Purses, interest up as Monmouth releases first condition book

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: March 6, 2019

Monmouth Park has released its first condition book for 2019, and as expected it reflects a substantial bump in purse money compared with last year.

In addition, management said there is a spike in interest from horsemen who have indicated they plan to participate in the meet, which runs from May 4-Oct. 27.

Average daily purses are expected to be about $450,000, up from about $300,000 in 2018. The stakes schedule was expanded this year, and once again Monmouth, which is leased from the state by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, will cover workers’ compensation costs for horsemen stabled at the track.

Director of Racing John Heims said he and Bill Anderson, General Manager at Monmouth, recently visited Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana racetracks to visit with horsemen and encourage them to race in New Jersey in the spring, summer and fall.

“We had some new folks express interest as well as people who haven’t been here in a few years,” Heims said March 5. “We told them, ‘We’d love to have you here.’ I think the news is being incredibly well-received. Even if people aren’t coming, they said they’re happy a corner has been turned at Monmouth.”

The additional purse money this year will largely come from a $10 million supplement approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in February. The legislation calls for Monmouth to receive $10 million a year over five years, though it will have to document each year how the extra money is having a positive impact on New Jersey racing and breeding.

A sampling of the first condition book shows that a maiden-claimer with a $10,000 tag will go for $16,000, maiden special weight events will run for $42,500 (turf) and $45,000 (dirt), and the pots for an entry-level allowance race are $45,000 (turf) and $47,500 (dirt).

The New Jersey-bred program should benefit—a popular bonus program is returning. All open overnight races will offer a 40% bonus on their respective earnings for New Jersey-bred runners that finish first, second or third. The maximum that can be earned in any race is $15,000.

In addition, New Jersey-registered races will go for sizeable pots: The purse for a $40,000-$30,000 maiden claiming race is $35,000, an entry-level allowance event will go for $59,375, and a second-level state-bred allowance race is set at $62,500.

The first condition book for the Monmouth meet is available here.

(Monmouth Park photo by Tom LaMarra)