With less than two weeks till the Grade 1 $1 million-dollar TVG.com Haskell Stakes, Monmouth Park received some promising news.
The historic Oceanport, New Jersey racetrack announced it will increase purses across the board starting July 17 and is adding three live racing days on Fridays in September.
“We’re thankful to Gov. Philip Murphy and to the leadership in the state Senate and Assembly who continue to support racing in New Jersey,” Dennis Drazin, the Chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, the operators of Monmouth Park, said in a news release.
“A supplemental appropriation was passed and signed into law, and with rain preventing us from writing more races during the early stages of the meet, we have $5.5 million to spend on purses to support the Monmouth Park product as a result. We believe it was important to make the announcement at this time so horsemen can plan for the balance of the meet. We feel these increases will further strengthen what is already a quality product.”
What Races Are Affected
The second Nownownow Stakes for 2-year-olds going a mile on the turf will see the biggest purse boost, increasing to $500,000 from $150,000 as the closing day feature on Sept. 26.
Maiden special weight races and allowance races will see a purse increase of 20%, with claiming races over $12,500 getting a 10% increase and claimers that go for $12,500 or less having a 5% purse increase.
Purses for all non-state bred stakes races that are currently $75,000 will go to $100,000, and Jersey-bred stakes races that are now $75,000 will be increased to $85,000.
Several other stakes races will see purse boosts as well, including The Sapling Stakes (Sept. 5) and the Sorority Stakes (Sept. 6), will each get a $100,000 purse bump to $200,000.
The Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks on July 31 will now carry a purse of $250,000, a $50,000 increase. The Grade 3 Iselin Stakes on Aug. 21 will see the same increase from $200,000 to $250,000.
Monmouth Park’s original schedule called for live racing on Saturdays and Sundays only for the final three weekends of September. Friday day cards will now be added to those weekends. The track will conduct live racing from Friday through Monday over the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-6.
Following a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet will return with nine live Thoroughbred cards in October. Those all-turf programs in East Rutherford will see significant purse increases as well. The purse structure for that meet will be announced when the racing dates are finalized.