HomeThe ShuffleMark Your Calendar for Horse Racing

Mark Your Calendar for Horse Racing

Change is constant, as the current year and the ongoing race season have proven. But here are five things to know right now about lesser-known tracks—and surprise opening dates—some with fans!—at major establishments.

Now that the Belmont Stakes is history, horse racing bettors can regroup for the reshuffled summer lineup.

As you know by now, this season’s races, dates and purses are different from those in other, normal years, with many contests delayed because of Covid-19.

Check out who’s running where:

  1. Amid the Belmont hype last week, Delaware Park opened its meet June 17. The live racing season will continue each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday through October 17. Races will also be added every Thursday from July 16 through October 1. Post time is generally 1:15 p.m. ET.The track has a significant inventory of available horses. This results in good-sized fields and multiple entries—good for betting.
  2. Penn National. Live racing into early July will go off every Wednesday and Friday at Penn National, at the Hollywood Casino in Grantville, Pennsylvania, with a first post of 6 p.m. ET in the near term. An expanded racing schedule will be reviewed based on horse supply and available purse revenues going forward.This one’s a nice racing niche for bettors. There are good-sized fields and the level of racing is respectable. For East Coast gamblers, the start time is great, providing a perfect bridge between tracks with afternoon and evening programs. This brings the action for bettors who arrive late in the afternoon and want to play into the evening.
  3. West Virginia. Charles Town Races at Hollywood Casino is open Thursday-Saturday. Mountaineer near New Cumberland picks up the baton Sunday-Tuesday. Races start at 7 p.m. ET at both tracks.

The level of racing at these tracks is low, but the fields are good sizes and it’s fun to bet against favorites. Charles Town has a unique race distance of 4 1/2 furlongs. Speed in the middle of the track has been doing well there.

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  1. Around the turn, here comes Monmouth Park. The celebrated Oceanport, New Jersey oval opens its meet July 3 with a weekend betting program. The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational is set for July 18. First race at Monmouth is 1:15 p.m. ET on Fridays and 12:50 p.m. ET Saturdays and Sundays. The Meadowlands harness program already runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:15 p.m. ET.Good news if you’re Jersey-bound: as of July 2, the state’s casinos and racetracks can open at 25% capacity. Dennis Drazin, who heads the operations team at Monmouth Park, told the Thoroughbred Daily News the track could accommodate about 15,000 people a day based on the 60,000 fans who attended American Pharoah’s GI Haskell Invitational in 2015. “I think this is huge,” Drazin said. “This is a great development for us now.”
  2. The next Triple Crown race is September 5, when the Kentucky Derby The Preakness follows on October 3. Everything is out of order this year, from a scheduling perspective. But the great news, in the Covid era, is that the tracks are running.

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for iGamingPlayer.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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