Looking forward to Monmouth meet

May, 20, 2010
05/20/10
9:33
PM ET
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Saturday is opening day at Monmouth Park, and like most of the people who will be competing there for the season, I'm pretty excited about it. With the way the schedule is set up, live racing Friday through Sunday except for this weekend and holiday weekends, I expect to be back and forth from New York a little bit depending on what my agent, Ron Anderson, lines up for me. It'll be busy, but we think it'll also be worth it.

The meet lasts 50 days and they're giving away about $1 million in purses per day, which is the highest amount per day in North America right now. For that kind of money, the good horses should show up. I already know people like Todd Pletcher who have sent contingents there, and a lot of the New York trainers will be taking advantage of the opportunity. All of these places on the East Coast like New York, Maryland, Delaware -- people can easily ship from to run. They should be able to fill these races with no problem since they're only running three days per week. There should be big fields and we know there'll be big purses so it should be a good shot in the arm for racing if it all works out.

As a rider, you want to see good racing with lots of good horses, and I know the fans feel the same way. Also, bettors like a larger field size because there are more options and better odds on any horse you like. So hopefully it's something positive in racing that will help the industry and give New Jersey racing specifically a good boost. Jersey's going out on a limb to try it, so hopefully it turns into a similar atmosphere as the Keeneland meet.

It's a beautiful place -- it's weird because it's so close to New York, yet you have such a different feeling from Belmont or Saratoga. It's more of a Kentucky feeling, somewhere between Keeneland and Del Mar. It's nice because you have the ocean right there, it's wooded with beautiful trees, and over by the track there are all these little towns and it's just a nice little unique feel. I played a couple of great golf courses not too far from there, so you know what I'll be doing on my days off.

I was at Monmouth maybe once last summer, but the year before that I was there quite a bit. The racing there has always been OK, it hasn't been great racing on a day-to-day basis in recent years, but this is an opportunity for them to have some really good horses and trainers and jocks and kind of help expand and hopefully get back to the old days where you have this kind of energy throughout the whole meet and have people excited about being there.

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