Three jockeys have won the Belmont twice in the new Millennium - John Velazquez, Edgar Prado and Mike Smith. 102 years between FILLIES winning the Belmont 1905 Tanya, 2007 Rags To Riches. 5 - Five Straight Belmonts for Woody Stephens-1982-1986 NONE before NONE after. 678 horses have lined up and started in the Kentucky Derby SINCE Affirmed last won the Triple Crown in 1978. 1997-2009 "Sidewalks Of New York" the Theme song. 2010 "Empire State Of Mind. 2011-2015 "New York New York". 70-1 was the price on Sarava who ended Bob Bafferts's LAST Triple Crown bid-2002-with War Emblem. Three-time eclipse winning jockey Braulio Baeza's hat trick - he won the Belmont three times on three DIFFERENT Surfaces. 1961 and 1969 at Belmont the second time on a revamped track-1963 at Aquedect. Mike Tabor is the ONLY owner since 1986 to win the Belmont TWICE! 2007 Rags To Riches, 1995 Thunder Gulch. 6 of the last 7 Triple Crown winners were also the defending 2 YO CHAMPION - (Assault the only one who wasn't). 6 of the last 7 Triple Crown winners in harness racing - were NOT the 2 YO CHAMPION (Niatross the only one who was). 42 YEARS since the record of 2:24 set - Secretariat. His stablemate Riva Ridge also won the Belmont - the year before in 1972 - in 2:28 flat. Count Fleet owns the SECOND Highest Belmont Margin of 25 lengths (Secretariat's 31 lengths in 1973 the standard). May 16, 1979, 11 months AFTER Affirmed won the last Triple Crown, Gary Stevens won his FIRST ever race-for his father who trained. The Highest ever BEYER NUMBER for a Belmont winner went to Easy Goer -1 22 in 1989 (Beyer established in 1987). The Belmont was held at AQUEDUCT from 1963-1967 while the track was under restoration and renovation. FIVE of the ELEVEN Triple Crown winners were chestnuts-including Affirmed and Secretariat. 1931 was the year the order was established for the Triple Crown. 120,139 came to see Smarty Jones in 2004 just miss in his attempt for the Triple Crown. It was to be his final career race - he wound up 8 for 9 with a second. All nine of his races were competed at DIFFERENT Distances. 37 and 25 - the two largest GAPS between Triple Crown winners. 1978-2015 ???? and 1948-1973. Many would argue that Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont by 31 lengths in a time that STILL stands as a North America Dirt record and the margin that STILL stands as the largest Grade One effort ever-you'd have thought THAT would be the cover of Sports Illustrated,THAT WEEK Right? WRONG! The cover featured George Foreman - who - by the way - did NOT fight that week or even in the last six months. Secretariat only made pages 9-13. Think somebody missed the boat here? (Don't anyone even THINK to say he'd been on the cover just recently - Jeremy Lin made it two STRAIGHT weeks a couple of years ago for the Knicks). In 1977 - Jean Cruguet was an astounding 9 for 14 during the week at Belmont - but would not even chance riding on Thursday or Friday while awaiting Seattle Slews Belmont on Saturday - and his own Triple Crown try. SLEW would win it - and remains the only horse ever to make it through the Triple Crown UNDEFEATED! Seattle Slew is also the only one of the eleven Triple Crown winners to have sold at public auction - $17.500 - 90 seconds in the ring and into the record books. Triple Crown wins - total 11 - Bob Baffert 12 - Jimmy Takter 14 D Wayne Lukas (Note that Jimmy Takter AND D Wayne Lukas have each won the Triple Crown -with two DIFFERENT horses - Takter last year and Lukas in 1995). The Belmont Stakes was NOT held in 1911 and 1912. Conquistador Cielo won the 1982 Belmont - the first of five in a ROW for Woody Stephens - on 4 DAYS REST! (METROPOLITAN MILE winner at Belmont on Memorial Day). IF 10 or more enter and go to the gate for the 2015 Belmont - it marks the first time EVER that for seven STRAIGHT years, there has been a DOUBLE - digit sized field for the Belmont. Chrysler offered their $5 Million bonus from 1988-1995 NO WINNERS; Visa then the same from 1996 - 2005 NO WINNERS. It's been 35 YEARS since Harness Racing had a Triple Crown winner (Niatross) who was also the 2 YO champ; 37 years for thoroughbred racing (Affirmed 1978). Bill Shoemaker won the Belmont 4 times in an 11 year span. 1957, 1969, 1962, 1967 (Also won it in 1975). If the restriction to hold the crowd to 90,000 does hold this year, then the Belmont cannot have it's SIXTH 100,000 plus crowd in its history. ***************** NEVER has a horse finished the Triple Crown - the Belmont-with larger than an 8 horse field!! ************************ Here are the field sizes for the Eleven Triple Crown winners: (Chronologically backwards) 5-8-5-8-7-3-4-8-5-4-3. Affirmed and Secretariat each