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Dean Hoffman's Blog


What was the best race of 2008?

Published: December 22, 2008 10:21 pm ET

Last Comment: December 31, 2008 9:35 am ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In my Holiday issue of The Horseman & Fair World I received a ballot to vote on the "best race of the year." It was an easy decision for me: Meadowlands Pace.

It certainly generated the most comment and controversy during the year and it marked the only defeat of the presumptive Horse of the Year Somebeachsomwhere.

We all remember the circumstances: the blazing fast half-mile with Art Official parking the challenges until Beach's bold move to the front. Then Art Official rallying back and nailing the big horse at the wire. And Sam McKee's call of the race was a classic.

No, I don't like to see great horses lose a race, but that is often what makes races so memorable. Great horses are often so dominant and intimidating that their races are boring. The Meadowlands Pace was anything but boring.

I might have voted for the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers as the best race of the year because Beach sat outside Jug winner Shadow Play during the final half and got him at the wire. What a huge, huge effort.

The Kentucky Futurity was a good one, too, and I really thought that Celebrity Secret would win the raceoff, but Dewey rallied to save the day.

What race did you think was the best of 2008? Tell me why you think so.

December 31, 2008 - 9:35 amI strongly feel that the

Ron L (not verified) SAID...

I strongly feel that the Messenger was the Beach's best trip. Terrible conditions and he touched wheels twice. Once in the turn with Santanna Blue Chip (he had to veer wide) and once in the stretch drive with Shadow Play. The Beach was going by SP and hit wheels and lost momentum and Paul had to speak to Beach and rally him back for the win. A fantastic trip. A close 2nd was the M/Lands, what a trip.

December 29, 2008 - 8:13 amThe Meadowlands Pace was the

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

The Meadowlands Pace was the best race by far of the year and one of the best races I have ever seen in person. I am one of Art Officials biggest fans so I was escatic that he won. Even better though was to see two horses show so much want to win, neither ever giving up and only a wire making the decision. I get goosebumps everytime I watch the race.

December 25, 2008 - 3:48 pmMeadowlands Pace (Art

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Meadowlands Pace (Art Official, Somebeach)

William Haughton (Mister Big, Artistic Fella)

December 24, 2008 - 8:20 pmthat was one hell of a race

John King (not verified) SAID...

that was one hell of a race but it didn,t seem to me the winner was ever the same , thats what i thought anyway.

December 24, 2008 - 5:05 pmIt would have to be the

Leslie and Aryelle Kuretzky (not verified) SAID...

It would have to be the Meadowlands Pace for me. What a race. What a couple of horses.

December 24, 2008 - 9:25 amMeadowlands Pace. How fast

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Meadowlands Pace. How fast of a mile would he have gone is only parked 2 wide and not 3 wide?! Might have beat his 1.46.4 record! Ron Pierce won that race, he did what needed to be done to beat The Beach.

December 23, 2008 - 5:05 pmFrom my perspective and I've

Carey Lewis (not verified) SAID...

From my perspective and I've said this before, The Meadowlands Pace was Somebeachsomewhere's best race. Any horse only loses by a neck after being parked (three wide) on the backstretch, in extrordionary fractions at the half and three quarter poles gets my vote. I was distraught after the loss but knew this horse was very special! And he proved how special in spades from that point on! I will also agree with my fellow bloggers that the Messenger and OSS Super Final were tremendous miles too. The weather conditions in both races were severe and if they were better I'm sure SBSW would have put up two more amazing miles!

I'm going to miss seeing him race!

December 23, 2008 - 1:56 pmAlthough the Meadowlands

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Although the Meadowlands Pace was very exciting...and the horse that won the race got blown away by SBSW the week before...I think Beaches win in the OSS SuperFinal was phenonmenal. If you look at the track conditions, and the quality he Middleton put it "a long distance phone call back to second"...quite possibly would have been a world record...the track was 3-4 seconds off. And you right...Art Official is a nice horse...but inferior.

December 23, 2008 - 1:36 pmThere is a toss up on the

Brendan Curran (not verified) SAID...

There is a toss up on the best race in 2008 and they are the Messenger in 1:50 in that mud, for both horses, the 1;46.3 performance by the beach, The Little Brown jug for shadow play coming over that foot,to win it. That horse has alot of heart, the other was the Gold Cup and Saucer for my Buddy Earl Smith. I went to the winners circle afterwards and there wasnt A dry eye in the whole place. This year there was alot of great races, but there was too many to choose from.

December 23, 2008 - 1:11 pmThe Messenger in a photo,

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

The Messenger in a photo, weather was brutal and it was on the dreaded half-mile track; plus Shadow Play had matured into a great champion. Mind you the Pace was a great race also.

December 23, 2008 - 1:05 pmAs heartbreaking as it was,

R. Clark (not verified) SAID...

As heartbreaking as it was, i too have to throw my vote towards the Meadowlands Pace ... I've said it before, in my eyes the "Beach" is still undefeated. With enough therapy, in time, i should be able to deal with that loss ... :) (no disrespect to Art Official at all, Ron Pierce won that race ) ... "Deweys" Futurity elim win from the ten hole was pretty awesome as well.

December 23, 2008 - 12:45 pmFor me it was the gold cup

Kyle Gillis (not verified) SAID...

For me it was the gold cup and saucer

December 23, 2008 - 12:27 pmMeadowlands Pace is

Scott Waddell (not verified) SAID...

Meadowlands Pace is landslide. It will go down in history as possibly the greatest performance by a horse in defeat of all time.

December 23, 2008 - 8:40 amI agree easily the

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I agree easily the medowlands pace,i think it was sbsw best race and it was in defeat.Reminds me of the 1978 jockey club gold cup when seattle slew was also defeated by an inferior horse.Watch that replay dino its on you tube.

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