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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