Bettors Flock to New Jersey for Weekend Horse Racing

This past weekend was a big one in New Jersey when it comes to horse racing. Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands offered events and players were out and about to place wagers on the big events. Monmouth Park even hit a new record high for its popular Haskell thoroughbred event.

Big Weekends for Racing

The Haskell at Monmouth Park is the biggest event of the year for the operator. Usually, it does pretty well, but this past weekend saw the handle hit an all-time high, reaching just over $20.4 million. This beat a previous record set five years ago when 61,000 people watched American Pharoah win the event.

This year, the attendance as a bit different due to the coronavirus. The number of people allowed into the facility was limited. So, there were only just over 3,500 people on-site. The stands usually have tens of thousands of people on-site, so it was quite odd to see the smaller crowed and basically no pageantry as the event usually garners.

While players could not attend, they could watch the race as it took place. The event was a 14 race card and it was the featured race that was a big hit among fans. Authentic claimed the win at Haskell Stakes in a near photo finish, which added to the excitement of the day.

With the win, Authentic now has a spot in the Kentucky Derby. The event was supposed to take place earlier in the year, but will now be held in September.

At the Meadowlands Pace, the event was also successful. The handle was just over $5 million and it was the most wagered on the card since 2008. At this event, it was Tall Dark Stranger who was able to earn the title after holding off Papi Rob Hanover in the featured race.

Limited Attendance, Big Betting

What is important to take note of is the betting handles of these two facilities and the fact that the attendance was much lower. The only way to wager is to use a self-service kiosk, a teller or online after picking up a slip from the teller window or the players rewards desk.

The big bettors must have been out in full force at both tracks as they both saw recording breaking handles. Players have been at a loss when it comes to sports betting and harness racing, as everything was shut down back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Either bettors have been saving up or the high rollers were out over the weekend, because these wagers were massive. It’s crazy to think how much money would have been generated if the crowd size had been its normal capacity.

Gambling options remain limited in New Jersey as casinos have reopened but at a lower capacity. The Borgata is still planning on opening in a few days and once they are up and running, all the Atlantic City casinos will be offering services along with the racetracks in the northern portion of the state.


Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.