Colts Gait in Colt Neck

Nestled among the lush green rolling hills of Colt Neck, New Jersey lies Colts Gait. This group of 5 to 8 acre estates is the perfect area for breeding, keeping and maintaining horses, with each estate offering its own distinct view of the acres of land they have for their horses to roam and run free. Colts Neck

Colts Gait offers rural natural beauty country living with the backdrop presence of Green Acres land and the Big Brook Cattle Farm. The tranquil community offers many man-made touches to enhance its rustic charm, including granite block-curb lined cul-de-sacs and an elegant entrance gate of wrought iron and brick surrounded by luscious landscaping.

The mastermind behind this unique, upscale community is philanthropist, humanitarian and entrepreneur Howard M. Schoor. Mr. Schoor, who is known very highly throughout the Standardbred horse community for his creation of Showplace Farms, the most complete Standardbred training center in the country, put his heart and soul into creating Colts Gait as horses and real estate are two very important passions to Mr. Schoor.

To learn more about Howard Schoor, his charities and his business involvements visit

Schoor provides tour of proposed pet cemetery site

Developer, farm manager & crematorium director hold stakes in project
Staff Writer

Developer Howard Schoor said he’s not going away anytime soon.

That’s what the Holmdel resident, who is the founder of Manalapan’s Schoor DePalma, one of the region’s leading engineering and consulting firms, told reporters at a press junket held Monday at Showplace Farms on Route 33 in Millstone.

Schoor made the comment in reference to a Millstone-based nonprofit organization’s appeal of the township zoning board’s unanimous vote to grant a variance that would allow the construction of a pet memorial park on Showplace Farms.

“I already have $150 [thousand] to $200,000 invested in this project,” Schoor said. “If the township overrides the board’s decision, I’ll seek remedy in the courts.”

The fate of Showplace Pet Memorial Park depends on the Township Committee upholding its zoning board’s decision and the project receiving final site plan approvals, Schoor said.

The committee will hold a hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. May 18 at the Millstone Municipal Building, Millstone Road.

If everything goes well, Schoor said, he and his partners — Larry Nicola, a regional cemetery/crematorium operator, and Bix DiMeo, who oversees the daily operations at Showplace Farms — would invest more than $1 million in developing a pet cemetery and crematorium on 16.5 acres of the 140-acre farm.

“We would start construction in the fall,” Schoor said.

Showplace Farms is currently used to stable horses that compete in races at the Meadowlands, Schoor said. The facility also opens its horse pool to dogs from the local area that have medical complications, according to DiMeo.

“I can see the headline now: ‘Showplace Farms goes to the dogs,’ ” Schoor said.

Schoor made the comment referring to the current situation with the Millstone residents who created a nonprofit organization through a Web site,, to garner support and funding for appealing the zoning board’s decision to grant the variance for the pet cemetery.

The nonprofit’s attorney, Lewis Goldshore, said the group’s legal objections to the zoning board proceedings include failure to properly notify residents; improper rezoning of a parcel of land; failure to show that the project would be inherently beneficial; and failure to prove the site suitable for a pet cemetery/crematorium and without substantial detriment to the public good.

A press release from states that not only do residents object to the land use, but also to the potential pollution and traffic such a facility could produce.

“We take care of over 400 horses here,” Schoor said. “Eighty percent of them race and are worth more than half a million dollars. We would never do anything to harm these horses. Why would we put something on 14 acres that would be a detriment to the other 125 acres?”

With regard to the potential pollution the incinerator could produce, DiMeo said people are wrongly comparing the animal crematorium to a municipal waste incinerator.

“There won’t be anything but organic material going into the crematorium,” DiMeo said. “These animals are 98 percent water and about 2 percent carbon. There’s nothing toxic going into the crematorium.”

Schoor produced a statement from Lester Jargowsky, director of the Monmouth County Health Department and a Millstone resident.

