Foreign trainers sweep Dan Patch divisional honors

by Bob Heyden

For the first time, not a single trainer of a divisional champ at the Horse of the Year banquet was born in the United States.

Zero. Nada. None. Zilch. Shut out. Wow.

At the Dan Patch awards in Orlando, FL, there will be four countries that are represented by international conditioners in the 2022 balloting for year-end awards.

Here’s a list of the countries, trainers and divisional honorees:

Australia — Noel Daley (Pebble Beach, Volume Eight).

Canada — Jim Campbell (Cool Papa Bell), Jack Darling (Bulldog Hanover), Ian Moore (Stockade Seelster), Mark/Shawn Steacy (Sylvia Hanover).

New Zealand — Nifty Norman (Bella Bellini), Brett Pelling (Test Of Faith).

Sweden — Marcus Melander (Joviality S), Ake Svanstedt (Ecurie D, Special Way), Nancy Takter (Treacherous Dragon).

When was the last time that only U.S.-born trainers swept the awards? 1974.


Greg Wright, Sr., 77, on Jan. 26 and Paul MacDonell, 60, Jan. 29.

Wright was the first four-time leading trainer at The Meadowlands, 1976-1979. He had all kinds of good ones such as Etiquette, Missile Almahurst and Napal Dew.

MacDonell has been around four decades and many don’t remember he had an early stint in East Rutherford at The Meadowlands circa 1986-1987. Village Jiffy beat Riyadh twice in the Breeders Crown. He also had: Village Connection, Village Jasper, Rustler Hanover, 1990 Breeders Crown major upsetter Bays Fella, outstanding free for all pacer Camotion won the first two Wellwood Memorials and, of course, the one and only Somebeachsomewhere.

Also, on Jan. 31, “Jackie Mo” (Jack Moiseyev) turns 63 and Feb. 1 would have been number 83 for Herve Filion.


While perusing through 5,000 pounds of old magazines, catalogs and programs, you never know what you’re going to find.

Here’s just a sampling:

• Totally forgot that in 1977 Roosevelt Raceway put out trading cards of its drivers.

• Conway Hall was an avid swimmer.

• Joe Muscara, the man who bought Mach Three, sire of SBSW, returned to training at age 80.

• Whamo died on Nov. 14, 1979 of salmonella. He was the main competitor to Niatross and the only horse ever favored over Niatross.

• Amalulu, also in 1979, returned to the races at age 9 off a seven-year layoff. Her successful ovary mysteriously stopped functioning following a successful removal of a problem ovary. The 9-year-old daughter of Noble Victory—Important, then came back to the track.

• Dave Palone as a driver/trainer folks. I am 99 per cent
sure I located his very first dead heat as a driver too. August 29, 1986 at Garden State Park, in NJ, he drove T D Escort to a tie with ATA Rambunctious. He handled a classy veteran, one who had been in the World Cup in 1983 and competed against Cam Fella.

• Look at the prices at The Meadowlands on March 8 1986 for the first six races. Note that the last four are Hall of Fame drivers:

1. Strong Sam (Benny Webster), $34.60.

2. Napal Phantom (Eddie Davis), $110.60.

3. Power Bunny (Carmine Abbatiello), $29.00.

4. Brian Brief (Bill O’Donnell), $46.20.

5. Antholena D (John Campbell), $23.60.

6. Varsity Court (Ray Remmen), $23.60.

• Dec. 10, 1950, Hoof Beats magazine: “Del Miller, the nation’s leading money-winning driver, has used part of his race-winning proceeds to buy out a partner’s interest in Meadow Lands Stock Farm, Meadow Lands, PA. Miller is now the sole owner of the nursery and of the stallion, Adios, world’s fastest living pacing horse.”

• Pre-simulcast era by 7 or 8 years. Christmas Eve 1976. TV cameras only. OTB wagering. Yonkers first post was 2:30. Races ran every 10 minutes. No crowd. WOR-TV showed the entirety of the card at 7:30 that night. Who knew?

• Luc Ouellette at Roosevelt? Yes. A 21-year-old Ouellette drove at Roosevelt in 1987 with Dare The Yankee.

• We are coming up on the 40th anniversary of John Campbell becoming the only driver in The Meadowlands’ history to win with seven straight drives on Feb. 3, 1983. On a sloppy oval, Campbell was second with his eighth drive, but had a scratch earlier, the aptly named Rain In The Face.