Last year I took part in the Open Space Pace, which is an event celebrating the area’s horse industry…which if not supported, could mean the loss of thousands of jobs here in New Jersey.

I was pitted against Kirk Jimenez of SNY and knew I had him beat just by looking at him.
And as luck would have it, I won the race.

Lou coming down the stretch - Ray Rossi

This year the competition is going to be stiffer. Lou Russo from our sister station, 94-3 The Point will be my challenger.

I’m hoping for a repeat, but you never know.

Our race will be taking place after the 8th race at Freehold this coming Saturday.

The annual Open Space Pace & Festival of Horses will kick off at 10 a.m. with a parade of more than 100 horses, led by costumed riders from Medieval Times. The parade will head down Main Street (Route 537), through historic downtown Freehold, past a reviewing stand in front of the Monmouth County Hall of Records, and on to Freehold Raceway.

Freeholder Lillian Burry, a staunch supporter of the area’s equine industry, will lead the parade as its grand marshal.

At Freehold Raceway, visitors can enjoy celebrity races, harness racing, entertainment, vendors, food, and children’s activities.

This fall festival, which drew over 3,000 spectators last year, was created to promote the equine industry and open-space preservation. It raised $14,000 for equine and agricultural non-profit organizations.

So why the Open Space Pace.

The once thriving New Jersey horse racing industry has suffered greatly due to lack of funding. New Jersey has lost the competitive advantage it once held to surrounding states.

These states have instituted policies that allow casino gambling at race tracks. A portion of these funds goes directly to purse funds. As a result, the purses at all of the New Jersey tracks have been cut substantially. Without competitive purse funds training farms, breeding farms, hay, and grain farms have been forced to move to surrounding states that have more to offer.

As these taxable businesses relocate outside of New Jersey these farms are being turned into housing developments and shopping centers. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture states that New Jersey lost 40,000 acres of open space between 1983 and 1996 because of the demise of the racing industry!

A strong racing industry allows New Jersey to not only keep the land open, but also provides NJ with taxable open space.

We believe that with the right pieces in place New Jersey can once again reach the top of the racing industry.

Again, I’m looking for a similar outcome like last year’s.

Come out and support us. You’ll have a great time!