“The relative health risks are extremely small,” Jargowsky said in the press release. “There is more environmental harm in a residential fireplace than in an animal crematorium.”

With regard to possible traffic the pet cemetery could create, Schoor said, “We’ll be lucky if we have half a dozen cars a day. We’re located on the state highway, so traffic won’t impact the local community.”

With regard to the aesthetics of the property, Schoor said that the entrance to the facility will be tree-lined. There would be meandering paths throughout the property, and sitting areas among the ash-scattering gardens. All of the existing farm buildings, once used for horse auctions, would be renovated and covered with stucco.

“This will be the most upscale facility in the country, if not the world,” Schoor said.

Schoor said the proposed animal crematorium would have two 15-foot smokestacks that stick out of a 30-by-50-foot building. One of the facility’s three ovens would be big enough for horses.

When asked if the facility would accept road kill from local areas, DiMeo said, “It’s not in our business plan, but if Monmouth County officials called us up and asked us to do them a favor, we wouldn’t say no.”

For those who would like to ensure the proper handling of their animals, Schoor said, the facility will allow pet owners to watch cremations. The facility will also have a chapel for services, along with a 30,000-plot cemetery, a mausoleum and indoor niches for cremated remains, Schoor said.

“We’re really going to make this a destination point for people who love their animals, a real tourist attraction,” DiMeo said.

Schoor said the state of New Jersey currently has two licensed and operating crematoriums. Showplace Pet Memorial Park would join them in the National Association of Pet Cemeteries, Schoor said. The facility would also be subject to federal, state and local environmental regulations.

“We will have to get a clean-air permit,” Schoor said. “We’re already in the process of applying for one.”

With regard to comments made on stating that an animal crematorium would reduce property values, Schoor said, “If anyone had a vested interest, it would be me. I’m the largest tax payer in the township.”

DiMeo said, “When anyone hears the word incinerator, red flags go up. But, the people who are giving out wrong information about this kind of incinerator are the ones to blame.”

Schoor said, “We think there is a tremendous need for this. It doesn’t seem anyone is objecting to the pet cemetery, just the crematorium, but that’s an intrinsic part of this kind of facility.”

When asked if he is considering more than just profits with this project, Schoor said, “Sure, I’m a developer, but there are other things in life that motivate projects other than profits. This really isn’t a project for us, but our children and our grandchildren.”

Schoor, a civil engineer, founded the design and engineering firm Schoor DePalma Inc. in 1968. His firm handles more than 5,500 projects a year in areas that include transportation services, land development planning, public works services, environmental services and building services. The firm provides engineering and consulting services to more than 500 commercial and government clients in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the firm’s Web site.

“If Howard Schoor wants something done, it gets done,” DiMeo said. “The pet industry is growing in leaps and bounds, and having a pet cemetery in Millstone could put it on the map. We could be in the forefront of a billion-dollar industry.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about Showplace Farms or its proposed pet cemetery can call DiMeo at (732) 446-3100.

It Schoor Makes Horse Sense

By P, Shankar
Publication: NJBIZ

Thirty years ago, a cash-strapped client offered engineer Howard Schoor a 50% interest in a race horse named “Farm Nibble” to settle a bill of a couple of thousand dollars owed to his engineering firm. At the time Schoor had never even ridden a horse, but he accepted nonetheless.

What started as a chance foray turned into a passion that later made good business sense, too. Today, Schoor owns one of the largest training farms on the East Coast for harness horses, which has its own race track and a dozen horses. Showplace Farms, his 140-acre facility in Millstone, has a capacity of 450 horses, an all-weather track, a heated indoor swimming and therapy pool for horses, and blacksmith and tack shops.

Schoor, 64, is better known as the founder and chairman emeritus of Schoor DePalma of Manalapan, one of the state’s largest design and engineering firms. Over the 35 years since its founding, it has grown to 13 offices in three states, 650 employees and $76 million in revenues last year.

