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Jeff Porchak's Blog


It Was 20 Years Ago Today

Published: November 30, 2010 8:49 am ET

Last Comment: November 30, 2010 3:52 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Picture Somebeachsomewhere winning the Metro Pace and setting the all-age track record at Mohawk Racetrack in the process. Imagine if Nihilator won the 1984 Wilson and broke all Meadowlands track standards to that date.

It was 20 years ago today, on a cool, breezy November night at Pompano Park in Florida, that Artsplace and driver John Campbell stunned the world of harness racing by winning the 1990 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace in 1:51.1. The mile was the all age Pompano Park record, the fastest ever, regardless of age.


To put the mile in perspective, a few points should be made.

  • The world record for pacing colts on any size track was set earlier that year by Deal Direct, who defeated Artsplace in a division of the International Stakes at Indianapolis - a mile track - in 1:51.4. Die Laughing, also from the same crop, equaled the former world record for pacing colts earlier that year with his 1:52.1 win in the Woodrow Wilson.
  • Miss Easy was the fastest freshman regardless of sex by virtue of her 1:51.2 world record mile at the Red Mile. Miss Easy was also a rookie in the 1990 crop. She also raced in the Breeders Crown that night against her female counterparts. John Campbell piloted her to a 1:54 win a few races before Artsplace, and told the media the track was off one or two seconds with the conditions.
  • Beach Towel, the dominant three-year-old pacer that season who went on to Horse of the Year honours in the U.S., won his Breeders Crown Final earlier that month in 1:51.2.
  • The previous world record was 1:53.2. The all age world record for a five-eighths mile track was 1:50.4, set earlier that year by In The Pocket at The Meadows. The four-year-old and up record was 1:51, held by Matts Scooter.
  • Artsplace's record stood until 2008 when If I Can Dream paced over Dover Downs in 1:50.4. Sired by Western Hanover, If I Can Dream is from Arterra, a daughter of Artsplace. Last year, Rock N Roll Heaven bested that mark for pacing colts with a 1:50.3 win at Harrah's Chester. Rock N Roll Heaven is also from an Artsplace mare, Artistic Vision.

This week's SC web poll asks where Rock N Roll Heaven ranks among the top pacers of all time. The consensus right now is that he makes the top ten. As you consider the horses that rank among the all time greats, most would agree that a top ten list would be sorely incomplete without the late, great Artsplace.

November 30, 2010 - 3:52 pmI was at Pompano that night.

I was at Pompano that night. Truly an extraordinary effort. The wind was gale force. The time of that mile can not be appreciated by the record books.
This great horse went on to be one of the best aged pacers and an outstanding sire.
Doug McIntosh

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