NJ Horse Racing Tracks

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Horse racing betting is one of the great pastimes for many people. In 1941, the state started offering pari-mutual wagering. However, the actual roots of horse racing in the state date back to 1853. It was then that the very first races ran at Freehold. In 1870, Monmouth Park became the next NJ horse racing track. Both of these are still operating today.

Naturally, there are a number of top-rated NJ horse racing tracks where one can go to observe races and place bets. NJ has some of the best racing tracks in the country. Below, we offer some insight on these tracks. 

The horse racing industry in the state is regulated by the New Jersey Racing Commission and the commission conducts regular monitoring and required investigations to ensure that all tracks are meeting state requirements. Get ready to discover some of the great NJ horse racing venues and learn how to start enjoying this amazing sport. The first three horse racing tracks are actually in NJ and after that, one can learn about other major racing tracks where NJ residents can place real money wagers on races.

Horse Racing Tracks in NJ

If you are a fan of horse races and horse racing betting, you will be pleased to learn there are some great race tracks in NJ that are operating. These locations are home to some thrilling races and also provide you with some amazing betting opportunities. Get ready to learn about the multiple NJ horse racing tracks that are open. Also, find out about some of the most popular races that take place.

The table below introduces the New Jersey horse racing tracks. There, you can pay a visit to watch some exciting races and place legal wagers. Even though there are just three operating tracks in the state, you will not have any shortage of action. These locations feature the best in thoroughbred and harness racing.

Name of Track Types of Races Major Events
Freehold Raceway Harness Racing Cane Pace
Monmouth Park Thoroughbred Racing Haskell Invitational
Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment Harness and Thoroughbred The Hambletonian

These three NJ horse racing tracks provide endless action. You can enjoy some of the most popular events in the state. The Cane Pace is one of the more popular events in horse racing in NJ. It is the first leg in the Triple Crown of Harness Racing. Get ready to enjoy racing at it’s finest at these historic race tracks in NJ.

Freehold Raceway

Freehold Raceway is one of the oldest harness racing tracks in the nation and it is located in Freehold, NJ. Established in 1853, the track offers like Standardbred harness racing and is open 7 days a week to offer endless horse racing action. In addition to hosting amazing harness races, the race track also offers simulcast races from various tracks in the US. The race track offers an oval shape with 8 starting positions and is half-mile in length. With a stretch width of 80 feet, Freehold Raceway provides a 480 foot home stretch.

The Meadowlands

The Meadowlands is one of the more popular horse racing tracks in NJ and it offers two tracks on the property that features thoroughbred and harness racing. Located in East Rutherford, NJ, the track is easy to get to and supports all types of horse racing bets. Since the mid-1970s, The Meadowlands has been offering thrilling harness racing and thoroughbred racing was introduced in 1977.

This NJ racetrack has been the site of the Hambletonian, which is the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, since 1981. In 2015, the track became home to the Cane Pace, which is the first leg of the Harness Racing’s Pacing Triple Crown. This NJ horse racing venue offers a 1-mile track of turf and is fully equipped to offer races at night. The middle of the track features an appealing lack that was built to resemble the state of NJ.

Monmouth Park

Located in Oceanport, NJ, Monmouth Park is the home to the Haskell Invitational and also hosts the Hersey Derby. This NJ horse racing track offers thoroughbred racing and has been open since 1870. The main track offers a dirt oval layout that can host 6 furlong and 1 ¼ mile races. There is also a turf track that is 7 furlongs and turf races can be run using a hedge border or with portable rails. For the first time in its history, the track hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2007. Over the years, Monmouth has hosted many great racing events, which have included the United Nations Stake, Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup Stakes, Long Branch Stakes and a number of other Grades 1, 2, and 3 Stakes.  

Wagering outside of NJ Horse Racing Tracks

In addition to being able to legally wager on races that are run at NJ horse racing tracks, you can also enjoy off-track betting at five different betting halls in the state. These include:

  • Favorites at Gloucester Township
  • Favorites at Toms River
  • Favorites at Vineland
  • Favorites at Woodbridge
  • Winners Bayonne

Online Horse Racing Options

While you have been able to visit NJ horse racing tracks for many years and engage in betting actions, you now have another great option if you are one that enjoys the thrills of racing. In 2018, New Jersey started to allow legal online horse betting. There are some great bookmakers that are up and running in the state with 4NJBets being our top recommendation.

Monmouth Park and Borgata in Atlantic City were the very first locations in the state to start accessing horse bets. Both of these offer exciting online betting options. Since legal horse racing betting has been approved in the state, many other venues have started operating online, offering you a variety of options when it comes to enjoying the races from the comforts of home.

The licensed and regulated online horse betting sites in New Jersey offer coverage of races that are run not only at the best race tracks in NJ but also at tracks from around the globe. This offers you the chance to wager on some of the highest paying races. And you can now choose to do it on a desktop or a mobile device. You now have the ability to enjoy race action at all times and you can benefit from amazing odds and some of the best payouts in the betting industry when you access any of these horse betting sites.

Top Horse Betting sites in NJ

The following two operators are the most popular sites for online horse betting.

