Monmouth increases purses, adds three racing days

Posted: July 17, 2021

Monmouth Park increased purses across the board effective July 17 and added three live racing days on Fridays in September, Director of Racing John Heims said.

Purses for maiden special weight events and allowance races increased 20%. Races for claimers at a price of $12,500 or more increased 10%, and those for a lower tag increased 5%. For example, a maiden special weight that was worth $45,000 is now $55,000. Including the New Jersey-bred enhancement, a state-bred maiden special weight race is now valued at $71,875. The purse for an entry-level allowance test is now $60,000.

Purses for all open stakes that were $75,000 jumped to $100,000, while New Jersey-bred stakes were $75,000 increased to $85,000.

The Nownownow Stakes for 2-year-olds at one mile on the turf got the biggest purse boost—from $150,000 to $500,000. Named for the 2007 winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park, the second edition of the Nownownow Stakes will be the closing-day feature Sept. 26. Monmouth officials hope the stakes eventually becomes a major Breeders’ Cup prep in that division.

“We’re thankful to Gov. Philip Murphy and to the leadership in the state Senate and Assembly who continue to support racing in New Jersey,” said Dennis Drazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “A supplemental appropriation was passed and signed into law, and with rain preventing us from writing more races during the early stages of the meet, we have $5.5 million to spend on purses to support the Monmouth Park product as a result.

“We believe it was important to make the announcement at this time so horsemen can plan for the balance of the meet. We feel these increases will further strengthen what is already a quality product.”

Several other stakes purses will increase as well. The Sapling Stakes (Sept. 5) and the Sorority Stakes (Sept. 6), fixtures for 2-year-olds on the Monmouth racing calendar, will each get a $100,000 purse bump to $200,000. The Grade III Monmouth Oaks on July 31 will now carry a purse of $250,000, a $50,000 increase. The Grade III Iselin Stakes on Aug. 21 will see the same increase from $200,000 to $250,000.

The original racing calendar called for live racing on Saturdays and Sundays only for the final three weekends in September. Friday afternoon cards will now be added to those weekends. Monmouth will conduct live racing from Friday through Monday over the Labor Day weekend Sept. 3-6.

The Monmouth-at-Meadowlands all-turf meet will return with nine live Thoroughbred cards in October. Monmouth officials said purses at Meadowlands will increase this fall, with a purse schedule to be announced in the near future.