Top 10 Adios Performances

Published: July 27, 2016 03:35 pm EDT

The Delvin Miller Adios ‘Pace for the Orchids’ has provided harness racing fans with five decades of excitement, as it has showcased champions that have paced into history bearing the blanket of orchids which is bestowed to the winner.

Champion No. 50 will be crowned Saturday afternoon when nine top three-year-olds vie for the orchids in the $400,000 Adios final at The Meadows.

Which are the most memorable editions of the Adios? Officials from The Meadows’ publicity department have released an arbitrary list of the Top 10.

ADIOS 1, 1967 - Romulus Hanover

This Adios came down to Romulus Hanover and Best Of All. Romulus Hanover almost scratched from the championship because of a calcium deposit on his left front leg. But on this particular day the decision was made to race, and Billy Haughton's colt out-maneuvered Best Of All in 2:00.3 to win the inaugural Adios.

ADIOS 5, 1971 - Albatross

Albatross toyed with the field in the first division, making his move in the stretch and winning easily in 1:58.3. In the second heat it was all Albatross again, this time in 1:59.3. The combined time was a stakes record. Albatross was one of the greatest, and he let it be known during this Adios. He would later become the sport's top pacing sire of all time.

ADIOS 6, 1972 - Jay Time/Strike Out Dead Heat

Strike Out, driven by Keith Waples, and Jay Time, with Gene Riegle aboard, came up with a big surprise. They finished in a dead heat, one of the few in stake racing history and the only one ever in the Adios. Strangely enough, neither won a heat in the event. Strike Out finished second and Jay Time third in their respective elimination heats.

ADIOS 8, 1974 - Armbro Omaha

Delvin Miller founded the Adios but never won it. He came as close as you could in 1974 but fell short by a whisker. Billy Haughton won another Adios with his horse Armbro Omaha. Delvin's horse, Tarport Low, was less than two inches behind Armbro Omaha at the finish.

ADIOS 13, 1979 - Hot Hitter

Sonsam was rated just about as unbeatable as any three-year old-colt when he stopped by The Meadows for this Adios. It rained all day, creating a muddy surface. Hot Hitter and Herve Filion won the first heat in 156.3 while Sonsam and George Sholty were pinned along the rail and couldn't shake free. In the second heat, Sonsam broke stride briefly, tried to make up the ground but couldn't, and Hot Hitter won again. It was a memorable Adios, and Herve Filion standing in the bike in the winners’ circle is a moment frozen in Adios history.

ADIOS 18, 1984 - Andrel

This was the first of the modern-day Adios races contested at night. It rained all evening, but Andrel was not troubled. In the first heat, the colt outdistanced Holmes Hanover in 1:56.4. John Campbell would post a better time in the final, winning in 1:54.2. It’s one of eight victories in Adios finals for Campbell, the all-time leader.

ADIOS 20, 1986 - Barberry Spur

No local colt had ever won the Adios. There was great hope and expectation as Barberry Spur entered this Adios as a favourite. Owned by Roy Davis of Pittsburgh and Barberry Farms of Sewickley, the colt circled the track in 1:53.3 to win the first division of the stakes event for Dick Stillings. Division 2 went to Tylers Mark and John Campbell. Barberry Spur went to the front in the final, a lead that he would not give up. The winners’ circle gathering was one of the largest in the history of the track. The final heat time was 1:53.1.

ADIOS 33, 1999 - Washington VC

What was special about the victory of Washington VC? It was engineered by Dave Palone and remains the only Adios championship for harness racing’s all-time ‘winningest’ driver.

ADIOS 41, 2007 - May June Character

Seventy-one-year-old trainer Mickey Burke had never won a Pace for the Orchids at his home track; when he broke through, he did it in style. Not only did May June Character triumph in 1:51.1 with George Brennan at the helm, but Won The West and Pan Giovanni finished second and third, respectively, giving Burke an Adios sweep. May June Character would be named Pennsylvania Horse of the Year.

ADIOS 46, 2012 – Bolt The Duer

Bolt The Duer sat in the pocket behind the unprecedented fractions thrown down by A Rocknroll Dance —- three-quarters in 1:19.2 —- then shot the ‘lightning lane’ to score in 1:47.4, the fastest mile ever on a five-eighths-mile track. Mark MacDonald drove for trainer Peter Foley.

(The Meadows)

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