Freehold, NJ --- While the amateur driving movement has expanded dramatically over the last several decades, the GSY Pacing Series has exploded in popularity, despite its relatively short two-year existence.
Much of the notoriety is due to the efforts of founder Dave Yarock, who has strategically positioned the event at eight different harness tracks. Legs are held at some of the most prestigious ovals in the industry, including the Meadowlands, Pocono Downs, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Tioga and Vernon just to name a few.
Yarock, who is very grateful for the enthusiasm the series enjoyed, revealed that “our success is largely due to the gracious support of the track management and racing secretaries that provided us with great venues and competitive horses to drive in the eight preliminary events.
“For the final, we are very proud that historic Freehold Raceway is hosting the Edward and Muriel Yarock Memorial Pace on Saturday’s (Sept. 21) Open Space Pace Day, arguably one of the best attended afternoon race cards in state of New Jersey. Last year’s Open Space event drew over 3,000 local fans.”
The $7,500 GSY final, named in honor of Dave’s parents, includes a $2,500 Yarock purse supplement.
A total of nine GSY series drivers earned spots in the final. Nonetheless, just seven horse and driver teams ultimately dropped in the box. Perhaps the luck of the draw was a factor, as much of the industry conversation this week focused on the Little Brown Jug and the significance of an inside post position on a half-mile track. That fact was not lost among the amateur driving colony.
While clearing land for a new crop of Blueberries in North Carolina, Bill Augustine noticed that there were seven horses in the race.
“I immediately jumped out of my bulldozer and called the racing secretary (Freehold’s Karen Fagliarone) and offered to pay an additional five percent of the purse to both the sixth and seventh place finishers,” stated ‘Blueberry’ Bill.
“I am grateful to all of the owners and trainers who enter and ship their horses for the amateur drivers to race. I felt that these horsemen should be rewarded for their efforts, regardless of where their horse finishes.”
Augustine, a two-start newcomer to the series, drew the two hole for the final. He will be driving Nancy Fugere’s Hickory Louie, the same horse he drove to a 1:55.3 short neck victory on Sept. 11 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Winners Circle Blueberries is also a co-sponsor of the final, which is proud to have harness heroes Herve Filion and Carmine Abbatiello on hand to make the presentation on behalf of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.
Following every race during Open Space Pace Day, a different non-profit organization will receive a check for $1,000 that was raised through the event organizer’s efforts.
Dave Yarock exclaimed, “I am very happy to team up with the Landys and the Open Space Pace organization that have been so successful in raising money for good causes, especially for my scholarship fund as well as the Magic Paintbrush group.”
Along with exciting harness racing, Freehold Raceway will also play host to a variety of fan-friendly attractions in support of Open Space Pace Day. A parade will step off at 10 a.m. on Main Street and lead directly to the apron of the Monmouth County oval. Also on hand are food vendors, a petting zoo, 4H exhibits, car show, Medieval Times demonstration, Racing Under Saddle event, and a celebrity race. Capping off the day will be a concert featuring Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, followed by a fireworks display.
Entries for the GSY Series Final at Freehold on Saturday are as follows:
1. Charlie Leru-Mark Schullstrom-Dolores Basilone-5-1
2. Hickory Louie-William Augustine-Robert Lounsbury-9-2
3. Game Jocko-David Yarock-Jim Doherty. Jr.-7-2
4. Captain Greg-Alan Charles-Tony Dinges-6-1
5. B B Smash-Matt Zuccarello-Dennis Laterza-10-1
6. Danger Sign N-Robert Hechkoff-Brandon Simpson-8-1
7. Ruthless Ace-Monica Banca-Rick Dane, Jr.-5-2