Meadowlands Highlights the Old and the New

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

July 1st, 2017

In the span of less than 24 hours this weekend the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey bid a fond farewell to a legendary driver while perhaps welcoming several future stars into the mix.

On Friday night Hall of Fame driver John Campbell competed in the final night of his illustrious career and went out in style, steering home both Muscle Hill and Muscle Diamond in the last two drives of his stellar career. Campbell, 62, finished his career with nearly 11,000 victories and more than $300 million in career earnings and a reputation that was enhanced by his intelligence and integrity. He won all of the sport's most prestigious and most lucrative races on numerous occasions and he won - and lost - major stakes with dignity and class.

Then on Saturday morning at the Meadowlands, roughly 12 hours after the track bid a fond farewell to one of the drivers who launched the track into national prominence in the 1980's and 1990's, a good blend of proven older horses and talented youthful ones competed in a grand sum of 16 qualifiers at the one-mile oval in northern New Jersey.

In the final race on the morning program, Pure Country (Jimmy Takter) simply obliterated her foes when she led throughout en route to an eight-length score in an eye-opening 1:48 flat, a clocking typically reserved for the best older males pacers. The four-year-old pacing filly who has been the leader of her generation in two previous campaigns for Takter, wowed onlookers by posting a sensational final clocking that included a 53.1 back half complete with a 25.4 kicker.

One race earlier Dr. J Hanover benefited from a pocket trip and eventually overhauled leader Caviart Luca to score by a neck in 1:50.3. Trotting mare star Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) won by four lengths in 1:53.4, while filly trotters Such An Angel (1:54.1) and Southwind Avanti (1:54) also both posted handy qualifying scores.

Much of the early portion of the morning qualifiers evolved around juvenile pacers and trotters, several of which delivered very promising performances.

Among the freshman pacing colts, Decoy (David Miller) posted the fastest clocking with his 1:53.4 tally for trainer Jimmy Takter, while Love Yourself (Tim Tetrick) won in 1:54.4 and Pro Beach (Gingras) edged Better Watch Out (Tetrick) in 1:54.2 in a promising qualifier for both colts. Wolfgang (Takter) looked best among juvenile trotting colts, scoring in 1:56.1 and freshman filly trotter Live Laugh Love (Miller) prevailed nicely in 1:56.2 for trainer R. Nifty Norman.