It will be a joyous Fourth of July weekend in Oceanport, New Jersey.
Sports wagering and thoroughbred racing return to Monmouth Park Thursday and Friday respectively after over 3 ½ months of lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic.
Monmouth Park will re-open for simulcast wagering and sports betting at the William Hill Sportsbook on Thursday, July 2, after Gov. Phil Murphy gave approval for the track to do so on Monday as part of the state’s Stage 2 loosening of restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Monmouth Park, which opens for its 75th season of live racing on Friday, July 3, will be permitted to operate at 25 percent capacity. The track has been closed to fans since March 16, when restrictions were put into place to slow the spread of the virus.
“We’re grateful for Gov. Murphy’s leadership throughout this pandemic and look forward to getting back to some semblance of business as usual in these times of a new normal,” said Dennis Drazin, Chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack. “We know our fans are as eager to return to Monmouth Park as we are to have them back.”
Free parking and free admission will be offered to patrons (except on Haskell Day) and spectators will not be allowed to bring in their own food and beverages at all during the meet. Fans are expected to social distance, wear masks, and undergo a temperature check as they enter through the main gates.
The 37-day live Monmouth Park meet will run from Friday, July 3, through Sunday, September 27. Post time on Fridays will be 5 p.m. (except for Sept. 4 when it will be 12:50 p.m.). Saturday and Sunday post times will be 12:50 p.m., except Haskell Day on July 18, when the first race goes at noon.
After a 12-week layoff, one of the state’s two harness racing tracks, The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, re-opened for its harness meet on Friday, June 5 without spectators and will also reopen to fans, along with the FanDuel Sportsbook, on Thursday.
The other, Freehold Raceway in Freehold, also re-opens for simulcast wagering on Thursday, with its live meet to open on Friday, August 28. Freehold Raceway Mall, a shopping destination across the street from the racetrack, re-opened Monday.