“This agreement is something that benefits both Freehold Raceway and the horsemen who race in New Jersey,” said Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey President Tom Luchento. “This new preference system should not discourage out-of-staters from entering. But it does give those with a history of supporting Freehold and those with connections to New Jersey some assurances that they will have a better chance to race. This is something that both the track and the horsemen agree is important. We have worked hard to make this as equitable as possible.”
“We understand at this time of year there is a rare overabundance of racehorses in this region, and we want to ensure that we can give those individuals who have continued to support our racing program and the overall New Jersey harness racing program first priority in our races,” said Freehold Raceway General Manager Howard Bruno.
The First Preference is for horses that are New Jersey-sired, New Jersey-owned and New Jersey-trained [defined as a horseperson with a current New Jersey address on his/her New Jersey Racing Commission license, where that trainer has started 15 or more times at Freehold from August 30, 2012 to December 31, 2012]. A mutually agreeable date range will be set for the fall of 2013, winter of 2014 and fall 2014 racing seasons.
A horse/individual would have to meet only one of the First Preference criteria, not all three, in order to qualify for a preference. Freehold and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey would agree in advance on the horsemen qualifying under this criteria, based on the official statistics compiled by Freehold Raceway.
The Second Preference would apply to horses who have made two of their previous three pari-mutuel starts at Freehold.
If a race is oversubscribed with horses meeting the First Preference, starters will be determined by the Second Preference criteria. Horses not drawing into the race who met the First Preference criteria will receive a “star” and given preference if entered back in a similar class.
Freehold will continue to write New Jersey-owned and New Jersey-sired classes [NJSO], using the new preference system. If designated NJOS races close as written on the condition sheet, they will receive a 25 percent bump in the purse.
For races with purses of $5,001 or higher, preference will go to horses who have had two of their previous three pari-mutuel starts at Freehold.
The changes go into effect January 1 to April 1 and November 1 to December 31 in both 2013 and 2014. The draw for the January 3, 2013 opening day program will take place on December 31, 2012.
--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