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AUGUST,  2017.


AUGUST 4,  2018.
Atlanta beats the boys in Hambletonian

Rick Zeron, an admitted crier, had reason to well up Saturday after the 93rd Hambletonian. Not only had the veteran horseman won the trotting classic in his first try, but his son Scott was in the sulky to make it a family affair, and the high point of a 43-year-old career.

And he got the job done with a filly, the very determined Atlanta.

“This is a dream come true,” said Rick Zeron. “That’s my specialty, trotters. I live and breathe to train a trotter, especially a filly. It’s more satisfying for me to train a filly to get where I am today, to win what I did today, than with a colt. It’s a bigger challenge.”

Atlanta won the $1 million Hambletonian on Saturday, becoming the 14th filly to capture the famed trotting race for 3-year-olds.

It was an emotional victory for the father-son team from Oakville, Ontario.

The filly won the Hambletonian the hard way, setting the pace and holding on gamely in the lane. Scott Zeron employed those tactics earlier in the day in the first of two eliminations, and got Atlanta beat after setting a wicked pace. Remarkably, Atlanta regrouped quickly after the punishing mile.

“I spoke to my assistant trainer Ernie Henry who has looked after her since she was 18 months old,” said Rick Zeron. “He said it took her about seven to 10 minutes longer than usual to get her wind back. After that, she was absolutely perfect. He said we were good to go.”

That was an understatement.

In the final, Atlanta was again on the lead. This time, Zeron did a better job of rationing her speed. Atlanta responded by kicking away from challenger Tactical Landing at the top of the stretch to open a three length advantage. She trotted strongly to the wire, winning by one length over 29-1 shot Met’s Hall.

“I’ve said it to a few people close to me,” said Scott Zeron. “She’s the best horse I ever drove. Everything is so fluid and effortless. The mile (in the elimination) just got away from me. I was mad at myself. That’s not how I wanted to head into the final. If she was a champion, she would bounce back and she did.”

The time was 1:50.4 for the mile.

It was the second Hambletonian victory for Scott Zeron. He was at the lines when Marion Marauder won in 2016.

Atlanta, the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.40, $4.20 and $3.60. Met's Hall returned $19.40 and $7.60. Tactical Landing paid $3.40 to show.

Crystal Fashion was fourth as the 9-5 favorite followed by Evaluate, Alarm Detector, Classichap, Patent Leather, Hat Trick Habit and Fashionwoodchopper.

The win in the final was worth $500,000 for the ownership team of Rick Zeron, Crawford Farms, Holland Racing, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant.

The Hambletonian kicks off the Triple Crown for trotters. The series continues with the Yonkers Trot on Sept. 1 and Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 7

AUGUST,  5 2017.
Perfect Spirit wins Hambletonian via disqualification

Perfect Spirit and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt captured the $1 million Hambletonian final on Saturday (Aug. 5) at Meadowlands Racetrack after What The Hill and driver David Miller, who crossed the wire first in 1:52.3, was disqualified for interference in the stretch. Devious Man was placed second and Enterprise was placed third.

It was the first time a horse first under the wire had his number taken down in the 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic for 3-year-olds.

What The Hill squeezed off the pylons in deep stretch and sprinted past the pacesetting Perfect Spirit as the crowd cheered what appeared to be the first Hambo winner for trainer Ron Burke and driver David Miller.

But then the inquiry sign flashed on the toteboard.

The judges studied the replay and detected contact between What The Hill and Guardian Angel AS, who broke stride.

After a lengthy review, the Hambletonian had its first DQ.

“It was a tough break,” Miller said.

What The Hill was placed ninth and Perfect Spirit was stunningly on his way to the winner’s circle.

“Your horse raced great both heats,” said Hall of Famer John Campbell, presiding for the first time as president of the Hambletonian Society as he handed the connections the cherished trophy. “It’s unfortunate circumstances, but you can’t take anything away from his performance today.”

Winning owner Lennart Agren, who races as the SRF Stable, chalked the victory up to the breaks of the game.

“I know you have to be very lucky like we were today,” he said. “It can end very quickly, so you have to live in the moment right now.”

The win gave international trotting master Ake Svanstedt, 58, his first Hambo win as both a trainer and driver in only his fourth year in the U.S.

“It’s very big,” the Swedish horseman said. “I’m very happy.”

Perfect Spirit paid $17, $6.40 and $5.40 for his fifth win in nine starts this season.

In the revised order of finish, Devious Man ($3 and $2.40) moved up to second and Enterprise ($4) was placed third.

It was a tough race for the favorites. Devious Man, the 2-1 choice, had dead aim turning for home but could not sustain his bid. International Moni, the 5-2 second choice, broke stride in the first turn.

AUGUST,  6 2016.
Marion Marauder wins Hambletonian

- It wasn’t the perfect drive. But it was the perfect ending.
Marion Marauder won Saturday’s (Aug. 6) $1 million Hambletonian, presented by Mullinax Ford, by a nose over Southwind Frank in 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Sutton was third as the top three horses stretched across the finish line separated by only a neck in the 91st edition of the sport’s top race for 3-year-old trotters.
It was Marion Marauder’s second win of the day. Earlier in the afternoon, he won his Hambletonian elimination by a half-length over Southwind Frank in a career-best 1:51.3. Last year, Marion Marauder was winless in races against Southwind Frank, finishing second on four occasions.
In the Hambletonian final, Marion Marauder was fifth as Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping traded the lead in the first half of the race. At that point Scott Zeron, driving Marion Marauder for the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling, put his horse in gear and launched a first-over attack.
Marion Marauder was second behind Bar Hopping at three-quarters, but reached the front at the top of the stretch. As Bar Hopping dropped back, eventually finishing fifth, Marion Marauder held off hard-charging challenges from Southwind Frank to his inside and Sutton on the outside. Waitlifter K was fourth, beaten a length.
Zeron, who at age 27 became the second-youngest driver to win the Hambletonian, thought he might have moved too soon with Marion Marauder.
“I know better,” Zeron said. “I know that when he clears another horse, he thinks the race is over, and I got a little over anxious. I just tried to get away on Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping and just sprint away from them and my horse just kind of started lollygagging around and not knowing where the wire was but he hung tough to finish.
“It is amazing. The Wellwood family has trained trotters their whole lives and everything they’ve done has lead up to this point. The pressure is all on the Hambletonian and we delivered, the horse delivered. It was amazing. I can’t believe it.”
Wellwood, who became the second female trainer to win the Hambletonian, along with Linda Toscano, is the daughter of the late Bill Wellwood, a driver/trainer enshrined in both the U.S. and Canadian halls of fame. Marion Marauder is owned by Wellwood’s mother, Marion Jean, and her 19-year-old son, Devin Keeling.
Marion Marauder’s name combines the names of Wellwood’s mom and the nickname of Devin’s college mascot at McMaster University, where he will play football. Interestingly, the horse’s original name already had “Marion” in it; he was purchased for $37,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale under the name Marion Monopoly.
According to Wellwood, this was the family’s 10th try at winning the Hambletonian.
“It means the world; it was my father’s dream,” Wellwood said. “It has been my mother’s and my dream. We’ve tried. When this horse came along, you dare to dream. We started to dream last year.
“I was in shock (at the finish) it was so close. I knew where he was, I knew he was first up and had taken over the lead. I guess I was in shock, I couldn’t even scream. I watched and I thought it was too close to call and everyone was saying it was too close to call.”
Added a teary-eyed Marion Jean Wellwood, “It feels really good. I’ve been trying for this for a long time and I just want to say I dedicate this to my late husband.”
Marion Marauder, a son of 2009 Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill out of the Nova Award-winning mare Spellbound Hanover, has won six of seven races this year and seven of 20 career starts. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $1.01 million with his Hambletonian triumph.
“The difference between last year and this year is that he grew quite a bit,” Paula Wellwood said. “He got bigger and stronger but the real difference is that he learned how to win.”
Zeron’s win capped a memorable championship meet at the Meadowlands for the driver, who won the track’s driving title.
“I want to thank Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling for bringing me in to drive this horse full time,” said Zeron, who was driving in the Hambletonian for the first time. “Not a lot of people give a young guy a chance to drive a Hambletonian trotter. It’s amazing.”

