Freehold Raceway to open fall meet

The sound of thundering hoof beats from the country’s best trotters and pacers will return to Freehold Raceway in Freehold today, Aug. 12. Post time is 12:30 p.m. as live harness racing resumes at the nation’s oldest continually operating harness track.

Once again, the $300,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown, will highlight the meet. The Cane Pace will be run on Labor Day, Sept. 6.

Freehold Raceway is one of 21 harness racing tracks throughout the United States that will participate in a weekend-long celebration of harness racing for fans, old and new, on Aug. 14-15.

Back to the Track originated with Mike Tanner, executive vice president of the United States Trotting Association, as a way to remind harness racing fans why they were drawn to the sport to begin with and to encourage them to bring new fans to watch the sport.

“It is going to be a chance for veteran fans to once again experience the on-track excitement that made us racing fans in the first place,” Tanner said in a press release. “Plus, we will give new fans a chance to build memories of their first time at the races, which we hope will remain with them for years to come.”

Back to the Track Day at Freehold Raceway will be celebrated on Aug. 14 with numerous events and promotions, including free parking, free programs and free Tshirts.

Fans at the track can also take part in a guaranteed $50,000 Pick 4 bet, to be offered on the evening of Aug. 14. The wager will involve selecting the winners of races from four of the tracks that are participating in Back to the Track. It will cost $1 to make a minimum bet. The payout is guaranteed to be at least $50,000 — may be less if multiple people select the correct horses.

The 56th Cane Pace tops Freehold Raceway’s lucrative stakes schedule that includes the New Jersey Sire Stakes finals.

The Cane Pace has been run at Freehold Raceway since 1998. The race carries a major pedigree of champions that includes the likes of standardbred legendsAdios Butler (1959), Bret Hanover (1965), Most Happy Fella (1970), Albatross (1971), Keystone Ore (1976). Niatross (1981) and Cam Fella (1982).

The list of winning drivers is equally impressive with Hall of Fame drivers like the late Stanley Dancer and John Campbell sharing the record for most Cane Pace wins with four each.

Cane Pace eligibles include One More Laugh, winner of the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in 1:47.4 with Tim Tetrick in the bike; We Will See, winner of $511,950 in purse earnings this year; Delmarvalous, who has a 1:49.2 mile to his credit and more than $360,000 in purses earnings; BG’s Bunny, with a 1:49.1 lifetime best and more than $350,000 in purse earnings this year; and Fred and Ginger, with a lifetime best of 1:48.4.

If elimination heats are necessary for the Cane Pace, they will be held on Aug. 28.

The other two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown are the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, on Sept. 23, and the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway in New York on Nov. 6.

Also on the Freehold Raceway Labor Day card is the $145,000 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old filly pacers.

Other stakes races include the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-old colt trotters (Aug. 27), 3-year-old filly pacers (Aug. 28), 3-year-old filly trotters (Oct. 10), 3-year-old colt pacers (Oct. 18), 2-yearold colt pacers (Oct. 25) and 2-year-old filly pacers (Oct. 25).

Other highlights include the $100,000 Lou Babic final for 3-year-old pacers (Sept. 4) and the Charles Smith for 3-year-old trotters (Sept. 10).