open space pace 2012

Each harness race during the Open Space Pace will benefit a different non-profit organization involved with open space preservation and equine activities.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Featuring Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes

FREEHOLD, NJ: Working off the success of last year’s inaugural event, organizers promise the 2nd Annual Open Space Pace & Festival of Horses will be a bigger, better family fall fun event this year – and it’s FREE!

The day begins at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 21 with a parade of horses, led by costumed riders from Medieval Times, through downtown Freehold on Main Street (Route 537), featuring the Freehold Township High School Marching Band and various equine and agricultural groups. 


The parade’s Grand Marshall is Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, creator of the county’s Save the Horse Committee and a member of the Planning Committee for the Open Space Pace. A reviewing stand with dignitaries and commentary by Millstone Mayor and noted horsewoman Nancy Grbelja will be located in front of the county Hall of Records. 

At Freehold Raceway, visitors will enjoy celebrity races, harness racing, pageantry, entertainment, vendors, demonstrations, food trucks, children’s activities and education. Among attendees will be retired Canadian harness racer Hervé Filion, a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame who is known as the “Babe Ruth of Harness Racing.”

Following the day’s last race, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the Eddie Testa Band will take the stage. Afterward, there will be a live concert by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, ending with a spectacular 27-minute fireworks display. Tickets for premium viewing at the concert are $35 each and are available on

 Organized and produced by some of the biggest names in the state’s equine industry, this fall festival event, which drew over 3,000 spectators last year, was created to promote and support the state animal, the horse, foster open space preservation and rejuvenate and perpetuate the industry. There are about 42,500 horses and 7,200 equine facilities in New Jersey; many in Monmouth County. The Rutgers Equine Science Center estimates the state’s equine industry is worth about $4 billion, creating a profit of about $1.1 billion each year. The industry supports thousands of jobs through breeding and training farms, hay and grain producers, suppliers, veterinarians and other related business concerns.

“Horse racing preserves open space and anything that’s good for horse racing is good for open space and New Jersey,” said Open Space Pace President Sam Landy, owner of Congress Hill Farm in Monroe Township. “As this event grows, it will fill hotels, restaurants and local businesses. It creates excitement and draws new people. The racers enjoy new spectators cheering them on. We want to expose everyone to Standardbred horses and racing and attract new fans.”

The inaugural Open Space Pace last September raised $14,000 for equine and agricultural non-profits while educating the public about the important role horses and horse racing play in creating and preserving open space in New Jersey.

Among participants and supporters of the 2nd Annual Open Space Pace are the Monmouth County Freeholders, Park System and Office of Public Information and Tourism, Rutgers Extension Service, the 4-H, Boy and Girl Scouts, the Horsemen’s Association of Millstone, the Horse Club of Central New Jersey, the Pleasure Horse Club of Central New Jersey, Coyote West Equestrian Stables, the Colts Neck Trail Riders, corporate sponsors and more.

Schedule for the 2nd Annual Open Space Pace & Festival of Horses, Saturday, September 21:

10:00 a.m.         Parade of Horses down Main Street, Freehold. Reviewing stand/parade commentary at                                         Monmouth County Hall of Records. National Anthem will be sung by “Miss Rodeo.”

10:30 a.m.          Gates open for visitors at Freehold Raceway

12:30 p.m.          Racing begins

5:00 p.m.            (Time approximate after day’s last race.) Eddie Testa Band performs

7:00 p.m.            (Time approximate) Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes perform

9:00 p.m.           (Time approximate) 27-minute fireworks display ends the 2nd Annual Open Space Pace & Festival of Horses.                              

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