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Heyden's 'By The Numbers' — Meadowlands Pace


Published: July 16, 2009 9:47 am ET

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Meadowlands Racetrack's racing analyst Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden is well known for getting very deep into the numbers, and his stat-pack for this weekend's $1 million Meadowlands Pace is no exception.

Heyden's numbers appear below.

1-John Campbell was the FIRST driver to catch-drive a million-dollar race winner (1982, Hilarion).
1-ONE trainer has won four DIFFERENT million-dollar events: Steve Elliott (Wilson, 'Pace,' Hambletonian, North America Cup).
1-Driver has won the Wilson/Pace (BOTH million-dollar events) with the same horse: Bill O'Donnell (in 1984-1985 with Nihilator).
1-Ralph Hanover is the ONLY horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown AND the Meadowlands Pace and NOT be named HORSE OF THE YEAR (in 1983 Cam Fella was).

2-nd start career for Schoolkids at the Meadowlands in the final of the Meadowlands Pace.
2-nd is the place where Art Colony seems to be spending his time of late-SECOND to Well Said in the Breeders Crown, the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace elimination.
2-STRAIGHT-their first TWO million-dollar drives were both victories: Tim Tetrick did it in 2007, both starts with Southwind Lynx (Rooney, Pace) and Ron Waples did it first, in 1983, winning the Sweetheart and the Meadowlands Pace within four days of each other, both million-dollar races, with Shannon Fancy and Ralph Hanover, respectively.

3-The last THREE Pacing Triple Crown winners did NOT win the Meadowlands Pace: 2003, No Pan Intended, 4th; 1999, Blissfull Hall, 7th; and 1997, Western Dreamer, 3rd.
3-rd time the charm? Well Said was NOT favoured in either the Breeders Crown ($10.40) or the North America Cup ($7.90)
3-Billy Haughton is the ONLY driver to finish on the board in EACH of his first THREE Meadowlands Pace drives, which just happened to be the first THREE editions (1977, 1978, 1979).

4-FOUR times the Meadowlands Pace has been the richest race of all time (the first four).
• 1977, $425,000, Escort
• 1978, $560,000, Falcon Almahurst
• 1979, $750,000, Sonsam
• 1980, $1,011,000, Niatross (three weeks later, Land Grant won the first $2 million event)

5-FIVE sons/grandsons of Western Hanover will appear in the 2009 Meadowlands Pace (half the field). Western Hanover won the 1999 edition with The Panderosa. If Well Said and Muscle Hill win the Pace and the Hambletonian, respectively, this year, it'll mark the first time ever that the two defending leading money-winning sires in North America -- Western Hanover and Muscles Yankee, the respective pacing and trotting leaders -- won the Pace and the Hambo the following season.

6-SIX years have passed since the last time the Meadowlands Pace was won by a driver that was driving his horse for the very first time (2003, All American Theory, Mike Lachance).

7-YEARS since Campbell's last Meadowlands Pace win, his SEVENTH (2002, Mach Three). He was the runner-up in the NA Cup, just like Art Colony is this year.

8-Well Said is trying to become the EIGHTH winner of BOTH the NA Cup and the Meadowlands Pace.

9-YEARS since Gallo Blue Chip won the Pace, which was enhanced $150,000 by the unsuccessful supplement of P B Bullville, en route to a record season that was topped only be Somebeachsomewhere last year.

10-It's been 10 YEARS since the FAVOURITE won both the Meadowlands Pace AND the Hambletonian (1999, The Panderosa and Self Possessed, respectively). This year it appears to be Well Said and Muscle Hill. Never has there been a year where Ron Pierce and Brian Sears have EACH won a million dollar race.

11-ELEVEN years ago Western Ideal missed his entire three-year-old season and two years later he was Older Pacer of the Year. Now as a sire, he's had the favourite in the Meadowlands Pace with two of his first four crops (Rocknroll Hanover in 2005 and Always A Virgin in 2007) and this year lands two more, Ideal Danny and Vintage Master.

12-YEARS ago, Artsplace won the Meadowlands Pace as a first-crop stallion with Dream Away. Now he tries to win it again, his second win, with Art Colony, in his second to last crop. Artsplace passed away in the fall of 2006. TWELVE career starts by Art Colony is the FEWEST of any finalist, also.

