Day At The Track

Ronald Dancer is back in the bike for one race!

02:18 AM 12 Jun 2014 NZST
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Ronald Dancer, harness racing
NJ Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (right) will wear his father's colors in special race at Meadowlands
John Sannucci Photo
MANALAPAN, NJ - June 11, 2014 - The famous blue and gold colors of Hall of Fame driver-trainer Stanley Dancer will be back on the track Friday night, June 13, 2014 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Dancer's son, Ronald, a former driver-trainer, will don his late father's colors in an exhibition race, the 2014 Legislators Pace, facing off against three other legislators.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer [R-12th District] will take on Senator Richard Codey [D-27th District], Assemblyman Ralph Caputo [D-28th District] and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande [R-11th District] in a race for charity. The winner's charity will receive $1,000 while the charities for the other three competitors will receive $500 each.

The one-mile competition will take place between the first and second races. The legislators will compete in two-seater jog carts with Codey, Caputo and Casagrande each teamed with one of the Meadowlands' top drivers. Dancer will race solo.

"I am coming out of retirement for this race and will be wearing my dad's silks, which I am borrowing from the New Egypt Historical Museum, where there is a wing in honor of my dad," Dancer said. "When I was racing, I always wore dad's silks, and I am really looking forward to placing Stanley Dancer's blue and gold silks back on the racetrack."

Ron Dancer posted more than 400 career driving victories in the 1970s and 1980s before switching careers. He has been a member of the New Jersey legislature since 2002 and was mayor of Plumsted Township from 1990 to 2011.

Dancer noted that there were a lot of similarities to his current life as a legislator compared to his life as a horseman, especially in terms of long hours.

"As a state legislator in New Jersey, you represent about 220,000 constituents residing in your district that want to meet and speak with you during the day, and you have to be at the State House Capitol for voting sessions," he explained. "In the evenings, legislators have events and speaking engagements to attend. Also, just as in horse racing, both professions are seven days and nights a week. The weekends are prime time days and evenings to be at your job.

"Political races are so expensive and, like it is in horse racing, it costs thousands to prepare and compete in the race with no guarantees on the results," he added.

The Dancer family farm, Egyptian Acres, was located in the Plumsted community of New Egypt. Stanley Dancer campaigned many of the top horses of the 1960s through 1990s. As a driver, he posted 3,781 career victories for more than $28 million in purses. Stanley Dancer, voted into the harness racing Hall of Fame in 1969, passed away on September 8, 2005 and was buried in his racing silks in a cemetery that overlooks Freehold Raceway.

"Dad will be looking down with such a smile to see his still familiar blue and gold colors back on the racetrack and on his son," Dancer mused.

Dancer is racing for the Hornerstown Baptist Church in Upper Freehold Township, NJ.

by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ

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