08/02/2010 1:59PM

Haskell has record handle


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Interest in the Haskell Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park translated into strong business numbers across the board, most notably a record $4,463,736 being bet on the Haskell itself, a race that was won in impressive fashion by Lookin At Lucky against a field that included Super Saver, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Trappe Shot.

An ontrack crowd of 40,904 bet $3,270,939. All-sources handle for the 14-race card totaled $17,442,170, second-best all-time at Monmouth for any day other than a Breeders’ Cup. The record is $17,642,955, set on the day of the 2008 Haskell, which was won by Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.

The big day came less than a fortnight after a commission organized by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie painted a bleak picture of racing in the state, despite the blockbuster business being done at Monmouth this summer, and the importance of the Meadowlands to the harness racing industry. Both Monmouth and the Meadowlands are run by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Dennis R. Robinson, the president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. “To see the numbers we posted today is further testament to the racing experiment at Monmouth Park this year, and what we hope is the new and bright future of racing in the Garden State.”