Thousands flock to Monmouth Park for Haskell Invitational

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OCEANPORT -

Thousands of people flocked to Monmouth Park Sunday for one of the state's top horse races.

The Haskell Invitational faced a shortage of star power though, with Triple Crown winner Justify retiring with an injury just days ago.

Just a few years ago, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah brought a record crowd to see the Oceanport race.

About a dozen races took place during the event. Good Magic, who won second place at the Kentucky Derby, surged to win the main event by a few lengths.

"He really deserves it," said Chad Brown, Good Magic's trainer. "Obviously we saw he ran two tremendous races in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. A great race horse, I'm so proud of him."

Brown ran two horses at the Haskell last year and lost so he says winning in front of around 37,000 fans this year was "special."

Leaders at the track are confident that horse racing will continue to thrive in the area. Numbers at the park are up overall this season, with a 5 percent rise in attendance and an 8 percent increase in betting on the races so far.

"It's not like it's coasting because you always have challenges and you have to grow your business, but I feel Monmouth Park and the horse racing industry is on firm ground and will be here forever," said Racetrack CEO Dennis Drazin.

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