More than 35,000 spectators are expected to gather for the 93rd annual Far Hills Race Meeting for a full day next Saturday, between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Moorland Farm off Route 202 in Far Hills — but with a private security force and a reported 100 state police officers joining the party to enforce new rules.
The historic event — called one of the country’s most prestigious steeplechase horse races by organizers — will feature top thoroughbred jump racing, private tailgating parties and culinary feasts set against the stunning backdrop of New Jersey’s fall foliage. Both a fall day outdoors for area revelers that has grown increasingly into a destination event for the tri-state area, the Far Hills Race Meeting is described by in a release on the release as "a social experience for families, race enthusiasts, and equestrians alike."
The event also is a fundraiser that has The Far Hills Race Meeting brought in more than $18 million since the 1950’s to benefit the programs and services of Somerset Medical Center in Somerville.
But the Far Hills Race Meeting Association (FHRMA) this week announced that the organization has hired a private security firm to assist in enforcing new security policies designed to address alcohol-related issues at this year's race.
Gateway Group One — one of the largest providers in the region with 34 years of experience managing security for clients and public events including large public venues, bus and rail operations, and corporate offices and complexes —will work in cooperation with the New Jersey state police.
100 state police also attending event
The state police have committed 100 officers to the event, in addition to local law enforcement and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the race meeting's announcement.
The increased security teams will monitor the delivery, transportation and consumption of alcohol on race grounds and at general admission gates, the release said.
Last year, longstanding complaints about drunkenness and other rowdy behavior by revelers reached a crescendo, which brought about a new set of rules that affect mostly the crowd coming in through the main gate, rather than individuals, private parties or corporations renting a tailgate spot or room for a private tent at the top of the hill. Those catered events still can include alcohol, even under the new rules.
Race officials said they are launching a set of new security policies developed with input from the Borough of Far Hills and law enforcement to address alcohol-related incidents, enhance safety, and ensure a pleasant and safe experience for Race Day patrons, according to an announcement on behalf of the Far Hills Race Meeting.
More information on the new security measures can be found at www.farhillsrace.org, by calling 908-234-0537, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developed with input from the Borough of Far Hills and law enforcement, the new security measures will take a zero tolerance approach to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for attendees.
According to the Far Hills Race Meeting Association, new rules this year include:
- General admission ticketholders entering pedestrian gates will not be permitted to bring in alcohol. Spectators will be subject to search and hand-held metal detectors.
- Only reserved parking spot holders, tent holders and registered caterers are permitted to bring alcohol on the property for their private parties.
- All caterers are required to register with the Far Hills Race Meeting Association in advance. Unregistered deliveries of alcohol to the race grounds are prohibited.
- All buses are required to register with the Far Hills Race Meeting Association prior to the event.
- Entry will be denied to visibly intoxicated attendees.
- No tailgating or alcohol consumption permitted within General Parking areas.
Underage drinking, said to be a problem last year and at previous years' events, along with DUI laws will be strictly enforced by law enforcement officers. Failure to comply with any of the new rules will result in removal from the event.
“Over the past year we conducted a thorough evaluation of our security policies in an effort to improve the Race Day experience for the more than 35,000 attendees who come out each year to enjoy world-class steeplechase,” said Guy Torsilieri, co-chairman of the Far Hills Race Meeting Association.
“We are hopeful that these new partnerships with local law enforcement, New Jersey State Police, Gateway Group One, and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office will allow us to better enforce our new security policies, address drinking and public disturbance issues onsite, and continue to provide a safe and enjoyable day for spectators and families," Torsilieri said.
“The Far Hills Borough Council has worked closely with Race organizers to design and implement changes to their security policies,” said Mayor Paul Vallone, Mayor of Far Hills “The Far Hills Race Meeting is a wonderful tradition that does a lot of good work for the community through its support of Somerset Medical Center, and we look forward to a positive experience on October 19.”
Gates open for the race at 8 a.m. and post-time for the first race is 1 p.m. The event, sponsored in part by Open Road Auto Group and co-chaired by John T. von Stade and Guy J. Torsilieri, has raised more than $18 million since the 1950’s to benefit Somerset Medical Center.