AUGUST, 8, 2015.
Pinkman defeats Mission Brief to win the Hambletonian

Pinkman and driver Brian Sears took over the lead at the half-mile marker and went on to defeat Mission Brief and Yannick Gingras in a world record 1:51 clocking to win the $1 million Hambletonian final for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack.
Pinkman (Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster) is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. His winning time was the fastest ever by a sophomore trotting gelding on a mile track.
The filly Mission Brief, who Yannick Gingras chose to drive after her win in the second elimination, gave futile chase in deep stretch and made up ground, but not enough to win. Uncle Lasse, also trained by Takter, was third after adding trotting hobbles between the elimination and the final.
As the field trotted off the starting gate, it was Uncle Lasse (David Miller) who was first to the lead from post seven, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :27.2, with The Bank (Johnny Takter) outside and behind him and Pinkman in third.
The Bank was on the move just past the quarter-mile mark, with Pinkman behind him. By the time they reached the half-mile marker in :55.2, Pinkman had the lead on the outside and The Bank was second.
Mission Brief, who had been fourth, a few lengths from the leaders most of the way to the half, hustled to join the crowd and bore down on the leader, Pinkman, around the final turn, getting to his wheel as the field turned for home.
She lost contact when they straightened out, but re-engaged under urging from Gingras as the wire drew closer. She got close, but not close enough, three-quarters of a length back. Uncle Lasse was third, The Bank fourth and Jacksons Minion got the final purse check.
Trainer Jimmy Takter won both the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks for the second straight year. He won last year with Trixton in the Hambo and Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks.
“I was looking forward to try in the final with a couple that I did have (Habitat and Wings Of Royalty) and I managed to do that,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “But opportunity knocked and it’s just great that they gave me the call.
“I didn’t hear much (about the chance to drive Pinkman if necessary). I heard a little bit from Herb (Liverman). I talked to Herb a little bit, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity. He (Pinkman) was pretty much push button and it was a pleasure.”
“I tried to tell him (Gingas) you’re making a great mistake,” Takter said about Yannick Gingras opting to drive Mission Brief in the final. “Pinkman is just such a fighter. He’s not impressive, but he gets it done every time.”
Pinkman has now won eight times in nine season's starts, with earnings of $1,170,965. Lifetime he has been a winner in 14 of 17, with $1,737,925.
“It’s very emotional and I just want to thank all the connections that were involved,” said co-owner John Fielding. “Brian Sears stepped in and did a great job and of course, my friend and partner Jimmy Takter and Christina, have done again an amazing job. We’ve been at this for 30 years trying to win this trophy and I’ll tell you, this is the greatest thrill you could ever want in this sport and I’m just blown away, very honored and happy to be in this situation. I’ve got a plane I’ve got to catch to go back to a party in Toronto tonight, but we’re going to have to stop at the windows (to cash bets).
“We leave these decisions (about drivers) up to Jimmy and he always seems to make the right decisions. We’ve had Brian Sears, who everybody knows is a fantastic, great driver, one of the best there ever was when the money is on the line, so I wasn’t worried at all, very confident in Jimmy.”
Of the filly runner-up Mission Brief, trainer and co-owner Ron Burke said, “She raced really good and I think if things would have shook out a little differently the result would have been different. She was the only one still going forward at the wire. She really gave it her all and at the wire she was still coming. I would never change anything that I did and I don’t regret anything about the conditioning. She’s still a super horse, some day we will be back and we are not going to give up. We are going to win the Hambletonian.”
Mission Brief’s driver, Yannick Gingras, who picked her over the eventual race winner, said, “I’m still young and I’m blessed to have two great chances at the Hambo like I’ve had the last few years. I will have plenty more chances I hope. Everyone ignores Pinkman because he isn’t flashy, they want to talk about Uncle Lasse and Canepa Hanover, but Pinkman beats them every week, he was just a flat out winner. You have to give the horse all the credit in the world.
“I’m not disappointed in her effort at all. She wasn’t quite as strong as the first heat. She wasn’t quite as good gaited as before, so I couldn’t make the moves I wanted to with her. I knew I didn’t have enough at the top of the stretch. You have to give it to Pinkman. He’s a great horse and he’s a winner.
“I was happy with how the race went. Takter’s horses were being used and if she went her A1 effort, she might have won. My son joked with me this week and said don’t make a break (as with Father Patrick in 2014), Well, I got that accomplished at least and it’s still been a great day. Pinkman is Brian’s horse now, of course.”

AUGUST, 2, 2014.
Trixton Wins The Hambletonian

The young hipsters dressed to the nines sipping cocktails while lounging on rooftop patio furniturewas the first indication this was not your granddaddy’s Hambletonian. That it was a surprisingly pleasant overcast August afternoon, and not a sauna, was another.

In the end, the track belonged to imported Swedes — Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt, especially — along with Ron Burke, of course.

But the day? That belonged to the gleaming new $88 million grandstand that thrummed with youthful energy and passed its first big test with aplomb.

Track owner Jeff Gural was pleased and, naturally, couldn’t resist an “I told you so” dig at his critics.

“I think if you go back to the weekend we opened, I think if you look at some of the blogs, they were all critical, ‘Gural’s an idiot. The place is much too small. What’s he going to do for theMeadowlands Pace and Hambletonian?’ We saw the place is just perfect. It was designed exactly right,” he said of a building about a third the size of the behemoth across the pond.

Give the man his due. On this Hambletonian, he wasn’t wrong. The crowd, estimated at 20,700,was thick — particularly in the new version of Paddock Pack now called The Backyard — but not impenetrable. The queues — for pari-mutuel or more ordinary refreshment — moved withimpressive speed given the volume.

The on-track wagering wasn’t as strong as the Nouveau Big M folks would have liked to haveseen, mind you, but then the young kids don’t bet like their granddaddies, either. It’s the cost of trying to introduce the business to a generation to which harness racing is as foreign as rumble seats.

But out there in our hyper-connected world, from Hackensack to Helsinki to Sydney the bets poured in. With a few countries still to be heard from, the expectation is that the haul will be about$1 million higher than last year. The total handle of more than $8.7 million is already the third best Hambletonian Day in history and foreign wagering could still push this year’s number to the top spot, exceeding some $9 million bet in 2005.

“That’s impressive in this day and age,” Gural said. “That’s a tribute to the card. We had full fields, a couple of big fields, almost all the major stars were there with the exception of the three-year-old (pacing) colts. But on the trotting side, we got a little lucky with Father Patrick drawing the 10-hole. It wasn’t a walkover, as it turned out.”

The über trotter, bet down to 2-5 despite starting from parking lot, was part of Takter’s Terrific Trio instrumental in scaring off challengers in the main event and leaving the Hambletonian heatless just one year after returning to its old format. That Father Patrick made a jump at the gateimmediately made for some interesting drama whether you watched on the huge high-definition infield screen from one of the outdoor grandstand seats or in the hinterland via the spectacular show on the CBS Sports Network that employed 13 cameras to great effect, including a wide-angle mounted on the starting gate.

Takter’s intact duo of Trixton and Nuncio got the job done, of course, with a neck-and-neck stretch battle to boot. When the stone dust finally settled, Takter celebrated his first Hambletonian victory in the bike (and third lifetime), nipping John Campbell for what would have been his seventh triumph in harness racing’s premier race.

You needed a cab ride to reach the rest of the field scattered by three breakers, which was particularly disheartening to driver Yannick Gingras and the rest of Father Patrick’s connections.

That it was likely Gingras’ greatest day at the track was little consolation for the Quebec nativewho won four stakes — including the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit — and just shy of $600,000 in purses in all, but was crestfallen about losing the big one.

"It's probably the best day I've had racing horses but it's also the most disappointing day. I scored(Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before, and I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for it. The gate opened, I just touched him on his tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance, but you never know,” Gingras told the ubiquitous Bob Heyden, one of the few things about the new place that thankfully was not traded in for a newer model on Hambletonian Day.

That Kevin Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame was tabbed to present harness racing’s Stanley Cup to Takter and Co. speaks to that youth movement again — unless you’re referring to that glorious silver bowl that now has 90 of the sport’s greatest trotters inscribed in silver discs on its wedding cake base. Dear Lord, let’s hope no one ever entertains trading that in for a newer model, because newer isn’t always better. Progress isn’t always positive.

Sorely missed in the new digs is the old front paddock that radiated with equine and human stars and served as the annual meeting place for the sport’s far-flung powerbrokers on Hambletonian Day. The signs that once hung above the stalls on the façade of the old place honouring each of the Hambletonian winners since the race moved to New Jersey in 1981 seem out of place now lining the infield.

Try as they might, even the Copacabana rum girls sporting huge feather headdresses and littleelse other than smiles, didn’t make up for the loss. Though, they were a nice touch along with the fathead driver cutouts seen throughout the day, the appearance by Captain Bill Wichrowski from the Discovery Channel’s show Deadliest Catch and old style pennants each bearing the name of a Hambletonian finalist.

