The New Jersey Sire Stakes Program was established by law in 1971 to encourage the breeding of Standardbred horses, the trotters and pacers familiar to harness racing fans. Because the program offers healthy purses for winning Standardbreds sired by registered New Jersey stallions, it gives stallion owners an incentive to locate their stallions and horse farms in New Jersey. As a result, the program has been instrumental in maintaining more than 100,000 acres of scenic open space around the state.
The Sire Stakes program provides a minimum of six races a year for each class of both 2- and 3-year old colts and fillies, trotters and pacers alike. The program includes Sire Stakes Premier Division events, the Sire Stakes’ Standardbred Development Fund Program, and the Renaissance Open and Filly Paces. Total purse money for these events was approximately $3.3 million in 2019.
To be eligible to the New Jersey Sire Stakes program, an owner must purchase or breed a foal sired by a New Jersey registered stallion. That stallion must have been registered with the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and must conform to the rules of the New Jersey Sire Stakes. See Standardbred Development Fund section below for eligibility rules for that program.
A foal sired by a registered New Jersey Standardbred stallion must be nominated to the Sire Stakes by May 15 to become eligible for both the Standardbred Development Fund and pari-mutuel programs. A $50 registration fee must be included along with a copy of the United States Trotting Association or Standardbred Canada Certificate of Registration or a $75 fee without the certificate. Horses bred via semen transported outside the state of New Jersey must pay $100. Supplemental yearling nominations can be made up to and including September 15 for a fee of $350 or $400 if the horse was bred out of New Jersey through the transport of semen. After September 15 up until February 15 of the 2-year-old season, the fee is $650 and $700 if bred out of state. The supplemental nomination fee does not include any other fees that may also be due on that date.
For information on the Standardbred Development Fund mare registration, yearling nominations, and sustaining payments, see the section titled "Standardbred Development Fund", below.
Commencing in 2020,the Sire Stakes will be offering races for 4-year-olds, both Open and Mares divisions, on the pace and the trot. To be eligible to these races horses must have made the yearling nomination payment for the Premier Division and/or the Standardbred Development Fund. To remain eligible, a nomination fee of $200 must be made for each horse by February 15, 2020. A $200 starting fee will be required to enter the preliminary leg. There will be no additional starting fees for horses that qualify for the finals. The races will be conducted at The Meadowlands on June 20 and 27 for pacers and September 11 and 18 for trotters, consisting consist of a preliminary leg and a final. Preliminary legs will go for $12,500 or $15,000 depending upon the number of entries, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the finals. All preliminary legs will be contested, regardless of the number of entries. Purses for the finals shall be tiered based upon the number of entries. If less than five horses enter the purse for the final will be $30,000; if five to seven horses are entered the purse will be $40,000, and if more than seven enter the purse will increase to $50,000.
The Premier Division is contested in the spring and summer with a series of races at The Meadowlands for both 2- and 3-year old colts and fillies on both the trot and pace. The top point winners in each division qualify for the finals.
Payments for the Premier Division program of $300 are due on February 15 for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. An additional payment of $500 for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds is due on April 15. Starting fees in all Premier Division qualifying events are $500. Starting fees for final events at the Meadowlands will be $1,000 in 2020.
Commencing with the foal crop of 2014, the Green Acres Division has been replaced by the Standardbred Development Fund series of races. For 2020, the series will consist of at least two legs and a final for 2- and 3-year-olds of each gait and sex. Eligibility for the Standardbred Development Fund series will be open to all horses sired by New Jersey-based stallions as well as horses that are the result of a breeding between any registered standardbred stallion and a standardbred mare that has spent a minimum of 150 consecutive days in New Jersey inclusive of foaling. Mare nominations should be made no later than 150 days prior to the foaling date and should be accompanied by a payment of $100. Subsequent payments to continue eligibility include yearling nominations, and sustaining payments during a horse's 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sustaining payments for the Standardbred Development Fund program of $100 and $150 are due on February 15 and April 15, respectively. Starting fees for Standardbred Development Fund races are $200 for qualifying races and $500 for final events. Horses that start in both qualifying races shall have the starting fee for the final waived in the event they earn enough points to be eligible for the final.
The New Jersey Sire Stakes also administers the Renaissance Open Pace and the Renaissance Filly Pace, both for New Jersey Standard Bred Development Fund eligible 2-year-old pacers. The races have replaced the Lou Babic Memorials. Renaissance yearling nominations will close May 15 and carry fees of $25 for colts and $15 for fillies. The yearlings must be nominated to the New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund. Supplemental nominations can be made until March 15 of the 2-year-old with a fee of $700 for colts and $400 for fillies. The supplemental nomination fee does not include any other fees that may also be due on that date. One sustaining payment of $700 for colts and $400 for fillies is due on March 15 of the 2-year-old year. Starting fees are $2,000 for the open division and $1,000 for the filly division. In 2019, the value of the Renaissance Open Pace is estimated at $60,000 while the filly division is expected to be valued at $50,000.
For More Information: Contact Lynn Mathews or call (609) 292-8830 or write the New Jersey Sire Stakes, P.O. Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625.
Sire Stakes Board of Trustees: Michael Gulotta; Nancy Grbelja; Dr. Richard Meirs; Mark Mullen; Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.