If you live anywhere near Monmouth County, you’ve probably heard of Monmouth Park. The famous racetrack has been a staple of the Shore culture since 1870. Here’s a brief look at the rich history of Monmouth Park.
Monmouth Park first opened on July 30, 1870. The racetrack was unlike anything most had ever seen, thanks to the innovative ideas of John F. Chamberlain, Amos Robbins, and John Hoey. Their main objective was to increase summer revenue to the shore communities that had recently seen a drop in foot traffic. Opening day was a huge success and brought people in from all over the country. Unfortunately, its initial success wasn’t sustainable, and the track was forced to close three years later.
After four years of
restoration, the track was reopened in 1882. It was instantly popular again, so
much so that a new course was built adjacent to the existing track.
Unfortunately, the state of New Jersey banned wagering on horseracing in 1894
and the track was closed once again. It wasn’t used again for racing for over
Comeback in the 1940s
In 1946 Monmouth Park was able to open again thanks to the lobbying efforts of Amory Haskell, who was able to change things around for legalized wagering. This was also the beginning of the Monmouth County Jockey Club. The opening saw over 18,000 people in attendance. Fun Fact: The very first racehorse on the grounds was named Ship Ahoy.
Monmouth Park was purchased by The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in 1986, who then spent a great deal of time and energy bringing back the historical events of past races, like the Monmouth Cup.
Monmouth County is proud to be home to such a historical and famous site. If you haven’t already, be sure to visit Monmouth Park during racing season!