Heat Leads To Lower Haskell Day Gate, Handle Figures At Monmouth
The Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Saturday was hampered by "excessive heat that caused a long delay in racing" and resulted in a "big drop in attendance and a significant financial hit" for the horse racing venue, according to Keith Sargeant of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The announced attendance of 25,173 was a 32.3% decrease from 37,186 for the '18 Haskell Day, which is Monmouth Park’s "biggest race day." The track reported an on-track handle of $610,813, a 68.9% decrease $1.96M in '18. The total handle for Monmouth Park was $8,556,664, a 36.1% decrease from $13.39M last year. After running the first two races of the event "without a hitch as temperatures topped 95 degrees," Monmouth Park President & CEO Dennis Drazin "decided to cut a good portion of the rest of its card" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/21). Saturday's delay came after the "tragic string of equine fatalities earlier this year at Santa Anita" that is now "impacting every major decision the industry makes." In New Jersey, Stephen Edelson writes, "This is the way it has to be now. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is tone deaf." Every other track in the region, including Saratoga, had "already cancelled racing on Saturday because of potentially dangerous conditions" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 7/21).