Georgia Pacific (Standardbred racehorse)
Georgia Pacific is a dark bay Standardbred race horse. The gelded horse was foaled on April 13, 2001 from the parents of Western Hanover and Armbro Savannah. He has been trained by Randy Bendis and driven by Tony Hall. He races at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Meadow Lands, PA.
Life before racing
Georgia Pacific was purchased by Randy Bendis for $32,000 at the Tattersalls sale. Bendis couldn’t be at the sale himself to see the colt so he sent Doug Snyder to take a look at the horse. Snyder said that he was one of the Westerns that needed to become a gelding.
In his early 2 year old races, the gelding finished second in his first Meadows baby race on June 5, 2003, Georgia Pacific reeled off three straight wins, capped off by a victory in a $20,474 Sire Stakes event on July 5, 2003. Georgia Pacific was scratched sick from his next start, but came back on August 9, 2003 for the $19,296 Arden Downs, but was roughed up from post 9 and managed only 5th. Two weeks later he won a Sires Stakes event at Pocono Downs in 1:54:3, and was second in his next PA stake at The Meadows after cutting the mile on September 5, 2003. On September 15, 2003 he rebounded to win the PA All Stars at Pocono Downs in his freshman record at 1:53.
With A break in state-bred action, Bendis opted to send his charge to The Red Mile for a pair of late-closers during Grand Circuit week. Georgia Pacific ended his freshman season finishing second in both the October 11, 2003 Keystone Classic and the October 18, 2003 PA Sires Stake final. The colt showed no sign of soreness or sourness.
Bendis began 2004 early with a pair of March qualifiers for Georgia Pacific at The Meadows. He was high enough on the colt, however, to race him not in PA, but under the bright lights of The Meadowlands. While Bendis handled training duties at home, second trainer Dave Teed took charge of the stables’ great bay hope.
Georgia Pacific’s first test came in the Robert Suslow Memorial series where, paired with Dave Miller, the pacer was second in the first leg. He and Ron Pierce managed second as well in the second leg. For the final, however, the gelding was matched with a familiar driver, long-time Meadows reinsman Brian Sears. After finishing third in the Suslow final, Sears steered Georgia Pacific to a second place finish from post 8 in the elimination for the Berry’s Creek, before a tough overland journey from post 9 in the final netted them a disappointing fourth-place finish. Georgia Pacific headed next for Windsor Raceway where he drew post 2 in the eliminations for the Provincial Cup, and won going away in 1:52:1. A week later, from post 5, he could fare only fifth-placed-fourth behind Quick Pulse Mindale in the final.
A year to the day after making his first life time start, Georgia Pacific was at Mohawk Racetrack for the $74,000 Burlington, where he again drew the outside with post 8, but this time avoided any racing problems. Sears steered the colt to beat Mantacular to the wire in a lifetime best 1:49:4. The gelding solidified that opinion a week later when, from post 8 at Woodbine, he was again in front at the wire in winning his North America Cup elimination in 1:49:4. And since Woodbine began last season allowing elimination winners to pick their post position for the final, Bendis was, for the first time, assured his pacer would have a good gate spot for the final.
Going into the $1,189,535 North America Cup final on June 19, 2004 Georgia Pacific had the post he wanted, his regular driver, and was made the betting favorite off his strong performance of the week before. Unexpectedly right off the gate Ritchie Silverman, with a 55-1 shot Village Hero N, shot for the lead from post 5, parking Metropolitan in second, Rogue Hall in 3rd, and Georgia Pacific in sixth. Rogue Hall had the lead past the half, with Georgia Pacific parked without cover, and Mantacular sitting on his back second-over. At the three-quarters Georgia Pacific was still on the outside, and though he reached third in the stretch, he was no match for a fresher Mantacular who swung off his back and won by a head in 1:51:2. Georgia Pacific ended up a fifth, a length back.
Georgia Pacific next headed west to Balmoral Park, where he was matched with new driver Andy Ray Miller. The gelding won his elimination for the American-National in 1:49:4 and was sent to the final as the favorite over hometown hero Quick Pulse Mindale. However, at about noon that day, it began to rain in Illinois. It rained right through the card and Georgia Pacific went postward on a sloppy track. He was again parked the whole mile and ended up fifth in Quick Pulse Mindale’s 1:51:4 effort. Thereafter, the pacer headed east again, this time for the Meadowlands Pace, where he was third in his elimination behind Circle L Kid, and drew post 3 for the July 17, 2004 final. Bendis was hopeful yet again. And again, he was disappointed.
Georgia Pacific spent the rest of July vacationing at home in Pennsylvania. After a qualifier on July 30, 2004 at The Meadows, Bendis sent what he hoped was a fresher competitor back to The Meadowlands for the last stakes race of the meet, the Oliver Wendell Holmes on closing day. Leaving from posy 6, Sears wasted no time sending the pacer for the lead. Georgia Pacific was nearly two lengths in front of Driven to Win when he hit the wire in 1:49:1. Next up for Georgia Pacific was a race near and dear to the Bendis stable, the Adios at The Meadows, which Bendis described as “the biggest race right in our own backyard.” Though the trainer was worried about sending the gelding out for two heats, the chance to win the Adios was too great to pass up. In that race, Georgia Pacific went straight for the lead from post 7 and did not look back, winning the first heat over Driven to Win and Western Terror in 1:50. Though Timesareachanging was two lengths better at the wire the final, with Georgia Pacific second, Bendis still considers the first-heat win the “biggest thrill” of his racing career.
After a week break, Georgia Pacific gave the hometown crowd another thrill when he used a Meadows preferred event as a sharpener, winning in 1:49:4, a track record.
- ↑ "Timesareachanging Captures Adios Final". Harnesslink. 2004-08-15. http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=15890. Retrieved 2009-02-11.