2004 Nova Award Winner Profiles
by Bob "Hollywood" Heyden of The Meadowlands
Two Year Old Pacing Colts/Geldings: Village Jolt
All the ingredients were in place for Village Jolt in 2004--before he ever stepped onto the racetrack. The soon to be named Driver Of The Year Ron Pierce was in the bike, he was the property of the 2002 Owner Of The Year Jeff Snyder, the 1994 Horse Of The Year and then single-season money record holder Cam's Card Shark was his sire, and Ed Hart-the ONLY trainer in history to have a sub 1:48 winner-Space Shuttle (1:47.4) and develop ANOTHER, Four Starzzz Shark (1:47.4)-was his conditioner.
Village Jolt & driver Paul Macdonell
Village Jolt stormed though his freshman season and was the leading money-winner per start among ALL pacers in 2004, and he became the ONLY freshman ever to win both the Woodrow Wilson and the Breeders Crown. Most likely it was the WAY he won the Breeders Crown that solidified the title--he left no doubt among a solid freshman crop who was the boss--and no returning three-year-old in 2005 will have more eyeballs on him that he, the richest ever two-year-old son of Cams Card Shark.
Two Year Old Filly Pacers-Shared Award: Restive Hanvoer & Cabrini Hanover
When trying to separate the cream at the top of the freshman pacing filly division, it couldn't be done among the best duo. Restive Hanover and Cabrini Hanover. So these magnificent ladies will share the well deserved Nova award for 2004--with special mention to Hanover Shoe Farms who raised both.
Restive Hanover & driver Andy Miller
Restive Hanover, with the Miller brothers-Andy and Erv, also had Incredible Tillie just a few years back, and the repeat performance wasn't bad, not bad at all. As a matter of fact, this diminutive daughter of The Panderosa, while not frightening anyone in her stall, had a commanding presence on the track, and a knack for rising to the occasion. Just when it looked like anyone's division come October, she stepped up and nailed down the Breeders Crown and the Three Diamonds, kicking into high gear and solidifying her spot atop the freshman filly perch.
Cabrini Hanover-Ok-first things first. Let's now officially eliminate the word 'Trotting' next to the name of Jimmy Takter. He's no longer 'Trotting' trainer Jimmy Takter--how could he be after 2004? How about World Champion Trainer-of BOTH trotters and pacers? After all, Jimmy did in 2004 what had not been done in 17 YEARS-that is, win a trotting AND a pacing event-BOTH valued at over half a million dollars. Jimmy not only matched Chuck Sylvester's feat from 1987--with Mack Lobell and So Cozy--he did it in the SAME DAY-in two DIFFERENT countries!!!! He sent out Tom Ridge to a world record 1:50.2 in the World Trotting Derby in the afternoon of September 4, then ventured to Canada and set another world record-1:51 flat for a freshman filly--in the She's A Great Lady with Cabrini Hanover, who shares the Nova award with Restive Hanover.
It wasn't as if Cabrini Hanover snuck up on anybody, though. After all, she was the highest pacing yearling price of 2003 at $350,000. Her sire--Western Ideal--had a season for the ages in 2000 and it seemed everyone wanted to be in on his first public offering. Cabrini won 5 of 7 starts, has already paid her way with $377,000, and will return for a very much anticipated sophomore season in 2005.
Three Year Old Pacing Colt/Gelding: Timesareachanging
With sire Cam's Card Shark having his own 'Triple Crown' season-remember that he is the first sire to sweep ALL THREE NOVA pacing divisions for the boys in the same year--it is likely THIS division that is most satisfying to the 1994 Horse of The Year.
Timesareachanging & trainer Brian Pelling
Timesareachanging--the highlight of his season has to be his stirring first over Little Brown Jug win--the VERY race that Cam's Card Shark himself tried to capture in 1994 but didn't make it to post time and had to call it a career. But Timesareachanging didn't rest on any one event. He set a world record winning the Adios. He came from tenth to second in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace. And when all the calculations were in--he was THE richest pacing colt or gelding of 2004-and with it, the honor of winning the Nova award.
Not bad, not bad at all-especailly considering that at the outset of the season, he wasn't on anyones radar screen. But you couldn't miss him at seasons end-and a special congratulations to the three "Ps"--Pierce, Pelling and Perfect World, the team behind this outstanding sophomore winner, who will be back on the track in 2005.
Three Year Old Filly Pacer: Rainbow Blue
Entering the 2004 racing season, a discussion that threw out names like Miss Easy, Tarport Hap, Silk Stockings, Shady Daisy, Bunny Lake and Eternal Camnation was one that talked about the greatest pacing fillies and mares of all time. The "Elite-Top" if you may. But by years end, not only did the name of Rainbow Blue surface amongst that incredible crew, the general consensus was that she was not only worthy of being mentioned in that conversation, many thought she should be right at the top. That's right-there was plenty of talk that this-Rainbow Blue--was, and is--the single greatest female pacing performer we've yet seen. Not sure??
Rainbow Blue & driver Ron Pierce
Consider some of these numbers:
1) Rainbow Blue was 20-21 on the year-the LAST female to win 20 races and be named Horse Of The year did it 34 YEARS ago-Fresh Yankee in 1970.
2) She is the ONLY filly to ever have TWO sub 1:50 miles in the same year-both 1:49.2 world record-equaling efforts.
3) She won more money--$1,195,010--than ANY male pacer in 2004! Know the last time that happened?? Try 1975-when Silk Stockings did it last-29 YEARS BEFORE!!
4) The earnings mark that she erased for a single season had belong to Bunny Lake-and she was the HOY that season-2001!
5) She raced from April through November, and beat older mares in her final start of the season. She is the co-fastest filly ever, the richest one season filly ever, and the winningest female of 2004. FASTEST-RICHEST-WINNINGEST!!
Older Female Pacer: Bunny Lake
2004 was indeed a year to remember. Up pops a Rainbow Blue-the SAME year the three winningest pacing mares in the sport ALL retire-Eternal Camnation, Bunny Lake and Worldly Beauty. But Bunny is the only one of the three retirees with a Horse Of The Year trophy on her mantlepiece. The 2001 Horse Of The Year made just under half a million dollars at age 6 in 2004-hitting the board in 11 of 17 tries in the ultra-competitive pacing mare division. But it is likely her back to back 1:49 flat efforts that nailed down this award for the winner of over $2.8 million lifetime. NO mare had ever done it prior.
Bunny Lake takes her 47 wins and $2,843,476 bankroll now into motherhood, and the sport can now only hope that she will one day bring us another 'Bunny' with the same hop, skip and spring in his/her step.
Older Pacing Males: Four Starzzz Shark
Anytime you put the two words 'Four Star' in front of anything-you want to make sure-positive sure-it belongs there. In 2004, never was it more appropriate than with the 'Shark'-Four Starzzz Shark. Four Starzzz Shark not only captured 9 of 11 starts and better than 3/4$ million in 2004, he did it in grand style.
Coming into 2004, The 'Shark' had an impressive bio, but not one that had you checking to see if he was in the same race as you. But armed with a new conditioner-Dave "Junior" Sabatelli-the 'Shark' steamrolled into town and leveled everything in sight en route to division honors. In so doing, he became the first horse to ever post FOUR sub 1:49 winning race miles, including three in a row. He was the sports fastest performer of 2004-but who does THAT in an elimination?? The Shark-that's who-his 1:47.4 William Haughton elimination victory stood up as the years fastest mile-need we mention that he won the $700,000 final, also? When all was said and done, with all precincts reporting, Four Starzzz Shark retired to stud duty as the richest EVER son or daughter of Cam's Card Shark.