Meadowlands Racetrack - Harness History

An Opening Day crowd of 42,133 streamed in as harness racing on a mile track made its debut in the metropolitan area. 

1976:
Rambling Willie took the opening night feature in 1:553, and would be the first of many great racehorses who would leave their "hoofprints" on the East Rutherford oval.

Ray Remmen won the very first race with Quick Baron and would later establish himself as the top trainer through the first two decades at the Meadowlands.

Young Quinn posted the first-ever 1:55 mile at the Big M.  Other notables which raced here in the inaugural season included Silk Stockings, Tarport Hap, Keystone Pioneer, Savoir and Oil Burner.

1977:
The Meadowlands Pace and the Woodrow Wilson were born in 1977. Escort took the inaugural Meadowlands Pace, worth $425,000, for Carl LeCause.  BG's Bunny had set a world record of 1:54 in his elimination but was scratched from the final.

The first Woodrow Wilson went to No No Yankee for a $280,000 purse.  Just three years later, the event for two-year-olds would boast a $2 million purse.  On a sad note, 1977 marked the end of the career of Tarport Hap, perhaps the greatest mare to ever race at the Meadowlands.  She died at the quarter pole after suffering an apparent heart attack on March 12 while once again favored to beat the boys, which she had done eight times in the first ten weeks of the year.  She was buried in what is now Paddock Park and a race was named in her honor later that year.

 

1978: 
In 1978, the speed explosion was officially underway.  The meticulously-kept racing surface, combined with aggressive driving styles, made the 1:55 mile commonplace.

Whata Baron established himself as the best older pacer in the land and was trained and driven by the sport's top black horseman, Lew Williams.  Of the first 15 1:55 miles in Meadowlands history, Whata Baron owned five of them.

Scarlet Skipper took the Woodrow Wilson for veteran Bill Herman; Senor Skipper lowered the track record to 1:533 for Ben Webster; and a young Canadian driver named John Campbell won his first Meadowlands race.

The meet's highlight may have been Falcon Almahurst, who ignored torrential rains and ankle-deep mud to win the second Meadowlands Pace in two straight heats.  That was the last year that the Pace eliminations and the final were on the same night.

 

1979:
Niatross surfaced at the Meadowlands as a two-year-old and took the Wilson on his way to a perfect 13-for-13 season.  He was named Horse of the Year for 1979, an honor that hasn't been bestowed on a freshman standardbred since.

Abercrombie set a track record of 1:53 that lasted for three seasons when he stormed from last to first on August 4 for driver-trainer Glen Garnsey.

Sonsam posted one of the most memorable Meadowlands Pace victories when he overcame post ten and a tough trip to win going away in 1:532.  That Pace was the richest harness race ever up to that point, with a purse of $750,000.

 

1980: 
The great Niatross, atoning for the only two defeats in his career, romped to a Meadowlands Pace record of 1:531 and never again lost a race.  The 1980 Pace was the first million dollar race in the history of horse racing, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred.  Less than a month later, the Meadowlands presented horse racing with its first $2 million race, the Woodrow Wilson.  In that landmark race, Land Grant, at odds of 69-1 with driver Del Insko, upset a strong group of freshmen including the undefeated Slapstick.

The first New Jersey Classic was also held in 1980.  Designed to showcase the top sophomores in a state-bred event, the New Jersey Classic has taken on added significance as the New Jersey Sire Stakes (NJSS) program has gone on to become the standard in the United States.

 

1981: 
The most hallowed trotting event in the world - the Hambletonian - moved to the Meadowlands in 1981.  While a national television audience watched, Ray Remmen guided an obscurely-bred gelding named Shiaway St. Pat to victory on a rain-soaked August 8th.

The fourth-richest race ever contested, the 1981 Woodrow Wilson, went to Bill Haughton and McKinzie Almahurst.  This was the only million dollar win in the driving career of the celebrated Hall of Famer.  