The bridge from old to new was the free Hambletonian hats, The Nerds bashing out loud, enthusiastic covers in the park and the track itself, of course, which yielded three more worldrecord performances.

“I’ve been coming to the Hambletonian since 1960’s when it was staged in DuQuoin [IL], and appreciated its growth and renewed pageantry when it moved to New Jersey in the old grandstand setting. We’re working to build on that great tradition.,” said Tom Charters president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. “In a way it was similar to the first Hambletonian here in 1981 – a new experience entirely. This is a new venue and a wonderful new facility, a new era. We will work with the Meadowlands to establish some new traditions that underscore the Hambletonian’s place as America’s trotting classic and the most important harness race in the world.”

Classic Martine got things started in the first race, equaling the world mark for trotting mares with a 1:51.1 score in the $52,000 Ima Lulu Final. Five races later, Mission Brief equaled the globalmark for two-year-old trotting fillies with a 1:52.2 score in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. Barefoot speedster Sebastian K capped the record-setting parade in race 11 when he equaled the 1:50 record for older trotters while winning the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial the same day Cashman’s 14-year-old granddaughter, Grace Cashman, sang the national anthem.

None of which — even the Hambletonian winner — topped spectacular sightlines from multiple decks, a Hollywood-style sign on the roof that spells out Meadowlands in huge letters and a massive sports bar that transforms into a dance club at night — all designed to lure the next generation critical for the sport’s survival.

“Everybody loved it. Everybody thought it was spectacular,” said Gural, who is fond of wandering his plant to make himself available to his patrons. “The biggest compliments were from the people that had never been there. If you’ve never been there, you’re really shocked when you pull up to the door.”

As the start of a new era for harness racing greatest day drew to a close, even the sky brightened and the Manhattan skyline materialized like a mirage out of the haze. The hipsters on the roof barely noticed, what with their iPhones, friends and cocktails to attend to, but the rest of us noticed them all right.

They were completely foreign to the old place and a most welcome addition to the club.

AUGUST, 3, 2013.
Royalty For Life Wins The Hambletonian

First Hambletonian Elimination Heat
8- Royalty For Life Brian Sears George Ducharme
2-Smilin Eli Tim Tetrick David M. Smith
4-High Bridge Yannick Gingras Jimmy Takter
7-El Rocket Jim Morrill, Jr. Ronnie Burke
:26.4 :54.3 1:23.1 1:52

Race Synopsis: Royalty For Life grabbed the lead and never looked back, winning impressively in 1:52 for Brian Sears. The used a :29 final brush to prevail by two lengths over Smilin Eli.

“He was a little aggressive but not terrible. I’ve seen him a lot worse. He’s getting some more starts in him, and some more confidence, and he’s getting to know what we’re trying to do out there so he’s a little more comfortable, I think," said Sears.

“He was really two fingers calm and i was really happy about the way he handled, that’s for sure. He was better than he was in the Stanley Dancer, he was a little more excitable than, but like I said the more races he has under his belt, the more confident he’s going to be and I look forward to him being even better in the second heat.”

“I just kept the bit in his mouth and just let him roll along but I think he had a little more in the tank,” Sears noted.

“I don’t think we’ll do anything different for the final, we’ll go in and see how he comes out of it but the way he was that trip I think we’ll leave everything about the same, ” offered trainer George Ducharme. “I’m always going to be apprehensive, but I really believe that now that he has in a regular schedule racing every week then we’re ahead of the curve a little. I’ve always said he was a speed horse/can be rated/can dominate all along, I know no one agrees with me. But the way he’s trained he’s been behind horses, he’s not just a dead front runner and we’ll be able to do whatever brian would like to.”

“I don’t think he has to be in the lead (around the first turn) obviously that is what he showed all year so that is what everybody has to go off of,” he continued. “ I feel if he sat up close, he can’t come from last, if he sat up close he doesn’t have to be in the lead to be competitive. I leave everything up to brian (in regards of how to run the elim) he’s one of the best in the country. “

Second Hambletonian Elimination Heat
8-Creatine Mike Lachance Robert Stewart
1-Wheeling N Dealin Sylvain Filion R. Dustin Jones
2-Aperfectyankee Jim Oscarsson Jim Oscarsson
7-Dontyouforgetit Yannick Gingras Jimmy Takter
:27 :55 1:23.4 1:52.4

Race Synopsis: Creatine won his Hambletonian elimination heat in determined, wire-to-wire style for Hall of Famer Mike Lachance, burshing home in :28.4 by one and three-quarter lengths over last season's 2-year-old champion Wheeling N Dealin.

“He’s racing very, very good. Just about perfect; the last couple and at Chester he was at his best and today he looked even better than Chester," confirmed winning driver Mike Lachance. “I didn’t think I had gone too fast because he’s a very talented horse and that doesn’t bother him one bit, he’s a physical horse. Just to be in the Hambletonian is something very special, it’s a dream for a young driver and for an old driver it’s an even bigger dream.”

“[Winning this year] would make up for that day [past Hambletonian], It was a tough day, so maybe we could actually forget about that day," said trainer Bob Stewart. “It’s hard to compare horses with 15 or 16 years in between but they were at the top of their class and I think CREATINE is at the top of his class as well. “I don’t think any changes in the final; we’ll stick with Mike Lachance.”

Third Hambletonian Elimination Heat
6-Spider Blue Chip Ron Pierce Chuck Sylvester
5-Corky David Miller Jimmy Takter
7-Lauderdale Corey Callahan Jonas Czernyson
1-Possessed Fashion John Campbell Tom Fanning
27.1; 56.2; 1:25.2; 1:53.4

Race Synopsis: Spider Blue Chip also won his Hambletonian elimination heat in wire-to-wire fashion with Ron Pierce in the sulky. The colt used a :28.2 final panel to win by half a length over the hard-trying Corky.

" I was just sitting there, the horse relaxed real nice so I just sat there and let him do his thing," said Pierce. "So far it seems that the front is where you would want to be, but I don’t think you have to be there.I think the post will help him quite a bit. He just trained just now, I didn’t ask him to go go much at all. He had plenty left in his tank just now.”

“After the winner of the first heat went in 52 I said oh my we got our work cut out for us," said trainer Chuck Sylvester. "One thing that I told Ron was ‘try to bring us a horse back for the second heat’ and he sure did. The first two heat winners were very impressive; they impressed me more than anybody. He’s a nice horse. He gets better every start, and he fits now. Bob Stewart’s horse I knew would come back after being off a little while, so he won a big mile too. The Hambletonian always means as now as it did then, look at these people here, if you can’t ready for this race you won’t get ready for any.”


