Dennis Drazin

Monmouth Park, Caesars Celebrate Sportsbook Groundbreaking

Construction on a trackside sportsbook and entertainment complex began with a ceremonial groundbreaking at Monmouth Park Tuesday which featured representatives from the New Jersey racetrack, Caesars Sportsbook, and local dignitaries who planted golden shovels in the ground to mark the occasion. The state-of-the-art facility and full-service restaurant combo is set to open in 2025, featuring 16,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor sports viewing with wall-to-wall flat screen televisions, food from nationally known restaurant partner Shake Shack, and more than 25 self-service betting kiosks. "We are proud to continue investing...

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NJ Governor Murphy Vetoes Bill To Extend Purse Subsidies Through 2029; Drazin Optimistic Deal Will Still Get Done

A bill that would have extended annual purse subsidy payments made to New Jersey's Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks was vetoed Wednesday by Gov. Phil Murphy. The bill called for the $20 million subsidy, which is split between the two breeds, to continue through 2029. The money has already been approved for 2024. The extension was to run from 2025 through 2029. Murphy vetoed 12 bills in all, using what is called a pocket veto. That type of veto applies only to bills sent to the governor's desk in the final...

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Collmus Named Handleman Award Winner

Race caller and TVG analyst Larry Collmus, whose distinguished career includes a 20-year stint as Monmouth Park's track announcer, has been named the winner of the 2023 Bill Handleman Award for outstanding coverage of last year's GI Haskell S. First presented in 2012, the Handleman Award honors the late Bill Handleman, one of New Jersey's top sportswriters for nearly three decades for the Asbury Park Press. Handleman, a fixture at Monmouth Park and a passionate chronicler of the sport, died in June of 2010 at the age of 62....

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Monmouth Meet Will Offer Expanded Opportunities for Fixed Odds Players

Fixed odds wagering at Monmouth Park last year didn't exactly break sharply from the gate. In its first run, it was available only on Monmouth races and, initially, only to on-track customers. A website that took fixed odds bets did get up and going during the meet, but regulations that would allow for bettors living outside of New Jersey to bet on fixed odds never did materialize. Handle figures were never made public, but it appeared that fixed odds accounted for only a small percentage of Monmouth's total handle. Yet,...

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Pat McBurney Earns 2023 Virgil 'Buddy' Raines Award

Long-time trainer Pat McBurney, a fixture at Monmouth Park for more than four decades and the current president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, has been named the 2023 recipient of the Virgil "Buddy" Raines Distinguished Achievement Award. The Raines Award, currently in its 28th year, is presented annually just prior to Monmouth Park's season opener. The track's 78th season of live racing gets underway on Saturday, May 13. "It's a tremendous honor to receive this award because of what it means to thoroughbred racing in New Jersey," said...

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Immaculately Bred Curlin Colt Set For Hanshin Debut

In this continuing series, we take a look ahead at US-bred and/or conceived runners entered for the upcoming weekend at the tracks on the Japan Racing Association circuit, with a focus on pedigree and/or performance in the sales ring. Here are the horses of interest for this weekend running at Hanshin Racecourse: Saturday, March 4, 2023 4th-HSN, ¥10,480,000 ($77k), Maiden, 3yo, 1800m CIRCULATE (JPN) (c, 3, Curlin--Sower, by Flatter) is the first foal from his dam, a two-time stakes winner and twice placed at graded level for Len Green and...

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Chris Griffin Named New Track Announcer at Monmouth Park

Parx track announcer Chris Griffin has been named the new track announcer at Monmouth Park starting with the 2023 meet that gets underway in May. Griffin, the back-up announcer at Monmouth Park since 2020, will replace Frank Mirahmadi, who is taking over as the track announcer at Saratoga next summer after eight years at Monmouth Park. Mirahmadi is also the track announcer at Santa Anita. The 41-year-old Griffin was also recently named the track announcer for the Aqueduct winter meet that runs from January through April. "We're pleased to have...

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Handle Jumps 25% at Monmouth; Lopez, Gonzalez Take Meet Titles

Monmouth Park showed a 25.2% increase in total handle and a 16.07% increase in on-track handle, while Paco Lopez won his ninth riding title and Claudio Gonzalez earned his first training title as the Jersey Shore track closed out its 77th season Sunday. Total handle was $217,243,199 this summer compared to $173,511,611 a year ago. On-track handle was $17,753,794 in 2022 compared to $15,216,978 a year ago. Total attendance was 368,101. Monmouth ran 60 live days of racing this year compared to 55 a year ago. "We're extremely pleased by...

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Far Hills to Name Race For John Forbes

The Far Hills steeplechase race meet will honor the late John Forbes--a fixture at Monmouth Park where he trained for 40 years--with the first John Forbes Memorial Race during its six-race program Oct. 15. The 101st Far Hills Race Meeting will offer $575,000 in purses for the six races at Moorland Farm in Far Hills, N.J., highlighted by the $250,000 Grade 1 Grand National. The John Forbes Memorial, the only flat race on the program, will be contested at two miles on the turf. It will go as the final...

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Despite Heat, Monmouth Officials Confident Haskell Card Will be a Go

With temperatures set to reach the high nineties this weekend in the Mid-Atlantic region, a number of tracks have announced adjusted schedules, but Monmouth Park officials remain confident that the Saturday card featuring the GI Haskell S. will go off as planned. "First and foremost, we are concerned about the safety of the horses and jockeys and want to make sure we do the right thing," said Dennis Drazin, who heads the management team at the Jersey Shore track. "But we've been on top of it all week and right...

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Monmouth Appeals to Racing Commission to Amend Whipping Rules

With new regulations regarding whipping set to go into effect throughout the country on July 1 when the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) takes effect, management at Monmouth Park has asked the New Jersey Racing Commission to adopt the more lenient HISA rules when the meet opens May 7. The story was first reported by the Asbury Park Press. At the start of the 2021 meet controversial rules were put in place by the New Jersey Racing Commission that banned the practice of whipping horses to encourage them...

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Daily Average Handle Down at Monmouth; Whip Ban To Blame?

Total all-sources handle at the Monmouth Park meet, which wrapped up Sunday, Sept. 26, showed an increase, hardly a surprise since this year's season included 11 more cards than the 2020 meet, which was shortened due to COVID-19 issues. Monmouth didn't fare nearly as well in the more relevant category of daily average handle. During this year's 55-day meet, average daily handle was $3,154,748, a decline of 17.13% over 2020 figures, when the average handle was $3,807,082. The 2020 Monmouth meet consisted of 44 cards. The decline begs the question:...

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