Monmouth Park opened in 1946, the year after the end of World War II, but no meeting in its storied history will receive more attention than this season's when the track in Oceanport, N.J., presents the Breeders' Cup for the first time this fall.
Today, the track offers the first of 75 racing days, concluding on Sept. 2, then races four days, Oct. 24-27, with the final two days consisting of the Breeders' Cup, with 11 events worth $23 million.
The $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be contested on Oct. 27.
Longtime fans of the seaside course will note that $30 million in improvements will give the track a fresh appearance, with construction continuing throughout the season in preparation for the Breeders' Cup.
For decades, Monmouth's firm racing surface has produced rapid clockings, and that should continue with a new main track that has seen horses flying in workouts.
Highlights of the regular meeting are the $1 million Haskell Invitational (Grade I) on Aug. 5 and the $750,000 United Nations (Grade I) on July 5, along with 12 other graded stakes.
Joe Bravo will seek his 13th riding title and will face competition from Danny Centeno, who led all jockeys with a record-setting Tampa Bay meeting.
Stewart Elliott, the rider of Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones three years ago, will return to Monmouth after riding at Delaware Park last season.
The track will race weekends until the May 26-28 Memorial Day weekend and then on a Wednesday-through-Sunday basis beginning in June.
First post is 12:50 p.m.
Xchanger Preakness bound. The gray colt romped over the Pimlico surface in the Tesio on April 21, winning by 43/4 lengths while under wraps with Ramon Dominguez aboard.
Trainer Mark Shuman shopped Xchanger, the winner of last year's Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park, to any buyer with "Derby fever" before the Run for the Roses last Saturday.
"We got some offers but nothing really panned out," Shuman said yesterday. "He's doing super, really great. The top three from the Derby [Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Curlin] had to exert themselves, and we're fresh and they have to come to us."
Xchanger trains at Fair Hill in Maryland. Shuman is confident he again will have Dominguez on Xchanger, and that is likely if trainer Michael Matz decides to start Chelokee in the Barbaro Stakes instead of the Preakness on the same afternoon at Pimlico.
Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Philadelphia Park horsemen will sponsor the "2007 Fillies Race for the Cure" tomorrow as part of the national Mother's Day campaign.
Items such as T-shirts and hats will be sold, and a silent auction will take place until 3:30 p.m.
Donations will be taken, and the jockeys will conduct a 50-yard footrace before the second thoroughbred race.
Pink saddlecloths and helmet covers will be donned, and breast cancer survivors from the backstretch will be included in the winner's circle ceremony after the eighth race.
Here are the potential starters for next Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore:
Street Sense (Kentucky Derby champion)
Hard Spun (Derby runner-up)
Curlin (3d in Derby)
Teuflesberg (17th in Derby).
Xchanger (won Tesio Stakes at Pimlico).
Chelokee (trained by Michael Matz, 3d in Florida Derby).
King of the Roxy (2d in Santa Anita Derby).
Flying First Class (won Derby Trial).
Starbase (2d in Lexington Stakes).
C P West (2d in Withers).
Mint Slewlep (4th in Withers).