Hollywood's Hits

Hollywood’s Hits: Say what you want about NJ, but there’s no denying…

January 22, 2017

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1. The six richest races of all time were contested in New Jersey — all in the 1980s, all Woodrow Wilsons.

2. The richest Hambletonian $1,520,333 was won in 2009 by a horse born in New Jersey, won his biggest raced in NJ, stood stud in NJ and then left, but now he’s back — Muscle Hill.

3. John Campbell is on the doorstep of $300 million lifetime. He lives in New Jersey (since 1978) and won the first New Jersey Classic in 1980 with Bold Rush.

4. The last seven times the sport held its richest ever race, it was at the Meadowlands, but not since 1984.

1984 Wilson $2,161,000 — won by Nihilator
1980 Wilson $2,011,000 — Land Grant
1980 Meadowlands Pace $1,011,000 — Niatross
1979 Wilson $862,750 — Niatross
1979 Meadowlands Pace $750,000 — Sonsam
1978 Meadowlands Pace $560,000 — Falcon Almahurst
1977 Meadowlands Pace $425,000 — Escort

5. Even Secretariat and John Henry’s biggest single race hauls came in New Jersey. Secretariat won the NJ Futurity at two at Garden State Park to wrap up his first of two Horse of the Year seasons; John Henry winning the $400,000 1984 Ballantines Scotch Classic. The $500,000 bonus attached to it (NY Turf Classic also) made him the richest ever horse at the time $6.597 million by virtue of the $740,000 added to his account from that night in East Rutherford.

6. Jimmy Takter, the six-time Trainer of the Year — and the last three in a row — lives in East Windsor, NJ.

7. Donerail, a 1994 division winner and a standout broodmare sire, never left NJ to race in any other state.

8. The “Million Dollar Babies” 1986-1989, the “World Cup” 1982-1985 and the “Statue Of Liberty” 1985-1989 all were held in East Rutherford and attracted the best horses of all ages from around the world.

9. The first $1 million and the first $2 million race came three weeks apart in 1980 in the mid-summer at the Meadowlands — both won by Hall Of Famers Del Insko (Land Grant) and Clint Galbraith (Niatross).

10. New Jersey is the only state to have two races for two-year-olds in the same year valued at over $1.5 million each, at two different tracks. In 1986, the $1,562,500 Woodrow Wilson was won by Cullin Hanover (Buddy Gilmour) at the Meadowlands and the $1,513,500 Governors Cup was won by Redskin (Bill O’Donnell) at Garden State Park.

11. Somebeachsomewhere lost his only race in NJ and finished his career in NJ.

12. Dave Miller, a three-time recipient of the Driver Of The Year Award, lives in NJ.

13. The first $4 million, $5 million, $6 million, $7 million and $8 million handles came at the Meadowlands — the first in the 1980 Meadowlands Pace and the last on Hambletonian Day.

14. The only females to win a million-dollar race all did so in NJ. Three Sweetheart winners 1984-1986 and Duenna (1983 $1,080,000 Hambletonian) and Continentalvictory ($1.2 Million 1996 Hambletonian).

15. For 21 straight years, the world race record was set in NJ: (All at the Meadowlands)
Aug. 3, 1985 — Nihilator 1:49.3 
June 20, 1992 — Artsplace 1:49.2
June 19, 1993 — Staying Together 1:48.2
June 22, 1986 —Jennas Beach Boy 1:47.3 (that mark held until 2006).

16. The Meadowlands has played hose to the most Hambletonians (36).

17. Muscle Hill’s only loss came in New Jersey in his debut at two in 2008 at the Meadowlands.

18. Both Rainbow Blue and Donato Hanover loved the Big M, but even those superstars suffered their only blemishes in NJ (Donato to start his career and his last two in the 2007 Breeders Crown elim and final; Rainbow Blue in the NJSS at two in 2003 and in the 2004 Mistletoe Shalee. She was an amazing 30-for-32 lifetime).

19. White Birch Farms bred the top two finishers in the 2013 HOY ballot — Bee A Magician and Captaintreacherous. This coming a half-dozen years after breeding and raising in tandem Darlins Delight and My Little Dragon.

20. Gallo Blue Chip became history’s first $4 million pacer in the 2003 Presidential series in NJ.

21. Varenne’s only USA start came at the Meadowlands in the $1 million Breeders Crown of 2001 and he responded with a then world record 1:51.1.

22. The following all made their final career starts in New Jersey: Always B Miki, Rocknroll Hanover, No Pan Intended, Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Somebeachsomewhere and Nihilator.

23. The only Dead Heat in the Hambletonian occurred at the Meadowlands. 1989 Park Avenue Joe and Probe.

24. J L Cruze and John Campbell own the only mile track sub-1:50 trotting mile. The 1:49.4 performance cam in 2015 at the Meadowlands.

25. Campbell still holds the Freehold track record for wins on a single card with eight victories set in October of 1986.

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