• A total of six out of 14 races were canceled on Saturday due to the temperature of the park.
  • Maximum Security finished in first place at the Haskell Invitational after an “inquiry” review.
  • The on-track handle for the event was $1.96 million in 2018 and only $610,813 this year.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – The recent heatwave taking hold of a large part of the Eastern United States, made its presence felt this past weekend by forcing Monmouth Park to cancel six of fourteen races on Saturday and all races on Sunday.

The Haskell Invitational, a $1million dollar race, was scheduled to air Saturday on NBC at 5:47 p.m. eastern time. But, due to the track’s heat index being over 100 degrees, it was instead pushed back to 8:05 p.m.

Maximum Security won the race, but pari-mutuel bettors and Monmouth park took a major hit because of the weather. Last year, the on-track handle for the event reached up to $1.96 million. This year that number only reached $601,813.

“We are grateful to the horsemen who participated today and to the fans who were treated to a spectacular race,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, operators of Monmouth Park.

“I am equally grateful to their dedication and resolve through a difficult time. As always, the safety of our horses and their riders remains paramount, and today’s decision, as are all decisions, are rooted in that premise.”

Racehorse deaths are not a new issue. Last month, CBS News reported that at least 30 racehorses have died at Santa Anita Park alone since December.

This issue is what led multiple trainers to pull their horses out of races on Saturday. The Grade 3, $150,000 Oceanport Stakes, featured only four horses and the Haskell featured only six horses.

The attendance for the event also fell 30% from last year, and because of the heat delay, forced many attendees at the track to find air-conditioned facilities. The William Hill Sportsbook at Monmouth Park was open during the event, providing bettors with some form of action while they waited.

The sportsbook was the first to open in NJ after the May 14, 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding PASPA. The YTD revenue for the sports betting venue is $3,139,275, second only the Meadowlands ($12,731,810). Not being able to watch a full day of races, patrons were able to place wagers on both collegiate and professional sporting events at the full-scale sportsbook powered by William Hill.

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