Monmouth Park Sees Handle Increase, CEO Dennis Drazin Pleased with Fixed-Odds Debut

Posted on: September 20, 2022, 01:51h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 02:35h.

Monmouth Park closed out its summer meet on Sunday, and the New Jersey racetrack reported solid numbers for the season.

 Nownownow Stakes at Monmouth Park
Webslinger, with Dylan Davis aboard, wins the Nownownow Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday, passing Oxymore in his final strides. Racing concluded Sunday at the New Jersey track, where the all-sources handle increased by $43.7 million from last year to $217.2 million. (Image: Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

The all-sources pari-mutuel handle for races at the track rose by more than $43.7 million from last year to $217.2 million. Even with five more racing days on the calendar this year, the average daily handle rose by 14.8% to $3.6 million.

The on-track handle of $17.8 million was a $2.5 million improvement from 2021. Again, even accounting for the additional days, the average on-track daily handle rose nearly 7% to $295,897.

Dennis Drazin, the chairman and CEO of track operator Darby Development, said in a release track officials were happy to see wagering increase. He considered it a sign of a quality product that the track put out for bettors. He also thanked the horsemen for their commitment to the track, influencing the betting uptick.

“The numbers show the strength of our product and the willingness of bettors to wager on it … As we look forward to 2023, we want Monmouth Park fans and horsemen to know they can count on our ongoing commitment with additional facilities upgrades and to the highest quality of racing we can offer,” he said.

The meet’s highlight was Cyberknife’s July 23 win in the Haskell Stakes. With Florent Geroux aboard, the Brad Cox-trained colt rallied down the stretch and edged Bob Baffert’s Taiba at the wire. Cyberknife set a track and race record as he completed the mile and an eighth in 1:46.24.

Fixed-Odds Wagering Debuts

Monmouth Park also made news this summer for being the first US track in modern times to offer fixed-odds racing. The track worked with Australian-based BetMakers Technology Group to offer the product when the meet started in early May.

The track’s end-of-the-meet release didn’t publicize the fixed-odds handle. Bill Pascrell III, a New Jersey-based lobbyist who helped garner support in the state and is working to get fixed-odds approved elsewhere in the US, said the fixed-odds windows at the Oceanport track did about 17% of the pari-mutuel handle.

Those numbers would put the on-track, fixed-odds handle at about $3 million for the meet.

Bettors elsewhere in the US couldn’t make fixed-odds wagers on Monmouth races this year. It was only available to the 368,101 people who attended races at the track. Fixed-odds were also only available for win, place, and show wagering. Supporters of fixed odds are hoping to see other states, like Colorado and possibly Louisiana, become the next to approve the wagering product.

Bullish Future

Drazin told in an email on Tuesday that the track “saw positive returns” from fixed odds this year and piqued the interest of those who attended races.

He also remains bullish about its future in racing.

In five years, I believe that 50% of the win-place-show handle may be fixed odds,” he said. “I would also expect that in Q1 2023, several sportsbook operators will add fixed odds, which will put more eyes on our racing product.”

A Monmouth app for fixed-odds wagering that had been planned to launch for the Haskell should be available soon, Drazin added. That app will also offer additional tracks for bettors.

Racing Moves to the Meadowlands

While the meet has concluded at Monmouth, thoroughbred racing continues in the Garden State for the next five weeks.

The Meadowlands will host nine six-race cards starting on Friday. All of the races will be run on the turf course at the East Rutherford track every Friday and Saturday night, except for Oct. 15. That’s the same day as the Far Hills Steeplechase races.

Thoroughbred racing at the Meadowlands will conclude on Oct. 22.

Pascrell said fixed-odds wagering will be available at the Meadowlands thoroughbred and Far Hills meets.