by Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ
MANALAPAN, NJ -- August 24, 2015 – Live racing returns to New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway on Friday, September 4, 2015.
The 44-day meet continues through December 12, 2015. Racing will take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays [plus a holiday program on Labor Day, Monday, September 7]. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
Pre-meet qualifiers will take place on Friday, August 28 with the box closing at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 27.
The initial draw schedule is Tuesday, September 1 for Friday, September 4; Wednesday, September 2 for Saturday, September 5 and Thursday, September 3 for Monday, September 7 [Labor Day]. Declarations are due at 9 a.m. for each draw.
The standard draw schedule for the balance of the meet is Saturday for Thursday, Tuesday for Friday and Wednesday for Saturday.
Opening Day features the first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres for two-year-old pacing fillies and eliminations for the Helen Smith for three-year-old trotting fillies.
The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey is the sponsor of the Helen Smith [September 11], Charles Smith for three-year-old trotting colts [September 17], Harold Dancer for two-year-old trotting colts [September 17], Marion Dancer for two-year-old trotting fillies [October 9] and a quartet of New Jersey Futurity stakes [September 26, October 16, October 23 and October 24]. All are restricted to New Jersey-sired horses.
The Lou Babic Finals for two-year-old pacers on September 26 are part of the New Jersey Sire Stakes program along with the Green Acres events, which will featured three preliminary legs and a final for each genders two and three-year-olds on the trot and pace. All the $25,000 finals are in October.
Overnight purses will average $40,000 per day, according to Freehold General Manager Howard Bruno.
Special events include a free t-shirt with a paid Freehold live program, while supplies last, on Opening Day. On Labor Day, there is a free cap with paid Freehold live program, while supplies last; 50-cent hot dogs and 50-cent sodas and drawings for season parking passes.
The Fourth Annual Open Space Pace, featuring a parade of horses, petting zoo, exhibitions, food trucks and live music, will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2015.