09/29/2014 2:05PM

Monmouth meet closes with across-the-board gains

Email

The Monmouth Park meeting that concluded Sunday showed gains in attendance, ontrack handle, and all-sources handle, according to figures released by the track Monday.

Average attendance at the 57-day meet was 9,296, an increase of 3.4 percent over 2013, when 61 days of racing were held. Ontrack betting at the meet averaged $538,540 per day, 5.6 percent higher than the $510,106 wagered daily last year.

Average daily all-sources handle on the Monmouth races was $4.59 million, an increase of 3.5 percent over the 2013 average of $4.4 million.

The Monmouth figures are bolstered each year by Haskell Day. This year’s announced Haskell attendance was 35,983, and $15,952,611 was wagered.

“Last year, we thought we had turned the corner, and this year’s successes have put us on firmer ground as we continue to build a better racing program and entertainment destination that is second to none,” said Dennis Drazin, adviser to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack.

Ongoing projects at Monmouth include the construction of a restaurant near the track’s miniature golf course and the 2015 completion of a 7,500-seat amphitheater. A new offtrack betting parlor is scheduled to open soon in Hillsborough, N.J.

Paco Lopez won his third Monmouth riding title. Lopez dominated the meet with 120 wins, more than double the 58 of runner-up Gabriel Saez. Lopez set a Monmouth record by winning seven races on May 17. He came back to have another seven-win day June 6.

Jorge Navarro won his second straight training title with 43 wins. White Wabbit Wacing was the leading owner with 24 wins.

The most notable equine performances of the meet belonged to Bayern, who won the Haskell by more than seven lengths; Main Sequence, who defeated Twilight Eclipse by a neck in the United Nations; and Itsmyluckyday, who won the Salvator Mile and then went on to win the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.