Shiaway St Pat - 1981
Shiaway St. Pat: First At The Meadowlands Shiaway St. Pat became the third gelding in history to win the prestigious Hambletonian when he captured the 56th edition of the classic, and first at the Meadowlands, over a racetrack slowed by heavy rains. A total of 24 entrants, seeking a share of the richest trotting race to that date, $838,000, were divided into two divisions of 12. In the first division, Olaf, handled by Carl Allen and fourth choice in the wagering, took the lead just after the quarter and led the rest of the mile to score a tiring win over Arnie’s Aim, Graf Zepplin, Super Juan and the favorite, Smokin Yankee, in 2:034 . The last quarter in the mile was :323 , the slowest final quarter in the Hambletonian history. It was Shiaway St. Pat's turn on stage in the second heat and the gelded son of Tarport Devlin rose to the occasion, winning in 2:02.3 after being eighth and three wide at the quarter and still three wide at the half. Shiaway finaly took command around the far turn, opened a six-length lead at midstretch and cruised, with Ray Remmen driving. The ten survivors came back for a second heat and Super Juan, driven by Howard Beissinger, scored an upset with a close photo finish win over Shiaway St. Pat in 2:01.1. The three heat winners, Olaf, Shiaway St. Pat and Super Juan came back for the final, and, in an exciting event in which all participants had the lead at one time or another, Shiaway St. Pat closed from third and last in the stretch to win in 2:02.1 after an opening quarter in :32.2. Shiaway St. Pat became the first gelding to win since 1973 when Flirth took it in straight heats. Greyhound ws the first gelding to win the Hambletonian, reporting home a straight heat winner in 1935. For Ray Remmen, it marked his initial start in the Hambletonian, and he became the eleventh "first appearance" winner in the classic's history, and first since Howard Beissinger's victory with Lindy's Pride in 1969. After a long racing career in which he never repeated his brilliance of Hambletonian Day, Shiaway St. Pat was purchased by the Meadowlands in 1988 and retired. He spends winters at North Woodland Farm in Columbus, NJ and summers in his own paddock in the track's Paddock Park, greeting guests every night.
Conditions were changed to rule out the Hambletonian going four heats in a race-off; the 1981 race was decided in three heats. Shiaway St. Pat won more money in the first classic at the Meadowlands ($419,000) than any previous Hambletonian had been worth. Shiaway St. Pat, by Tarport Devlin, is the only winner sired by a Michigan stallion. Just four states were responsible for the sires of all the other winners: Kentucky and Pennsylvania (30 each), New Jersey (10) and New York (3). Howard Cosell provided the color commentary on ABC's Wide World of Sports alone after he had Stan Bergstein dropped from the on-air talent team. He was teamed with industry breeder and Hambletonian Society director Alan J. Leavitt. Leavitt has been a principle on two winners, Speedy Somolli (1978) and Victory Dream (1994). Cosell's expertise for the most part consisted of reading the graphics on the screen that were available to the television audience. Shiaway St. Pat was rescued from the claiming ranks in his later years by the Meadowlands, horse sale proprietor Phil Tully, and Bob Boni of Dreamaire Farms, to lead the life of leisure befitting a Hambletonian champion. His only work assignment became leading the Hambletonian post parade. When Shiaway St. Pat grew too old and excitable for even that chore, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation placed him at the farm of Michigan vet Dr. Vanderwall, who originally gelded him.