Monmouth Opening Handle up 30 Percent Despite Rain

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Monmouth Park kicked off its 68th season of Thoroughbred racing on Saturday with a stirring finish to the Decathlon Stakes, an enthusiastic crowd of 9,636 on hand despite monsoon-like weather, and a hefty increase in handle over last year.

All-sources wagering soared on this first day of a 61-day meeting, reaching $6,192,305, a gain of 29.8 percent over last year’s all-sources handle on opening day.

“To post a 30 percent gain in handle is incredibly positive, and certainly bested any of our projections,” said Bob Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park. “The weather didn’t cooperate, but all things considered, we couldn’t be happier.

“Last year provided us a good starting point to build on,” Kulina said, “and today’s figures are hopefully just the beginning of across-the-board gains throughout the summer.”

The Monmouth meeting continues with live racing Sunday, Mother’s Day. Through the month of May, live cards will be run on Saturdays and Sundays, plus a Memorial Day card on May 27. Starting on Friday, May 31, Monmouth will have live racing three days a week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The 2013 meet goes through Sunday, Oct. 6.

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  • Tinky

    I find this report – or rather the reaction to it – to be sad. Why? Because it almost certainly means nothing. Belmont’s card was decimated by poor weather, so much more of the off-track handle was spread around than usual, and there is no good reason to believe that Monmouth will see significant gains over the course of the coming season.

    I like the track, and wish it well, but let’s see where they stand after a couple of months, not one day.

  • voiceofreason

    Whew! All of racing problems are finally solved.

  • Harvey10

    TVG was broadcasting from Monmouth, yesterday, and gave the track considerably more coverage and promotion than last year. When that happens, handle goes up at all ADWs, not just TVG. Perhaps the track saw some benefit from Belmont under performing but Monmouth also suffered a deluge. One day is no basis for judgement but it is a good start for New Jersey and it will be interesting to see if it benefits from TVG exposure as much as the Meadowlands, Tampa, Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita have already this year.

  • we’re watching

    Monmouth Park is a great, laid back facility for racing, fun and relaxation. When the Breeder’s Cup yanks their races from SoCal, finally, MTH needs to again be considered for the BC.
    Rain cannot be considered as a factor when it occurred once in 2007. They did a great job.

    • Don Reed

      Of course. Because it never again will rain heavily on a big day at Monmouth. Except on Opening Day, 2013.

      I’d love to know who these anonymous posters really are, who complete deny what really happened during BC 2007 at Monmouth. This has to be a pre-meditated for-profit campaign of some sort – no one could be this stupid, this naturally.

      PUBLIC SERVICE REMINDER:

      THE EVENT LOST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, WHICH INCREASED THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE N.J. TAXPAYERS. THE NJ ACCOUNT WAGERING AT-HOME BETTING COMPUTERS CRASHED. THE TRAIN SERVICE WAS A FIASCO.

  • Kris

    I’m glad the rain didn’t spoil their parade. Kudos to the locals for supporting their track, come rain or shine.

  • Ohio Bred Girl

    Did Mr. Kulina give any insight into the upswing? What is Monmouth doing differently? They based projections on something. What?

    • Don Reed

      Winter cabin fever. Works every time.

      Humor aside, this really isn’t much of a press release.

      Weekend Notes: Some people went through a lot of trouble to erect a large sand castle just inside the front grandstand gates. It looked great & won 1st Prize in the “Artistic Image of Race Track Finances” contest.

      There’s a new bar on the ground floor that had a lot of customers who now can sit on decent seats & eat food on tables while watching the racing (instead of the Civil-War era benches on the apron by the finish line. Ten years after Belmont did this, on the ground floor of the BP Clubhouse, MP has intrepidly jumped into the fray).

      It’s also a vast improvement over the previous management brainstorm that must have wasted a ton of money – opening a new restaurant on the other side of the ground floor, where the windows look out on… the people coming in through the front gates. Instant ghost town.

      The indoor ground floor grandstand concession stands had lines going out the door. HELLO? Why were there only one or two people behind each counter? They’re called “employees” – HIRE them!

      The New Jersey Lotto stand is no more. At least, it’s no longer next to the Racing Program & DRF stand in the clubhouse. Maybe its been relocated to the Lost & Found department (get on the catwalk. Don’t look down).

      The ex-swimming pool hole in the ground, filled in with (presumably dirt), is still there. No sinkhole (yet).

      The new mini-golf layout also looks like fun, although it could stand some improvement (no rush; after Hurricane Sandy, it’s amazing anything is on the premises, not blown into Pennsylvania).

      Parking went up a buck. The cheerful, pleasant attendant blamed “the government,” fed, state or local didn’t specify (probably a group mugging. At least, last year, you could buy a Lotto ticket with that dollar – see above).

      Speaking of which, the parking lots still look like the Pine Barrens swamp is advancing northwards and is gaining on Kulina & Drazin. Crumbling concrete everywhere. Welcome to the Weedland Derby.

      The TVG telephone operator in April promised us that horse owners would not be able to bet on credit, which was allowed to happen when NJ Account Wagering (now completely deceased, I hope) was running the at-home betting system.

      Cause & Effect: Now that the owners have to pay cash – like everyone else – for their bets, this probably explains why the track handle went up 30% (and “49%” on TVG).

      Money aside, there’s simply nothing more depressing to watch than a N.J. $5,000 claiming race.

      A weird sight are the various electric rescue/repair trucks – lots of them – from Ohio who, seven months after the hurricane, are still in the MP outer parking lots.

      They must have gotten sick of the $2,000 Ohio maiden claiming races. Welcome to the Little (Pine Barren) Apple, gentlemen, and thanks for the help last fall.

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