 

1982:
John Campbell captured his first million dollar race when he piloted Hilarion to victory over No Nukes in the Meadowlands Pace.  Through 1999, he's had 18 victories in $1 million races, an all-time driver record.  Cam Fella made his Meadowlands debut on the way to Horse of the Year honors.  Racing From the Meadowlands debuted on the Madison Square Garden Network on May24th.

1983:
It was the year of one of the most anticipated match-ups in the history of harness racing - Cam Fella vs. It's Fritz.  Cam Fella was headed for his second straight Horse of the Year title, while It's Fritz was busy setting records for speed nearly everywhere he ventured.  It was Monday night, July 25, 1983, when the two staged the first of their three meetings, all of which would be taken by Cam Fella and trainer-driver Pat Crowe.  Track management distributed red and blue buttons for fans to wear which read either "I Like Cam" or "I Like Fritz."

John Campbell won seven races on one card for the first time in his Big M career, the first of five occasions on which he would accomplish the feat.

Ralph Hanover romped in the Meadowlands Pace, with future Hall of Famer Ron Waples at the helm.  Ralph Hanover was the last Triple Crown winner in harness racing until Western Dreamer won it in 1997.  Rambling Willie, the great iron "Horse That God Loved" who had won the very first feature race at the Meadowlands in 1976, made his final Meadowlands appearance as a 13-year-old.

1984:
On The Road Again turned the tables on the aptly named and favored Guts to win the richest Meadowlands Pace ($1,293,000) to date.  Buddy Gilmour drove the determined chestnut and overcame a difficult trip on his way to earning nearly $3 million in his career.

Historic Freight won the Hambletonian raceoff from Gentle Stroke and Delvin G Hanover for Ben Webster.

The incomparable Nihilator lived up to all the hype, setting a Meadowlands and world record of 1:524 while obliterating his two-year-old rivals in the $2,161,000 Woodrow Wilson, the richest race ever contested to that point.  It was the first time that William O'Donnell had ever driven the son of Niatross.

Bill O'Donnell won the driving title, his third in four years.

1985:
On March 28, 1985, the future of racing took a detour when simulcasting was declared unconstitutional.  It was discontinued on November 5th.  But the voters, on a referendum, passed simulcasting and it was reinstated on December 3rd.

Tuff Choice set a Meadowlands record of 13 consecutive wins from January to April.  Meadow Road won both Statue of Liberty Trot legs, each in world-record time.

Nihilator, again a superstar as a sophomore, set a Meadowlands Pace record of 1:503 and, as part of a five-horse entry, created a minus pool of $171,011.15.  Hambletonian Day featured one of the greatest cards ever assembled as Prakas, Nihilator and On The Road Again won consecutive races.  Nihilator set a world race record of 1:49.3.

 

 

1986:
The tenth year at the Meadowlands saw Nuclear Kosmos become the first New Jersey-bred to win the Hambletonian.  It was also the year of the only match race in Big M history as Forrest Skipper, the undefeated Horse of the Year, turned away Falcon Seelster in the U. S. Pacing Championship on Hambletonian Day.

Innovative Race Secretary Joe DeFrank introduced a new concept to the Meadowlands in 1986.  A number of big-purse races for youngsters - Million Dollar Babies - was born.  Ditka Hanover handed a promising youngster named Mack Lobell a loss in the Peter Haughton Memorial, Nadia Lobell took the Sweetheart and Cullin Hanover won the Woodrow Wilson.

 

1987:
On August 8th, Mack Lobell, a smallish son of Mystic Park, dominated the Hambletonian like no previous winner of the race at the Meadowlands.  John Campbell, in winning the first of a record five Hambletonians, called Mack Lobell the greatest horse he had ever driven. 

Run The Table stopped Jate Lobell's winning streak at 18 with a 1:51 score in a $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stake event.

