While officials at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority were celebrating the impending opening of Monmouth Park May 11, they also announced a unique concept for Meadowlands.
Thoroughbreds will share the card with Standardbreds the evenings of May 15-16 at the East Rutherford track, and a new exotic wager has been created to get fans involved in the experiment.
"Hopefully, this will work," said Bob Kulina, general manager and vice president at Monmouth Park. "There are some logistics to address, but we think it's a workable idea."
Kulina said the idea was hatched in order to give Thoroughbred horsemen, who recently fought bitterly with the sports authority over the total number of 2002 dates, more racing opportunities. He said the turf at Monmouth won't be used until the end of May, and the thought was to preserve it so that it lasts until Labor Day, when the meet concludes.
On May 15-16, two Thoroughbred turf races will be carded for each harness program. The thoroughbred race will kick off the program at 6:35 p.m. EDT, with the second race set for 7:20 p.m. The full harness card will begin at 8 p.m.
A Thoroughbred-Standardbred daily double will be offered on races two and three, subject to New Jersey Racing Commission approval.
Monmouth's 78-day season begins with the weekends of May 11-12 and 18-19, then goes to its usual five-day-per-week schedule beginning May 25.