AUGUST, 4, 2012.
Tetrick & Toscano “Share” The Spotlight

In her second try in as many years, Linda Toscano became the first female trainer to harness a Hambletonian champion, winning the 87th renewal of the $1.5 million trotting classic with Market Share on a steaming hot 90-degree day. The victory was also the first for leading driver Tim Tetrick, who a race earlier saw Hambletonian Oaks favorite Check Me Out break while on the lead.
With 25 entered, the race split into three elims, raced over a track labeled “good” because of earlier rain. Uncle Peter (Ron Pierce) won the first elim which featured multiple lead changes before the colt drew off by a length and quarter to win in 1:53.3. Money On My Mind (Andy Miller) was a fast-closing second and Prestidigitator third.
Knows Nothing, who was unraced last year because of a bone chip, won his elimination over another Takter entrant, Guccio, with My MVP third. Stormand Norman was fourth and procured a Hambo spot by virtue of being the highest money earner of the three fourth-placed finishers. Jeff Gillis trains Knows Nothing for Ontario-based owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, Mac Nichol and Stay. Libfeld and Katz were co-owners of 2010 Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive. Market Share recorded the fastest elimination, pulling the pocket and trotting by Archangel to win in 2-1/4 lengths. Archangel held for second and Gym Tan Laundry was third.
After a draw by lot, the connections of Hambletonian elimination race winners earned the right to pick their post position. Trainer Jeff Gillis selected first and chose post three for Knows Nothing, followed by driver Tim Tetrick taking post two for Market Share, which Takter has wanted for Uncle Peter. Instead Jimmy Takter chose post No. 1, and Uncle Peter was then installed the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Hambletonian final. Broad Bahn won last year’s Hambletonian from post one, as did Muscle Hill in 2009 and Deweycheatumnhowe in 2008. Market Share, of course, won from that fortuitous post choice of two.
Takter was a two-time Hambletonian winner, with Muscle Massive in 2010 and Malabar Man in 1997, and was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1. He was bidding to become the first trainer to win the Hambletonian in the same year as his induction and was favored at 8-5 when the race went to the gate. . Ron Pierce and Uncle Peter left strongly from the rail but yielded to 65-1 outsider Gym Tan Laundry on the first turn. Before Pierce had a chance to regain, Archangel and Jim Morrill Jr. were already in the midst of a second move and gained control past the quarter pole reached in a spirited :27 2/5.
Once the dust settled, Pierce sent Uncle Peter sharply for the front with the colt securing the lead well before the :54 3/5 opening half. While the pacesetters were decisive in their movements, Jody Jamieson was sitting in fifth with 7-2 second choice Knows Nothing and waiting for action to develop. Eventually Tim Tetrick elected to pull Market Share off the rail to go on an uncovered jaunt. They quickly engaged Uncle Peter as the tandem clicked off the third quarter in 1:22 3/5. Once in the homestretch Tetrick gave the son of Revenue his marching orders and Market Share kicked into high gear opening ground on his rival instantly and gaining separation from the other contenders. Knows Nothing couldn’t keep up with the leader and Archangel lacked a solid burst. That left it to 21-1 shot My MVP between horses and 11-1 Guccio on the far outside to rally. That pair trotted in tandem on the outside and Tetrick worked his magic to keep his horse trotting through the wire.
The mile of 1:52 1/5 was a fifth faster than Market Share went in his elimination victory. It was the closest finish since Chip Chip Hooray won by the same margin in 2002.
Market Share paid $10.80 for a $2 win ticket as the third choice in the field of 10.
Undefeated as a two-year-old in 2011, Market Share won for the fifth time in 11 starts in 2012 and pushed his career bank account to $972,505.
Yonkers Trot winner Archangel finished fourth with Knows Nothing earning the final check. Race favorite Uncle Peter went to pacing instead of trotting after being passed by the winner and was placed eighth after finishing seventh for the infraction..
A crowd of 24,521 turned out to watch Toscano make history in the Hambletonian.
This is beyond special; there are no words to describe what this feels like,” Toscano said. “You dream of it, but you don’t let your brain go there. You just don’t think it can happen.””
Going into the Hambletonian, Toscano tried to downplay the “first female” tag placed on her and after the win she remained steadfast in her thinking although she understands the significance.
“I have always felt that I’ve been part of the furniture so long and blended in,” said Toscano, also a breast cancer survivor. “I understand I’m carving a little niche in history and that’s really neat. If I can inspire another girl that it can be done, it’s awesome. That part I’m on board for.”
Owner Richard Gutnick, who earlier saw his and trainer Linda Toscano’s Chapter Seven set a world mark of 1:50 1/5 in the $250,000 Nat Ray, was jubilant after the race. “Two months ago he was a 100-1 shot to even be in this race,” said Gutnick.
“It’s a dream come true,” continued the owner, who sold a 25 percent interest in Market Share after his elim win to Tom and Lou Pontone’s TLP Stable and Bill Augustine, a former trainer-driver who competed on the East Coast until retiring 20 years ago to concentrate fully on his nationally-branded blueberry company. Augustine’s last start on the racetrack came in 1995. His biggest win came in 1992 when John Campbell drove his 4-year-old mare Wannas Fame to a victory in the Comforter II final at the Meadowlands.
“I guess it was insurance,” said Gutnick. “I’m happy owning 75 percent.” With the purchase agreement done over the telephone, Gutnick didn’t even meet his new partners until they got together in the paddock prior to Saturday’s race. Less than 72 hours after making the purchase, the Pontones were back in the Hambo winner’s circle a second time, following 2009 winner Muscle Hill. Tom Pontone said while he made the purchase on the eve of the Hambo, he wasn’t expecting quick dividends.
“I didn’t buy the horse for the Hambletonian,” said Pontone of Market Share, who increased his career earnings to $972,505 with his 10th career victory. “The dream is to win the Hambletonian but I was just hoping that he’d race well and for the rest of the year we’d have a good horse.”
Brittany Farms and Melvin Hartman’s Personal Style with David Miller in the bike, took advantage of two enormous miscues by the favorites to win the Hambletonian Oaks in 1:53.1.
Going off at 55-1 and paying the second highest mutuel ever in the Oaks of $116.40 to win (the record is $122.80 for backers of Working Gal in the 1990 Oaks), Personal Style, trained by R. “Nifty” Norman, saw a clear path when superfavorite Check Me Out made an uncommon break in stride while leading into three-quarters and took second-choice Maven with her.
At the line, Personal Style stuck her nose in front to pull off the second biggest upset in Hambletonian Oaks history. Check Me Out returned to stride and finished third but was the subject of an inquiry with Maven. Judges re-placed Check Me Out to eighth and Maven to seventh, moving Sassy Syrinx placed third and Holier Than Thou placed fourth.
“Around the last turn,” Tetrick said about Check Me Out’s break, “she took a bad step that turned her knee boot around. Maybe she stepped in a hole or something … It just wasn’t our day.” The time was a personal best for the filly, who earned her largest purse in her third win from 10 starts this season.


AUGUST, 6, 2011 .
Broad Bahn wires his way to Hambletonian glory

Broad Bahn (George Brennan) went wire-to-wire without a serious challenge to win the $1.5 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday (August 6) at the Meadowlands in 1:53 by 3-1/2 lengths.

Broad Bahn set all the fractions, trailed by Whiskey Tax (Randy Waples), at the :27.1. quarter, the :56 half and the 1:23.4 three-quarters.

When the field turned for home, the favored Manofmanymissions (Andy Miller) came up alongside briefly to challenge, but got rough gaited in mid-stretch and then made a break..

Whiskey Tax continued along the rail behind Broad Bahn to be second and Opening Night (John Campbell) crossed the wire in third. Chapter Seven (Mike Lachance) was fourth and Pastor Stephen (Ron Pierce) was fifth. Manofmanymissions wound up eighth.

"I slapped him on the butt to get him out of there and I said to him in the stretch, 'I did my job, now it's all up to you,'" said George Brennan. "When Andy (Miller) came alongside me (with Manofmanymissions) I asked him for trot and he had it. He was on his toes.

"He was really good today. When Noel came off the track (after warming him up) he said he was awesome and he couldn't have been more right. Noel is one of my better friends, we hang out a lot. I am at a loss for words."

Brennan, who won the Hambletonian Oaks a race earlier with Bold And Fresh, became only the second driver to win the Oaks and Hambo in the same year; Brian Sears did it with Broadway Schooner and Muscle Hill in 2009.

"He doesn't have to be lucky when you can do it on the front end, that helps," said Daley. "For a big race I was really confident, we had a great run, no sickness, no problems, nothing."

"Every horse that took the front end got beat today," said Ole Bach, speaking for Danish owner Leif Alber, a real estate developer. "I didn't dare tell him (Alber). When I saw the :56 (half) I said, 'Thank God.' The Hambletonian people couldn't have picked it any better on the buttons they gave us -- he's like a big steam engine.

"This is a life altering experience for his (Alber's) family; we picked this yearling out for $20,000 (at the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg) and here we are winning a $1.5 million race."


AUGUST, 7, 2010 Driver Ron Pierce engineered a perfect trip for partially Canadian-owned Muscle Massive, who managed to wear down favourite Lucky Chucky in deep stretch to win the 85th edition of harness racing's $1.5 million Hambletonian for three-year-old trotters.

A cavalry of horses vied for early command in the first turn with Cassis (Tetrick) gaining the front and Muscle Massive settling into second as the first quarter was reached in :27.1. Hard Livin (Gingras) was just in front of Lucky Chucky (John Campbell), who was flushed out of fourth and forced first up into brisk fractions as Cassis hit the half in a blistering :54.3..

Sensing the leader was vulnerable, Campbell accelerated his attack through three-quarters in 1:22.2 and forged to the lead at the head of the lane. Pierce was licking his chops sitting the pocket the entire mile and loaded with trot. A classic stretch duel ensued as Pierce and Campbell asked Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky for everything they could muster. With mere metres remaining, Muscle Massive was able to wear down the favourite by a half-length in a lifetime best 1:51. Wishing Stone (George Brennan) finished third.

"The trip worked out great. I scored the horse down and I've never seen him as good," said driver Ron Pierce after winning his third Hambletonian. "Jimmy said he was pointing him for this race, the trip worked out and he did the rest. My colt was just loaded, I wasn't worried at all in the stretch."

Pierce deflected much of the praise after the victory.