It Just Needed Doing

So many times the thousands of owners, who invest money, time and love in our sport year after year, are practically faceless, often too far behind the scenes to be properly recognized.

But as the last Thanksgiving of the 20th century approaches, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to all Standardbred owners by singling out one of them. There are so many unsung heroes in our sport, let this man’s action serve as an example for all of them, realizing that many, many names and stories could be chronicled here.

I don’t know Howard Schoor personally. To the best of my memory, we have only met once. But I have been fascinated by and admired his unselfish action from a distance for a long time. His story may not be new to you since it has been told before, and although it seems so unique, it is most likely “no big deal” to Mr. Schoor; but I think that it is a big deal.

Howard Schoor has been in Harness Racing more than 30 years, watching and hoping as his horses took to the track, year after year. He may have had the thrill of his racing life in 1998 when his Day In A Life captured the Meadowlands Pace. He also owned standout trotter Rule The Wind and watched as that trotter became a sire in New Jersey.

New Jersey was further impacted by Schoor’s vision when the real estate builder/developer created Showplace Farm and clearly affected the way people would race horses and look at farm training for years to come.

In my view, Schoor’s greatest impact, though, comes not on the racetrack. The owner of Colts Gait Farm has been friend and benefactor to Sisters of the Good Shepherd for the last 12 years, and it is through his efforts that the Sisters’ good work continues to touch lives.

As I indicated, the story of Howard’s relationship with the Sisters and their Collier Services has been told before, that he went to their facility to check out a leaking hot water heater and ended up helping them with a fund-raising event for their charities.

The fund-raising event, which by now has multiplied several times over, has brought in tens of thousands of dollars for such causes as Collier High School, Kateri Environmental Center, Sheppard Day Care Center and a group home.

Then there was the story of Colts Gait Kateri, a fairly uneventful trotting filly out of a mare once owned by a priest,
who scented to race beyond her bloodlines and brought thousands of dollars to the Sisters through Schoor’s 10-percent tithing pledge.

Did it matter that Howard Schoor is Jewish. when he and wife Frances impacted so many lives with their generosity and gifts? I hardly think so!

Did he do it because he thought it would bring hint good racing luck? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

I think that he did it simply because he thought it needed doing. It was the decent thing to do; no real lengthy thought process involved here.

I am certain that there are many “Howard Schoors” and similar stories among people in our sport. It is unfortunate that the general media and public doesn’t know about that part of Harness Racing. I guess it isn’t sensational enough to pass muster with the powers that be in TV/radio and the written media.

There is no substitute for helping your fellow man, be it in racing or in life.

Howard Schoor clearly remembers life beyond racing, and he has continued to incorporate a quiet decency into his life. He probably wouldn’t like to hear this. but he is a person to be admired, appreciated and emulated.

As we prepare to sit down with our families this Thanksgiving, or to care for our horses. or to prepare for another day of racing. I’m hoping we may think of people like Howard Schoor and think of ways that we, too, may make our world a better place.

And remember, the greatest gift we have to offer is to offer ourselves.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

‘Til the next time,

Fred J. Noe

USTA Today

Day In A life Has a Moment Of A Lifetime

By Kathy Parker
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It’s tough to own a really good colt. Just ask the connections of Sealed N Delivered or Rustler Hanover, who were all in attendance at the Meadowlands Saturday night, July 11. While the thrills can be exhilarating, the disappointments are pretty tough.

Sealed N Delivered was the betting favorite to win the $1 million Meadowlands Pace. But after racing first-over into a strong headwind down the backstretch, the colt faltered in the turn and finished 10th, beaten 11 1/2 lengths. After the race trainer Chris Ryder said he planned to scope Sealed N Delivered. Later he revealed the colt had flipped his palate.

