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Author Topic: Freehold  (Read 1454 times)
wilderness
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« on: December 10, 2007, 08:58:40 PM »

Paul and Marty,
                         How about some old stories from Freehold?

Thanks in advance.
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Regards Don
njhorseman
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2007, 09:47:48 PM »

I'll tell one about Marty (The Fox) to start it off.  It's not sidesplitting funny, but I'll never forget it, because it was funny at the time...you had to be there to appreciate it.

About 25 to 30 years ago (pre 1984 fire, but I'm not sure exactly when), I was sitting by myself in the grandstand watching a weekday card. I'm pretty sure it was around this time of year...between Thanksgiving and Christmas because the place was deserted, sort of like it is today  Wink. I was probably using up leftover vacation time I would have forfeited if it was not taken by year's end.

Fox was driving in one of the races...he didn't really drive all that often, and I'm sure even he would admit that no one would mistake him for Stanley Dancer out there. Wink

Anyway, on this dreary late fall afternoon, Fox gets himself in all sorts of trouble...parked...all over the track...as someone once said, visiting parts of the track never before seen by man  Cheesy...and miraculously manages to win the race! About 30 minutes after the race ended, he walks into the grandstand, to a roaring welcome from his cronies who were sitting right in the same area I was...congratulating him on how he drove the race just like Herve would have.  Cheesy 
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FreeLegged
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 09:58:39 PM »

NJ

that is a very good story! Harness racing is great. 25-30 years ago I betcha a man could actually afford a coke too.

Now, to keep this thread on track: One thing I am surprised about freehold's history is that not until 1967 did they start 8 wide. Up until then it was just 6 with 2 trailers. Werent they late in doing this?
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MWG
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2007, 10:06:28 PM »

NJ

that is a very good story! Harness racing is great. 25-30 years ago I betcha a man could actually afford a coke too.

Now, to keep this thread on track: One thing I am surprised about freehold's history is that not until 1967 did they start 8 wide. Up until then it was just 6 with 2 trailers. Werent they late in doing this?


Old friends of mine, Austin Thomas and Bucky Gray, from this area on the Eastern Shore, used to drive quite often at Feeehold. Bucky had two horses I remember, back them, Doc Van and Little Hodge, Austin had one, of many, called Shorty Perdue, owned by John Adkins of Parsonsburg, MD, probably named after Frank Perdue of Perdue Chicken fame as the latter, Frank Perdue, grew up in the Parsonsburg area. Frank Perdue, now deceased, "a hard man with a tender chicken".
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njhorseman
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2007, 10:10:50 PM »

NJ

that is a very good story! Harness racing is great. 25-30 years ago I betcha a man could actually afford a coke too.

Now, to keep this thread on track: One thing I am surprised about freehold's history is that not until 1967 did they start 8 wide. Up until then it was just 6 with 2 trailers. Werent they late in doing this?


My father took me to Freehold for the first time in about 1957, and I do recall them starting only 6 across. Also, the grandstand was not enclosed, and they only raced a relatively short summer meet. I guess at the time it was the trotting game's answer to Monmouth Park...essentially a summer vacation area track. 1967 may have also been when they enclosed the grandstand and made it into a "real" racetrack. I really can't say, because I didn't become a Freehold "regular" until I moved to NJ in 1976.
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MWG
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2007, 10:15:40 PM »

My father took me to Freehold for the first time in about 1957, and I do recall them starting only 6 across. Also, the grandstand was not enclosed, and they only raced a relatively short summer meet. I guess at the time it was the trotting game's answer to Monmouth Park...essentially a summer vacation area track. 1967 may have also been when they enclosed the grandstand and made it into a "real" racetrack. I really can't say, because I didn't become a Freehold "regular" until I moved to NJ in 1976.

And which State was it that was the lucky beneficary of your move to New Jersey in 1976 ? Kidding, of course.
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wilderness
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 10:17:32 PM »

Old friends of mine, Austin Thomas and Bucky Gray, from this area on the Eastern Shore, used to drive quite often at Feeehold. Bucky had two horses I remember, back them, Doc Van and Little Hodge, Austin had one, of many, called Shorty Perdue, owned by John Adkins of Parsonsburg, MD, probably named after Frank Perdue of Perdue Chicken fame as the latter, Frank Perdue, grew up in the Parsonsburg area. Frank Perdue, now deceased, "a hard man with a tender chicken".

 MWG,
           Of the names (both horses and me) you provided, my data included a solitary reference.