"I'm lucky. I drive a lot of good horses for a lot of good trainers and owners. The horses make me look good."

"This is the race everybody dreams to win. To win it twice is an unbelievable privilege," said trainer Jimmy Takter, who won it with Malabar Man in 1997. "My horse had some mishaps at 2, my staff did a great job with him this year, and Ronnie was patient with him. A 1:51 mile is fantastic achievement for this colt."

For those who don't know what it's like to experience having a horse in contention in the stretch, Takter related his feelings.

"It's a wonderful feeling. The stretch for me went in slow motion. The last quarter was like five minutes for me."

Bred by New Jersey's Perretti Farms, Muscle Massive notched his fourth win in eight seasonal starts for owners Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld and Louie Camera, all of Ontario, and Order By Stable and Brixton Medical Ab, both of Sweden. A $425,000 yearling purchase in 2008, Muscle Massive (Muscles Yankee-Graceful Touch) is the first yearling sales topper to win the Hambletonian. The win also marks the third straight win for sire Muscles Yankee in the trotting classic, following wins by Deweycheatumnhowe (2008) and Muscle Hill (2009).

Record European wagering helped produce the third highest harness handle in history on August 7 at Meadowlands Racetrack. Total all-source wagering on the 15-race card was $8,391,600, trailing only the $8.8 million wagered in 2002 and $9 million wagered in 2005.

International wagering was nearly $2.4 million, up sharply from the $1.97 million wagered on the 2009 simulcast. The Hambletonian was part of a seven-race bundle beamed to France, Monaco, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The first 10 races from the Meadowlands were sent to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Malta..

A crowd of 26,712 turned out on Saturday, and the attendance was an increase of nearly 4 percent over the previous year and the highest since 2006.


AUGUST, 8, 2009
Muscle Hill muscled his way into the record books with a stunning 1:50.1 victory in the $1.5 million Hambletonian, harness racing's most prestigious event, Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands.
The colt's clocking was a stakes record and equaled the fastest mile by a trotter on a mile track shared by Lucky Jim, who accomplished the feat in the Nat Ray earlier in the day, Donato Hanover and Giant Diablo (both set in 2007 at The Red Mile). Muscle Hill eclipsed Glidemaster's previous stakes record of 1:51.1 set in 2006 by one full second.
Starting from rail position, Muscle Hill [$2.60, $2.10, $2.10] and driver Brian Sears coasted untested through splits of :27.1, :55 and 1:23 and drew off to a six-length victory over Explosive Matter [$4.40, $2.80]. Calchips Brute [$6.60] was a distanced third.
Sears, who also steered Broadway Schooner to a narrow win in the $783,042 Hambletonian Oaks, became the first driver in history to capture both the Hambletonian and its companion event in the same year. Sears and Peck also captured the $523,600 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts with Holiday Road earlier on the card.
"It's very humbling to win such prestigious races on a day like today," said Sears, who will secure his fifth straight driving title this season at the Meadowlands. "I knew I had the horse this year to get it done and I never had any doubts. This horse has just been waiting for me to call on him. I knew he's been sitting on a big one and he didn't let me down."
Muscle Hill posted his 13th straight win in 14 starts. His only loss was his first career race, in which he finished second, on July 3, 2022 at the Meadowlands. Muscle Hill became the third freshman Dan Patch champion in as many years to win the Hambletonian. Donato Hanover (2007) and Deweycheatumnhowe (2008) won the Hambletonian on their way to Trotter of the Year honors. A son of 1998 Hambletonian winner Muscles Yankee, Muscle Hill is owned by Jerry Silva of Long Beach, NY; TLP Stable of Kearny, NJ; Southwind Farm of Pennington, NJ; and Muscle Hill Racing of Long Beach, NJ.
"Midway around the last turn, I could see Ronny [Pierce] tapping Explosive Matter and I knew what that meant," Peck said. "I know what Muscle Hill is like and when Brian [Sears] steps on the gas he's like a sports car that just goes into overdrive and does it easily. Before we went on air on NBC, I said I thought he'd go in 1:50 today."
Broadway Schooner [$14.60, $6.20, $3.80] held off Raising Rachel [$4.40, $2.80] by a nose to win the $783,042 Hambletonian Oaks for fillies.
Sears angled Broadway Schooner off the pylons after a swift :55.4 half and tracked down the pace setter OK To Play entering the lane. She drew clear with an eighth of a mile left to go and held off challengers from all directions to take the sport's richest event for filly trotters in 1:54. Elusive Desire [$2.60] closed along the pylons to finish a head behind Broadway Schooner and Raising Rachel in third. It was a neck behind to Margarita Momma in fourth, and another length back to Jersey As, who was also close in the hunt.
"I got goose bumps when the four fillies came up to us [at the wire]," Sears said. "I kind of got stuck first over. I thought Jack [Moiseyev] would pull [Raising Rachel], but [Broadway Schooner] was hanging in there, real game, and they weren't really swarming in on her too quickly. I was going to be happy finishing second - I knew it was tight. I'm just so happy she ended up on top."
Broadway Schooner has now won four of 15 career starts for trainer Jim Campbell and owners and breeders Arlene and Jules Siegel of New Hope, PA.


Dewey Beat'Em and How!
An orphaned colt named for a comedy act turned the tables on the harness world and instead development into a deadly serious contender on the racetrack, dominating all competition for two straight years. Deweycheatumnhowe, named for a skit about an unscrupulous law firm, defined his career by trotting decisively into the history books as the first ever undefeated horse to win the Hambletonian..

"Dewey" was foaled at breeder Steve Jones' Cameo Farm in Montgomery, New York. Six weeks after his birth, his dam died from intetinal problems and Dewey was left to fend for himself. He remained with the broodmare band and their foals, and grabbed meals wherever there was an opportunity. Dewey met the first adversity of this life head on, and grew to be more than 16 hands, or about 65 inches at the shoulder. His size, even as a 2-year-old, may have worked against him in the auction ring, but trainer/driver Ray Schnittker felt the colt looked good enough to warrant an $80,000 final bid. Schnittker retained an ownership share in the strapping son of Muscles Yankee, and regular partners Frank Baldassare and Charlie Iannazzo, as well as Ted Gewertz (an attorney with a sense of humor) went in on the colt as well. Gewertz had actually owned the dam of Deweycheatumnhowe, Trolley Square, bot sold her in 1998.

"In his first baby race, I could tell that he might be something special," Schnittker reflected on his youngster's progess at 2. "He finished second, yet he made up 15 to 20 lengths, and he was really motoring down the lane. It was his stride. I always thought he'd be at least a decent horse, and maybe better later on in his career because he was so big, but he's also so athletic."

Dewey proved Schnittker right, and racked up 10 straight wins - including victories in the Harriman Cup, NJ Sire Stakes Final, International Stallion and Bluegrass Stakes, Valley Victory and Breeders Crown - as he marched through his freshman campaign to divisional honors. By August of his freshman year he added more owners, in the form of Jerry Silva, who also owned the top 2-year-old filly contender, Snow White as well as Alan and Meg Leavitt's Walnut Hall Ltd of Kentucky.

In October 2008 it was announced that Dewey would stand at Walnut Hall Ltd. for the 2009 breeding season at a fee of $25,000, with a limited book of 140 mares. Shares in his breeding future sold furiously and many of the sport's to breeders and owners across the globe ha d anew rooting interest.

Schnittker and Dewey set a new single-season earnings record of $936,191 for a 2-year-old trotting colt and were quite properly vote Dan Patch and Nova awards as the best of his group. Dewey assumed the mantle of Hambletonian winter-book favorite During the off-season Schnittker rode, swam and jogged his charge, to keep him fresh and sound. The regimen worked so well that Schnittker incorporated the unorthodox exercise into his racing schedule, often swimming the big horse at a pond on his farm. Deweycheatumnhowe may be the only Hambletonian prospect ever ridden under Western saddle.

By June Dewey was ready to launch his Hambletonian assult, and after a pair of ridiculously easy qualifiers, made his debut in winning the Dickerson Cup. Schnittker had purposefully planned a road to the Hambo that did not involve leaving the Meadowlands, and with the Stanley Dancer Memorial elim and final ahead, the route looked clear. Dewey lowered his lifetime mark to 1:52.2 in his Dancer elimination, and his best competition, Clerk Magistrate, could not get within four lengths of him. Once again Dewey proved his versatility, causing Schnittker to marvel at the ease with which his big horse could switch gears on the track.