Frugal Gourmet upset a stellar Meadowlands Pace field that included Jate Lobell (who was off the board for the only time in his career), Laag and Run The Table.

 

1988:
Mike Lachance won his 5,000th career race on June 23 with Instrument Landing.

Matt's Scooter dominated the sophomore pacing standings, winning the New Jersey Classic and Meadowlands Pace, giving Lachance two of his biggest career victories to date.

Ramblin Storm was at his all-time best in July when he posted a 1:501 mile, the fastest mile ever at night to that point. John Campbell won his second straight Hambletonian with Armbro Goal and his third straight driving title.

   

1989: 
The most intriguing aspect of the 1989 harness meet was the dead heat finish between Park Avenue Joe and Probe in the Hambletonian raceoff.  Ron Waples drove Park Avenue Joe, while William Fahy guided Probe. Although the two trotters hit the wire together, it was several months before the issue of who would be awarded first place money was decided.  Park Avenue Joe, on the basis of best finish in summary, within the rules of the Hambletonian Society, was declared the winner.  It remains to this day the only dead heat for win in a million dollar race.


Rambling Willie
Rambling Willie
1980 Meadowlands Pace Winner Niatross
1980 Meadowlands Pace Winner Niatross
Ray Remmen & Shiaway St Pat
Ray Remmen & Shiaway St Pat
Nihilator & Bill O'Donnell win the 1984 Meadowlands Pace
Nihilator & Bill O'Donnell win the 1984 Meadowlands Pace
Moni Maker - 1998 Horse of the Year
Moni Maker - 1998 Horse of the Year
Meadowlands Racetrack
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The 1990s and Beyond

1990:
Beach Towel, with trainer-driver Ray Remmen in the bike, won the Meadowlands Pace on his way to capturing Horse of the Year honors.

John Campbell captured his third Hambletonian with Harmonious.  It was also the debut of the great pacing filly Miss Easy.  The rangy daughter of Amity Chief was a favorite of the Meadowlands bettors, causing the most minus pools (six) of any other horse in track history. 

 

1991: 
New Jersey native Jack Moiseyev enjoyed a banner year in 1991.  He won a pair of million dollar events in 1991 - the Meadowlands Pace with Precious Bunny in a stakes record 1:494 and the Hambletonian with Giant Victory for trainers Bill Robinson and Per Eriksson, respectively.   Precious Bunny became the first horse to win two $1 million events in the same year, the Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup.  John Campbell won his seventh consecutive driving title.

 

1992:
The 1992 season was the first with a new Hambletonian race format.  The three-year-old trotters now raced in eliminations, and the final would determine the winner, regardless of whether he or she won their elimination. The barefoot Alf Palema and Mickey McNichol took the big prize in an upset.

Carlsbad Cam won the Meadowlands Pace for Rod Allen, making Carl and Rod Allen the first and only father and son driving team to each win a million dollar event.  Father Carl won the $1.7 million Wilson in 1983 with Carl's Bird.

Jack Moiseyev won his first driving title, Artsplace set a new track record of 1:492 and the popular and durable grey mare, White Ruffles, retired after winning all nine of her races.

 

1993: 
Staying Together posted an incredible 1:48.2 mile on June 19, harness racing's fastest race to date.  The son of Panorama had three sub-1:50 miles during the meet, another record later broken by Jenna's Beach Boy in 1996. American Winner won the Hambletonian in two-heat record time for first-time Hambo winners Ron Pierce and trainer Milton Smith.

John Campbell regained the driving title, his record tenth.

 

1994:
Beat The Wheel posted a 1:51.4 trotting mile on July 8, 1994, defeating the great Pine Chip.  She broke four records with that win, the most important being the 1:521 record that Mack Lobell had owned for seven years. Victory Dream took the Hambletonian for Mike Lachance and Ron Gurfein, a first for each.

Cam's Card Shark gave John Campbell his 10th million dollar win in the 1994 Meadowlands Pace. 