From the March 21, 1958 Harness Horse and Ocean Downs Trainers:

VERNON COWGER STABLE
Vernon Cowger of Pittsville, Md., has just moved in. He is training seven head. For Isaac Coffin, Delmar, Md., he has Lord Elkington p, 2:074/5h; for Carlis White of Pittsville, Md., he has Eddie's Mr. York p, 2:091/5h and Direct Dee p, 2:093/5h. Mike Guerrieri of Showell, Md., owns a two-year-old pacer, Sho-well (Shamrock Joe-Hel Hague). John Adkins of Parsonsburg, Md., owns the four-year-old green pacer Wicomico Peg by Henry Volo. Mr. Cowger owns Wicomico Way p, 2:062/5h and Wicomico Dream p, 2:074/5h.
 
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Regards Don
FreeLegged
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2007, 10:18:10 PM »

this is where I got the info about starting only 6 wide til 1967

http://www.freeholdraceway.com/history.html
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FreeLegged
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007, 10:21:51 PM »

1960 - Fred Fatzler sells Freehold Raceway to Harold and Bernard Sampson of Milwaukee for a reported $5,000,000. After racing steadily for nearly 14 years, slowly increasing the number of racing days each season, Freehold grew in popularity, featuring the best drivers and horses in the sport. On August 11, 1962 a record crowd of 13,206 patrons wagered $758,719. The meet ended that year with total wagering at a record $25,152,981.


Rumors have it that MWG and a few pals were part of this record crowd that day, celebrating MWG's 50th B-day with a few cocktails and a day of betting.

 Cheesy
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wilderness
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2007, 10:23:47 PM »

My father took me to Freehold for the first time in about 1957, and I do recall them starting only 6 across. Also, the grandstand was not enclosed, and they only raced a relatively short summer meet. I guess at the time it was the trotting game's answer to Monmouth Park...essentially a summer vacation area track. 1967 may have also been when they enclosed the grandstand and made it into a "real" racetrack. I really can't say, because I didn't become a Freehold "regular" until I moved to NJ in 1976.

 Here ya are Paul.

 From the Dec 10, 1947 Harness Horse:

http://www.***/eur/FreeholdGrandstand.jpg
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Regards Don
wilderness
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 10:28:23 PM »

1960 - Fred Fatzler sells Freehold Raceway to Harold and Bernard Sampson of Milwaukee for a reported $5,000,000. After racing steadily for nearly 14 years, slowly increasing the number of racing days each season, Freehold grew in popularity, featuring the best drivers and horses in the sport. On August 11, 1962 a record crowd of 13,206 patrons wagered $758,719. The meet ended that year with total wagering at a record $25,152,981.


Rumors have it that MWG and a few pals were part of this record crowd that day, celebrating MWG's 50th B-day with a few cocktails and a day of betting.

 Cheesy

from the July 6, 1955 Harness Horse:

Freeehold Raceway's stabling capacity has now nearly reached the 500 mark, according to Race Secretary George Enslen. When Fred Fatzler of Maplewood, N. J. purchased the track the barn space was only sufficient for 80 horses. Last season there were 800 applications for stalls and, it is planned to rent outside space near the track and at Trenton if necessary.
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Regards Don
MWG
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 10:29:45 PM »

MWG,
           Of the names (both horses and me) you provided, my data included a solitary reference.

From the March 21, 1958 Harness Horse and Ocean Downs Trainers:

VERNON COWGER STABLE
Vernon Cowger of Pittsville, Md., has just moved in. He is training seven head. For Isaac Coffin, Delmar, Md., he has Lord Elkington p, 2:074/5h; for Carlis White of Pittsville, Md., he has Eddie's Mr. York p, 2:091/5h and Direct Dee p, 2:093/5h. Mike Guerrieri of Showell, Md., owns a two-year-old pacer, Sho-well (Shamrock Joe-Hel Hague). John Adkins of Parsonsburg, Md., owns the four-year-old green pacer Wicomico Peg by Henry Volo. Mr. Cowger owns Wicomico Way p, 2:062/5h and Wicomico Dream p, 2:074/5h.
 


Thank you Wilderness, those are some of the old names in local harness racing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when I was a kid. I knew Vern Cowger and John Adkins, not Guerreri or Carlis White. I knew an Elton White and Freddie White of Pittsville. I believe Carlis had a brother or in-law that trained t-breds on the farm near Berlin, MD, where the great Man Of War was owned and resided.
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njhorseman
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 10:30:31 PM »

And which State was it that was the lucky beneficary of your move to New Jersey in 1976 ? Kidding, of course.

