Manalapan, NJ --- Live harness racing returns to Freehold Raceway on Aug. 29 with a 50-cent trifecta wager, updated graphics and a new menu in the dining room.
Live racing takes places on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, plus a special holiday card on Labor Day Monday (Sept. 2). Post time remains 12:30 p.m.
Attendees on Opening Day will receive a free t-shirt with the purchase of a Freehold live program (while supplies last).
Before the track opens for the 48-date meet that runs through Dec. 14, qualifiers will take place on Thursday (Aug. 22). Declarations are due by 10 a.m. on Wednesday (Aug. 21).
Purses for the meet will average $45,000 per day, according to General Manager Howard Bruno.
The draw for opening day (Aug. 29), will take place on Monday (Aug. 26). The draw for Friday (Aug. 30) will be on Tuesday (Aug. 27). The draw for Saturday (Aug. 31) will be on Wednesday (Aug. 28) and the draw for Labor Day (Sept. 2) will be on Thursday (Aug. 29). All declarations are due by 9 a.m.
For the balance of the meet, the draw will follow the traditional Freehold schedule of Saturday for Thursday, Tuesday for Friday and Wednesday for Saturday.
The new addition to the wagering menu is a 50-cent trifecta.
“We’re experimenting with a new lower 50-cent minimum wager on all trifectas,” Bruno said. “Lower minimums have been well received by our simulcast players and allow for playing more combinations at a reasonable cost. If our 10-cent superfectas are any indication, the 50-cent trifecta should be a big hit.
“We’ve updated our graphics which we feel will better display all wagering information as well as giving us a modern and distinctive look.”
The Renaissance Dining Room at Freehold will have a new menu, starting on opening day. The dining room is open for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, plus lunch on opening day and Monday holidays.
Freehold will participate in the USTA Strategic Wagering Program with a $5,000 guaranteed Early Pick-4 pool (races two-five).
Other special event days include Labor Day (50-cent hot dogs and sodas plus drawings for season parking passes) and the second Open Space Pace on Saturday (Sept. 21) that features a parade of horses down Main Street in Freehold to the track, followed by celebrity amateur races, demonstrations and exhibits, food stands, racing under saddle events, petting zoo, concert and fireworks.
“Freehold Raceway is looking forward to hosting the second annual Open Space Pace,” said Bruno. “Last year’s event was a huge success. We are so grateful to Sam Landy and the entire Open Space Pace committee for the time and effort they have put forward in making this event happen.”
The Freehold stakes program for August through October features New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres divisions for all ages and gaits, the Lou Babic Paces and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey-sponsored Helen and Charles Smith Trots, Marion and Harold Dancer Trots and New Jersey Futurity Stakes.
“I am looking forward to an exciting fall meet,” said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone.
The $58,000 (est.) Marion Dancer Final for 2-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies and the $60,000 (est.) Helen Smith Final for 3-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies are both carded on Friday (Sept. 6) with the Smith elims on Aug. 30.
The $80,000 Charles Smith Final for 3-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting colts will take place on Sept. 20 (elims Sept. 13) with the $45,000 Harold Dancer for 2-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting colts on Sept. 27.
New Jersey Futurity divisions for 2- and 3-year-olds will be contested on Sept. 14, Oct. 3, Oct. 10 and Oct. 12.
The Lou Babics for New Jersey-sired 2-year-old pacers, sponsored by the New Jersey Sire Stakes, will feature finals on Sept. 7 for both the open ($90,000 est.) and filly ($55,000 est.) divisions. Eliminations will take place Aug. 31.
Green Acres kick off on opening day with 2-year-old trotting colts. Each gait and age will include three preliminary legs ($7,000 each) and $25,000 finals. The finals will take place on Sept. 20 (2ct), Sept. 26 (3fp), Oct. 4 (2ft), Oct. 5 (3cp), Oct. 17 (3ft), Oct. 19 (2fp and 2cp) and Oct. 25 (3ct).