 

1995:
The two highest handles in harness racing history, and the highest overnight purse structure ever offered at the Meadowlands set the tone for the meet.  On Meadowlands Pace night, guests wagered a total of $6,771,499 to top all records in the industry, and Hambletonian Day produced the second-highest handle to date at $5,828,749.

Nine new world records were recorded and four horses broke the 1:50 mark - Cam Terrific, New Bucks, LV Whiskers and Catch A Flight.  Veteran pacing mare Buddy's Girl became the winningest mare in Meadowlands history when she notched her 34th victory early in the year, while Ellamony won her 15th consecutive race at the Meadowlands, giving her the longest unbeaten streak in the track's 20 seasons.

Joe Holloway sent out the early winners of the big events for sophomore pacers, winning the Berry's Creek with No Standing Around and the SBOA/New Jersey Classic with two-year-old champion Jenna's Beach Boy.  But neither were around for the Meadowlands Pace - No Standing Around succumbed to an illness, and Jenna's Beach Boy was sidelined by an injury.  That opened the door for David's Pass to capture Meadowlands Pace.  John Campbell was the pilot of the winner for the third straight year.

Mike Lachance broke John Campbell's record for most victories on a single card by bringing in eight winners on July 14, 1995.

On Hambletonian Day, Tagliabue and brothers Jim and John Campbell pulled off the upset, as filly champion CR Kay Suzie went on a break and failed to make the final.  A Stud Named Sue captured the Woodrow Wilson en route to divisional honors, and CR Kay Suzie bounced back from her Hambletonian loss to be voted Horse of the Year.

1996: 
Continentalvictory, driven by Mike Lachance and trained by Ron Gurfein, became only the 13th filly in 71 editions to win the trotting classic.  In the process she trotted to a two-heat Hambletonian record time (3:45) and also trotted to the fastest mile by any three-year-old of any gender (1:521) in her elimination race.  It was the second Hambletonian victory in three years for the Lachance-Gurfein combination. The Breeders Crown series returned to the Meadowlands with three events for older pacers and trotters.  Jenna's Beach Boy posted a record sixth lifetime sub-1:50 clocking in the $300,000 Open Pace while She's A Great Lady captured the $300,000 Mare Pace and CR Kay Suzie, the 1995 Horse of the Year, made a brilliant return to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot.

John Campbell and Lachance ended in a first ever tie for the driving title (203 wins each) while Brett Pelling won his fourth Meadowlands training crown.

A record 18 sub-1:50 miles were recorded during the meet, including Jenna's Beach Boy's all-time race mile mark of 1:473 in the Driscoll Final.

   

1997:
Amateur driver Malvern Burroughs won the Hambletonian with Malabar Man, a horse he owned and bred, on the track he built with his construction company more than 20 years ago.

John Campbell picked up his 5,000th career Meadowlands victory and added two more Breeders Crown victories, winning the Mares Open with Extreme Velocity and the Open Trot with Wesgate Crown.

Mike Lachance won his first outright driving title at the Meadowlands, after finishing in a tie for first with John Campbell in 1996.  His mounts earned just under $5 million and his stakes victories included the Oliver Wendell Holmes with Western Dreamer, who would later give Lachance his first Triple Crown.

Trainer Brett Pelling won his second straight Meadowlands training title and record fifth over-all.

The Meadowlands introduced its Championship Meet, featuring more than $13 million in stakes purses.  Nearly each night of the 47-day meet showcased a stakes event, creating a concentration of quality racing unparalleled in the sport.

 

1998:
The 1998 meet at the Meadowlands broke many betting records.  Hambletonian Day handle was more than $6.5 million, the highest Hambletonian handle ever and the second highest in harness racing history.  Meadowlands Pace night produced a total handle of more than $6.3 million, the third highest handle ever.  For the entire meet, the average total harness handle set an all-time high at $3,173,098, surpassing $3 million for the first time.

