08/19/2013 3:01PM

Harness Racing: Freehold Raceway preps for August 29 opener

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Live harness racing returns to Freehold Raceway on August 29, 2013 with a 50-cent trifecta wager, updated graphics and a new menu in the dining room.

Live racing takes places on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays plus a special holiday card on Labor Day, Monday, September 2.  Post time remains 12:30 p.m.

Attendees on Opening Day will receive a free t-shirt with the purchase of a Freehold live program [while supplies last].

Before the track opens for the 48-date meet that runs through December 14, qualifiers will take place on Thursday, August 22.  Declarations are due by 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 21.

Purses for the meet will average $45,000 per day, according to General Manager Howard Bruno.

The new addition to the wagering menu is a 50-cent trifecta.

“We’re experimenting with a new lower 50 cent minimum wager on all trifectas,” Bruno said.  “Lower minimums have been well received by our simulcast players and allow for playing more combinations at a reasonable cost.  If our 10-cent superfectas are any indication, the 50-cent trifecta should be a big hit.

“We’ve updated our graphics which we feel will better display all wagering information as well as giving us a modern and distinctive look,” Bruno added.

The Renaissance Dining Room at Freehold will have a new menu, starting on opening day.  The dining room is open for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, plus lunch on opening day and Monday holidays.

Freehold will participate in the USTA Strategic Wagering Program with a $5,000 guaranteed Early Pick 4 pool (races 2-5)

Other special event days include Labor Day, Monday, September 2 [50-cent hot dogs and sodas plus drawings for season parking passes] and the 2nd Open Space Pace on Saturday, September 21 that features a parade of horses down Main Street in Freehold to the track, followed by celebrity amateur races, demonstrations and exhibits, food stands, racing under saddle events, petting zoo, concert and fireworks.

“Freehold Raceway is looking forward to hosting the second annual Open Space Pace,” said Bruno.  “Last year’s event was a huge success.  We are so grateful to Sam Landy and the entire Open Space Pace committee for the time and effort they have put forward in making this event happen.” 

The Freehold stakes program for August through October features New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres divisions for all ages and gaits, the Lou Babic Paces and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey-sponsored Helen and Charles Smith Trots, Marion and Harold Dancer Trots and New Jersey Futurity Stakes.

“I am looking forward to an exciting fall meet,” said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone.

The $58,000 estimated Marion Dancer Final for two-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies and the $60,000 estimated Helen Smith Final for three-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies are both carded on Friday, September 6 [Smith elims on August 30]. 

The $80,000 Charles Smith Final for three-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting colts will take place on September 20 [elims September 13] with the $45,000 Harold Dancer for two-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting colts on September 27.

New Jersey Futurity divisions for two and three-year-olds will be contested on September 14, October 3, October 10 and October 12.

The Lou Babic for New Jersey-sired two-year-old pacers, sponsored by the New Jersey Sire Stakes, will feature finals on September 7 for both the open [$90,000 estimated] and filly [$55,000 estimated] divisions.  Eliminations will take place August 31.

Green Acres kick off on opening day with two-year-old trotting colts.  Each gait and age will include three preliminary legs [$7,000 each] and $25,000 finals.  The finals will take place on September 20 [2ct], September 26 [3fp], October 4 [2ft], October 5 [3cp], October 17 [3ft], October 19 [2fp & 2cp] and October 25 [3ct].

--(edited release, Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey)