The first event comes on Saturday, as Peter Grandich and Company sponsor the “Halfway To St. Patrick’s Day Race.” The guest celebrity will be New York Jets legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Joe Klecko, and two charities will be recognized at the event. The Blessing Bag Brigade is committed to aiding the homeless and educating the public about homelessness, while HABcore provides homeless families, veterans, and special-needs individuals with housing, meals, and other support.
“Having first visited in the late ’70s as a racing fan, and then as a racehorse owner, Freehold Raceway has provided me and so many others with what has been known for decades as the Afternoon Delight,” Grandich said in a statement. “The ability to help others while enjoying the sport of harness racing is a true blessing for my wife and me.”
The next scheduled event will be the second annual “Italian Heritage Drivers Race” on Saturday, Oct. 8. Guests will include New York Rangers fan favorite Nick Fotiu and NJ 101.5 radio host Bill Spadea. The charitable beneficiary for this race will be UNICO National, which is the largest Italian-American service organization in the United States.
Veterans also will get their due
Next on the calendar is the first annual “Veteran’s Day Pace” on Friday, Nov. 11th. The main guest will be Ken Daneyko, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils. Fundraising efforts will benefit Operation Beachhead and Vetwork, two organizations that support U.S. veterans.
The 3rd Annual “Turkey Trot Race” will take place on Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving. Monetary and food donations will be collected to benefit Freehold Area Open Door, an interfaith agency that has been providing emergency food, funding, mentoring, and scholarships to those in need from the Freehold area since 1987. Guests will include two-time Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devil Grant Marshall, along with 14-year NHL veteran Adam Burt, who is now the chaplain for the New York Jets.
The final event of this fall series will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, with monetary and toy donations collected for children in need. Marine Toys For Tots has distributed more than 627 million toys, books, and games to over 281 million children over the years. The guest celebrity for this afternoon event will be New York Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree of Montclair.
“Freehold Raceway has had a longstanding association with both Freehold Area Open Door and Toys for Tots,” Freehold General Manager Howard Bruno said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting them again, along with all the organizations receiving funds from these events.”
Freehold Raceway was established in 1853, making it the oldest harness racing track in the country, and features live standardbred harness racing for trotters and pacers. After a mostly dormant summer, Freehold will be racing on Fridays and Saturdays with a post time of 12:30 p.m. every weekend for the rest of 2022.
The Meadowlands Racetrack also features harness racing, while thoroughbreds race all summer at Monmouth Park — with an additional five-week fall meet for those breeds at the Meadowlands set to begin on Sept. 23.
Photo: Peter Ackerman/Imagn Content Services