John Campbell won his record fifth Hambletonian with Muscles Yankee and won his 15th Meadowlands driving title.

Brett Pelling won his third straight Meadowlands training title and record sixth over-all.  He joined Bill Robinson as the only two trainers to amass $3 million in a season at the Meadowlands.

There were 326 claims during the meet, the most since 1978 and the $9.5 million spent on claims established an all-time high.

Purses increased for an unprecedented seventh straight year to an overnight average of $154,165.

 

1999: 
The 1999 Hambletonian was an appropriate end to the final Meadowlands harness meet of the century.  Two industry records fell as Self Possessed posted the fastest trotting mile in history with a 1:51.3 victory, and the total handle of $7,218,518 million set the mark as the highest in the sport.

More than $540 million was wagered on 150 dates of Meadowlands harness racing, for an average of $3.6 million daily, an increase of 15 percent over 1998.

Total purse distribution for the meet exceeded $44 million, an average of $295,000 daily, up for an eighth straight year.
All claiming records were shattered as the total number of claims reached 506 for a total of $17million. The State of New Jersey benefited with sales tax of $586,484.  Day In A Life became the highest claim in harness history when Perfect World Enterprises took him for $156,250 on June 18.

Luc Ouellette locked up his first driving title with a 46-win margin over 15-time leading driver John Campbell and his uncle, Mike Lachance.  Ross Croghan ran away with his first Big M training title and shattered the record for the most starters in one meet with 717.  Bob Glazer's Peter Pan Stables topped the owners standings for the fifth consecutive year.  The Panderosa provided Glazer with his greatest Meadowlands moment when he caotured the $1 million Meadowlands Pace.

 

2000:
The 2000 Hambletonian drew a crowd of 30,026, the best in six years, and the total wagering of $7,724,420 on the 15-race card was a Hambletonian, Meadowlands and harness racing single-day record.

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell reached $100 million in career earnings at the Meadowlands, an unprecendented feat for a driver or jockey at a single racetrack.

Driver Luc Ouellette, trainer Ross Croghan and owner Bob Glazer repeated as seasonal leaders.

Claiming continued at a feverish pace during Harness 2000.  The total number of claims climbed to 726, up 43.5 percent from 1999, for a total of $24,739,160 [up 69 percent]. An unprecedented three $200,000 claims were made, creating a three-way record for the highest claim in harness history: Bad Bert, Nianimble and Mumbo King.

A record $564 million was wagered on the 151-date harness meet, and total US exports exceeded $402 million, an increase of $100 million over the past two seasons.

On Hambletonian Day, Space Shuttle heated up the track with a 1:47.4 mile, just a fifth of a second off Jenna's Beach Boy's record, and two-time Horse of the Year Moni Maker bid farewell to the Meadowlands with a victory in the Nat Ray.

 

2001: 
Hollywood’s best scribes could not have written a more fitting conclusion to the 2001 Meadowlands harness meet as renowned Swedish racing photographer Stefan Melander fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning the Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight.  The $8,028,480 total handle was the second highest in Meadowlands and harness history.

A record-setting Breeders Crown Day set the tone for the 2001 Hambletonian Festival, highlighted by the sensational performance of Italian trotter Varenne in the $1 million Breeders Crown Trot.  In one of the more memorable performances in Meadowlands history, Varenne shook off all challengers and drew away to a four and a half length victory in a track, stakes and world record of 1:51.1. The total handle of $7,039,284 was the highest in Breeders Crown history, and marked the first year that the Breeders Crown day total handle exceeded $7 million.

The 25th anniversary of the Meadowlands Pace was a battle to the wire between a pair of divisional rivals and two Hall of Fame drivers.  In the end, it was Real Desire who took home the lion’s share of the $1,009,500 jackpot, giving driver John Campbell a record sixth victory in the track’s signature event, as he prevailed by a neck over the defending freshman champion Bettor’s Delight and Mike Lachance.  The $7,050,306 wagered on the 2001 Meadowlands Pace was the highest in the race’s history, and the fourth highest handle in track and industry history.

After runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2000, Campbell rebounded with 211 victories and $6.9 million in earnings for an unprecedented 16th driving title.

Chris Marino and his assistant Vincent Fusco Jr. ran away with their first training title, racking up 88 victories and earnings of $2.1 million. Their stable star was the outstanding sophomore trotting filly Syrinx Hanover, who counted the Hambletonian Oaks and Del Miller Memorial among her victories.

Bob Glazer, who races as the Peter Pan Stables of Pepper Pike, Ohio, kept his stranglehold on the Meadowlands owner standings for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year in 2001, with 46 victories and earnings of $1 million.

The Meadowlands ran its first ever fall harness meet, highlighted by the finals of the Governor’s Cup,Valley Victory, Nadia Lobell and Goldsmith Maid.

   

2002:
Chip Chip Hooray, a pint-sized colt with a big engine, delivered $1million worth of Hambletonian cheer to a seasoned Hall of Famer and a young gun, capping off the 2002 season on August 3. The victory was the first for driver Eric Ledford and the fourth for trainer Chuck Sylvester. The Meadowlands distributed a record $4,387,500 in purse money for the 17-race Hambletonian card, which included the Sweetheart and Woodrow Wilson for two-year-old pacers that had been rescheduled because of dangerous lightning and heavy thunderstorms the previous night. Trainer Brett Pelling racked up a record seventh training title at the Meadowlands, ending the January-August season with 78 victories and $2,053,100 in purses.
Luc Ouellette regained the driving title, making it his third in four years. Linda Toscano, the all-time leading female trainer at the Meadowlands, became the first woman in history to harness a Breeders Crown winner with Molly Can Do It in the Mares Pace.
The Breeders Crown was once again an intercontinental affair as Sweden's top trotter, Victory Tilly, traveled to the United States to compete in the Open Trot. Though he finished a distant second to Fool's Goal in that race, he would later avenge that loss in the Nat Ray on Hambletonian Day.
John Campbell continued his dominance of the Meadowlands Pace, winning the track's signature event for the seventh time with Mach Three in a stakes record time of 1:49 flat. The victory was at once a thrill and a relief for owner Joseph Muscara of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, a 78-year-old construction worker who purchased Mach Three for a reported $2.2 million one month earlier.
The 2002 fall meet was led by driver David Miller, trainer Mark Ford and owner Martin Scharf.

2003:
In what might be the twilight of some careers, Mike Lachance, age 52, had a spectacular 2003 meet at the Meadowlands. With his victory behind Amigo Hall in the Hambletonian and Allamerican Theory in the Meadowlands Pace, he became the first driver to win both million-dollar events in the same year since John Campbell did so in 1995. 

Two other “driver stories” emerged during the 145-date meet: the return of John Campbell after 88 days from a broken right elbow and the battle for leading driver honors which went down to the 15th and final race of the day on August 2. When the dust settled, David Miller and Luc Ouellette were deadlocked in first place with 207 wins each.  Miller finished the season with the highest earnings, $4,819,618.

Campbell suffered the worst injury of his Hall of Fame career on March 23, 2003 when he suffered a broken right elbow and damage to his right hand. It marked the first time in 24 years that Campbell did not finish first or second in the driver standings.

Noel Daley captured his first training title, while his primary owner, Adam Victor, led the standings for the first time.

 

2004:
Twenty-seven years after his first Meadowlands victory, Ron Pierce enjoyed a resurgence that catapulted him to the top of the driving colony for the first time in 2004. He also scored his 5,000th career win behind the sensational filly Rainbow Blue. Rainbow Blue was named Horse of the Year.

