Ladies, take a bow
In honor of International Women’s Day here’s a look at some fabulous females, both human and equine.
by Bob Heyden
The Meadowlands honored females this weekend, so we will look at them too, with some firsts and onlys, both human and equine.
1. The first Messenger in 1956 was won by 3-year-old pacing filly Belle Acton, the fifth edition (1960) was won by Countess Adios and not by a single filly since.
2. Casie Coleman is the only 21st century trainer to win the Jug three times (2012, 2013 and 2016).
3. Linda Toscano was the first and only trainer in the 21st century to go 1-2 in the Horse of the Year balloting in 2012 with Chapter Seven and Market Share, respectively.
4. The first and only Cane Pace-winning filly was Countess Adios in 1960. The first and only Jug-winning filly was Fan Hanover in 1981.
5. The only trotter to be named “Trotter of the Year” three-straight years? The magnificent mare Moni Maker from 1998-2000.
6. Only trotting mare Peace Corps owns four Breeders Crown trophies: 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992.
7. The first $1 million trot (actually $1,080,000) — the 1983 Hambletonian — saw two fillies, Duenna and Winky’s Gill, finish one-two respectively, in the final.
8. Bea Farber retired in 1995 with 1,801 wins and $9,094,479 in earnings, the standard for all lady drivers.
9. The richest race ever in North America in which a female driver competed? The $907,000 Woodrow Wilson in 1989. Jacqueline Ingrassia finished fourth with Southern Raider.
10. The richest race ever with a female horse? The $2,011,000 Wilson in 1980, when 2-year-old filly pacer, Areba Areba finished fourth for Team Kopas.
11. First stakes-winning female driver at The Meadowlands? Linda McNatt MacDonald on May 1, 1985, with Go Nancy Isle in 1:55.2 in a New Jersey Sire Stakes race.
12. The only time we had two straight undefeated Horses of the Year, both were fillies. Bee A Magician in 2013 was 17-for-17 and JK She’s A Lady was 12-for-12 in 2014.
13. The first North American-bred $1-million winner? Fresh Yankee ($1,294,252), a female that retired after the 1972 season.
14. The first female driver to win in sub-1:55? Ingrassia with Follow Me Holly in 1:54.4 at The Meadowlands on July 25, 1986.
15. The only female name on the training side on the opening night Meadowlands’ card on Sep. 1, 1976? Sonya Smutz.
16. The first all-lady driving daily double at The Meadowlands? Jennifer Lappe and Stacy Chiodo paid $192. The first at Freehold was June Weller and Ingrassia in 1972.
17. Brandywine did some forward thinking back in the day with a lady-caretakers driving event won by Debbie Campbell with Flying Farvel.
18. The first woman to drive in a pari-mutuel race in Florida? Barbara Mcphee on Jan. 18, 1969. The 31-year-old mother of five won with Trailmaster and paid $13.00.
19. Can you name the first female to win her first two pari-mutuel drives? Cindy Stark, circa 1972, with Yankee Saint and then four nights later with Yankee John at Saratoga in New York.
20. At Yonkers in 1997 the “Mile for a Miracle” was held featuring eight female drivers, eight female caretakers and eight female horses. All checks were donated to the American Cancer Society for Cancer Research.
21. The first female trainer in the Meadowlands Pace? Andrea Chadwick with Lord Willing in 1992.
22. The first female trainer in the Hambletonian final? Brooke Nickells in 2001 with Lavecster who finished fourth. She then drove the colt as a longshot and was second and third in the Kentucky Futurity at 78-1 and 23-1, respectively, making her the lone female driver to hit the board twice in a Triple Crown race on the same day.
23. Ingrassia is the only Triple Crown winner among female drivers. She won the $345,403 Yonkers in 2000 with Goalfish.
24. Who was the first female owner of a 2:00 horse? Mrs. Avis Gross (Auburn Man) on July 21, 1941, at Old Orchard Park. Jimmy Jorden drove the 10-year-old gelding.
25. The first ever North American Women’s Harness Driving Championship was organized by Don Evans. The participants: Farber (Sportsman’s Park), Ingrassia (Freehold), Mary Irvine (Northfield Park), JoAnn Looney (Meadowlands), Jean MacLeod (Western Fair), Mary Madland (Hollywood Park), Barbara Newell (Saginaw Valley Downs) and Mary Streb (Vernon Downs).
26. Brandywine played host to the second-annual Lady Drivers Championship, circa 1972, with five ladies from year one and three newcomers. The participants: Jacqueline Coard (later Ingrassia), Judy Emerson, Farber, Sandra Fischer, Brandywine’s own Eileen Lock, defending champion June Weller, her mother Jayne Weller and Mildred Williams. Fischer won it with 55 points, Williams was second with 51, Farber was third followed by Emerson, Lock, Coard and the Wellers, Jayne and June, respectively.
27. The first all-lady pari-mutuel race in Laurel, MD featured the following participants: Emerson, Debbie Evilsizor, Beverly Hammer, Debbie Heber, Looney, Madeline MacMillion, Bea Provost and winner, Darlene Reed.
28. The first Ontario Women’s Driving Championship was at Mohawk, circa 1972. The participants: Cath Bock (Woodstock), winner Elaine Burke (Peterborough), Glenna Clements (Dobbinton), Mary Croft (Rockwood), Deborah Dee (Odessa), Donna DeGrow (Caistor Centre), Christine Haugen (Port Perry), Rita Morrow (Thornton), Valerie Pringle (Caistor Centre) and Carolee Roland (Ridgeville).