It has grown to be an institution at Monmouth Park, Oceanport. The track will celebrate its 12th annual St. Patrick’s Day event on Sunday, and anyone wearing anything green will be admitted free to the grandstand and at half-price to the clubhouse.
And true to the Irish, the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Pipe and Drum Band will be performing traditional music, and Jersey’s own Joe Finn will be performing throughout the day.
One lucky fan will win a trip for two to Ireland, courtesy of Murphy’s Irish Stout.
There will also be a full slate of stakes races over the weekend, headlined by the Grade III Reeve Schley Jr. Stakes and the Lamplighter Handicap. Both will be run on Saturday.
The Schley Stakes was renamed to honor the former chairman of the board and Monmouth Park director.
The race was formerly the Post-Deb Stakes, used as a springboard to the Monmouth Oaks.
Schley raced as Raritan Stable, which he took over from his father, one of Monmouth Park’s founders.
Aaron Gryder was aboard last year’s winner, Buffalo Berry, who came over from Ireland.
The filly set a turf record of 1:40.4 as the favorite.
The Schley Stakes will be run for the 37th time and carries a $100,000 purse. The race goes a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf and is for 3-year-old fillies.
It will be the 57th running of the $75,000 Lamplighter, also won by Gryder last year. He took Lendell Ray across the finish line. Bill Mott trained both horses.
The Lamplighter is for 3-year-olds, also at a mile and one-sixteenth on the grass.
Sunday’s card will include the $45,000 John McSorley Stakes and the second of the Malouf Auto Group Starter Series. This carries a $32,000 purse.
The McSorley is for the sprinters. It will be over after 5 furlongs with 3-year-olds and over going the distance on the turf. Debby d’Or won the race last year. Stewart Elliott was in the irons.
The Malouf race is also for three-year-olds and over and is on the turf, but at a mile and one-sixteenth.
A pall was cast over the track after Saturday’s feature when License Fee had to be put down. License Fee was a 6-year-old mare with winnings of over $1.2 million. She had won 16 times.
Apprentice Victor Carrera lost two pounds off his bug, but the five-pound allowance stood him well Sunday when he scored with two charges.
Joe Bravo continues to head the jockey standings and came up with three victories on Sunday. He was up on Another Betty for the first time and guided her to a $50,000 allowance triumph, and he stuck around to win the last race.
Sunday will also be McDonald’s Family Fun Day, with festivities geared toward the younger folks. Clowns, face painting and pony rides are offered to patrons free of charge.