TRENTON, NJ - Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and state Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman to allow pari-mutual betting at the Far Hills Race Meeting has been approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 38-0 vote.

The bill authorizes the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a special two-day permit annually to conduct a steeplechase race, and to allow wagering on the event.

“The Far Hills Race Meeting has a long history of supporting charitable causes in the region,” said Kean. “Allowing wagering will boost interest in the event, support New Jersey horse farms and ensure continued support for local healthcare facilities.”

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has been a major beneficiary of the Far Hills Race Meeting. Since the 1950s, the event has raised over $17 million, with funds dedicated to the hospital’s Steeplechase Cancer Center.

“I’ve attended the race for more than 30 years and am glad that we can make this great New Jersey tradition even stronger,” added Bateman. “It’s a rare piece of legislation that benefits healthcare, charity and the environment, but this bill checks all of those boxes.”

An estimated 35,000 people attend the Far Hills Race Meeting in the fall each year.

The 95th running of The Far Hills Race Meeting, the nation's premier steeplechase, is set for Oct. 17 at Moorland Farm in Far Hills. The race meeting draws a highly competitive international field of horses to compete in the day's six races, which this year will feature a total purse of $600,000. The featured race of the meeet is the Grand National with a purse of $300,000.

The event is considered a must-attend social event of the fall season; spectators create unique and often extravagant fall picnic areas in their reserved parking spots, with all the trappings of a fall festival including floral center pieces, carved pumpkins, hay bale seating, ice carvings and culinary feasts.