One week later Dewey removed any dobut that he would be the overwhelming Hambletonian favorite, curising to his 13th straight win in the Stanley Dancer Memorial Final by a comfortable margin. With two weeks off, Ray and his verterinarian wife Dr. Janet Durso, entertained a constant stream of visitors and well-wishers who wanted to see the amiable Dewey go for a swim or a trail ride in lieu of traditional training preps. NBC racing analyst Donna Brothers traveled to Middletown, NY to do a feature on Ray and Dewey and the former jockey ended up reporting from atop Dewey's back!

Despite Dewey's dominance, 22 other sophomore trotters dropped in the Hambletonian box against him. Win No. 14 came in the Hambletonian elimination, and on of the perks of winning was choosing a post position for the following week's $1.5 million Hambletonian Final. The other elim winners were Crazed and Atomic Hall. Schnittker was second to pick his post and took the rail, the same spot from which he won the $350,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial Ironically, Schnittker's other Hambletonian qualifier, Make It Happen, was placed in the open draw and drew post 10, so Schnittker interests bookended the field. Deweycheatumnhowe was installed the prohibitive 2-5 favorite for the biggest race of his life.

Hambletonian Day featured a thunderstorm of biblical proporations, but it passed as quickly as it gathered. The track as fast and the air thick with tension as the 10 colts lined up behind the starting car. In his trademark fashion, Schnittker sent Dewey sailing to the front in a snappy opening quarter of 26.4 seconds. Schnittker gave his colt a breather down the backstretch, reaching the half in :55, and began to pick up steam again as they put away the challenge of Velocity Hall on the final turn. At the head of the lane, Tim Tetrick popped Crazed out of the pocket, prompting Schnittker to call upon his colt again. Deweycheatumnhowe responded, gamely digging in for a half-length victory over Crazed in 1:52. Schnittker's other Hambletonian entrant, Make It Happen, rallied from eighth at the head of the lane to finish third.

The win was Dewey's 15th straight, making him the first horse to every carry an undefeated streak both into and out of the Hambletonian. American swimmer Jenny Thompson, one of the most decorated Olympians in history, presented the silver Hambletonian trophy tot he delighted owners, even placing a mock Olympic medal around Dewey's neck.

Dewey may have been named for comedic value, but his extraordinary talent and ability gave him the last laugh on Hambletonian Day. If there was an unfortunate spin to the nearly perfect career of Deweycheatumnhowe, it was that he was foaled the same year as pacer Somebeachsomewhere, hailed as one of the greatest pacers to look through a bridle. The "Beach" lost just one race in his career, beaten a neck in the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace - and he and Dewey were very close in the polls for Horse of the Year prior to the Breeders Crown in late November. Dewey, who had never put a foot wrong in two years, finally suffered a setback in mid-November. A swelling in this throat clearly affected him in the Breeders Crown Final, and he finished an uncharacteristic third in the year-end championship series. Somebeachsomewhere won his Crown division in devastating fashion. The die was cast. In February, Somebeachsomewhere was voted Horse of the Year over Deweycheatunmnhowe. Dewey, however, is one of only 84 Hambletonian winners, and the only undefeated horse to win it.


The Donato's Victory Leads to Horse of the Year

The dynasty that Hanover Shoe Farms visionary Lawrence Baker Sheppard seeded in 1922 remains the pinnacle of standardbred breeding and racing record books, perhaps no stat is as impressive as the legendary "Shoe" Farms' record as the breeder of 10 Hambletonian winners.

Never was there more at stake for the world-renowned farm and its syndication partners than when Donato Hanover went to the gate in the 82nd edition of the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. The decision to syndicate the precocious two-year-old in 2006 was the first time in the history of Hanover Shoe Farm that the farm management was directly involved with a Hambletonian champion prior to the horse actually contesting the race. The 120 shares in the $6 million syndication agreement, sold out quickly to 22 of the sports most prominent individuals and breeding farms as Donato Hanover ended his two-year-old campaign with a Breeders Crown victory and two-year-old honors. "Syndicating a two-year-old is a very dangerous business decision," Hanover Shoe Farm President Jim Simpson said. "He had to have been a very special horse for us an dthe other to invest. Time will only tell if this was a solid investment. But he held up his end of the bargain as a ture champion." The syndicate leased Donato Hanover back to the original owners, David Scharf, Paul Bordogna and Steve Arnold, with the agreement that Donato Hanover would return to the Pennsylvania nursery for stallion duties at a fee of $20,000 at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign.

The dominant Donato was trained by Steve Elliot, and drew unavoidable comparisons to another Elliott trainee, Valley Victory. The great Valley Victory recorded a career remarkably parallel to that of Donato Hanover - until the week of the 1989 Hambletonian when the hearalded trotter nearly died from an illness that prevented him from racing in the Hambletonian or ever again. Nineteen years later Elliott ws back on the Hambletonian trail. He kept Donato Hanover on familar groud in the lead-up to the $1.7 million Hambletonian, easily annexing the Historic Dickerson Cup and the Stanley Dancer Memorial elimination and final.

Another eerie coincidence to the 1989 Hambletonian emerged. That year's event was billed as a battle of the sexes - Valley Victory vs . the great Peace Corps. When Valley Victory wasn't entered and Peace Corps (who carried a 17-race win streak into the race) failed to fire and finished fifth and second in the preliminary heats, the result was an epic stretch battle between Park Avenue Joe and Probe that ended in the one and only dead-heat in Hambletonian victory.The dynasty that Hanover Shoe Farms visionary Lawrence Baker Sheppard seeded in 1922 remains the pinnacle of standardbred breeding and racing record books, perhaps no stat is as impressive as the legendary "Shoe" Farms' record as the breeder of 10 Hambletonian winners.

A battle of the sexes circa 2007 evolved after Bob and David Anderson entered their brilliant filly Pampered Princess against the boys instead of in the $850,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Both Donato and she played their parts to perfection, each winning their respective Hambletonian eliminations. The stage was set for a classic confrontation between the two defending divisional champions, with the element of foreign intrigue added from teh thrid elimination winner, Swedish import Adrian Chip.

Connections of the three contenders chose their post positions by lot, a privilege awarded elimiantion winners. They lined up with Donato Hanover as post two, Adrian post three and Pampered Princess post four, prompting the morning line odds-maker to deem Donato Hanover an even money favorite. Under sunny skies on a breezy afternoon that kept the crowd comfortable despite the 88-degree temperature, Donato Hanover got a drive worthy of a champion from Hall of Fame pilot Ron Pierce.

Pierce let others bid fo the early lead and kept the eventual winner along the rail in third on the way to a 28.2 first quarter. He moved Donator Hanover off the rail just before the quarter pole and quickly stepped to the lead, but slowed the tempo and sealed the outcome of the race as Donator Hanover led to the half-mile in a soft 58.2. The second choice, Pampered Princess and driver Tim Tetrick, joined the chase on the backstretch, and trotting fans around the globe got the contest they wanted as the pair raced side-by-side for an eighth of a mile. At the start of the turn the filly actually had a brief lead, but Donato Hanover surged up on the inside, was able to reclaim the advantage and trotted off to win by an unthreatened 1-1/4 lengths. Andrian Chip, who raced in the pocket, trailing the deuling favorites by about three lengths on the final turn, gave his best effort to catch Donato Hanover in the stretch but finished second.

The 82nd Hambletonian, trotted in 1:53.2, was now a career defining victory and furthered Donato Hanover's status among the greatest trotters of this era. Pampered Princess faded to seventh, before being placed up to sixth, when fifth place finisher Too Salty was disqualified and placed back to seventh for violation of the breaking rule. "I honestly believed Pampered Princess had the ability to win the Hambletonian," trainer Jimmy Tatker said. "If Donato had been forced to take the trip my filly had to go in that race, I honestly believe the roles might very well have been reversed."

Donato Hanover's convincing victory, the lucky 13th in a row in his career gave the sophomore son of Andover Hall - D Train an insurmountable lead on Horse of the Year honors. Following the win, trainer Steve Elliott, who would be named the winner of the Glen Garnsey Award as Trainer of the Year for the second time in his career, echoed the thoughts of his rival and friend Tatker.

"It makes you feel good to see them walk to the half and it's your race to win or lose," Elliott said. "If we would have been on the outside and had to come after the filly we might have been standing here and watching her in the winner's circle."

Thought Donato Hanover faltered in teh Breeders Crown, finishing third to Arch Madness, he clean up in the year-end honors, garnering 189 votes from the members of the United States Harness Writers Association while no other horse received more than four ballots At the end of the season, Donato went back home to his birthplace, Hanover Shoe Farm, with the single season's earnings record of $2,336,190, completing a career that included 19 wins, a second and two third place finishes in 22 starts and life earnings just short of $3 million.


