It has been announced the James B Dancer and Helen Dancer stake races have been dropped from the Freehold Raceway schedule in a move necessitated by Penwood's continued refusal to accept the purse enhancement agreement's terms. While management's concerns are understandable, being this was the last year of the agreement, one would have hoped management would have acepted the terms as a sign of good faith to the standardbred industry and Governor Christie.
While the early season Dexter Cup trot and the Cane Pace as well as their filly companion stakes will continue to be contested, it is clear that Freehold is continuing down the path of irrelevance. It wasn't too long ago that Freehold was a track many horsemen wanted to compete at. Now, horsemen are waiting for spring so they can escape and race elsewhere.
Maybe it is a good thing the Dancer stakes have been cancelled after all. A name so revered in harness racing shouldn't be cheapened by being affixed to a stakes races being contested at what is quickly becoming a 'C' track.