Nine Hidden Gems of Monmouth Park

Events / Travel
Each summer, the Haskell Invitational Stakes draws scores of fans to Monmouth Park for horse racing, food, drink, and fun. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Monmouth Park itself is often described as a hidden gem of the Garden State. However, it would not be able to live up to that title without several areas that make the racetrack special. Here’s a list of must-see places to check out when you visit Monmouth Park for the 2018 Haskell Invitational Stakes on July 29.

Eclipse Sportswire

1. The Circle of Jockey Statues (Jockey Park)

In an often overlooked spot arranged in a circular fashion are several lawn jockeys with champion silks painted on them. It is truly a sight to behold as it is well maintained, and it’s a nice place to walk around in between races. If facing the back of Monmouth’s grandstand, the circle is located immediately to the right of the paddock – and if you find yourself in the general vicinity, it is a must-see!

2. Bluegrass Mini Golf

Named after the region in Kentucky which is home to the horse capital of the world (Lexington), this mini golf facility houses two 18-hole courses. The blue and green courses each have holes named after a champion Thoroughbred and are popular spots for those visiting the track.

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

3. Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill

The brand new sports book at Monmouth Park is now open seven days a week and attracts a myriad of bettors who are able to wager on a variety of sports outside of horse racing. Be sure to stop by and check out the parlor to take advantage of the recent Supreme Court decision enabling states to permit legal sports gambling.

Eclipse Sportswire

4. Picnic Area

Along Monmouth Park’s stretch one can find the designated picnic area. This is a popular spot for those with kids. The track allows charcoal grills to be used, so this is the place to congregate for grilled-out food, and it has around 100 umbrellas set up for shade. Also, read up on Monmouth’s alcohol compliance rules, as they have recently changed.

5. Garden Room

The Garden Room is a very tranquil room located on the third floor of the clubhouse and is a great place to frequent on hot days because it is air conditioned. It’s open to all track goers and has enough space to accommodate 150 people. The long-range weather forecast for this year’s Haskell is questionable, so pay a visit to the Garden Room to escape the humidity.

Eclipse Sportswire

6. The Lady’s Secret Café

Umbrellas shade this outdoor terrace fit with a bar and an elevated view of the paddock. It’s a nice place to enjoy a drink in the shade while watching the horses prepare for their upcoming race.

7. Beer Garden at Blu Grotto

A true gem of Monmouth Park features a Beer Garden open Thursday to Sunday and showcases around 20 draft beers and live music. The Garden remains open until the restaurant closes, which makes it a hot spot after the races.

Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

8. A Taste of the Jersey Shore

Every race day at Monmouth is a celebration of Jersey food and drink. The food at the current meet has received lots of praise from locals and out-of-state visitors alike. Max’s Famous Hot Dogs and Strollo’s Light House Italian Ice headline the food served, with several locally brewed beers available as well.

9. Dawn Patrol

For early risers who are curious about the inner workings of Monmouth, the Dawn Patrol program is a must. It offers an inside look at the jockey’s room, starting gate, and backstretch. The program starts at 8 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. It is free to attend, but reservations must be made in advance. To reserve, call 732-571-5542.

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