Glidemaster's Hambletonian victory sparked a sweep of trotting's Triple Crown, a single season earnings record of $1.9 million and the title Horse of the Year.

But it was not all smooth sailing for Glidemaster in the Hambletonian. Just days before the eliminations, the colt injured the soft tissue of his foot when he stepped on a nail Trainer Blair Burgess and his wife, Karin Olsson-Burgess, the colt's caretaker and co-owner, feared their Hambletonian hopes had been crushed by a tiny piece of wayward metal All they could do was patiently wait for the injury to heal.

By the morning of the eliminations, Blair saw enough of an improvement in Glidemaster's foot to send him onto the racetrack. In his elimination, John Campbell sent Glidemaster first up and he took control of the lead around the final turn, but was out trotted in the stretch by the undefeated Mr. Pine Chip.

"He didn't have the kind of week you want to have going into the eliminations for the Hambletonian, but that's horse racing and things don't always go one-two-three-four," Blair said after the elim. "We took it as it came and we were said about it."

Minutes after his second-place finish, Glidemaster stood in the Meadowlands paddock, his foot resting in a bucket full of water as Karin and Blair tended to him. They had leaped over the first hurdle.

Recognizing the tough week the colt had, Campbell was pleased with his effort, but acknowledged that the colt was not 100 percent and that his trainer was going to be under pressure to have him better for the final. Trainer Blair Burgess ws in familiar territory as the underdog in the Hambletonian. He won his Hambletonian debut in 2003 with 27-1 shot Amigo hall, the longest priced winner in the race's history. Glidemaster's foot continued to heal during the week and by race day, Blair knew he was sending out a horse on the top of his game.

Campbell worked out a third-over trip in the final, following 4-5 favorite Mr Pine Chip into the final turn. He tipped Glidemaster three-wide for the stretch drive and the colt soared to a 1:51.1 stakes record, supplanting the mark of 1:51/3 set by Self Possessed in 1999.

"I was third over," Campbell said after the race. "Ideally, you'd like to be second over, but he was close enough and when they bunched up around the last turn, he was full of trot and I knew he was going to pass somebody when I asked him because he was really full of himself at the head of the stretch. When I saw the half at 54.3, I thought that that was a good enough clip that if my horse delivered what I thought he could do, that he'd be tough to beat It's just amazing what he went through," he added. "They weren't sure if he was going to be able to race last week. They h ad him at the top of his game. That's really difficult to do. Besides the soreness and the stress factor, to get a horse back at this level and set a track record, all the credit goes to Karin and Blair."

Hall of Famer Campbell picked up an unprecedented sixth victory in the Hambletonian. No other driver had won more than four. Ironically, Campbell had qualified Amigo Hall for the 2003 Hambletonian for Burgess, but opted to drive the favorite Power To Charm instead. One champion recognized another when boxing legend George Foreman presented the trophy for the Hambletonian. "John's a Hall of Famer; everybody is talking about him," Foreman said. "His future is certain as far as being one of those guys you're going to talk about after his racing days are over. I told him before the race, "Go do it, Hall of Famer!"


"From the Pennsylvania fairgrounds to the Hambletonian winner's circle" cried announcer Ken Warkentin as Roger Hammer swept under the wire with whip waving triumphantly. It was indeed a "photo" finish though the margin was three lengths. Vivid Photo and race time favorite Classic Photo finished one-two in the Hambletonian, stamping their sire, SJ's Photo as a force, and Vivid Photo as a horse to be reckoned with for the rest of the year, though he had barely spoken about in the mionths leading up to the Hambletonian.
The name many expected announcer Ken Warkentin to be calling was, ironically, his own. The focus among the sophomore colt trotting group was rightfully directed on 2004 divisional Dan Patch champion the eponymous colt Ken Warkentin, who was the winter book and media favorite for the division's richest race. Yet the path for the Jimmy Takter-trained youngster contained several forks in the road. His 2005 debut was a successful one, but an ill-timed bout of sickness caused him to be scratched from the key prep race for the Hambletonian, the Stanley Dancer Trot. Instead, Classic Photo added the Dancer to his list of wins and stamped himself as the one to beat going into the Hambletonian.

Meanwhile, eventual Hambletonian winner, Vivid Photo and trainer-driver Roger Hammer were on a much-less traveled path to the eliminations.
hammer, known as the "King of the County Fairs" for his domination of the Pennsylvania fair curcuit, and his long-time friend and fellow horseman Todd Schadel bought Vivid Photo as a yearling for $30,000. Hammer figured they could earn at least the purchase price back on Vivid Photo since he was eligible to both Pennsylvania and Maryland sire stakes.

Hammer thought Vivid Photo was a very talented two-year-old, though he had just six starts at the county fair level and ended the year with a minor stress fracture. The colt's rambunctious attitude in the stall, which Hammer was sure caused the leg injury, made the decision to geld him a proper one. Hammer also did something he rarely does and made three-year-old stake payments on the trotter.

A sophomore campaign that started with a March qualifier, followed by two scratches and a seventh-place finish in a non-winners of two conditioned event did not seem likely to launch horse and river to the Hambletonian winner's circle. When Vivid Photo arrived at the Meadowlands for the Hambletonian eliminations he had a 1:54.4 world record for geldings at Pocono Downs and won six other races, ranging from a $3,100 event to a $22,000 division of the pennsylvania Sire Stakes. He drew post three in the Hambletonian elimination that also featured Ken Warkentin as the heavy favorite.

It was no surprise that Vivid Photo and Hammer left hard at the start, as their past performances indicated. The surprise came when Ken Warkentin made his move and at the three-quarter pole and instead of engaging Vivid Photo in the stretch, broke into a gallop with an eighth of a mile to go. Vivid Photo went on to win by a neck in 1:53.2, while Classic Photo was flawless in the other elim, coasting to a three-length victory in 1:53.3 and declaring himself the one to beat.

Classic Photo and Hall of Farmer Ron Pierce drew post five in the final and were accorded the favortie's role at 6-5. Vivid Photo drew post six and would have to leave hard to get around Classic Photo to the lead, where he was most comfortable. In fact, Vivid Photo had been on top at the half-mile pole in 10 of his 11 races that year, but Hamer had other plans for the Hambletonian.

Hammer instead eased Vivid Photo off the gate, while Strong Yankee bulled his way to the top of the backstretch and led the field into the stretch. Northern Ensign elected to battle him first up, which set up perfect cover for Classic Photo to follow in a second-over trip. Tight on Classic Photo's tail lurked Vivid Photo, drafting all the way. When the trotters turned for home, Hammer floated out and easily overhauled the favorite in the stretch in a lifetime best of 1:52.3. Thought their county fair origins may have been considered humble, Hammer outdrove the best the Meadowlands had to offer.


Smedshammer Establishes Legacy of His Own with Triple Crown Winner

For trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer, his victory in the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong's Legacy was gratifying on many levels. Not only had the Norwegian-born horseman realized the culmination of years of hard work and avenged his loss with the race favorite the previous year, but Smedshammer raised $25,000 for the American Cancer Society in memory of his father, Lars, and owner Patricia Spinelli's husband, Ron, each of whom lost his battle with lung cancer.

After Windsong's Legacy advanced from the eliminations, Smedshammer and the ownership of the colt pledged five percent of his earnings in the Hambletonian Final to the American Cancer Society. Smedshammer had lost his father, Lars, a year earlier, while Ron Spinelli had succumbed to cancer only the week before the race.

Just the year before, Smedshammer looked to be in perfect position to take home his first Hambletonian trophy with the race favorite Power To Charm, but that prospect dimmed quickly as Power To Charm faded on the lead past the half and finished fifth. This time, Smedshammer would be the fourth choice in the race, despite his colt's victory in the Stanley Dancer two weeks prior. In fact, the odds of Windsong's Legacy reaching the Hambletonian were not his favor form the beginning. The modestly priced yearling was orphaned at two months old when his dam, Yankee Windsong, died from complications of colic.

Angels may have been smiling on horse and driver as the wings of the starting gate folded. Smedshammer elected to follow Cash Hall and ended up with a perfect second-over trip as Cash Hall was left to race uncovered while challenging the favorite, Tom Ridge, through soft opening fractions. Despite the leisurely pace, Tom Ridge was unable to sustain his drive and just as Cash Hall finally pushed past Tom Ridge at the three-quarter marker, Smedshammer tipped Windsong's Legacy three-wide and swept past the field for a length victory in 1:54.1.

