07/11/2015 1:03PM

'Pharoah Phan Phest,' increased parking prices for Haskell weekend

Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah's appearance in the Aug. 2 Haskell Stakes is the highlight of Monmouth's Pharoah Phan Phest.

Monmouth Park has announced some of the activities scheduled for Haskell weekend, including ontrack giveaways Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The three-day event runs from July 31-Aug. 2, when the Haskell will be run. It is being called Pharoah Phan Phest in honor of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who is being pointed to the Haskell by trainer Bob Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat.

While admission prices will not be raised for the Haskell and attendance will not be capped, parking prices will be increased dramatically on Haskell Day. Parking will be $20 and valet parking will be $40.

Track president Robert Kulina said that increasing the parking fees is not a money grab but an incentive for people coming to Monmouth that day to use New Jersey Transit trains or car pool.

"The reality is there’s one main ingress and egress to Monmouth, and that’s Route 36,” Kulina said. “We have deliberately raised these prices in an effort to push fans to car pooling and to mass transit. While we have additional off-site parking, we want to do everything we can to assist with the flow of traffic. The move in price on parking is strictly to assist in the extreme volume of expected traffic and to ease the burden on local municipalities and get fans into the facility as quickly and easily as possible.”

There is a New Jersey Transit train stop at Monmouth, and N.J. Transit will add additional cars. Trains, which run from New York City to Bay Head, N.J., will make additional stops at Monmouth Park that day.

Grandstand admission is $6 on Haskell Day and clubhouse admission is $9. First post will be 11:30 a.m. and the gates will open at 9 a.m.

A crowd in excess of 60,000 is expected. The all-time attendance record at Monmouth is 53,638, which came on Haskell Day 2003 when Peace Rules defeated Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

Here are the events planned for Haskell weekend:

Friday, July 31

** American Pharoah commemorative button giveaway, presented by the Daily Racing Form. 

** A “Phriday” happy hour at the Lady’s Secret Café.

** Daily Racing Form American Pharoah commemorative magazine giveaway.

** The Joes vs. Jocks Mini-Golf Phestival, which will take place at Blue Grass Mini Golf on the racetrack grounds following the last race. The Monmouth jockeys will face off against fans in the competition.

Saturday, Aug. 1

** A Bob Baffert commemorative baseball jersey giveaway. The jersey will reportedly say Monmouth Park across the front and have the No. 7 on the back, referring to Baffert's record seven Haskell winners. The colors of his winners' silks will be part of the jersey.

** Saturday will be Ladies’ Day and will feature a fashion show as well as a ladies hat contest and drink specials.

Haskell Day, Sun., Aug. 2

** The traditional Haskell hat giveaway, which is navy blue canvas this year. Supplies may be limited. Get your hat as soon as you arrive at the track.

** There will be contests for the best-dressed couple as well as the best American Pharoah costume.
All three days will feature T-shirt cannons down the stretch between races, live entertainment, and a commemorative American Pharoah beer cup.

“This is just the beginning,” Kulina said. “We have more in the works and will continue to build on the Pharoah Phan Phestival as the event draws near."