won in a five horse field. The average sized field for the ELEVEN Triple Crown winners is 5.5 horses. BUT - since Affirmed last won the Triple Crown in 1978, the average BELMONT FIELD SIZE has been 10.2 Horses! The COMBINED 3 YO earnings of the 11 other Triple Crown winners in history is $4,708,701 Times Have changed dept? In 2008 Big Brown fell short in the Belmont and finished 6-7 career and never raced again. Smarty Jones got beat in the Belmont of 2004 for a career slate of 9 8-1-0 and he too never competed again. In 2012 - I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and scratched from the Belmont never to race again. BUT - in 1941 - Whirlaway won the Triple Crown - raced 89 TIMES CAREER!, won the Kentucky Derby PREVIEW in addition to the Derby, and - get this - won an allowance race IN BETWEEN the Preakness and the Belmont - thus wrapping up the Triple Crown. Let's hope there's some action in the Belmont this year - remember the Kentucky Derby had the top three finishers go 1-2-3 all the way - in an 18 horse field, none of the top three finishers was worse than third at any point! How rare was that? The LAST time that had happened was in 1915, when Regret won -in a 16 horse field. 100 YEARS to be exact! Robert Heyden
Goshen, NY --The president of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), Chris Tully, has appointed the 58-year-old Robert "Hollywood" Heyden to be the newest member of the Hall Of Fame Screening Committee to serve a six-year term. More than looking forward to the task, Heyden himself was elected to the Communicators Hall Of Fame in 2012. The 'Statistician to the Stars' exclaimed, "This is great. I follow everything closely and forget nothing. I have a real good idea who should and who shouldn't be a serious candidate to the Hall of Fame. But regardless, I think it is wonderful for people to be involved, to talk about it, to wonder, to speculate, to compare numbers with those that are in, etc." "The conversation that starts and ends with the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame in Goshen is all good. I welcome anyone and everyone who has an opinion, a case, a say, anything concerning the Hall of Fame. I really do. But everyone has to remember THE most important thing--the HALL OF FAME is THE highest honor--and is ultra-special. Only the very elite merit consideration. Joe DiMaggio was voted baseballs greatest Living Player in 1969, yet he did NOT make the Baseball Hall Of Fame his first TWO years of eligibility." Heyden, a Rutgers 1978 Graduate and a Meadowlands employee for 27 years under the NJSEA, still does the TV show there, usually on Saturdays. "The Meadowlands has had a bigger role in shaping the industry than any other track in the past 35 years. Maybe any track ever. So if you have proven you can do it there, it matters--big time. Many have tried and went home. The survival of the fittest for sure. A huge part of the reason Campbell and O'Donnell went in together in 1990 is that they had shared the last 10 Meadowlands driving titles going into that year. Of course they were great anywhere, but many of their highlight moments were there." A big fan of the history of the sport, Heyden likes to quote Angela Lansbury when it comes to getting a bit older. "She said, 'there weren't many good things about getting older--but one was the fact that you then had this vast reservoir of knowledge from which to draw upon.'" Heyden is considering writing a book in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Meadowlands next September 1, (2016). He has a carload of goodies from all his years at the Big M, like the time..... (Heyden quotes): "2006 and 2007 were two years that George Foreman made it to the Hambletonian. Great guy, fun to be around-I think he was surprised at a couple of things when we chatted-I needed no notes or teleprompter (NEVER have) and was winging it, and then when I recited the name of the boxer he beat in the 1968 Mexico Olympics from memory (Ionas Chepulis)--we were tight from that point on." "In 1997--I had a lady friend of mine, Lee Gleckel, visiting at the track, she came by a couple of times a year. Chatting, the subject somehow came up as to her mother's favorite actor; Omar Sharif. Well-in those days, you never quite knew who MIGHT walk in the door next. 15 minutes later, Omar Sharif strides in, unannounced. I pull a bluff (knowing he was a gambler) and pretend I know him. It worked. 