By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ
MANALAPAN, NJ – September 17, 2015 – Saturday is Open Space Pace Day at Freehold Raceway, but the racing highlight of the card is actually a trot -- a $20,000 preferred trot -- with nine going to post for a mile and a half race.
That is three times around the half-mile track, and the first mile and a half race in the modern era of Freehold Raceway, or as long as anyone can remember. The traditional distance for most harness races is one mile.
Gural Hanover, driven by Joe Bongiorno and trained by Ron Burke, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the featured seventh race, the $20,000 Open Space Pace Preferred Trot Handicap.
“This is the first featured mile and a half distance race at Freehold Raceway,” said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone. “We have an outstanding field of trotters, totaling lifetime earnings of over $3.3 million. We are excited to offer something new to both our patrons and horsemen. We are thankful to the group of trainers and owners who co-sponsored this event along with Freehold Raceway.”
New Jersey-based trainers and owners donated half the purse: Ross Croghan’s Dockside Stables, Joe Holloway. Linda Toscano, Mark Harder, Weaver & Bruscemi Stable. Ron Burke, Tom Fanning, Scott DiDomenico, Julie and Andy Miller, and Tony Alagna.
The field, from the rail out with driver, trainer and morning line odds: PL Eureka, Nick Surick, Tara Hynes, 10-1; Pip I, Harry Landy, Harry Landy, 15-1; Silver Credit, Steve Smith, Karen Garland, 12-1; In Nomine Patri, Joe Haney, Joe Haney, 15-1; Mugshot Jess, Pat Lachance, Taylor Gower, 10-1; Sevruga, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 4-1; Lucky Colby, Eric Abbatiello, Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, 9-2; Gural Hanover, Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke, 8-5, and Photosavvy, Vincent Ginsburg, Robert Bresnahan Jr., 9-1.
Photosavvy, the nine horse, will leave from the second tier.
Longtime standardbred owners and the founding sponsors of the event, Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Landy will serve as grand marshals for the Fourth Annual Open Space Pace Day “Parade of Horses,” starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Freehold Borough’s Hall of Records and ending at Freehold Raceway.
The parade will feature marching bands from Freehold Township and Freehold Borough high schools.
After the parade, the festivities move to Freehold Raceway where there will be live harness racing, a petting zoo, vendor tables, food trucks and educational exhibits.
There will be an autograph session with Julie Miller and Hannah Miller from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the winner’s circle at Freehold Raceway
A concert featuring Burlap to Cashmere and The Nerds begins at 3 p.m.