08/27/2009 12:00AM

Monmouth mixes jumps into card


Monmouth Park will integrate six steeplechase races into its 10-race program on Sept. 26, a card that includes two $200,000 divisions of the NATC Futurity on the flat.

The $70,000 Metcalf Memorial Novice Stakes at 2 1/4 miles over National Fences will be the richest of the steeplechase races, preps for the Oct. 17 meet at Far Hills, N.J.

While many tracks, most notably Saratoga, offer a jump race on their program, this marks the first time a steeplechase card will be blended with flat racing at a parimutuel track, according to the National Steeplechase Association.

It is a revival of the Monmouth Hunt meet, a tradition for many years at the nearby estate of Monmouth Park founder Amory Haskell.

In keeping with the Monmouth Hunt tradition, proceeds from the day will go to a local charity: the Meridian Health Foundation that includes Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, and the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital.

Seats and sponsorship packages are available at (877) 748-4667.

"We are very proud to partner with Meridian Health and the National Steeplechase Association to make this not only an exciting day of racing, but a wonderful day that benefits the entire community," said Dennis Robinson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth and the Meadowlands Racetrack.