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Photos from the Hunt: Steeplechase Horse Racing in Far Hills, NJ

19 Oct , 2008  

We had an early start this year. I was on the Morristown train by 8:30 yesterday morning along with a few thousand other early party-goers, heading to the Steeplechase Horse Race in Far Hills, NJ. Better known simply as The Hunt (aka the Hunt for beer, the Hunt for a ride home, the Hunt for pretty much anything except class, dignity and sobriety), this is a massive tailgate party for what I’m told is a horse race which goes on all around the infield festivities. Everyone from Northern New Jersey (or, as it seems, everyone who is anyone) is probably aware of the Hunt party at Moorland Farms in Far Hills, NJ.

Far Hills Race Meeting Pedestrian Entrance

Far Hills Race Meeting Entrance

The train ride was a lot longer than I remembered – for about an hour we watched as the fall foliage and small towns raced past our window. First Summit, then Basking Ridge, then Bernardsville and then finally Far Hills; where the trains came to a halt and vomited out tens of thousands of soon-to-be inebriated revellers on the unsuspecting sleepy little farmland community. The area is actually quite upscale the rest of the year, where home values often exceed the $1 million mark. But for one day each year they allow any social deviant with $50 to buy a ticket, park a truck on their lawn and get drunk in their backyard.

Random view of people at the Hunt and the hilltop

Thousands of people came out for the 2008 Hunt

This is about my 6th time at the Hunt, I think – who can remember? I missed the last couple years but the Hunt never forgets. It’s still the same – rows upon rows of lot parties. You see, the racetrack circles what is a basically a big parking lot, and for a fee you can either park your car in that lot or do what most people do – invite 30 or so of your friends, buy a keg and a 6 foot sub and throw a party. Some parties are more elaborate than others – several lots had ice louges for shots set up and I’m sure more than one roasted a pig. Most of them cranked their stereos loud enough to drown out the sound of the horse race.

Ice Louge Shots at the 2008 Hunt

Ice Louge Shots

Roast Pig at the Hunt

I don't dig on swine

Now, that’s the infield party (where we were). You can also get a lot on the hilltop, where most parties are catered affairs; small, intimate table settings for two on the grass where the New Jersey wealthy elite sip champagne with white gloves. While they do get just as drunk as the infielders, up on the hill you’re less likely to have to scream to be heard over the sound of the Beastie Boys being pumped out of the ghetto box running on generator power. That’s why its such a loaded question when someone asks you, “Are you in the infield or up on the Hill this year?”

Private Party at the Hunt, Far Hills NJ

Private Party at the Hunt, Far Hills NJ

Mounted Patrol Police at the Hunt

These are the only horses I really got to see

At the end of the day, the ostentatious displays of wealth and party decorations really don’t matter. At an event like the Far Hills Hunt where thousands upon thousands attend and the beautiful people rub elbows with the hoi polloi, only one factor truly determines personal self-worth. How many people are in front of you in line for the bathroom?

Lines of port-a-johns at the Hunt before the day begins

They look nice and clean and empty when the day starts

Soon enough the lines begin to swell 5 deep

Soon enough the lines begin to swell 5 deep

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5 Responses

  1. Paola says:

    totally there! not going to lie, the lack of rain and mud took away character!

  2. Barry Wise says:

    nice! I was waiting for someone to comment on that … for years all I remember is sloshing around in mud and stale beer, this is the first year the ground was dry and it was sunny all day! I even got a mild sunburn …

  3. David says:

    lol barry that must have sucked…..just kidding i hate it when the ground is muddy on days like this…

    Thanks for the article

  4. Wow, that’s cool. I am in Hillsborough NJ. I definitely want to try and make the next “Hunt”!

  5. Michael says:

    Barry,

    What spots were you at? mine is right next to the horse Luge shot. the one with the spinning Ketel One signs.

    how much do you charge for the party?

    don’t you hate the waiting game and for ppl to pay.

    No one seems to understand that this is a yearly event that you do not miss.
    Michael

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