20-30 great minutes followed, and Lee to this day probably thinks I had the whole thing staged--I didn't." "In 2000-Mike Sheehan came in and told me to quick-get to Pegasus-Arnold Palmer is dining outside. So the hand-held camera guy and I go out, and I ask Mr. Palmer if he'll do it. He says OK. BUT--the camera is on the blink-so we have a five minute delay-I decide-on a moment's notice-to call Stanley Dancer-knowing he and Arnold were good friends, and find out a couple of things that Arnold is going to have NO IDEA I would know about. It worked, the interview was perfect" Robin Leach, Brendan Byrne, Telly Savalas, Jack Klugman, Sylvester Stallone, Barbara Feldon--these are just some of the names of those who would make it to the Meadowlands in its heyday. John Gotti too, Heyden recalls. Hollywood continues, "Mid-1990s or so. Sunday afternoon racing in March or so. I hear a commotion in the back near the betting machines, and Leon Hess and Wellington Mara are BOTH in the press box--and about to make a bet. The owner of the Jets and the owner of the Giants. I don't remember the name of the horse they bet, but I DO remember the amount--$2." From the United States Harness Writers Association
Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden ranks Art Official's upset of Somebeachsomewhere in 2008 as his greatest Meadowlands Pace moment. Heyden has seen them all, as a harness racing fan and as the Meadowlands Racetrack's statistician, television personality and unofficial historian.
New York Yankees baseball great, Gene Michael, will be a special guest at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame this Sunday evening, July 5.
Bob (Hollywood) Heyden, well known Meadowlands Racetrack's statistician and harness racing handicapper, is the guest speaker at the Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owner's Awards Banquet, Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the Dutch Inn Cornwall.
Bob (Hollywood) Heyden, well known Meadowlands Racetrack's statistician and handicapper, will be the guest speaker at the Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owner's Awards Banquet, Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the Dutch Inn Cornwall.
Two of the best and brightest communicators in harness racing - who just happened to be hosting the TV show at the nation's flagship track last night - were finalized as ballot candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame election this summer. The Directors of the U.S. Harness Writers Association voted to put on the ballot Meadowlands superstars Bob Heyden and Sam McKee.
For the first time ever, all 12 Breeders Crown championship finals, offering $6.2 million in harness racing purses, will be staged in Canada at Woodbine Racetrack near Toronto, on Saturday evening (October 29). A dozen races, for all age, gait and gender divisions will be held with a 6:30 post time.
The first 300 Meadowlands harness racing guests to bet on Woodbine on Saturday night (October 29) will receive a commemorative Breeders Crown hat.
Phil Pines was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. Upon his passing a few years ago, in order to perpetuate his memory, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter has named an award in his honor and this season Bob Heyden will be the recipient of that prestigious harness racing award when the scribes hold their 53rd Annual Banquet on Sunday evening October 30th at Monticello Casino and Raceway.
With the $1 million Metro Pace set for tonight Saturday September 3rd at Mohawk Racetrack, WEG's communications department got the inside scoop from some of the sport's top harness racing handicappers.
I couldn't believe it when Ray Cotolo told me how old he was. For a young man born just prior to the start of the new millennium he sure does know a lot about harness racing. 'I gave out Fawkes in my blog and he was at big money and ran third in the Hambo elimination.
The 2011 edition of the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown, The Yonkers Trot, will be contested over the Hilltop Oval on Saturday evening, July 9. In anticipation of this year's event, harness racing statistician- extraordinaire, Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden, has compiled some quite interesting facts about this legendary event and the Triple Crown:
With the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup set for Saturday, June 18 at Mohawk Racetrack, WEG's media department got the inside scoop from some of North America's top harness racing handicappers, as they provided their NA Cup picks along with some insight for tonight's featured race.
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.
Once again, Bob "Hollywood" Heyden provides us with unique insights on the 2011 George Morton Levy Final to be contested at Yonkers Raceway this Saturday evening, April 30, and shares with us some more great harness racing 'Levy' moments of the past: