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'Beach' Memories: Meadowlands Pace

Published: July 19, 2018 8:53 am ET

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It was 10 years ago this year that pacing colt Somebeachsomewhere dominated harness racing's headlines throughout his nearly flawless sophomore season.

In honour of the Canadian-sired superstar many consider one of the greatest Standardbreds to ever look through a bridle, Trot Insider will post the news stories from his on-track appearances throughout the year as they happened a decade ago along with the replays from those captivating races.

Ten years ago today, July 19, 2008, Somebeachsomewhere suffered the only loss of his career in a race that was overwhelmingly voted by the harness racing industry as the race of the decade for the 2000s.

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."

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