MOMENTS IN TIME: 25 YEARS AT THE MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK
Before we look at some of these equine and human legends let's look back and marvel at how this imposing physical structure, called, "The Meadowlands", came to be. Against all odds, as the seconds ticked away and unselfish individuals saved the day in the nick of time. The idea of creating a mega sports complex across the river from New York City sprang from a variety of resources, primarily newspaper headlines and behind-the-scenes politics. A group of dedicated politicians and businessmen worked to make the concept of a New Jersey sports complex a reality. It was a vision met with criticism and ridicule at first but as the years passed, that vision became closer and more real.
The New York Giants were looking for a new place to call home and the State of New Jersey had the answer - in some marshy swamplands just minutes from Manhattan. As in practically every business venture, the key to success is location and the Meadowlands property had that...just minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge providing quick and easy access from metropolitan New Yorkers and for residents of a rapidly expanding New Jersey..
Enter Sonny Werblin - a highly respected and successful businessman with impeccable credentials and political connections at the highest levels; he had earned his stripes as the owner of the New York Jets and the Music Corporation of America. He was also an officer at Monmouth Park Race Track and an avid owner of race horses. Sonny was appointed chairman of the fledgling New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority giving organization instant credibility nationwide. With his expertise and guidance, watch as New Jersey overcomes all obstacles, financial and otherwise to make the Meadowlands Sports Complex materialize.
Giants Stadium was the centerpiece of this complex yet the organization needed more to sustain and survive - a guaranteed revenue source was created to keep the complex on solid financial footing...the Meadowlands Race Track became and still is that single largest source contributing over 60% of all revenue every year.
Watch as instrumental people in key positions, "got the horses out of the gate" to bring both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing to the "Big M". Some lasting magical moments that stand out as great performances at the Meadowlands include footage of SEATTLE SLEW and DR. PATCHES battling down the stretch in the 1978 Patterson Handicap, SPECTACULAR BID in the 1979 Meadowlands Cup, JOHN HENRY in the 1984 Ballantine Scotch Turf Hp., ALYSHEBA, SLEW CITY SLEW and BET TWICE in the 1988 Meadowlands Cup, CAM FELLA and IT'S FRITZ in the 1983 Championship, PROBE and PARK AVENUE JOE's dead heat in the 1989 Hambletonian. No other horse more than the pacing sensation, NIATROSS, helped establish the Meadowlands Pace as the premier race for three-year-old pacers with his star power and charisma; his son, NIHILATOR would visit the "Big M" and make history of his own in 1985. Other big names that came through include SELF POSSESSED, FALCON SEELSTER, FOREST SKIPPER, MACK LOBELL, DUENNA, MALABAR MAN and MONI MAKER, who retired in 2000 as the richest Standardbred of either gait with over $5.6 Million in earnings who won 67 races on 29 different tracks in seven countries. But no matter how far she roamed, she always returned to the Meadowlands...like MACK LOBELL, MONI MAKER combined remarkable durability with the heart of a champion.
The Meadowlands Race Track has become a destination point for fans and celebrities from all walks of life and has provided excitement and entertainment for millions. Join host Dave Johnson for a look back at the history of the "Big M", the great races and the compelling personalities that are woven into the fabric of the Meadowlands Racetrack.
See both Thoroughbred and Standardbred greats in this thrilling feature commemorating some of the legends who've come through the Meadowlands on their way to greatness.
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