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  The Jersey Shore - Racing Style !     

Monmouth Park Logo Monmouth  Park first opened in 1870, making it one of the oldest tracks in the nation. The first attempt at racing only lasted three years as the original owners quickly went bankrupt. In 1878 a new syndicate took over ownership and after four years of updating the facility, re-opened in 1883. Unfortunately for them the State of New Jersey forced them out of business when wagering was banned in 1893. Racing would not return to the Jersey Shore for another fifty years.Monmouth Park Ad

In June of 1946, the new Monmouth Park made it's debut near the site of the original facility. Two of the original group that rebuilt the track, Amory L. Haskell and Phillip H. Iselin, have two of Monmouth's most prestigious races named after them. In 1947 the new clubhouse was finally completed, there also were improvements to the barn area and a new system notifying cashiers when the race became official.

During the fifties more improvements were made to both the racetrack and stable areas. In 1951 The Molly Pitcher Handicap was the first race ever televised in color. In 1959 advanced wagering was introduced at Monmouth Park. During the fifties horses like Nashua, Bold Ruler and Sword Dancer competed at the Jersey track.

In the sixties, things kept on rolling. A 400 seat cafeteria was built in the grandstand. A new clubhouse clubhouse addition with 800 more seats was built, along with other changes made to the building. On the track side, six fireproof barns were built, with modern facility's for stable hands. On the racing surface a new one-eight mile diagonal chute was added to the turf course. Famous horses who competed during the sixties, included Kelso, Buckpasser and turf champion Assagai, to name a few. In 1969 jockette Tuesday Testa, became the first woman to ride at Monmouth Park.

During the seventies, a new aluminum roof was added to cover both the clubhouse and grandstand. The facility was also partially winterized for the first fall meet held in 1974. The clubhouse dinning terrace was glass enclosed, heated and air conditioned. On the track a new racing surface was put down, with a new drainage system installed. Notable horses who ran in the seventies, included Foolish Pleasure, Ruffian, Wajima and Alydar.

In the eighties ownership of the track changed hands, as The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority took over running the track. In 1982, the turf course was refurbished with the addition of  a new sprinkler system. system. In 1987 Julie Krone won the first of her three straight riding titles and in 1989 Bill Shoemaker was on hand as part of his farewell tour. Spectacular Bid, Spend a Buck, Lady's Secret, Bet Twice, Alysheba, Lost Code, Personal Ensign and Safely Kept were some of the notable horses to run over the track.

During the nineties Monmouth celebrated it's fiftieth birthday and it couldn't have been a sweeter decade. A new 250 seat teletheather was built and the Paddock Bar was opened next to the Lady's Secret Cafe. Purses at Monmouth were at an all time high as simulcasting became a reality in New Jersey. Monmouth also benefited because of problems at sister tracks, Garden State and Atlantic City. With Garden State cutting back Monmouth was now able to run over the Memorial Day weekend, and the prestigious United Nations Nations Handicap was move here from Atlantic City. In 1994 an average of $3 Million was wagered daily at the Oceanport oval. Horses who appeared during the decade included Black Tie Affair, Bertrando, Holy Bull, Serena's Song, Skip Away and Silverbulletday.

After the turn of the century things really went crazy at the Jersey Shore, year after year records for handle and attendance were broken culminating in 2007 with the biggest prize of all The Breeders Cup. Not to be outdone by Robert Brennan at Garden State, Monmouth Park turned the racing world abuzz when in 2010 it announced it was going to run an Elite Summer Meet, offering the highest purses in the nation. Racing traditionalists became alarmed that this would hurt the sacred summer meet at Saratoga. If it did or didn't, the experiment only lasted one year, as a normal schedule returned in 2011. War Emblem, Lion Heart,Ghostzapper, Funny Cide, Rachel Alexandra and Looking at Lucky, were some of the notables to race after the Millennium. On the surface things looked great, but there was an undercurrent.

In 2011 the State of New Jersey shocked the racing world, when they announced both The Meadowlands and Monmouth Park would be closed if they did not find private ownership. Luckily both venues were rescued, at least for the time being. In 2012 the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman's Association secured a lease from the State to keep Monmouth Park running. It's glory days may well be over but Monmouth Park keeps on running.