Skip to comments.On Racing: Monmouth's bigger purses may hurt N.Y.
Posted on 03/10/2010 5:29:19 AM PST by ml/nj
This is the biggest challenge to New York racing in a long time.
Monmouth Park, in New Jersey, will offer the highest daily average purses in America in what could be an elite thoroughbred meeting in direct competition with Belmont and Saratoga.
The one-year Monmouth experiment, which cleared a major hurdle by gaining the approval of horsemen on Monday, runs from May 22 to Sept. 6 and offers daily average purses of $1 million.
By comparison, Saratoga Race Course in 2009 offered $730,000 daily to lead the nation.
Belmont Park this year runs from April 30 to July 18 and Saratoga from July 23 to Sept. 6.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemens Association announced the agreement on Tuesday.
Races will be conducted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the holiday Mondays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day added.
It is a bold and innovative plan in response to the suffering thoroughbred industry.
The pressure on many owners and trainers who annually support Saratoga will be tremendous.
When faced with the choice of winning an important race at Saratoga or an equally important one at another track, many will choose Saratoga because of prestige.
Even if the other one carries a bigger purse.
But now, the disparity will be so great that there is no doubt some horsemen will automatically choose New Jersey.
Overnight stakes races at Monmouth will begin at $100,000, some 30-35 percent higher than the overnight stakes in New York.
Maiden special weights for 2-year-olds will begin at $75,000-$80,000, far more than the $40,000-$50,000 offered at Belmont and Saratoga.
Purses are the driving force in racing, possibly more than ever in these difficult economic times.
The quality of racing at Saratoga this summer, now at 40 days and equaling the longest meet in Spa history, is going to be an issue.
I understand this Monmouth plan, from start to finish, took less than three months, once it got the attention and approval of New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
In New York, it is nine years and counting on revenue from lot machines at Aqueduct.
It would be interesting to know precisely what recently elected Governor Christie had to do with this plan. I wonder whether he had anything to do with its conception; or if he was brought on board later and just approved it.
The only slight negative I see is the three day format which may discourage people from traveling from far away for "only" three days of racing. But sometimes three days can be enough. E.g. Next month I will spend four days in Lexington for the Keeneland Spring Meet, but for a number of years my group would "only" go for three days.
They hosted the Breeders Cup in 2007. Won over $3,000 that day with Curlin in the Classic.
The thing that makes Monmouth Park potentially very attractive is that it’s a short drive from New York City and also you can reach it by NJ Transit trains. Watch the Belmont Park management raise their prize money to prevent losses to Monmouth Park.
And iirc, wasn't there a deluge of rain that whole weekend, which kept the attendance & gate receipts down?
Or am I thinking of one of the other big events they hosted recently?
Yes, I think it rained most of the day.
2007 Breeders Cup Classic - Curlin!!!