Monmouth Park Horse Racing Season Is Right Around The Corner

May 7-8 is a 'daily double' of the Kentucky Derby and Mother's Day

Spring has sprung in fits and starts in the Northeast this year, but a forecast of 67 degrees in Oceanport on Friday no doubt has some locals looking ahead to the opportunity to bet on horses at Monmouth Park.

And the wait, as it happens, is nearly over, with Opening Day coming on May 7, the same day on which the Kentucky Derby will be run. Opening Day at Monmouth will feature an eight-race card, with first race post time at 2 p.m.

Trainer Jose Delgado’s The Critical Way became the first racehorse to arrive at the Oceanport track on Friday at 7:40 a.m. as the track’s stable area reopened. More than a dozen more of Delgado’s horses also were scheduled to arrive at the track on Friday.

Day Two of the meet is May 8, also known as Mother’s Day. All ladies will gain free admission, and the first 1,000 moms will receive a flower courtesy of In The Garden, a floral shop in Highlands. Brunch already is sold out, track officials report, but there are other dining options, such as Lady’s Secret Café, the new “Summer Wind” outdoor dining destination, and the picnic area.

More dates, bigger purses added

Monmouth Park has just added two live racing dates on Sundays in September, extending the 2022 meet to 62 days following approval from the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 — the latter of which will be the new closing day — are the added live dates, with stakes races highlighting both cards. The $85,000 Pinot Grigio Stakes will headline the Sept. 11 card, while the $85,000 Joey P. Stakes is set for Sept. 18. Both races are for New Jersey-breds at five furlongs, and will be run on the turf.

A total of 50 stakes — 10 of them graded — worth $8.1 million will highlight the meet, topped as always by the $1 million Grade 1 Haskell Stakes Grade 1 on July 23. Several stakes races will see a significant boost in purses this summer, including the Grade 1 United Nations (up from $500,000 to $600,000), the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup (up from $300,000 to $400,000), the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher (up from $250,000 to $400,000), and the Grade 3 Matchmaker (up from $150,000 to $200,000).

All of those races, as well as the $100,000 Wolf Hill Stakes, will be on the Haskell Day undercard.

Haskell Preview Day on June 23 will feature four stakes races: the Pegasus, the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes, the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, and the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes. Furthermore, the 20th annual New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival has been scheduled for Aug. 28.

After Opening Day, Monmouth Park will go to a 12:15 p.m. first race post time on weekends and holidays. When the racing schedule expands in July and August, first race post time on Fridays and Mondays will be 2 p.m.

The first three weekends are Saturday-Sunday races, with Memorial Day Monday races added the following week. Then the start of June brings Friday racing as well, with a bonus card on Monday, July 4, and then Monday races for all of August and including Labor Day in September.

The just-added Sept. 10-11 and Sept. 17-18 are the only dates at Monmouth Park after Labor Day. Following the conclusion of the meet on Sept. 18, live thoroughbred racing in New Jersey will shift to the Meadowlands for nine all-turf cards starting Friday, Sept. 23. That meet is scheduled to run through Oct. 22.

The five Friday/Saturday weekends at the Meadowlands do not feature races on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Barbecue offering added to track menu

Local Smoke BBQ — a Jersey Shore fixture with locations in Red Bank, Neptune City, and Sea Girt — will have a concession stand at Monmouth Park for the first time this year. The concession stand will be located on the first floor of the grandstand during live racing days. In addition, Local Smoke’s menu will be available as a group picnic option, and the eatery’s specials will be available in the dining areas as well.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our patrons another quality dining option,” Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC and Monmouth’s operator, said in a statement. “We’re making a concerted effort to enhance the fan experience, and bringing in an established food retailer such as Local Smoke BBQ is something we believe our patrons will enjoy.”

Local Smoke BBQ has been named the state’s “BBQ champion” five times. Monmouth Park also will feature The Dining Club, as well as the newly renovated Salvator Grille, on the third floor of the clubhouse.

Many festivals and other events that have been canceled the last two COVID-marred summers are back this year. These include the Jersey Shore Truck Festival on May 28-30, the Wine & Pizza Festival on June 25-26, and the Surf & Turf Food Festival on Aug. 13-14.

Free parking, too

The 2022 season will feature free general parking each live racing day, while general admission will be $6. There will no longer be an additional fee to access the clubhouse area. (Tickets can now be purchased online via

Finally, bring-your-own coolers will again be permitted in the first-come, first-serve and group picnic areas. That’s for beer and wine only — no hard alcohol allowed.

Photo: Peter Ackerman/Imagn Content Services


Related Posts