  1. 4NJBets

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    The $300 Risk Free Bet is only open to new TVG account holders in TVG Participating States, age 21+ and 4NJBets account holders who are residents of New Jersey. Void where prohibited by law. To qualify for the Promotion, sign up for a new TVG account using any of the following promo codes: RISKFREE300 between 4/19/21 and 12/31/21. Visit site
    • Expert Picks for the Derby
    • iOS only
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Main Horse Racing Events at NJ Horse Racing Tracks

Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is a prestigious award that is given to the three-year-old thoroughbred that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. These three races are run in May and June each year and in the history of the Triple Crown, 13 horses have won all three of the races. As of 2018, the only living Triple Crown winners that remain are Justify and American Pharoah. The time record for each of these main races is still held by one of the greatest horses in racing history, Secretariat. The Triple Crown winner for 2018 was Justify, who was ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, held each year in May, is the first race of the Triple Crown and it is a Grade 1 race for thoroughbreds. It is a 1 ¼ race that is run at Churchill Downs and is referred to as “The Run for Roses”. Since 1875, this race has been run every year and is known as one of the most exciting horse races in the United States. This year, Justify won the race with a time of 2:04:20.

Preakness Stakes

Held on the third Sunday of May in Baltimore, Maryland, the Preakness Stakes is the second race of the Triple Crown and is a Grade 1 race that has a distance of 9.5 furlongs. This race was first run in 1873 and is known as “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” due to the blanket of flowers that are draped over the winning horse.

In regards to equestrian events, the Preakness is the second-ranked in terms of attendance, falling short to the Kentucky Derby. This year marked the 143rd running of the race which was won by Justify with a time of 1:55:93. The Purse was $1,500,000.

Belmont Stakes

This final race of the Triple Crown is held on the first or second Saturday in June and is run at Belmont Park in New York. It attracts many race enthusiasts from NJ and is one of the top races for NJ bettors. With a 1.5 mile long track, the Belmont Stakes draws millions of viewers each year.

This year was the 150th running of the race, which was held on June 9, 2018. Justify was the winner and was the second horse in just four years to win the Triple Crown. This race is traditionally known as “The Test of Champions” because of the length, which is the longest of all three Triple Crown races. It is also the longest first-class race in the country that is run on a dirt track.

Breeders Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the top-rated horse races run every year and this year, it is being held at Churchill Downs and will be run on November 2 and 3. The Friday Card will be referred to as the Future Stars Friday and it will feature five different races for two-year-olds. The Saturday Card will be the Distaff. In each of the 14 races, there will be a maximum of 14 starters.

There are different ways in which a horse can qualify to run in the Breeders’ Cup. One is by winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race. The second will be based on a points system, where horses will be ranked on performances in major races throughout the year. A final way to gain entry is to be selected by the experts. Of the 14 horses that are entered into the race, 7 of them will come from Challenge Races and points systems and the other 7 will be selected by experts.

Known as the richest two days in horse racing, the Breeders’ Cup pays out $30 million in awards and purses over the course of the two-day event. The winnings will be paid to owners, which will share that amount with trainers and jockeys. On Friday, there will be five events, which include the Sentient Jet Juvenile, Juvenile Turf Sprint, Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies.

Saturday is filled with excitement as the following events are held: the $6 Million Classic, $4 Million Longines Turf, $2 Million Longines Distaff, $1 Million Dirt Mile, $2 Million Twinspires Sprint, $2 Million Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, $1 Million Filly & Mare Turf, $1 Millions Turf Sprint, and the $2 Million Mile. 

United Nations Stakes

Monmouth Park hosts the United Nations Stakes each year and this is a Thoroughbred flat racing event for horses three years and older. The distance of the race is 11 furlongs and take places on a turf surface. Held in July, this is one of the top events for horse race betting and it offers a purse of $750,000. This popular race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and attracts thousands of bettors to one of the most popular horse race tracks in NJ.

Hambletonian Stakes

This is one of the major harness races in America and it is one of the more popular events from any of the race tracks in NJ. The event takes place on the first Saturday of August at the Meadowlands Racetrack. This annual event attracts the best three-year-old trotting standardbreds in the racing industry and it is a 1-mile race on a dirt track.

Haskell Invitational Handicap

This is another huge race at Monmouth Park running since 1968. The race features the very best three-year-old horses in the country and participants have to be invited to the event. This exciting race offers a massive purse of $1 million and $600,000 of that amount is reserved for the winner of the race. The Haskell Invitational is a contest that is between the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup and it is one of the most prominent contests in all of New Jersey.

The Grand National

The Grand National is one of the major races that is not held in the US. It is a UK horse race held in Liverpool that attracts the attention of race fans from all over the world and it is one of the races that also attracts many bettors. Even though this race is not a popular one for residents of NJ, it is an event that can yield some amazing payouts for those that engage in sports betting.

The 2018 Grand National was run on April of this year and was the 171st running. This is a jump race that is run for more than 4 miles and includes jumping over 30 different fences. Known as the most valuable jump race in Europe, The Grand National offers a prize fund worth millions.

This year, The Grand National had 105 initial entries and on April 13, the final field of 40 runners was announced. Two contenders withdrew from the race, leaving just 38 started, which was the smallest field in the event since 1999. This year was also the first in 30 years where three female jockeys were in the race.

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