by Bob Heyden
No surprise here: John Campbell has direct ties to the five trainers who are going into the Hall of Fame this year:
1. He succeeded Ted Wing in 1979 as the Meadowlands driving champion. Wing had won it in 1978 after missing by one in 1977.
2. Linda Toscano worked for John Campbell, and that duo also teamed up to be third with Share The Delight in the most famous of all races held at the Big M — the 2008 Meadowlands Pace won by Art Official over Somebeachsomewhere.
3. Joe Holloway and Campbell go way back to the 1987 Presidential with the winner Banker Blue Chip. Tuff Choice won 13 straight in 1985 for Holloway and Campbell. The latter also had the first option to drive Jennas Beach Boy — and did drive She’s A Great Lady for Holloway to a Breeders Crown win on the same card in 1996 that stablemate Jennas Beach Boy as won a Crown.
4. Jerry Silverman trained the first million-dollar winner Campbell drove — Hilarion on Meadowlands Pace Night in 1982. It marked Silverman’s first million-dollar winner, as well (Die Laughing would come eight years later) and the first time any catch driver would capture a seven-figure event.
5. Blair Burgess and Campbell go back to Amity Chef (third in the 1986 Meadowlands Pace as the favorite). Campbell also drove Real Desire in 2001-2002 to earnings exceeding $3 million and including two Breeders Crowns and a Hall Of Fame nod himself. Glidemaster won the Triple Crown in 2006 with Campbell driving the first two legs for Burgess before the driver was injured.
Remember when they were drivers?
A couple of names from the Dan Patch Awards Night in Orlando were trainers of significance who were so honored: Joe Holloway and Jo Ann Looney. But, remember, they drove, too.
In 1979, at the Meadowlands only, Holloway was 29 4-4-6, $62,240 for the meet. His win total was higher than four Hall of Famers at the Meadowlands that meet: Del Insko (2-for-26), Delvin Miller (1-for-16), Gene Riegle (1-for-19) and John Chapman (1-for-6).
Looney had the biggest ever single season in Meadowlands history for a female driver. She was 42 7-5-4, $62,633
What was a 2-year-old doing in the first Woodrow Wilson with racelines from the year before?
In 1977, Testing Times raced in the first Wilson won by No No Yankee.
Only the best
Can you name the four horses — standardbred and thoroughbred — which won the Horse of the Year award in the only years they raced?
1964-1965-1965 — Bret Hanover
1967-1968-1969 — Nevele Pride
1972-1973 — Secretariat
1979-1980 — Niatross
It has not happened in 39 years.
HOY ladies 20th and 21st centuries
The combined record for the 20th century females Horses Of The Year was 157-for-234 — 67 per cent.
The combined record for the 21st century female Horses Of The Year is, so far, 78-for-88 — 89 per cent.