The mid-day decision made by Monmouth Park officials to abbreviate and push back Saturday's races produced a dramatic impact on handle and attendance. Announced figures for the Haskell card were $8,556,664 in handle and 25,173 fans through the turnstiles.
Compared to last year's Haskell card, the handle decreased by 36.1 percent. The announced attendance figure, which was likely even lower by the time the stakes races started at 6:00 p.m., was down 32.3 percent.
“We think that with all the other race tracks being closed this could easily have been a $20 million day,'' Dennis Drazin, CEO of Monmouth Park operator Darby Development, told nj.com after Saturday's decision was announced. “This could cost $5 million in revenue. We're losing the balance of the races. We're not going to get the (turnstile) churn.''
Drazin was in contact with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy prior to Saturday's decision.
“The governor entrusted the decision to me,” Drazin said. “He asked me to be in consultation with the state regulators, the vets, to make a decision that was consistent with the trust that's been placed in me. So that's what I did. I think we could've run safely. I don't think we would've had any incidents. But God forbid we did. Everyone was going to say we should've canceled. I don't think we should've canceled. We're an Ocean resort, we have a breeze coming in off the ocean. This isn't a hotbed like Saratoga (in upstate New York) or Delaware. But, in trying to balance what the right thing to do is, I made a call. Some people may not like the call but this is the call I felt was the right thing to do for Monmouth Park. So anyone who wants to take issue with it I'm the guy they can talk to.''
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