Dubbed “The Shore’s Greatest Backstretch,” Monmouth Park is now the only thoroughbred track that runs regularly in the state of New Jersey. The track has a storied and steep history with the $1M Haskell Invitational being the track’s centerpiece race. Monmouth hosted a Breeder’s Cup in 2007. Given its close proximity not only to tracks on the NYRA circuit but also to Parx and Delaware Park, the Monmouth Park stable gate is a busy place with horses shipping in and out.
Monmouth Park Particulars
Monmouth Park’s main track is 8 furlongs or 1 mile. Its turf course is 7 furlongs but has a turf chute for races over 1 mile.
Monmouth Park Known Track Bias
Monmouth Park is known as being a speed-favoring track on the dirt. Horses that rely on gate speed and bolting to the lead in the early stages of the race, whether it be sprint or route, often times come home first. Monmouth Park’s turf course can play the opposite with closers having an advantage. Monmouth Park is usually quick to move races from the turf so bettors will seldom see a turf course rating below good.
Monmouth Park Post Positions
Early on in the Monmouth Park meet, winners have been coming more from the outside stalls. While this is a relatively small sample size, the trend has been prevalent at Monmouth Park for years. The rail is anything but golden in sprint races.
Monmouth Park Leading Jockeys
Arguably one of Monmouth Park’s all-time greats, Joe Bravo is always a factor when he rides in Oceanport. Bravo has recently diversified his portfolio, and in addition to becoming more selective, he has also opted to ride in New York more and more.
Monmouth veteran Jose Ferrer has been a mainstay on the Jersey Shore for many decades. He is known as a lethal speed rider as is Paco Lopez, Both have the ability to get a horse quickly out of the gate and carefully dispense his/her speed. Albin Jimenez is a young rider who has patience beyond his years and is a deceptively solid turf rider. With that said, when Bravo is in town and riding on the turf, most of the time the rest of the field is running for second.
Top 5 Jockeys from 2018 Meet
Monmouth Park Leading Trainers
Trainer Jorge Navarro has dominated the Monmouth Park trainer standings as of late, winning six consecutive titles while annually toppling his own single-season win record. Not only does Navarro have a long line of graded stakes horses, mainly sprinters, but he also is extremely active in the claim box and is known for winning first off the claim. Given his enormous success, nearly every angle is a profitable one with Navarro. However, bettors won’t find much value with his runners given his success.
Nationally-known trainer Jason Servis, a former Monmouth Park valet, is always a serious win threat every time he drops into the entry box. Like Navarro, Servis is potent first off the claim.
Chad Brown, who got his start as an assistant to the late Bobby Frankel handling his Monmouth Park string, now has a string of his own. Just as is the case throughout the nation, Brown is especially dangerous on the turf. Belmont winning trainer Kelly Breen has called Monmouth home for many years and is as solid as they come. Pat McBurney spent decades learning under John Forbes, a Monmouth Park Hall of Famer and now has his own stable.
Monmouth Park Track History
Monmouth Park has been a Shore tradition since 1870. Three buildings have carried the name Monmouth Park in the last 139 years. Monmouth Park’s long and storied history dates back to July 30, 1870, when the track opened, just three miles from Long Branch.
Due to the high caliber of its racing, Monmouth Park achieved distinction as the “Newmarket of America”– a reference to the famed racecourse in England. Three years after the first Monmouth Park was opened, financial difficulties forced the track to close.
Racing returned to Monmouth Park under a syndicate of George L. Lorillard, D.D. Withers, G.P. Wetmore, and James Gordon Bennett. They spent four years restoring the grounds and rebuilding the grandstand and in 1882, the rebuilt Monmouth Park opened its gates. In 1891, the Monmouth Park meet was moved to Jerome Park and Morris Park while state legislation tried to suppress pari-mutuel wagering. The state was ultimately successful, and on March 21, 1894, banned wagering on horses. The track was closed and the land sold. Racing would not return for over 50 years.
On June 19, 1946, for the third time and after a 53-year hiatus, Monmouth Park reopened its doors. Under the new leadership, the Monmouth Park Jockey Club was born.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority purchased Monmouth Park in 1986 and many of the historic, century-old stakes races were reinstated, with the Monmouth Cup, inaugurated in 1884, renamed the Philip H. Iselin Handicap. Currently, the track is owned and operated by Darby Road LLC, a conglomerate of New Jersey horsemen.
Monmouth Park Notable Races
In recent years, due to slot machines in Delaware and Pennsylvania, Monmouth Park’s graded stakes calendar has taken a hit. Now that sports betting is legal in the Garden State, look for it to make a comeback. For the current season, there are 11 graded stakes and 2 Grade I events: the United Nations for older horses on the turf and the Haskell Invitational for three year olds on the dirt.
Monmouth Park Track Contact Information
175 Oceanport Avenue, Oceanport, NJ