Manalapan, NJ --- When Freehold Raceway re-opens for its 2014 Summer/Fall meet on Thursday (Aug. 28), there will be a return to condition racing and the introduction of automated morning lines.
“In a mutual agreement with the SBOA (Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey), we are returning to conditioned races when we re-open Aug. 28,” said Freehold’s General Manager Howard Bruno. “We had some success with the ABC classified system, however, the seasonal fluctuations in horse supply made it difficult to maximize its potential.”
The 48-day meet (Aug. 28 through Dec. 13) will occupy Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays each week, along with a special Labor Day card on Monday (Sept. 1). Post time is 12:30 p.m.
Overnight purses will average $40,000 daily, according to Bruno.
Automated morning lines, generated by TrackMaster, will debut this meet.
“Several other tracks have begun using the system and the feedback has been positive,” said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone. “We feel the automation will lead to increased accuracy and be more timely than our current system.”
Opening weekend includes stakes action, an opening day t-shirt giveaway, and, on Labor Day, discounted food items, autograph session and a cap giveaway.
The free t-shirt will be distributed with a paid Freehold live racing program (while supplies last) on Aug. 28. The opening day feature is the first round of New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres for 2-year-old trotting colts.
Friday (Aug. 29) spotlights eliminations, if needed, for the Helen Smith Trot for 3-year-old fillies which has a $55,000 estimated final on Sept. 5. Saturday (Aug. 30) will showcase 3-year-old pacing colts in Green Acres action. The 2-year-old pacers, both colts and fillies, face off in opening round Green Acres on Labor Day (Sept. 1).
Labor Day is also Back to the Track, a cooperative effort by the United States Trotting Association, its member racetracks, and horsemen from coast-to-coast that combines exciting harness racing and fan-friendly promotions.
Freehold’s Labor Day festivities include a free Back to the Track cap with paid Freehold live program (while supplies last), 50 cent hot dogs, 50 cent sodas, drawings for a season’s parking pass and Back to the Track t-shirts. Additionally, there will be a drivers’ autograph session.
Saturday (Sept. 20) marks the third annual Open Space Pace, which starts with a morning parade of horses on Main Street in Freehold Borough, ending at Freehold Raceway where additional events will be staged, including celebrity amateur races, demonstrations, educational exhibits, great food, live harness racing, family fun activities, petting zoo, a concert and fireworks.
In addition to the Green Acres stakes for New Jersey-sired 2- and 3-year-olds, the fall schedule includes the Lou Babic Paces (Sept. 27) and the SBOANJ-sponsored Marion Dancer Trot (Sept. 4), Helen Smith Trot (Sept. 5), Charles Smith Trot (Sept. 12), Harold Dancer Trot (Sept. 25) and New Jersey Futurities (Sept. 6, Oct. 10, Oct. 16 and Oct. 25).
Qualifiers are on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. with declarations due the prior day at 10 a.m. Fourteen freshman races and qualifiers are carded for Thursday (Aug. 21).
The opening week draw schedule:
The remainder of the meet will follow Freehold’s traditional draw schedule of Saturday for Thursday, Tuesday for Friday and Wednesday for Saturday.
-- quotes and notes courtesy of Freehold Raceway