Catching up with Bill Fahy
by Bob Heyden
Jennas Beach Boy, the only pacer to win the Breeders Crown three straight years, and also a two-time Pacer Of The Year, was handled by Bill Fahy in 1994-96. (for Joe Holloway and L & L DeVisser).
“He’s the horse I probably get asked about the most. I would say even more than the dead heat Hambletonian — probably because not as many people were around for that. It’s been 30 years now,” Fahy said. “Jenna wore a 65-inch hopple. He was a great horse all three years — overcame pretty much everything.”
Jenna set the world race record for 3yos on 9/30/95 of 1:48.4 at the Red Mile after missing the summer completely. At age 4, he would lower his own mark to 1:47.3 in his epic battle with Riyadh in the Driscoll Final.
“It takes a great horse like a Riyadh to bring out the very best in a horse like Jenna,” Fahy said.
On Probe, the 1989 Dead Heat Hambletonian winner Fahy said, “That was the first time I’d ever driven him. I knew Osvaldo Formia a little, and he told me about the colt before the race. That was also the first time I was in a quick hitch. In the first heat-I drove him like a long shot and just picked up horses and out-trotted them late. It wasn’t a powerful group. In the final, I drew post two to Park Avenue Joe. The fractions were slow, and in the stretch my horse put half a head in front of him. But I am convinced he never saw the other horse. He was closed on his inside, and I think in retrospect if he was opened up, he would have won it. I still look at that photo and see his nose buried deep into the wire. Right after the wire, I had no clue who won and I don’t think Ronny (Waples) did either.”
What happened in the second heat? (Probe was second choice, the same 2-1 as favored Peace Corps. “My horse was impeded by Lindstedt’s horse (Demilo Hanover). I’m not sure if they charted the interference.” (They didn’t)
“I do remember the winner’s circle, because Chuck (Sylvester) had told me that his colt had a better summary. That took some of the joy out of the dead heat right there.”
Fahy also drove Western Hanover.
“Great horse. He just missed winning the Triple Crown. It was nice having a couple of breedings to him every year.”
Is it true that you were the first one to put Dave Palone in the bike or a jog cart?
“That was me. Way back. I remember Dave early on when he started mostly as a trainer. Then he started driving and it just took off,” Fahy said.
Odd, but true
The very first male horse to win a Meadowlands race in sub-1:55 did so off a :58.4 half. Shadyside Trixie :28.3, :58.4, 1:27.1 and 1:54.3 on June 4, 1977. Ken McNutt was driving for the Bon Ton Racing Stable of Schiller Park, IL. Art Unger trained the 6-year-old gelding by Overtrick-and the race was a $30,000 invite with Town Drunk second and Oil Burner third.
Lew Williams was tops
On Aug. 3, 1979, the night Yannick Gingras was born, who held the most driving track records at the Meadowlands as of that night? Lew Williams with five:
• 3YOFP — Courageous Lady in1:55.2
• 4YOMP — Courageous Lady in 1:54.3
• 4YOGP — New Lew in 1:54
• Older Pacing Horse — Whata Baron in 1:53.4
• Older Pacing Horse — Spare Hand in 1:53.4
4YOs storm the Levy
Four-year-olds won the George Morton Levy back to back in 1985-1986 when On The Road Again and Falcon Seelster scored.
Walner Series on Walner’s birthday
Walner has a series in his honor at the Meadowlands, and on Friday in landed on his fifth birthday. You have to be a special horse to have a race named in your honor after only 10 career starts.
Does the Hambletonian go together with Americana?
In the 38 times the Hambletonian has been raced in New Jersey, 16 times an American-born trainer has won it, 22 times the trainer was born outside the USA:
USA — 16
Sweden — 10
Canada — 8
Norway — 2
Argentina — 2
Australia — 1
(One dead heat accounts for the grand total of 39)
Twice in a row twice?
Two times in a row, twice now, the Hambletonian winner did not win a preliminary leg.
2017 Perfect Spirit
2003 Amigo Hall
2004 Windsongs Legacy