If you're looking for a fun day trip during your Jersey Shore vacation, plan an outing to Monmouth Park racetrack in Long Branch, New Jersey, and spend the afternoon watching the thoroughbred horses in action. Monmouth Park is home to the legendary Haskell Invitational, which takes place July 23, 2022. Here is the Belmar Beachcomber's guide to a day at the races at Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Monmouth Park Racing Schedule
Races are held Friday through Sunday between May and late September. Gates open at 9:00 a.m., and the first race on Fridays starts at at 5:00 p.m. The first post time on weekends and holiday Mondays is 12:15 p.m. On Haskell Day, races begin at noon.
Getting To Monmouth Park
Monmouth Park is located in Long Branch, New Jersey, about 15 miles north of our shore house rental in Belmar. The track is an easy drive via Route 35 north from Belmar, or via Exit 105 of the Garden State Parkway to Route 36 East.
If you'd rather take the train, New Jersey Transit (North Jersey Coast Line) service is available on race weekends from Belmar to the Monmouth Park train station in Oceanport. New Jersey Transit offers a special promotional package that also includes round-trip train tickets, general admission to the park, and a racing program —all for $10.00, plus $3.50 processing fee ($13.50 total). RELATED: Area Attractions Near Belmar, New Jersey
Admission And Parking
Admission to Monmouth Park is $6.00, which includes access to the clubhouse. On Haskell Day, admission is $20.00 for the grandstand and $30.00 for the clubhouse.
Racing programs may be purchased at the park entrance, in the clubhouse, and at other locations throughout the track.
General admission parking is free. The race track does not have valet parking.
Haskell Race Day
Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended for the Haskell Invitational, as this is a very popular horseracing event at Monmouth Park. Tickets for reserved seats and general admission may be purchased online via www.seatgeek.com/monmouth or by calling 732-571-5563 when the track is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Picnic Area And Dining Options
General admission to the grandstand includes access to the open-air picnic area, which has 100 umbrella tables available on a first-come, first-served basis. The picnic grove has a large play area for the kids, making it a popular spot for family groups. Small charcoal grills and coolers are permitted in the picnic area.
For more dining options, Monmouth Park has casual food stands selling fare that offers a "touch of the Jersey Shore," such as Monmouth Burger, Max's Famous Hot Dogs, Exacta Tacos, and Lady's Secret Café & Paddock Bar.
For a more formal experience at the racetrack, try the air conditioned dining terrace on the third floor of the Clubhouse or the fine-dining Blu Grotto restaurant and outdoor beer garden. The dining terrace menu includes starters, soups, salads, and entrees.
The Blu Grotto serves regional Italian favorites, fresh seafood, and prime steak in a conservatory-style setting. The restaurant also has three large decks and an outdoor beer garden with live entertainment, gourmet bar pies, raw bar, and more. Reservations are recommended and may be made via Open Table or by calling 732-571-7900.
Monmouth Park Family Fun Days
Every Sunday through Labor Day is family fun day at Monmouth Park. Just for the kids, the park provides free face painting, a bounce house, pony rides, and clown entertainment.
In addition to family fun days, throughout the summer, Monmouth Park hosts special events and festivals offering fun for all ages. Some of the upcoming events for 2022 include:
Opening Day and Derby Party, Saturday, May 7 Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8
Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival, May 28-30
Irish Festival, June 5
Cooler Giveaway, June 11
Father's Day, June 19
Win, Wine & Dine Festival, June 25-26
Classic Car Show & Oldies Day, July 10
Haskell Invitational, July 23
Italian Festival and Wine Tasting, July 30-31
Live & Local Music Festival, August 20
NJ Thoroughbred Festival, August 28W BBQ & Craft Beer Festival, Labor Day Weekend, September 3-5
Food Trucktemberfest, September 10
Monmouth Park Claim To Fame
After beating all the odds and winning the Triple Crown in 2015, American Pharoah proudly prevailed at that year's Haskell Invitational before a cheering crowd of 60,000 fans and spectators. He won the race by 2-1/4 lengths with a time of 1:47.95 for a distance of nine furlongs.
You don't have to wager any bets to enjoy a summer afternoon at the track. I'm not a huge gambler, but I have loved horses since I was a little girl. One of my favorite parts of visiting Monmouth Park is seeing the horses up close before each race when they leave the paddock and promenade around the walking ring.
Monmouth Park Racetrack
175 Oceanport Avenue
Oceanport, NJ 07757
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
Day trips down the shore are fun, but it's even better to rent a beach house for the week to experience everything wonderful about the Belmar area. For couples, solo adults and small families, the two-bedroom Blue Hydrangea Cottage rental in Belmar, New Jersey, is the perfect getaway place. The home sleeps up to four people and is consistently rated five stars for cleanliness, amenities and location. Learn more at www.vacationinbelmar.com.
Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.