06/25/2011 10:53AM

Monmouth: No Such Thing as a Free Lunch


With the state of New Jersey getting out of the racing business and businessman Morris Bailey taking the reins as the leaseholder at Monmouth Park there figured to be some changes in the coming months. But change has already taken place in the press box, as the complimentary food service for the press corps has been cut from the budget.

Barbara Giacchi and Renee Wagner had been serving lunch to racing writers and others for 18 and 16 years, respectively, but the kitchen was unceremoniously closed last Sunday, the victim of a cost-cutting initiative.

"I've seen many people come and go up in the press box, and all of them made me feel like family," said the popular Giacchi, a full-time Special Education teacher in the Long Branch Public Schools who alternated weekends with Wagner. "And you always miss family the most. The press box at Monmouth Park was like a second home to me."

The lunch service, which consisted largely of cold cuts and salads, will likely be in place only on Haskell Day this year. Giacchi plans to devote her newfound free time to her cookie business, Biscottisisters.com, which she founded with Nancy McBride, her original partner in the Monmouth Park press box back in 1994.