.