The 102nd running of the Far Hills Race Meeting takes place on October 21, and the event is expected to attract thousands of spectators coming to watch steeplechase and reconnect with family and friends.
Last year, 30,000 people attended the steeplechase, a distance horse race in which competitors jump fences and ditch obstacles. But the event is not all about watching the races; people also come to take part in extravagant tailgates at Moorland Farm, check out the lineup of food trucks, and raise money for a good cause.
“We’re looking forward to another great day of racing, with nice, large crowds to support our racing and our charities,” says Guy Torsilieri, one of the chairs of the event.
Over the years, the Far Hills Race Meeting has raised more than $20 million to support local health care organizations, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Crossroads4Hope and the Arc of Somerset County. Jockeys have competed for purses totaling $575,000.
This year, there is a new, all-inclusive tent called the Hunt Club, which is set to feature food, alcoholic beverages, a DJ and lawn games, says Torsilieri.
The event organizers are also working with Verizon on upgrading Wi-Fi in order to facilitate pari-mutuel wagering, which allows attendees to bet on races using their cell phones. In this method of wagering (from the French term meaning “amongst ourselves”), the public bets against each other and not against the racetrack.
The Far Hills Race Meeting traces its origins to the Essex Hunt, a fox-hunting event founded in Montclair in 1870. The club established an event to thank the farmers and landowners who allowed them to hunt on their property, and the Farmer’s Day Race Meeting eventually became part of the Far Hills Race Meeting. The event moved to Moorland Farm in 1916.
The races are being broadcast on Fox Sports. For more information, visit farhillsrace.org.
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