The New Jersey Sire Stakes will open its 2014 Green Acres racing season at Freehold Raceway on Thursday, August 28 with the opening round of competition for two-year-old colt trotters.
The draw for the race will be held on Monday, August 25 with the entry box closing at 9am on that date. Green Acres racing will once again offer purses of $7,000 for each leg with the top eight point earners among the three qualifying legs in each division qualifying for the $25,000 finals. Entry fees remain $150 for each leg and $500 for horses that wish to race in the finals.
The Green Acres Division will look to build off of the successful year of Premier Division racing at The Meadowlands in which three new records were established and yet another record equaled. More than $1.5 million was distributed in purse money during the Premier Division races while the average purse for each leg increased by 18% over 2013 levels.
The Green Acres Division will be placed on hiatus effective for the foal crop of 2014. Its place will be taken by the newly legislated New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund. The Standardbred Development Fund will be open to all of the traditional New Jersey-sired horses as well as horses whose dams spend a minimum of 150 days in-state, inclusive of foaling, regardless of where the stallion may stand.
This year, 221 "resident mares" were nominated to the program and they were in foal to many of the top sires in the country. Standardbred Development Fund races will begin for two-year-olds in 2016 and will be run that year in conjunction with the Green Acres program for three-year-olds. A full slate of Standardbred Development Fund races for all ages will be contested starting in 2017
Also on the horizon, the Meadowlands, together with the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, will be implementing a bonus program for several of its overnight races for New Jersey-sired horses beginning with racing on December 5, 2014. Effective on that date, races meeting the condition of non-winners of one, two, three or four pari-mutuel races will carry a 60 percent bonus to the purse for New Jersey-sired horses. The bonus program encompasses both sexes and gaits.
by Christopher Castens, for the NJSS