Rustler Hanover was also bet down fairly low and avoided any catastrophic breaks in stride, which plagued him in last year’s Breeders Crown and the North America Cup last month. This time he was beaten simply because he didn’t fire, said driver Paul MacDonell, although a pus pocket on a foot had also bothered the colt before the elim.

The thrill of victory on Meadowlands Pace night belonged to those associated with Day In A Life. With a savvy frontend drive from Luc Ouellette, the colt by Life Sign held off a late rally by Fit For Life—another son of first-crop sire Life Sign—to win the race in 1:51.1 for owners Howard Schoor and Peter Heffering and trainer Monte Gelrod.
Day In A Life started from post four while Rustler Hanover was just to his inside (post three) and Sealed N Delivered was outside in post eight. In the North America Cup final Day In A Life had broken stride when the starting gate wing bounced back and hit him. Ouellette had driven him that day. This time he had to deal with another scenario behind the gate: a slightly rank colt.

“When I got behind the gate he was taking me pretty good, and I decided to pace out with him,” Ouellette said. “When I regained the front with him, I didn’t want to end up in the three hole. I saw the :56 (for the half) and felt pretty good. Halfway down the lane, I felt I was a winner. I hadn’t pulled the plugs.”

“Mine had as good a shot as any of them coming into the race,” said Gelrod, who trained the 1997 Meadowlands Pace runner-up At Point Blank. “Sealed N Delivered was the one to beat. He’s a fast, very powerful horse. But he gets real tired in the final 30 yards down by the wire. I watched him very closely many times and I noticed that.

“I was more concerned winning it on the lead than sitting a two hole to Sealed N Delivered,” continued Gelrod, “because I know if I’m on his back I would run right by him. Day In A Life doesn’t like to cut the mile. He wants a target, an opening to aim for. When there’s no one in front of him, he loses interest and thinks the job is done. In the stretch we were home. But just past the wire we’re beat.”

George Brennan, who rallied Fit For Life through a :26.2 final quarter, saw the finish the same way as Gelrod. “A few more feet, and I’d get him,” he added.

Dragon Again also had plenty of gas left in the tank for the final quarter mile, but he had farther to come than Fit For Life (another 2 1/2 lengths), and was also caught behind the floundering Sealed N Delivered and Rustler Hanover. He finished third. A victory by Dragon Again would have meant sweet revenge for driver Ron Pierce, who had lost the drive on Sealed N Delivered after the North America Cup, and it could have been a huge moment in the career of Ohio trainer Kelly O’Donnell. “I wish we could have had better luck,” lamented O’Donnell, 40, who was starting his first horse in the Meadowlands Pace.

Day In A Life’s triumph sent a happy throng to the winner’s circle, including Marty Granoff, whose Val d’Or Farms shares ownership of Fit For Life. Granoff is also a close friend of Schoor. Schoor’s partner Heffering had stayed in Canada to prepare 400-head of cattie for a sale but Schoor, an engineer, developer, and the operator of Showplace Farm, merely had to drive up the turnpike to the track and was joined by family and friends for the trophy presentation. After owning horses for 30 years, it was Schoor’s greatest moment as an owner.

Schoor had become an owner of Day In A Life after Heffering invited him to buy an interest in the horse. Day In A Life was a $23,000 yearling at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg. As a two year old he began his racing career at Rideau Carleton, but showed enough potential in a 1:56.2 win at Woodbine on Aug. 1 that Heifering bought the colt and turned him over to Bill Robinson. Geirod took over as trainer when the colt came to the U.S. shortly before the Governor’s Cup.

Day In A Life put together a slate of 13-6-2-1 as a freshman and earned $91,980. His 1998 season has thus far yielded five wins and three seconds in 11 starts and $589,250 in earnings.

Nuns Have a Stake in a Trotter’s Success

Published: Sunday, August 22, 1993

SISTER ELLEN KELLY of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd here carries a datebook filled with constant reminders. There are circles around special meetings, highlight marks over important phone numbers and asterisks beside coming horse races.

