When the $307,734 Art Rooney Pace goes to the post next Saturday evening, June 4, at Yonkers Raceway, an harness racing undefeated filly will have her nose on the gate. See You at Peelers connections' are making the bold move entering her in the richer and presumably tougher race against her male counterparts by entering her in the Art Rooney, skipping the Lady Lismore.
The prestigious race named after the grand and affable, Art Rooney Sr. the patriarch of the Rooneyâ€™s, now sees the familyâ€™s signature race get its first challenge from a dominant lady. For the Jimmy Takter trained See You At Peelers (15 - 15 - 0 - 0), it will constitute her first career meeting with the boys.
This is certainly not first time that the â€śso calledâ€ť male superiority has been tested and brings us to the sport's eminent historian Bob â€śHollywoodâ€ť Heyden for a look back at how the great ladies of our sport have fared against the boys. According to the Heydenâ€™s research, the 1986 Cane Pace filly entrant H H Shadow came up short for Jody Stafford against the boys in the Triple Crown event and marked the very last time that a female hit the board in the Cane Pace but in doing so she eclipsed the third place finish by the filly Tarport Hap in the Cane back in 1975.
But then lightening struck twice on the trotting side when the boys got their heads handed to them in the1995 and 1996 editions of the Yonkers Trot, won back to back by a pair of great fillies, C R Kay Suzie and Continentalvictory.
In 1974, the great Handle With Care won her first 24 starts and it was only when she tried to flex some muscle against the boys when her streak came to an end in the Prix D'Ete at Blue Bonnets in Montreal..
Miss Easy tried to charm the boys in the 1991 edition of the Meadowlands Pace eliminations but suffered a break and lost any chance at making the final. Undaunted and skipping the charm part, she came back with some female vengeance to win the consolation and in doing so defeated none other thanin the process.
Some other notables who challenged the myth of the male dominance on the pacing side were Fan Hanover the only filly to win the Little Brown Jug (1981), Toy Poodle and Tender Loving Care. The filly Areba Areba tried her hand in the Woodrow Wilson as did the ladies, Hazel Hanover and Courageous Lady in the Meadowlands Pace all three suffering defeats.
It seems that on the trotting side the fillies have fared somewhat better than their pacing counterparts against the boys, but See You At Peelers may be the filly to show the boys a thing or two.the sire of See You At Peelers already has two daughters with earnings in excess of $2 million lifetime. The great Darlinâ€™s Delight at $2,901,926 and Southwind Tempo at $2,396,362.
Her emboldened owners have added much excitement to the Rooney and See You At Peelers' very presence in the event, makes the 2011 renewal of the Art Rooney another instance of a courageous gal trying to take her place among the boys in competition at the highest level.
Good luck to all on June the 4th and we bet that one of the boys may look to get See You At Peelers a much deserved diamond ring if she pulls this off. Come out and cheer her on.
Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden
$1,000,000 Art Rooney Pace 2007