A crowd of 30,117 turned out to see Norwegian-born driver and trainer Trond Smedshammer guide Windsong’s Legacy to victory in the $1 million Hambletonian. Windsong’s Legacy would also win the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity, making him the first Trotting Triple Crown winner since 1972.

The Meadowlands Pace program produced a stakes record handle of $7,091,402, including $60,000 wagered in New Zealand. Holborn Hanover, a 58-1 shot, produced the highest payoff in the stake’s history when he won and returned $119.

Jacqueline Ingrassia drove Aeronautess to victory in the $211,800 Goldsmith Maid, marking her first Meadowlands stakes win and the richest won by a female driver at the track. She is now the leading female driver of all time at the Meadowlands.

The race among Meadowlands trainers came down to the wire, but Mark Harder held on to a narrow two-win lead with 107 victories to Noel Daley’s 105 for his first training title. Adam Victor claimed his second straight Meadowlands owners’ title in 2004.

 

2005:
Vivid Photo’s victory in the 80th edition of the Hambletonian, complemented by an industry record $9 million handle, created a picture-perfect ending to the January-August meet. The total Hambletonian Day handle of $9,015,019 was the highest ever at the Meadowlands and set a North American harness racing record.

A crowd of 31,245 poured through the turnstiles to watch driver-trainer Roger Hammer guide his Pennsylvania-based gelding to victory in the Hambletonian. The attendance was the highest since 1990 and marked the fifth straight year that the attendance has increased for harness racing's marquee event.

A victory by Rocknroll Hanover in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace and a trio of Breeders Crown wins during the fall meet were the highlights of a storybook season for driver Brian Sears. Just two years after shifting from The Meadows in western Pennsylvania to the Meadowlands, the reinsman secured his first January-August driving title with 249 victories and $7.4 million in earnings.  He also captured the fall meet title and ended the year as North America’s leading moneywinner with $15 million, an industry record.

Chicago transplant Ken Rucker earned his first Meadowlands training title at the January-August meet and repeated with a fall title.

Brett Pelling, the seven-time leading trainer and top moneywinner of all time at the Meadowlands, announced his retirement from the sport. Pelling and his family would move to Perth, Australia in 2006. Pelling’s Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover was named 2005 Horse of the Year - the first of Pelling’s proteges to receive the honor.

 

2006:
A pair of Hall of Famers captured the premier events of the 2006 harness racing season. John Campbell, at the age of 51, collected his unprecedented sixth Hambletonian trophy with Glidemaster and Cat Manzi, 56, posted his first Meadowlands Pace victory with Artistic Fella. Campbell was later named the U.S. Harness Writers’ Driver of the Year.

The leading driving title remained in the hands of Brian Sears for the second straight year. Another highlight of Sears’ season was winning at least one race at the Meadowlands for 48 consecutive programs, eclipsing John Campbell’s 47-date streak in 1986.

Holborn Hanover clocked the fastest race mile in history with a 1:46.4 in the US Pacing Championship on August 5.

Ross Croghan, leading trainer in 1999 and 2000, returned to the top of the standings in 2006 with 70 wins.

 

 

2007: 

-Tim Tetrick wins with his first ever Meadowlands Pace drive, Southwind Lynx, en route to a 1,189 win, $18 million record-breaking season.  He would later shatter that earnings record. 

-George Teague wins his biggest trotting event ever, the $750,000 Oaks with Danae. 

-Donato Hanover, the 2007 Horse of the Year, wins the Hambletonian as part of a 19-race winning streak. 

-My Little Dragon sets the world female race record of 1:48.1 on July 13, 2007 

-Mr Muscleman calls it a career with $3.5 million in earnings 

-Hana Hanover upsets Southwind Tempo in the Mistletoe Shalee, winning in 1:49.3, one of her record three sub-1:50 wins as a sophomore filly. 

  

2008:

-John Campbell becomes the first ever drive to reach $250 million when he romps with Snow White on Breeders Crown night. 

