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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA Media — A dozen years ago, Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Edwin Gold partnered as owners for the first time, purchasing a female pacer named Economy Terror. After an award-winning career on the track, she became a broodmare for the trio, and on Saturday the group will send out one of her sons, Market Based, in the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

Market Based was one of last week’s two Meadowlands Pace elimination winners, along with Beach Glass. Market Based, trained by Nancy Takter, won his elim by a neck over Night Hawk thanks to a career-best 1:48.4 mile with Dexter Dunn in the sulky. Beach Glass captured his split by 5-1/4 lengths over Captain Cowboy in 1:48.1, also a lifetime best.

On Saturday, Market Based will start from post four and is 5-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind Beach Glass at 7-5 and Night Hawk at 4-1.

“It’s a tough field,” Pompey said. “Beach Glass was wrapped up at the end (of his mile). But you never know. We’re hoping for the best. You know how it is in these races, you have to be in the right place at the right time.”

Market Based’s victory in his Pace elimination was his third of the season, which has seen some ups and downs. The colt went off stride in his first race of the year, a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division at The Meadows, and then won his next two starts, a Pennsylvania All-Stars division and PaSS split, both at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

From there, he traveled to Canada for the Pepsi North America Cup, where he finished sixth in his elimination and did not advance to the final. Two weeks later, he went to Yonkers Raceway for the eliminations of the MGM Grand Messenger Stakes but made a break in the first turn to take himself out of contention.

Prior to his Meadowlands Pace elimination, he finished fourth in a conditioned race for 3-year-olds on July 2 at The Meadowlands.

“The last two starts have been encouraging,” Pompey said. “I’m more confident going into the final now. He had some breaking issues, and I think Nancy has gotten that straightened out. I think he’s on the right track now. He looked good the other night.

“He’s an overachiever,” Pompey added about Market Based, who has won seven of 20 lifetime starts and earned $288,183. “He is the smallest foal Economy Terror has had. He’s the smallest by far, but the most productive.”

Economy Terror was a Dan Patch Award winner in 2011 at the age of 2 and earned $1.63 million in her career.

“We had a lot of thrills with her,” Pompey said. “I’ve got to say she’s the best horse I’ve ever had.”

Market Based, sired by Sweet Lou, is Pompey’s first Meadowlands Pace finalist. Takter won the 2020 Meadowlands Pace with Tall Dark Stranger, who went on to be named the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year. Taylor was among the owners of Tall Dark Stranger.

“I never get too high, and I never get too low,” said Pompey, who lives in northeast Pennsylvania, got hooked on harness racing at Pocono, and bought his first horse in the late 1980s. “I’ve been in the horse business for 34 years, and that’s the way I do things. It has its ups and downs, but you appreciate the good part of it.”

Pompey, who has three broodmares, enjoys the breeding side of the business.

“Especially with this one,” Pompey said. “It’s something special.”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Night Hawk, the second choice in the Meadowlands Pace, heads to the final with three wins and three seconds in seven races this season. His only off-the-board finish came in the North America Cup final, where he was fifth.

Last year, the son of Betting Line-Night Music started twice, winning both.

Night Hawk will start the Meadowlands Pace final from post three with driver David Miller. He paced his last quarter in his elimination in :25.4.

“I was happy the way he finished and raced; David was ecstatic, so I feel even better,” trainer Brian Brown said. “He raced good. He behaved, sat in the hole well. He did everything he was supposed to do. If our cover would have gotten us into the stretch, I think he probably wins for sure. It didn’t, that’s just the way it goes.”

Night Hawk is owned by Leeman Lombardo Stable, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, and Acadia Farms.

Brown finished second in the 2017 Meadowlands Pace with Downbytheseaside, missing by a head to Huntsville, and third in the 2019 edition with Workin Ona Mystery. Night Hawk will try to deliver a trophy on Saturday.

“Other than the North America Cup, when we were sitting too far back and didn’t get a chance, he’s raced good every time,” Brown said. “He fights and he tries. He does have high speed. I think he can grind it out too. He’s got all the tools. His only bad part is he’s a little goofy. He behaves on the track, but in (the paddock) he can be a little goofy at times. Other than that, he’s a pretty good racehorse.”

The Meadowlands Pace is race 12 on Saturday.

Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT). The card also includes the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Dorothy Haughton Memorial for older female pacers, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, two divisions of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, and two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters.

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