Two of my favorite pacing fillies of all time were Silk Stockings and the ill-fated Tarport Hap. I just came across an article from Harnesslink.com about these two and it brought back great memories.
The problem with time is the legacies of the greats tend to get lost as new generations come and go. With the exception of the true historian, their exploits get consigned to the archives of newspapers and racing journals, rarely to see sunlight again. Let's not kid ourselves, if there wasn't a race named after Messenger and Hambletonian, who would remember these two?
But alas, this world belongs to the living, not the dead but it does not mean the past should be erased, never to be commemorated again. While the name Tarport Hap lives on at the Meadowlands once a year in a race, the stakes could be dropped or renamed. A more permanent monument to Tarport Hap may be in jeopardy; her final resting place. Due to the impact she had at the Meadowlands and the industry, after Tarport Hap died in 1977 in a race at the Meadowlands, she was buried in Paddock Park, her final resting place marked with a small marker. As time moves on, the number of visitors to her grave grows smaller and smaller but just because of that, does it mean it should be ignored?
As you know, the Meadowlands is building a new grandstand on the other side of the track after which the old grandstand will be torn down and that part of the property will revert to the NJSEA. Access to Paddock Park for fans will be a thing of the past. One must ask what will happen to Tarport Hap's resting spot?
If that piece of Paddock Park remains under the control of New Meadowlands LLC, access via the back paddock should remain and it would be fitting for a more significant grave marker to be placed over the grave. If the property is to revert to the NJSEA, Tarport Hap's remains should be re-interred to a new location on the track property with a new grave marker.
While Tarport Hap's exploits may be fading from the memories of racing fans, her resting place should not. New Meadowlands LLC should ensure her of a resting place.
Breeders Crown Program Pages Available. Thanks to Trackmaster for offering free program pages for the Breeders Crown races on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.