Gov. Christie signs Dancer & Bramnick bill allowing betting at Far Hills Steeplechase

For almost 100 years, the top steeplechase horses in the world have come to New Jersey to compete in the prestigious Far Hills Races. Over the years, a friendly wager or two may have been placed by the tens-of-thousands of spectators. Today, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Jon Bramnick legalizing betting on the day-long races.

 

The new law authorizes the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant one two-day permit every year to allow betting on steeplechase races.

 

“This is the premiere steeplechase event in the country. The top horses and riders come to Far Hills to compete in the Grand National race for the richest purse in the sport,” said Bramnick, the Assembly Republican Leader. “Pari-mutuel betting will help turn this popular event into New Jersey’s version of the Kentucky Derby.”

 

The 96th running of the Far Hills races is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15. In addition to the Grand National, with a $350,000 purse, there are six other races on the program.

 

“We are taking this great New Jersey tradition and making it even better,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “This legislation will increase the profile of New Jersey’s diverse horse racing industry. Steeplechase horse racing on a farm provides opportunities to experience firsthand and close-up the beauty of horses, as well as the beautiful open space of green pastures that are being preserved from development with equine events.”

 

Each year the one-day Far Hills festival attracts more than 35,000 spectators, with proceeds benefiting Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset and health care in the region.

 

“The Race Meeting has a long tradition of supporting the highest quality of healthcare for people in Central New Jersey,” said Bramnick (R—Somerset). “The increased excitement and interest in this prestigious festival will help provide more money for the fight against cancer.”

 

The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson is named in honor of the Far Hills races, which have raised more than $17 million for the medical center.

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