GARDEN STATE PARK RACECOURSE

The Garden State racecourse, for harness and thoroughbred racing, was situated at Cherry Hill in the Camden County area of New Jersey. It was seen as part of a trio of racecourses alongside Monmouth Park and Atlantic City. The track held its inaugural meeting in 1942.

Very grateful to our American Racing Correspondent Richard Gauthier for the scan of the rare badge shown above, and for the selection of badges from the 1950's,1960's and 1970's shown below.

Its principal race was the Jersey Derby which could trace its history back to 7th June 1864 when run at Paterson and won by Norfolk. In 1942 the Jersey Handicap was won by Salto; In 1948 it became the Jersey Stakes and was won by Citation, while in 1960 it became the Jersey Derby when won by Bally Ache. It was relocated to another course on the closure of Garden State Park and was won in 2012 by Howe Great ridden by Joe Bravo.

 Another of its feature races was the Gardenia Stakes over a touch more than a mile. First run in 1955, it was won by Miss Legality in 1991.

The great Secretariat ran at the course in its final 2 year old race on 18th November 1972 in the Garden State Futurity, winning by 3 1/2 lengths from Angle Light. The race was also known as the Garden State Stakes and was won in 1999 by Judges' View in the hands of Jesus Castanon.

The grandstand was gutted by fire in 1977 and after a building programme the track regained the Jersey Derby which continued to be run at this racecourse until 1998. The track closed on 3rd December 2001 with the final winner being Peg Rushton ridden by N. Santagata and trained by Stacy McMullin.

If you have badges, racecards, pictures of the racecourse or further details about the course, including your memories, then email johnslusar@fsmail.net