11/09/2011 5:25PM

Monmouth Park extending meet


Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., will extend its meet by two weekends, starting with cards this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to an announcement from the track made on late Wednesday afternoon.

First post for the six additional race cards will be 12:15 p.m. Eastern each day, according to the announcement, and general admission and parking will be free. Monmouth will also offer racing Nov. 18-20.

Monmouth closed its meet on Sunday, but over the past several days horsemen and management have been discussing an extension, according to a source. Representatives for both groups have not returned phone calls this week. According to the source, horsemen were concerned that Monmouth would be unable to offer full-card simulcasts throughout the rest of the year if the meet was not extended, citing a state law requiring a minimum number of live racing days.

The cards for Friday and Saturday were drawn late on Wednesday, according to records maintained by Equibase. The Sunday card is expected to be drawn on Thursday.

Monmouth Park is being operated by Morris Bailey, a New York real estate developer, under a lease with the state. Although negotiations on the lease closed in midsummer, Morris and his representatives have lodged unspecified objections to terms of the lease, and it is unclear where the negotiations stand.

Under an agreement reached with horsemen just after the meet began on May 14, Monmouth agreed to run 71 live racing days. The track canceled four days of racing during the meet this summer because of a heat wave and the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene.

Under New Jersey law, racetracks have to run 141 live racing days in order to offer simulcasts year-round, but the minimum can be lower if horsemen and management agree on a reduced schedule.