Harness races, to be specific.

“It’s a big part of our business,” Sister Ellen said. “It helps us pay the bills.”

The nuns have a stake in a 3-year-old filly named Colts Gait Kateri. Every time Colts Gait Kateri wins a race, Collier Services — which provides a broad range of social services for children and is run by the sisters — gets 10 percent of her earnings.

“We root for her all the time,” Sister Ellen said. “It’s exciting for all of us, and it’s also our way of saying ‘thanks’ to her.”

In the last two racing seasons, Colts Gait Kateri has earned $114,322 in purses, contributing $11,432 to Collier.

“I believe that God really wants these children to be helped,” Sister Ellen said. “And one of the ways He’s helping them is through this horse.”

Colts Gait Kateri is part of a stable owned by Howard Schoor in Colts Neck Township. He says the financial arrangement is appropriate since it was providence that brought both the filly and the sisters into his life.

Mr. Schoor, who heads an engineering company with offices throughout the state, first met the sisters 10 years ago, when he was called to the Collier retreat here in Marlboro Township to fix a leak in the water tower. When the time came to pay the bill, he found that the charity had a skimpy $9,000 in endowments and a heap of other bills.

“At that point we didn’t have an active fund-raising board,” said Sister Ellen, whose datebook then was filled with more problems than promise. “We didn’t have any funds to fall back on at all.”

While Mr. Schoor was getting acquainted with the sisters, a priest working with the nuns, the Rev. Thomas O’Connor, who owned several standardbreds, learned that he was being transferred to run his own parish at St. Robert Bellarmine Church in Freehold Township. But the horses had to find a new home. So just before his departure, Father O’Connor gave Mr. Schoor one of them, a little-known mare named Julia C, who had earned just $4,127 in her career.

Mr. Schoor eventually bred Julia C to his top stallion, Rule the Wind, and the result was Colts Gait Kateri. The filly’s name is a composite of Mr. Schoor’s Colts Gait Farm and the Kateri Environmental Center, the summer camp run by Collier Services.

Since Colts Gait Kateri did not come from strong racing bloodlines, it was originally thought she would fare no better than her dam, Julia C. To everyone’s surprise, she rose to stardom, winning the first five races of her career last season. Her biggest payday came when she captured the $60,000 New Jersey Stakes final for 2-year-olds at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill.

Sister Ellen and the other nuns and children at Collier often visit Colts Gait Kateri in her stable or even venture to various tracks to see the filly compete.

On June 15, two vans crammed with nuns and lay people from Collier traveled to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford to cheer her on in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-olds.

In that race, Colts Gait Kateri led until the top of the stretch, keeping her fan club on the tips of their toes, until she broke stride and finished seventh.

“We felt so bad for her,” Sister Ellen said. “But we know she’ll bounce back.”

Despite the loss in the final, Colts Gait Kateri did win two of the three Sire Stakes preliminary legs worth $33,000 each, bringing Collier $6,600. And after a bout with a nervous condition, the filly came back on Aug. 5 to win a race at the New Jersey Sire Stakes Fair in Cowtown. At the New Jersey Futurity on Aug. 17 at Freehold, she finished fifth.

“So far it has worked out very well,” Mr. Schoor said. “The horse has won some money for the nuns, and the nuns have become good friends of the horse. I think some of them are even reading racing entries in some of the newspapers.”

There are plans to continue the benefaction, even after the trotter is retired. Colts Gait Sadie, a full sister to Colts Gait Kateri, will continue to race for Collier.

“Howard has been so wonderful to us,” Sister Ellen said. “His creativity has done more than just raise money for these kids — it has brought attention to their needs.”

Through annual benefits held on Mr. Schoor’s 45-acre farm in Colts Neck, he and his wife, Frances, have raised nearly $800,000 in the last 10 years for Collier.

Mr. Schoor, who is Jewish, said he just got “hooked” on helping the Roman Catholic charity.