I'm a native of NY. (City and state)
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njhorseman
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2007, 10:32:30 PM »

this is where I got the info about starting only 6 wide til 1967

http://www.freeholdraceway.com/history.html

OK...so the grandstand wasn't enclosed until 1970.
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MWG
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2007, 11:17:21 PM »

I'm a native of NY. (City and state)

In both cases, New York City or the State of New Jersey, you have my deepest sympathy. lol Although I should be ashamed as I was born, raised, and now reside in the Socialist Republic of Maryland.
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Esab
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2007, 11:18:24 PM »

Things have certainly changed there. They have one valet parking lot and two general parking lots, one of which is always half-full because the track lets local car dealerships store cars there.

I remember things livened up a little when Dennis Dowd took over. Dowd runs Monmouth Park now. One of his innovations was to install a weight scale for horses on the backside. They weighed horses on race days and printed the information in the program. Dowd thought handicappers might find it helpful.

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njhorseman
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2007, 11:23:09 PM »

Things have certainly changed there. They have one valet parking lot and two general parking lots, one of which is always half-full because the track lets local car dealerships store cars there.

I remember things livened up a little when Dennis Dowd took over. Dowd runs Monmouth Park now. One of his innovations was to install a weight scale for horses on the backside. They weighed horses on race days and printed the information in the program. Dowd thought handicappers might find it helpful.



Yeah...what a useless bit of garbage that was. But, what would you expect from Dowd.

By the way...I would assume the track rents that space to the auto dealerships...not just lets them use it.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 11:25:01 PM by njhorseman » Report to moderator   Logged
wilderness
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2007, 05:52:38 PM »

Paul,
          Marty throws an occassional reply in here Wink

 For some time he's been down to one horse, which he and his grandaughter care for.
 Their current horse doing good after a layoff.

 The horse previous to this one, was claimed for 4k after hitting the boards at a large price.
 There use to be an unspoken rule about taken a horseman's last horse, guess that don't hold water these days?
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Regards Don
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2007, 06:09:06 PM »

The way of the world Don,nothing is sacred.

                                                                           Goodfella horse shoe
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It's not too late to change the road you're on.
njhorseman
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2007, 08:25:18 PM »

Paul,
          Marty throws an occassional reply in here Wink

 For some time he's been down to one horse, which he and his grandaughter care for.
 Their current horse doing good after a layoff.

 The horse previous to this one, was claimed for 4k after hitting the boards at a large price.
 There use to be an unspoken rule about taken a horseman's last horse, guess that don't hold water these days?

Don:

That unwritten rule went out the window decades ago. In any event, I don't think it would be applicable in Fox's case anyway. It was meant to protect someone who depended on that one horse to put food on the table. I think in his case at this stage of the game having that horse is more of a hobby than anything else.
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Redb2011
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« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2007, 07:02:20 PM »

Hi--Does anyone remember when a long time Freehold drivers bike broke in half at the arch halfway down the stretch? That in its self is not humorous but for the fact that as he sunk lower and lower to the ground he continued to whip the horse furiously until he himself was on the ground.It was a sight for sure.
Another time there was an accident and 4 horses were hopelessly out of the race,a driver was thrown from the bike but managed to remount and finish 4Th,naturally he was disqualified from purse money,he argued with the judges for weeks to no avail.
At Atlantic City in the last days of Hugh Bell he cut the mile ,won the race and continued around for another 5/8 not realizing the race was over.He retired soon after.

Cordially
Martin Corso
Freehold NJ
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njhorseman
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2007, 07:57:53 PM »

Hi--Does anyone remember when a long time Freehold drivers bike broke in half at the arch halfway down the stretch? That in its self is not humorous but for the fact that as he sunk lower and lower to the ground he continued to whip the horse furiously until he himself was on the ground.It was a sight for sure.
Another time there was an accident and 4 horses were hopelessly out of the race,a driver was thrown from the bike but managed to remount and finish 4Th,naturally he was disqualified from purse money,he argued with the judges for weeks to no avail.
At Atlantic City in the last days of Hugh Bell he cut the mile ,won the race and continued around for another 5/8 not realizing the race was over.He retired soon after.

Cordially
Martin Corso
Freehold NJ


I remember Harold Kelly's bike breaking in the stretch and his riding the seat, which was dragging on the ground, to the wire.
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