FAR HILLS, N.J. — For the first time in its nearly century-long history, the Far Hills Race Meeting will offer pari-mutuel wagering on all of its races on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.
With the introduction of wagering, Far Hills Race Meeting delivers on a long-held promise, pairing betting with its world-class steeplechase races, including the $450,000 Grand National (Grade 1). In all, the 98th edition of the Far Hills Race Meeting will offer purses totaling $850,000, a record for a National Steeplechase Association race meet.
"Far Hills is pleased to offer our loyal patrons this prized amenity: A chance to bet on our races," said Far Hills Chairman Guy J. Torsilieri. "The wagering experience is yet another way for our fans to enjoy and be intimately involved in our races, which, every year, draw top horses from the United States and overseas."
Under New Jersey law, Far Hills will conduct its one-day of wagering under Monmouth Park's pari-mutuel license. All races will be under the supervision of the New Jersey Racing Commission.
"After years of working closely with the Far Hills Race Meeting team, we're so pleased the partnership is finally official," said Dennis Drazin, president and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park. "We are grateful to have an opportunity to support this beloved 98-year tradition while also raising greater awareness for steeplechase racing and all equine sports throughout the region and beyond."
With strong support from Central New Jersey legislators and near-unanimous votes in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate, legislation authorizing pari-mutuel wagering at Far Hills passed in August 2016, with the law taking effect the following month. Far Hills officials had worked to prepare for pari-mutuel wagering last year, but logistical issues at its Moorland Farm race course delayed the launch until the 2018 meet.
"We have resolved the logistical issues, and we're now ready to provide a top-quality wagering experience," Torsilieri said.
In the Borough of Far Hills, local officials have embraced the partnership.
"As mayor, I and the borough council support the introduction of pari-mutuel wagering at the Far Hills Race Meeting, not only to enhance the event's experience, but also to continue to provide funding for local charities, medical facilities and borough programs—both present and future— providing an important benefit to our residents," said Borough of Far Hills Mayor Paul J. Vallone, M.D. "Wagering will help to invigorate the equestrian tradition, which is part of the fabric of our region, and enhance growth within the Far Hills Race Meeting and throughout the entire borough as we both near our centennial anniversary."
While pari-mutuel wagering will primarily serve Far Hills' patrons, bettors around the world will also have an opportunity to wager on Far Hills' races. Far Hills will continue to provide high-definition video streaming of its races, as it has done for the past two years.
"We feel that Far Hills offers a premier steeplechase experience, and we welcome the opportunity to share our races with all of America and jump-racing fans around the world," said Torsilieri, who also is the National Steeplechase Association's president. "We hope that this combination of top-level competition, a superior video experience, and a wagering opportunity will attract new fans to steeplechase racing."
Over the years, Far Hills Race Meeting has provided more than $18 million to fund local health-care initiatives, including the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (named in honor of the Far Hills Race Meeting), Cancer Support Community of Central New Jersey, Bonnie Brae, the ARC of Somerset County, LifeCamp and Community in Crisis.
About Far Hills Race Meeting
Far Hills Race Meeting is New Jersey's premier social and sporting event. For nearly a century, this annual gathering has attracted a large and loyal fan base who return, year after year, to watch the world's finest steeplechases, reconnect with family and friends, network, support worthy causes and make memories to last a lifetime. Over the years, Far Hills Race Meeting has given more than $18 million to support local health-care organizations. With its newly introduced pari-mutuel wagering program, Far Hills Race Meeting—which boasts the largest purses in the industry—is bringing steeplechase racing to new audiences, locally, nationally and globally. For more information, visit www.farhillsrace.org.
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