Ten Things to Know Before You Go: 2019 Far Hills Race Meeting

The Life
The 99th running of the Far Hills Race Meeting on Oct. 19 in New Jersey offers elite steeplechase racing and a unique social atmosphere. (Eclipse Sportswire)

What should I wear to the Far Hills Race Meeting? Can I bet? What’s good to eat? You have questions, we have answers! Here’s what you need to know before you go to Saturday’s famed New Jersey jump races.

1. Know which races are being run.

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The Far Hills Race Meeting usually has seven races on the program, the most prestigious of which is the American Grand National. With the highest prize money of the afternoon, you’re sure to see some of the top jump horses in the nation in the race.

2. You can now bet on Far Hills!

The Far Hills races will offer wagering for the second year in a row. New to betting or betting on steeplechase? Don’t worry – the Far Hills website offers an easy but comprehensive guide on how to play the ponies. The thing to remember is that horse racing is a pari-mutuel betting system – that means you’re not playing against the house, you’re playing against your fellow bettors. So picking against the favorite can yield huge payouts!

3. Know what you’re allowed to bring and what you should leave at home.

It’s important to bring the basics: sunscreen (yes, even in October!), a phone charger, and sunglasses are all a good call. But be sure to check out the FAQs so you don’t accidentally bring something that’s not allowed. For example, you can’t walk in outside alcohol, no pets (aside from service animals) are allowed, and please leave your ice luges at home.

4. You don’t have to drive to Far Hills – there’s lots of public transportation.

Getting to Far Hills has never been easier: New Jersey Transit will offer additional trains on race day, and Far Hills also has an area for fans using rideshares to arrive and depart from the races. While general parking will be available, remember that you should not drive if you’re planning to sample some cocktails at Far Hills. Better safe than sorry!

5. But you can tailgate!

Far Hills is famous for its tailgating scene – putting on an elaborate spread with seasonal decoration is a point of pride for attendees, so make sure you stroll the area while you’re at the races. You never know – you could make some amazing new friends and be offered the chance to take part in a bite or a sip.

6. Tickets are still available, and buying online will save you some cash.

If you don’t have your tickets yet, don’t panic! You can still buy them online, and you’ll save some money if you do. Whether you want to be in the Chairman’s Pavilion or experience the fun of general admission, be sure to get your tickets ahead of time to avoid the line and increased expense of waiting.

7. Dress to impress, but also for comfort.

If you’re a fall fashion fan, you’re going to love Far Hills. Dress to impress, but remember to also be comfortable. That means forsaking your favorite stiletto boots or the monk straps that pinch your toes – Far Hills is not the place to plan on sitting around. That’s because…

8. The grounds are huge, and there’s a lot to see.

The Far Hills Race Meet is one of the most beautiful venues around, and it’s massive. The racetrack itself is only a fraction of the grounds, and there is so much to explore while you’re there. From the vendor village to tailgating, the finish line to the infield, you’re going to want the chance to wander and see all the excitement of an afternoon of steeplechasing.

9. Come hungry, because there’s a food truck rally!

What’s better than delicious food at a sporting event? Not much, and Far Hills plans on delivering some seriously good local delicacies through its food truck rally. This year’s lineup includes Angry Archies, Bacon Me Crazy, Cubano X-Press, Empanada Guy, Good Mood Good Food, Grain & Cane, Oink & Moo BBQ, and Pizza Vita. Who else’s tummy is rumbling just reading that list?

10. The race meeting is a huge fundraiser for charities.

Far Hills Race Meeting has donated over $18 million to charity over its history, and this year’s beneficiaries include Cancer Support Community, RWJ Barnabas Health, Bonnie Brae, The Arc of Somerset County, LifeCamp, and Community in Crisis. By attending the races, you’ll be helping some very worthy charities. Everyone wins!

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