“I’ve been pretty successful in my life,” he said. “I raised three good kids with no problems. When I see kids who don’t have a family or any other means of support, I just feel the need to give something back.” Support for Camp and School

His support is helping Collier send about 400 children, ages 7 to 12, to the Kateri summer camp for two weeks. About 140 others, between the ages of 13 and 19, are enrolled in high school classes at Collier.

“These kids would be dropouts without school,” Mr. Schoor said. “They just couldn’t get along in their local school systems.”

“There are so many reasons why I’ve pledged an awful lot of time and money to this organization,” Mr. Schoor added. “The sisters are the main reason, though, because they’re really beautiful people who are performing a truly beautiful service to their community.”

Sister Ellen said that human or horse, “not a day goes by when we don’t pray for one of our benefactors.” She added, “Believe me, they’ve helped change a lot of things around here.”

These days, when she reaches for her datebook, Sister Ellen searches for the first asterisk next to Colts Gait Kateri.

Photo: From left, Nicole Francis, former Kateri camper; Paul Wojtowicz, former trainer; Colts Gait Kateri, a 3-year-old filly; Sister Ellen Kelly and Joan Keeler, Kateri Camp director. (Equi-Photo)

Horse to run for nuns again

Howard Schoor’s harness racing horse, toUs Gait Kateri, runs for the nuns again tonight at The t,leadowlands. The 3year-old filly already has contributed more than $11,000 to Collier Services, a charity founded in 1927 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Wickatunk, N.J.

Schoor, a civil engineer who has owned and bred trotters for 20 years, met the sisters when he fixed
their leaky water tower. Seeing their need for help with programs for disadvantaged kids, Schoor — who is Jewish — became a major fund-raiser, bringing in nearly $1 million for the Catholic charity.

Lately, a key contributor has been Colts Gait Kateri, named after Schoor’s Colts Gait Farm in Colts Neck, N.J., and Kateri Environmental Center — the nuns’ summer camp for kids.

“It’s like you’re sharing some of the excitement with people who normally wouldn’t he involved in racing,” says Schoor.

He credits “divine guidance” for the filly’s strong showing, winning $114,322 in 15 outings. The sisters get their cut, 10%, off the top.

“The nuns,” says Schoor, “don’t know from net.”

USA Today

Showplace Farms Opening


By Assemblymen DOYLE and NEWMAN

Adopted May 10, 1979

WHEREAS, Showplace Farms, a 140 acre complex in Millstone, Monmouth County, offering the finest in equine boarding, therapy, security and training, is the largest horsetraining farm in the Northeast and will conduct a gala opening day celebration on Sunday June 3, 1979; and,

WHEREAS, Two races, an open pace and an open trot, will be run that afternoon as a benefit for Multiple Sclerosis and Showplace Farms will contribute $500, along with the $100 entry fees, in cooperation with the harness horse industry’s continuing efforts, throughout the nation, to eradicate this dread disease; and,

WHEREAs, Showplace Farms, conceived and owned by Howard M. Schoor, a standardbred owner and president of one of New Jersey’s leading civil engineering firms, fulfills the need of the horse owner who does not wish to finance and manage his own training facility; and,

WHEREAS, Standardbred breeding, training and racing comprise a large segment of New Jersey’s horse industry, an industry worth more than a billion dollars annually to the State, to which Showplace Farms makes a significant contribution; and,

WHEREAS, It is altogether fitting and proper for this House to note the auspicious genesis of an enterprise so clearly committed to the public interest and to the State of New Jersey; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

That this House hereby congratulate Showplace Farms upon the celebration of its grand opening and extend best wishes for future prosperity; and,

Be It Further Resolved, That a duly authenticated copy of this resolution, signed by the Speaker and attested by the Clerk, be transmitted to Howard M. Schoor, owner, Showplace Farms.

Copyright © 2011 Howard Schoor Comanies

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