With a harness racing history that goes back to 1854 – and indeed, evidence that indicates informal racing was taking place as much as two decades earlier than that – the Township of Freehold, New Jersey is widely considered one of the cradles of harness racing in the US. More than 160 years later, the modern Freehold Raceway continues to be one of the most successful tracks on the East coast, with live racing 10 months of the year, and seven-day-a-week simulcasting.
Freehold Raceway Horse Racing
A half-mile harness racing facility located in Freehold Borough, Freehold Raceway holds the distinction as the oldest harness-racing track in the United States. It features both trotting and pacing races. For many years Freehold was the home of the Cane Pace, considered the first leg of the Triple Crown of Pacing.
Major Races and Events
Although no longer the host of the Cane Pace, Freehold Raceway does feature on its calendar 25 stakes elimination and finals races, with close to $1 million in purses offered on those races alone. The greatest majority of stakes racing at Freehold takes place in September and October.
The highlight of the spring racing events at Freehold, the Dexter Cup is held on the first Saturday in May, with eliminations held the week before. The race is open to three-year-old trotters, and offers a total purse of $130,000.
Lou Babic Pace
Held in seperate divisions for fillies and colts, both of the Lou Babic Pace finals are held on the same day in late September. The fillies championship carries a total purse of $50,000, while the colts race for a total purse of $80,000.
New Jersey Futurity
Open to both filly and colt two-year-old pacers, this race is where the next year's stars of New Jersey harness racing first come out to shine. The race wraps up the Freehold major stakes schedule, and offers a total purse of $40,000.