-Somebeachsomewhere suffers his only career loss to Art Official in his 1:47 world-record Meadowlands Pace victory.  He'd later reset the world record for sophomores to 1:46.4 and end his career 20-for-21. 

-Deweycheatmnhowe wins the Hambletonian as the only undefeated winner in the race's history.  His only Meadowlands defeat would come later in the year when In Focus upset in the Breeders Crown. 

-Meadowlands regular Tim Tetrick, despite sitting out the final three weeks for hip replacement surgery, sets an all-time earnings mark with $19.7 million banked for the year. 

  

2009:  

-Horse of the Year Muscle Hill wins 20 straight races, capped off by his world race record 1:50.1 Hambletonian romp.   

-Brian Sears became the first driver to ever win the Hambletonian and Oaks on the same day, and set a single-day earnings mark for drivers with over $1.5 million in purses won. 

-Trainer Greg Peck set the stakes record in both the Hambletonian (1:50.1) with Muscle Hill and Peter Haughton Memorial (1:54) with Holiday Road. 

-John Campbell scores his fastest career victory with Bettor Sweet in the Graduate elimination (1:47.2). 

-Well Said dominates the Meadowlands Pace in 1:47.3, the second straight win for Ron Pierce. 

-Won The West wins the Breeders Crown Open Pace in a stakes record 1:47, while Hana Hanover takes the Open Mares in a record 1:48.4. 

-Lucky Jim trots a 1:50.1 world record for a 4-year-old en route to a 17/18 season and Older Trotter of the Year honors. 

  

2010:

-The $425,000 yearling edged out the $10,000 yearling - Muscle Massive over Lucky Chucky - in the Hambletonian, giving Ron Pierce his second victory in the classic race. 

-Hypnotic Blue Chip won in the year’s fastest time, 1:47.2, surpassing Jennas Beach Boy’s 14-year record for a 4-year-old pacer by a fifth of a second. 

-Cat Manzi's streak of winning a race at the Meadowlands every year from 1976-2009 comes to an end 

-Buck I St Pat sets the female trotting record of 1:51. 

-For the 34th straight year, the Horse of the Year (Rock N Roll Heaven) competed at the Meadowlands - the only track that can say that. 

 

2011:

-Broad Bahn with George Brennan in the bike goes gate to wire to capture the 86th running of the Hambletonian. 

-Trotting star Arch Madness sets a track and world record (1:50.2) for Older Geldings in $220,750 Titan Cup. 

-Brian Sears finishes the 2011 meet with 149 victories, earning his 6th driving title in seven years.

-We Will See put in a track record & world record-equaling performance of 1:42.2 for a four-year-old pacing horse in a division of the US Pacing Championship. 

-Ron Pierce pilots Roll With Joe to victory $1 Million Meadowlands Pace. 

-NJSEA ratifies lease of the Meadowlands Racetrack to Jeff Gural (New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC).
 

  

2012:

-The Meadowlands had a strong first season under private management by Jeff Gural’s New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC. Overall, live attendance for the meet was up 6.6 percent, while on-track wagering was up 8 percent. Export handle (the amount wagered on the Meadowlands by other outlets)was up 1.7 percent. Total Meadowlands handle (all sources) was up 2.5 percent. 

-Yannick Gingras clinched his first career driving title on the final night of racing with 125 victories for the meet. Gingras, who also won his first Meadowlands Pace with A Rocknroll Dance, bested earnings leader Tim Tetrick ($3.4 million) by two wins. 

-Linda Toscano became the first female trainer to win the sport's most covered prize when Market Share (Tim Tetrick) captured the 1.5 million, 87th edition of the Hambletonian. 

-Ron Burke ran away with his first Meadowlands training title, harnessing 64 winners over the season. 

-Newly inducted Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter led all trainers in earnings with $1.9 million in purses won. 

-The Meadowlands returned to a Classified Racing System in the Fall of 2012.