The Hambletonian Society services 137 of harness racing’s richest and most prestigious events. Our site provides all the tools and information necessary to stake your horse yourself. Race conditions, payment forms, results of the previous year’s winners and pertinent information are available online.
The Hambletonian Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1924 to sponsor the race for which it was named, the Hambletonian Stake. The Society’s mission is to encourage and support the breeding of Standardbred horses through the development, administration and promotion of harness racing stakes, early-closing races and other special events.
These include harness racing’s most prominent race, the Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters, its filly division, the Hambletonian Oaks and the sport’s championship series, the Breeders Crown. Stakes and early closing races are events where the total purse is generated by eligibility payments from horse breeders and owners as well as funds added by the sponsor, usually the race track hosting the race.
This site includes content for both horsemen and racing fans alike.
For horsemen, the Staking section provides information and resources about all of our races including conditions, eligibilities, and entry forms.
Horsemen should also be sure to review the news and notes on the left side of the page which highlights important upcoming events and deadlines as well as links to current news throughout the site.
For racing fans our Champions section contains historical results and media from the Hambletonian and Breeder's Crown including race commentaries, charts, photos and videos.
Today the Society’s responsibilities include the management of 129 of harness racing’s most important events at 14 North American tracks, including the 43 races which it owns.
From an administrative standpoint, this includes the collection of over $14.2 million dollars in 2013, (consisting of some 75,801 individual eligibility payments from horse owners and breeders, as well as the added monies provided by race tracks and other stakes sponsors) and the distribution of those funds in purses to the winning horse owners.
In 2013 the Society oversaw the administration and payout of more than $17.2 million in purses, in addition to standardizing the format of racing conditions and assisting tracks in implementing special event races.
In Recent Years...
The Society takes an active role in engaging corporate participation and acquiring national television for the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown program, thereby raising the profile of the standardbred industry through its publicity and marketing efforts. Among the accomplishments and ongoing endeavors of the Society in these areas:
Securely established the future prominence of the Hambletonian Stake by extending the relationship with the Meadowlands, home to the race since 1981. Presently contracted through the year 2015, the nation’s premier harness facility has guaranteed a purse of $1.2 million, securing the event’s position as the richest harness race in the world. The agreement with the Meadowlands means the track will host the Hambletonian for a record 32 years.
Structured the Hambletonian Oaks as $600,000, making it the richest guaranteed event for that division.
Initiated the Breeders Crown championship series, the first vehicle in the sport conceived exclusively for marketing and the medium of television. The program is designed to enhance the Standardbred breeding industry by providing a lucrative, high-profile championship race in each of the 12 traditional categories of age, gait & gender. The series has disbursed more than $150,854,032 million in purses over 298 events and provided a public relations and marketing vehicle unmatched in the sport.
Instituted a national marketing program, and pioneered corporate packages for harness events. The series has attracted such recognizable sponsorship partners as AT&T, Cadillac, Certified Vacations, Continental Airlines, GM of Canada, Foxwoods Resort Casino, MBNA America Bank, Purina Mills, 3M, Sundowner Trailers, Tiffany & Co, and the Tourism Corporations of New Jersey, Ontario and Virginia.
Secured the sport’s longest established national television exposure for its premier events. The Hambletonian maintained a 13-year presence on CBS before signing a contract with NBC for the 2007-11 Hambletonians. Prior to that the stake was televised as far back as 1964 on that network as well as ABC, NBC, ESPN and TSN.
Forged a partnership with the Meadowlands to provide year-round publicity and promotion of the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown, Hambletonian charity functions and involvement in other projects in the best interest of the standardbred industry.
The Society works cooperatively with the American Horse Council, United States Trotting Association, Standardbred Canada, Harness Tracks of America, the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium and Harness Horsemen International, among others, in furthering the best interests of the standardbred industry. It has always supported other vital industry organizations such as: the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, and the American Horse Council as well as fostering a cooperative spirit with international harness groups to advance the breeding of the Standardbred worldwide.
The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown maintains an office and staff in Cranbury, New Jersey, with Thomas A. Charters as the president and CEO. The present board of directors comprises individuals whose influence and power extends beyond the sport of harness racing, to areas of industry, finance and commerce. They are dedicated to preserving and advancing a race that represents the ultimate honor in a truly American sport.
The Hambletonian Society is an RMTC Group Stakeholder.
Last year, owners of Standardbred horses had the opportunity to race for $29 million in stakes money distributed by the Hambletonian Society.
Of all the different types of harness races, added money events (generally referred to as stakes) bear the richest purses and attract the best horses.
Purses for stakes are comprised of payments put up by horse owners and breeders as well as money added by a sponsor; the latter funds provided by a sponsor are often referred to as the Added Money. The race sponsor can be the owner of the race, usually the association conducting the race meeting, a state-bred organization or hosting racetracks where another sponsor, such as the Hambletonian Society, owns the races. The payments by the horse owner, referred to as “staking,” may consist of one or more fees for nomination, sustaining or declaration. A declaration fee is sometimes called an entry fee or a starting fee, whether the horse starts or not.
Stakes racing also represents the highest rate of return for an owner, but because the owner has a significant investment (or stake) in the race, it is important to consider all facets of staking before proceeding. There are various stake race opportunities for the standard 12 divisions of age, gender and gait for harness horses, with the most money offered to three-year-old trotters and pacers.
After the nomination, stakes races require periodic sustaining payments, usually one annually in the case of a stakes, or monthly or bi-monthly in an early-closer, until the time of the race. At that time, a fee is required to declare (or enter) to start in the race. All Hambletonian Society sustaining payments are due on the 15th of the month and must be postmarked by midnight the following day in accordance with U.S. Trotting Association rules. Starting fees are due at the time of declaration, but not payable until immediately before the race.
Staking payments are usually non-refundable, so it is important to look at the total investment needed to race a horse before you begin staking it. If a payment is missed, your horse becomes ineligible and may not have a chance to get back into the race. Some races allow a supplement if you miss a payment or change your mind about a race, but that is a very expensive option. Supplemental nominations can be due months ahead of the race. Supplemental declarations are due just days ahead of the race; in some cases a supplemental may also incur further fees, (like the starting fee) or race for only part of the purse amount. This is one of the reasons it is important to check the “conditions” of a race carefully.
The term “stake” also specifically refers to a type of added money event, as defined by the U.S. Trotting Association and the various state/provincial racing commission, which closes (i.e. requires a nomination, or initial payment) in a year prior to the race.
There are also early-closing and late-closing races, which close with nominations in the year of the race. Early-Closers have closing dates which require nominations to be made at least six weeks preceding the race, usually February 15.
Late-Closers require nomination less than six weeks before the race. The Hambletonian Society services both stakes and early closers (E/Cs); it does not handle any late-closers. For purposes of these conditions and as they affect the horse owner, all may be generally referred to as stakes.
Included in the U.S.T.A Stakes Guide and on this website, in addition to the conditions of the races, are a number of tables that provide a 2019 schedule of races and payment dates by age and gait. It is the Society’s intention that by providing these stats and other facts (such as the winning horse and time of last year’s race) it will help owners and their trainers make an informed selection in their staking.