by Bob Heyden
Louis-Philippe Roy (Jimmy Freight, dead-heated for third in Saturday’s elims) will try and become the 12th driver to debut in the Meadowlands Pace and win it. The others are:
1977 — Carl LeCause — Escort
1979 — George Sholty — Sonsam
1980 — Clint Galbraith — Niatross
1981 — Dr John Hayes — Conquered
1983 — Ron Waples — Ralph Hanover
1987 — Trevor Ritchie — Frugal Gourmet
1988 — Mike Lachance — Matts Scooter
1992 — Rod Allen — Carlsbad Cam
1996 — George Brennan — Hot Lead
1998 — Luc Ouellette — Day In A Life
2007 — Tim Tetrick — Southwind Lynx
My first, my last, my everything
Six of the nine drivers in the very first Meadowlands Pace in 1977 (B Gs Bunny scratched — George Berkner did not drive in the final) never drove in any other Meadowlands Pace — ever! They are:
1st — Carl LeCause — Escort
4th — Ted Wing — Jazzy Spark
5th — Vernon Dancer — Mostly Cheer
6th — Stanley Banks — Thorpe Messenger
7th — Jack Kopas — Jade Prince
8th — Jerry Graham — Goose Filter
Remembering Miss Easy’s 1991 Meadowlands Pace elim
She was 20-for-22 lifetime and unblemished at age three in five races heading into the Pace eliminations. She NEVER lost a Meadowlands race to a female (19-for-19).
Mike Lachance drove for the first time, but she made a break for her connections — Bruce Nickells and the Guidas — and had to settle for the consolation, which she won over Cambest.
John Campbell, her regular driver, did not drive her here because he had Artsplace, who was also undefeated at that point at age 3 and would go off the Pace favorite and wind up second to Precious Bunny.
Highest win price in Meadowlands history
$367.20 on June 15, 1984
Hakan Wallner drove Delvin G Hanover to victory in a 14-horse field-the Historic Cup-at 182.60-1
Second was Sandy Bowl at 11-1 and third was Normandy Lobell at 41-1 (Exacta $1,219.20-no trifecta). Favored Gentle Stroke was 10th at 60 cents on the dollar.
$3.00 was the price on the other Historic Cup winner Speed Merchant with Anthony Quartarolo.
Fast forward to Hambletonian Day 1984 and Delvin G Hanover paid $126.40 upsetting on his way to the raceoff. Making him the first horse to pay over $300 and over $100 — and the only one — in Meadowlands history.
What odds could you have gotten on Jan. 1 of 1984 that the horse who paid the highest win price in the (then) the nine-year history of the Meadowlands would also go off as the Hambletonian favorite? He did-at 4-5-but was unable to stall Historic Freight on that day.
Tony Alagna and the Pace
Had five of 15 horses in the Meadowlands Pace elims and won the first elimination with Stay Hungry. Alagna is the only trainer in this year who’s won the Pace before. He won it in 2013 with Captaintreacherous.
Tim Tetrick’s first two Pace drives
In 2007, when Tim Tetrick was 25, he drove Southwind Lynx to victory for trainer George Teague as the third choice at 5.60-1 in 1:49.1.
It was the second million-dollar win for Southwind Lynx, who earlier won the Rooney at Yonkers for seven figures, making him the only horse to win a million-dollar races on both mile and half-mile tracks.
Southwind Lynx defeated Pacer of the Year Tell All in the Meadowlands Pace.
This was part to the 1,189 win season for Tetrick, who drove the winners of some $18.3 million that year as well. Both were records and the first one still stands (Tetrick himself bettered the earnings mark in 2008).
In 2008, Tetrick was fifth in the Meadowlands Pace at 20-1 with Sand Shooter timed in 1:48.1. He won his elim in 1:49.4 for Tetrick and trainer Jim Arledge, Jr.
This was the Art Official-Somebeachsomewhere race — one which many consider the best ever Meadowlands race.
Remembering the 1982 Meadowlands Pace eliminations
There was a lot going on that year. Cam Fella wound up seventh and did not make the final. He would never again finish off the board, and that included his next year, as well, when he went to the gate 36 times.
John Campbell’s Merger was 6th and did not make the final. But Billy O’Donnell qualified two — Rompin Home (3rd) and Hilarion (1st) — and chose Rompin Home for the final (5th) leaving John with Hilarion, who won from post 10 marking the first ever time Campbell would win a million-dollar race and the first of seven Meadowlands Pace wins for the Hall Of Famer.
Walt Hanover also didn’t advance, finishing 7th, but it would be 11 months until he and Cam Fella would dead heat in a race at the Meadowlands in 1:53.1, a mark that Cam Fella took as his career best and a race that was part of his 28 wins-in-a-row to end his fabulous career.
Trenton was also 7th at 57-1, not advancing, and two months later he would lower the all-age race record to 1:51.3 bettering Genghis Khans mark by a fifth.
In the final, the top 5 drivers were all Hall Of Famers (and the last three too)