Race Rewind: 2008 Meadowlands Pace

Published: February 20, 2020 09:34 am EST

There are a handful of races that live on in harness racing lore as the greatest of their era, if not all time. The 2008 Meadowlands Pace is one of those races.

Mentioned in the same breath as the epic 1984 Breeders Crown win of Dragons Lair, the 1993 Little Brown Jug Final captured by Life Sign as well as the 2015 edition of the Jug won by Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2008 Meadowlands Pace was the clear choice as the race of its decade.

Born on this day 15 years ago (February 20, 2005) just outside Campbellville, Ont., Art Official will forever be known as the horse that handed the great Somebeachsomewhere his only career defeat in the 2008 Meadowlands Pace. A son of Art Major - Naughty Shady Lady, Art Official would post a career summary of 18-12-11 from 54 starts for trainer Joe Seekman. He retired to stand stud in North America with more than $2 million in earnings.

From 342 foals born in North America, Art Official's offspring have earned more than $13 million with his most notable performer also developed by Seekman: stakes winner Lets Drink On It p,4,1:48.3 ($861,842). Art Official was exported to Argentina in 2019.

Art Official Upsets In The Meadowlands Pace

Art Official snapped Somebeachsomewhere's undefeated streak in world record fashion with a 1:47 victory in the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.

Pierce and Art Official took command at the quarter and dueled with Bullville Powerful down the backstretch, leaving Somebeachsomewhere three-wide as he pressed to the lead in a :51.4 half. Pierce and Art Official drafted behind the 1-9 favourite as he reached the three-quarter pole in 1:19 before popping out of the pocket and surging past for a neck victory.

Art Official's 1:47 clocking was the fastest race mile in harness racing history for a three-year-old pacer and the second fastest mile of all time. Holborn Hanover holds the 1:46.4 record.

"I didn't decide until the gate to let him loose," Pierce said. "I didn't want Somebeachsomewhere to get away and someone had to take it to him. It was up to me and Yannick [Gingras and Bullville Powerful]. I felt confident in the stretch. My horse was crossed over at the 5/8-pole and I had to take him up and sit in the two-hole. He swelled back up. I tipped him and he started pacing hard. The question was then to catch Somebeachsomewhere.

"I feel mixed emotions because he is a great colt," Pierce said of handing Somebeachsomewhere his first defeat, "but I had to do my job and the value of my colt just skyrocketed."

Art Official has now won six of 27 lifetime starts for trainer Joe Seekman and Sawgrass Farms of Lockport, Illinois. The $550,000 winner's share of the purse boosted his career earnings to $1,000,883.

Somebeachsomewhere's streak ended at 10 races, in what was perhaps the biggest upset in Meadowlands Pace history.

"I took my shot at the half," said his driver, Paul MacDonell. "I thought those two horses where chewed up at the half after 51 [seconds] and a piece. Unfortunately, Yannick [Gingras and Bullville Powerful] never cleared and left me out there a little longer than I wanted to be, but the horse still battled gamely until the end.

"I've got to give Art Official all the credit in the world. He parked horses past the half in 51 and change and was still around at the wire to live and tell about it. I still had a lot of horse. I figured he'd get me to the wire in a pretty remarkable time and he did and got caught right at the end. I give him and Art Official all the credit."



What a race! Remember it for the ages. Enjoyed seeing it again.
The Beach was some race horse and continuedon to be a great sire.
Gone too soon.

Even though this was his only defeat, to me it is the best race of Somebeachsomewhere. Took 3 horses to beat him, really. What a legend.

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