13-George Brennan debuted successfully in the Meadowlands Pace in 1996 with Hot Lead. He almost won his second drive also, in 1998, with Fit For Life, missing by just a nose. NO DRIVER has ever won his first TWO drives in the Meadowlands Pace -- Tim Tetrick this year tries to become the first to win with two of his first three assignments.
13-Precious Bunny lost his last 13 starts as a two-year-old in 1990, then became Horse of the Year in 1991 with a record 1:49.4 set in the Meadowlands Pace

14-YEARS ago, in 1995, John Campbell made some more history. He became -- and still is -- the ONLY driver to win the Jug, the Pace, the North America Cup and the Hambo all in the SAME YEAR!!!!! Only four drivers have won all four in their CAREER, he did it all in just 1995 (Nicks Fantasy, Davids Pass, Davids Pass and Tagliabue, respectively).

15-FIFTEEN starts without a win as a two-year-old. That was the 2007 record of Art Official, but it didn't prevent him from winning the 2008 Meadowlands Pace and keeping Somebeachsomewhere from an undefeated season and career. This year, Vintage Master not only was 0-12 as a freshman, but lost his first 20 career tries!

16-1993, 16 YEARS ago, Presidential Ball became the second horse -- and it only happened three times in history -- to win TWO million-dollar races with two DIFFERENT drivers. Waples and Moiseyev. It happened two years earlier with Precious Bunny (Campbell and Moiseyev), and then in 2001-2002 again with Mach Three (Lachance in the Metro and Campbell in the Pace).

17-SEVENTEEN years ago, Rod Allen makes his ONLY Meadowlands Pace appearance a good one with a victory driving Carlsbad Cam.

18-YEARS ago, Precious Bunny won the Meadowlands Pace, and it was the first of four straight wins for sire Cam Fella, the only sire to do this four in a row in Pace history.

19-19 YEARS have passed since the last HALL OF FAME trainer won the Pace (Ray Remmen, a 1997 inductee). Remmen drove and trained the son of French Chef, giving that sire a pair of Pace wins in just a four-year stretch (1987, Frugal Gourmet).

20-TWENTY career wins for Somebeachsomewhere, but his ONLY loss came in the greatest and fastest-ever Meadowlands Pace, recorded in 1:47-flat last year.
20-TWENTY straight losses for Vintage Master, but that didn't stop him from breaking his maiden two starts back and then making this final.
2-TWENTY years exactly since Pierce hit the board in the Meadowlands Pace for the first time (1989, 2nd, Casino Cowboy-to Dexter Nukes).

21-YEARS since Matts Scooter won the Meadowlands Pace. Lachance's first drive in the Pace, and despite the fact that he was fourth in the elimination, Matts Scooter would go on to a new record-setting year, lowering Niatross' 1:49.1 time trial mark down four fifths of a second to 1:48.2.

22-YEARS ago (1987) Jate Lobell was stuck on the Turnpike (pre-detention barn era) and went off at odds-on, and for the first time in his career missed the board, finishing seventh. If it's any consolation, seventh was exactly where Goalie Jeff wound up in 1989 and Western Hanover in 1991 and BOTH -- actually all three of these wonderful colts -- was voted Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of their year.

23-MOST career starts in the 2009 Pace final field (23, Hypnotic Blue Chip).
23-Twenty Three Years ago, Laughs made Chuck Sylvester the trainer of the highest priced Pace winner until 2004 (Holborn Hanover, $119.00) with a $23.80 payoff. The following year, Sylvester became the first trainer to win a trotting AND a pacing event for $1 million when Mack Lobell took the Hambletonian. Since then, Steve Elliott and Blair Burgess have done so, too, and this year Jimmy Takter looks to add his name alongside as the fourth trainer to turn that unique daily double.

24-TWENTY-FOUR years have passed since a TRIPLE CROWN winner has sired a Meadowlands Pace winner (1980-1985, Niatross-Nihilator). This year, Blissfull Hall can put an end to that with Arctic Warrior.
24-Campbell's age in 1979 when he won his first of 16 National Earnings titles. Next up on the all-time list there is Billy Haughton with 12.

(With files from Bob Heyden)

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