Day At The Track

Meadowlands opens to a "blizzard" of fans

07:14 AM 25 Nov 2013 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Left to right are Gallo Blue Chip (Mark Ford) and Foiled Again (Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras) harness racing Gallo Blue Chip, harness racing Justin Horowitz, harness racing harness racing harness racing Mike Tanner, harness racing harness racing Jason Settlemoir, harness racing
Left to right are Gallo Blue Chip (Mark Ford) and Foiled Again (Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras)
Chris Tully Photo
Opening ceremonies with (l-r) SamMcKee, Jeff Gural, Tom Luchento & Jason Settlemoir
Photo by Chris Tully
Gallo Blue Chip cuts the ribbon to start the new meet at the Meadowlands
Photo by Chris Tully
Justin Horowitz greets players with opening night million dollar promo
Photo by Chris Tully
Meadowlands TV hosts Hollywood Heyden, Wendy Ross and Sam McKee
Photo by Chris Tully
Snow comes down for the start of the first race at the Meadowlands
Photo by Chris Tully
USTA's Mike Tanner braves the snow storm with patrons on the apron
Photo by Chris Tully
NY Jets cheerleaders brave the cold to warm-up the fans
Photo by Chris Tully
Jason Settlemoir watches Foiled Again with Meadowlands background
Photo by Chris Tully
Previous
1 - 3 of 9
Next
East Rutherford, NJ – Harness fans, eager to check out the new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment complex, stormed into the facility Saturday night (Nov. 23) by the thousands.  Shortly after the opening ceremonies, a series of snow squalls also stormed into the East Rutherford Sports Complex. 
 
Despite the high winds, the spirit of the estimated 15,000 fans would never be diminished as the new facility was as exciting as the racing product.  Five of the thirteen races were determined by winning margins of less than a length and ten were won by 2 lengths or less.  Possibly the most exciting was the neck victory by Foiled Again over Warrawee Needy in the final leg of the TVG FFA in 1:49.3.
 
Interestingly, just three hours before his race, Foiled Again joined Gallo Blue Chip for a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony by the two richest pacers of all time.  With combined earnings over $10 million dollars, the two harness heroes posed for throngs of photographers in the new “Blue Chip Farms Winners Circle.”
 
Previous to the ribbon cutting, Miss Rodeo New Jersey delivered a poignant national anthem, followed by opening remarks by Sam McKee, Chairman Jeff Gural, SBOA/NJ President Tom Luchento, and CEO Jason Settlemoir.  Fans were reminded that three years ago the SBOA/NJ and Gural met with the NJ Governor’s administration and helped rescue the Meadowlands Racetrack from governmental extinction.
 
“Three years later, we are here in a magnificent new building, at the premier track in North America, looking forward to showcasing the best harness racing presented anywhere in the world,” Luchento said.
 
Patrons on the apron for the race two-TVG trot found themselves in a mini white-out due to a rapid burst of wind and snow.  Some of the best trotters in the world went behind the gate, where five out of the six starters were Hambletonian finalists.  Wishing Stone was victorious, and paid his supporters handsomely at odds of 9-1.
 
One big fan of racing, USTA Executive Director Mike Tanner found himself caught in the whirlwind.  He proclaimed, “This place is great,” as he tweeted ‘Not Pompano’ in response to the sudden blast of arctic air.
 
Fans and horsepeople alike were ecstatic about the new building.  Janet Terhune, director of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, exclaimed, “The New Meadowlands is absolutely fantastic.  Trotters (Owners club) is a great experience—it is very ‘clubby.’  The whole facility is filled with people and everybody loves racing.”
 
Enjoying the atmosphere in Trotters was the breeder of Deweycheatumnhowe, Steve Jones.  Clearly enjoying his well appointed surroundings, “Jonesy” stated, “The facility is fantastic.  Gural and his partners have done a great job.  There is a lot of enthusiasm here.  I like the night club, and all the gambling areas, the bars and everything!  I really think this is going to be a great place to be.”
 
Hall of Famer Jimmy Doherty, who is one of the few drivers to win a race every year that the Meadowlands has been open, noted that, “I think it is tremendous.  Everyone is very excited about the future.  This place was built for a new generation.” 
 
Ray Remmen, who won the first race on the 1976 opening night with Quick Baron, presented the trophy to the first race winner Alexie Matosie and David Miller.  Another guy who was active on the original opening night on Sept. 1, 1976 was Ted Wing.  He was back as the trainer of a horse in the new opening’s twelfth race.
 
When reminiscing about historical races, one need not venture any further than the statistician to the stars, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden.  From his TV studio he reminded fans that on the ’76 opener, eight Hall of Famers drove on the card—and only ONE found the winners circle:  Robert Farrington with Rambling Willie.
 
When quizzed about his observations of this opening night Holly opined that, “Three things stand out.  An unmistakable buzz in the building.  A steady stream of patrons entering from 4 pm through 9 pm, reminiscent of Niatross winning the Meadowlands Pace or a heavy-weight title fight.  And, the sense of anticipation for the overall future of the facility.”
 
As fans poured into the main entrance, they were eager to enter the Million Dollar Pick 13 challenge.  Many a punter stopped to ogle over the suitcase full of cash, prominently on display in the center of the ground floor betting area.  Alas, the promotion turned elusive as the new racing configuration created a new and distinct track bias.
 

Perhaps it was a night for underdogs, as only four betting favorites found the winners circle.  Ironically, horses named after 1976 movie icon, Rocky, had a big night: Salevster Stallion (Race 1, fin. 2nd), Stallone Blue Chip (R3,1st) & Yo Cheyenne Rocky (R9, 1st).  Nonetheless, Team Gural showed the world that they were up for the task!

by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com
 

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: