Hollywood’s Hits: Million dollar firsts and lasts

The sport’s first million-dollar race — the 1980 Meadowlands Pace won by Niatross — was the first, and last, million-dollar win by trainer/driver Clint Galbraith.

The sport’s first million-dollar trot — the 1983 Hambletonian won by Duenna — was Stanley Dancer’s only million-dollar driving victory.

The sport’s first $2 million race — the 1980 Woodrow Wilson won by Land Grant — was Del Insko’s only seven-figure win.

Millers with HOY associations

2016 — David Miller was the regular driver for Horse of the Year Always B Miki, a horse his cousin, Brett Miller, also once drove.
2003 — David Miller was the driver of HOY No Pan Intended, the only horse to win both the Triple Crown and the Breeders Crown.
1984 — Horse of the Year Fancy Crown was bred by Dale and Floyd Miller of Archbold, Ohio.
1974 — Delvin Miller’s Delmonica Hanover was HOY at age five — the second of two HOYs for the sport’s “Good-Will Ambassador.”
1954 — Delvin Miller’s first HOY was a three-year-old trotting filly named Stenographer who became the first and only HOY to not get the most first-place votes but still win the title. Scott Frost, who would win the Triple Crown the next year, had the edge in first-pace votes 23-22, but Stenographer had 455 points overall compared to Scott Frost’s 422.

World record in a $1,000 race

On Aug. 13, 1982 in a $1,000 non-betting race at the Meadowlands, Genghis Khan and Bill O’Donnell won in 1:51.4, which was a new track record by a full second – breaking his own mark set in June — and a world record that would stand for a week until Trenton bested it with a 1:51.3 score.

It was the 16th Meadowlands win of the year for Genghis Khan — a record that would be tied two years later by Green With Envy.

O’Donnell had the driving title sewed up also by that time 215 wins to 182 over John Campbell. O’Donnell entered that night of racing holding four track records — Lemrac, Bo Scots Fella Genghis Khan and Delmegan.

Lachance’s first Meadowlands win

Mike Lachance’s first Big M victory came on Sept. 14, 1976 with Tenacious Chip in 2:00.2 over a good track.

Lachance was 25 this was his only drive on the card.

Pierre Lachance (Uno Killean $14.60) had won the night before as a driver. He was the trainer of record for Tenacious Chip.

Second went to the Escort’s connections Carl Lecause and Bernie Mann with Yankee Paul

Three future Hall Of Famers won races on the card, all in photo finishes. Apart from Tenacious Chip winning by a neck, Stanley Dancer won by a neck with Gravel Pit and Herve Filion won the finale with Fabled Yankee.

Respect your elders…

… even if it is the sire of the horse you are driving.

In the 2012 Little Brown Jug, 23-year-old Scott Zeron handled Michaels Power perfectly and won the Jug. The sire of Michaels Power was 25-year-old Camluck, two years older than Zeron.

Now, it’s happening again. In the first at the Meadowlands last night (March 4), Troy Beyer, 21, will race Ever Again from post four a week after the pair was second. Beyer is one year younger than Ever Again’s sire Dragon Again, who turned 22 on Jan. 1 and still has the distinction of siring history’s richest racehorse Foiled Again.

Ladies weekend?

Thursday through Saturday this weekend at the Big M, 28 different female trainers sent out at least one starter.

First lady

The first woman to drive at the Meadowlands was JoAnn Looney on Sept. 3, 1976 with a chestnut mare by the name of Ruth Baker. She was 31-1 and finished fourth in a $10,000 claiming event. Her father, Elmer Looney, trained for owner Milton Prince.

Odds On Equuleus back

Last night at the Meadowlands in race 7 Odds On Equuleus made his return. A winner of $909,487 lifetime, the son of Art Major was second to Captaintreacherous in the 2013 Meadowlands Pace with John Campbell driving. What is noteworthy about this?

Only twice has a Meadowlands Pace runnerup – in 40 editions – not won a race for the entire season. And, get this, both times it was with John Campbell driving. He also had that distinction in 1997 with At Point Blank.

Which leads us to the trivia question: Who is the only horse to race at least 20 times at age three, not win a race and still bank over $2.5 million lifetime? Wesgate Crown, who earned $2,574,045 in his career.

Whatever happened to George M Patchen Series?

It was a good one, at least for 1976. It attracted all the top free-for-all talent with a $74,000 purse. It was held at the Meadowlands on Oct. 2, 1976. Momentum was the upset winner in 1:56.4 over Young Quinn with Meadow Blue Chip third. Other stars of note in that race were Nero, Rambling Willie and the outstanding mare Handle With Care. This was a late closing event with a $30,000 and then a $40,000 leg.