08/08/2005 11:00PM

Strong weekend for N.J.


Haskell Day capped the biggest racing weekend of the year for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the owner and operator of Monmouth Park and The Meadowlands Racetrack.

Total attendance was 75,034 for the Saturday-Sunday period as the two tracks presented their premier 3-year-old events.

The Meadowlands concluded its Standardbred season Saturday with the $1.5 million Hambletonian. Monmouth ran the $1 million Haskell on Sunday.

Ontrack wagering reached $7,097,834 for the two days.

The total handle, including bets made on Monmouth and The Meadowlands at all simulcast and offtrack outlets, hit $21,144,855.

The Meadowlands drew 31,245 for the Hambletonian, the track's biggest turnout since 1990. The total Hambletonian Day handle of $9,015,019 set a North American harness-racing record, surpassing the $8.8 million wagered on the 2002 Hambletonian Day card.

The Haskell pulled 43,789 fans, the fifth-highest turnout in track history. The 2003 Haskell, with Funny Cide the main attraction, set the record at 53,638.

The 2005 running marked the sixth straight year that Haskell attendance topped 40,000. The combined handle of $12,129,836 was Monmouth's third highest.