Windsong's Legacy would go on to win the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity, completing the Triple Crown, the first horse to do so since Super Bowl in 1972. Smedshammer would be named the United States Harness Writers Association's Trainer of the Year for his achievements with Windsong's Legacy, named the Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year and Trotter of the Year, and his other divisional trotting champions, three-year-old trotting filly Housethatruthbuilt and older trotting mare Stroke Play.

Windsong's Legacy, who raced in then name of Ann Brannvoll of Suedsmo, Norway; Ted Gewertz of New York City and Patricia Spinelli of Oyster Bay Cover, New York, was retired to stud duty at Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge, New Jersey.


Amigo Hall Gives Hall of Famer A Grand Slam

Amigo Hall's 27-1 upset in the Hambletonian was a fitting end to the 2003 Meadowlands meet for Hall of Fam driver Mike Lachance. In what might be the twilight of some careers, Lachance, at age 52, experienced a spectacular season that included victories in both of the Meadowlands' million-dollar events, the Hambletonian and the Meadowlands Pace.

Ironically, Lachance qualified neither Amigo Hall nor his Meadowlands Pace winner, Allamerican Theory, for their spots in their respective $1 million finals. Both were opportunities that opened up when others opted off them for other drives.

Lachance received the call when John Campbell chose Power To Charm, who won the slowest of the Hambletonian eliminations, over Amigo Hall, who had finished third in his elimination.

When elimination winner Bebop broke stride at the start of the final, Lachance made a key decision to take Amigo Hall to the top. The quarter-mile was reached in 28.2 seconds, when the favorite, Power To Charm, went to the top an dled the field to the half-mile in 55.4. They remained in command to the three-quarter marker, but it quickly became apparent the favorite was not going to be his best that day. It also appeared that Amigo Hall was going to be an also-ran as well, as he was sitting along the pylons in fourth without any room to maneuver.

Sugar Trader, the second choice, was brought into contention at the top of the stretch and appeared strongest as he assumed the lead, but inside the seven-eights pole a narrow lane opened and Lachance and Amigo Hall exploded through it.

The mile went in 1:54, well off the stakes, track, and world record of 1:51.3. Sugar Trader and Mac's Crown K were second and third, respectively. The victory margin was one length and a neck separated the place and show finishers. Amigo Hall returned %57 to win, the longest price in a Hambletonian final.

"I knew (Power To Charm) had to work hard and my horse was feeling fresh," said Lachance, "It may have been good luck, but I got out and when it's your day, it's your day."

Power To Charm, who had won his last three starts, including the Stanley Dancer Trot, finished fifth.

It was Lachance's fourth Hambletonian win - and the first behind a horse not trained by Ron Gurfein. The colt's trainer, Blair Burgess, was making his Hambletonian debut. Although it was not his first million-dollar victory - he won the Meadowlands Pace in 1987 with Frugal Gourmet and 2001 with Real Desire, Burgess was a man not generally regarded as a top "trotting trainer."

"I'm not usually good with trotters," Burgess laughed, "But, he's been a lot of fun and has been a surprise. I don't like to talk about the problems of other horses, but when Bebop broke at the start Mike was able to use his gate speed and take him to the top. That helped us."

Amigo Hall was a $32,000 yearling, but didn't bring his reverse at auction, missing by $1,000, and his breeder, Alan Leavitt of Walnut Hall, Ltd., bought him back and later sold a one-half interest in the colt to Bob Burgess, the father of the trainer, and to the trainer's wife, Karin Olsson-Burgess.


Three Cheers for Chip Chip Hooray!

Chip Chip Hooray, a pint-sized colt with a big engine, delivered $1 million worth of Hambletonian cheer to a seasoned Hall of Famer and a young gun when he won the 2002 edition of trotting's most prestigious event.

It was the fourth Hambletonian victory for veteran trainer Chuck Sylvester and the first for driver Eric Ledford, who was making his debut in harness racings most prestigious event.

The weeks leading up to the Hambletonian were frustrating for Sylvester as he made a series of equipment changes trying to get the colt just right before the eliminations. Bridles, boots, shoes and sulkies were switched, and Sylvester knew he had hit upon the right combination when the colt came first-up to win his Hambletonian elimination over Andover Hall in 1:54.1, the fastest he had been asked to trot to that point.

Benefiting from the luck of the draw, Chip Chip Hooray and Andover Hall started side by side in the final, the former from post two and the latter from the rail. But post one was the only relief Andover Hall got. The 3-5 Hambletonian favorite made a break after briefly colliding with Likely Lad around the first turn and pulled up before the finish with a cut on his hind leg.

Meanwhile, Chip Chip Hooray got away fourth and tipped to the outside behind ENS Snapshot past the half. After maneuvering past that one, he put away the pacesetter Taurus Dream at the top of the stretch.

He held off the late rally of Like A Prayer for a neck victory, trotting the mile in a career best 1:53.3.

"I really didn't give it a whole lot of thought before the race," said Eric Ledford, one of the youngest reinsman ever to reach the Hambletonian Final. "Andover was the horse I wanted to follow but it didn't work out that way. I wound up fourth, but a distanced fourth. They were eating it up pretty good out front so we just bided our time back there and let them race it out, which they did, and we were fortunate enough to pick up the pieces. At the top of the stretch, I moved him three high. He exploded off cover. He showed true ability and true guts and the true champion that he is."

"People don't realize how much luck and coordination got into this one day," said Sylvester, who made it to the Hambletonian winner's circle despite battling a bad case of bursitis. "It takes so much luck to win this race. He just wasn't himself three weeks in-a-row. We changed his bridle to an open bridle and pulled his hind shoes. He trained super so I decided to go with that. I was surprised that they made Andover Hall such a favorite. I thought we went a big race last week."

The victory was especially sweet for Sylvester as he trained the colt's sire, Pine Chip, who finished second to American Winner int he 1993 Hambletonian.

Chip Chip Hooray concluded his sophomore season, and career, with 12 victories from 24 starts and earnings of $1,095,001.


Melander and Scarlet Knight Smile For the Camera

Hollywood's best scribes could not have written a more fitting conclusion to the 2001 Meadowlands harness meet as renowned Swedish Swedish racing photographer Stefan Melander fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning the Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight.

After 20 years of capturing the sport's most prestigious events on film, Melander, known as "Foto Tarzan" around the world, was finally on the other side of the camera in the winner's circle on Hambletonian Day, August 4.

The colt's trainer, driver and owner, Melander made the trek from his home in Enkoping, Sweden, overcoming the obstacles of distance, climate and time, to give Scarlet Knight the chance to prove himself as the world's top three-year-old trotter. And the son of Pine Chip, who entered the race undefeated in eight starts, lived up to his reputation.

After Banker Hall took the field to the three-quarter pole, Melander and Scarlet Knight roared to the front and muscled their way to the lead and a one and three-quarter length winning margin, timed in 1:53.4. Melander turned to face the cameras as he crossed the finish line, his whip raised in victory.

Every summer Melander makes the trek from his home in Sweden to the Meadowlands Racetrack for the Hambletonian, but his 2001 journey was quite different as he brought three-year-old trotting colt Scarlet Knight with him.

Scarlet Knight was simply dominant in his U.S. debut as he cut the mile and drew off to a six-length victory in 1:54.1, the fastest of the three Hambletonian eliminations, with Melander in the sulky. And shortly after the race was over, Melander was back in the winner's circle snapping photos of the other Hambletonian eliminations and Breeders Crown events.

Scarlet Knight entered the Hambletonian with a perfect eight-for-eight season record, posting victories in Sweden, Norway and the United States.

Melander purchased Scarlet Knight for $17,000 in November 1999, but was unable to train him until January 2000 because of quarantine requirements, making his accomplishment even more remarkable.

"It took a long time before I got him to Sweden," he said, "and I thought I wouldn't have enough time to get him ready. Normally, under the circumstances, Swedish trainers don't have enough time to prepare horses for the Hambletonian because of the long winter. I think it's amazing to be in this race. It is nearly impossible for a Swedish-trained horse to make it."

Melander grew up near the Solvalla racetrack in Stockholm and began hanging around the stables where he became friends with veteran conditioners Hakan Wallner and Berndt Lindstedt. His passion for trotters led to his involvement in many aspects of the sport, including charting the races at Solvalla and selling handicapping tip sheets.

Melander is known as "Foto Tarzan," a nickname given to him by Wallner, who combined Melander's interest in photography with his tendency to swing from job to job. Melander started his own photography business in 1980 that has prospered over the past two decades. He is also a racing columnist for Expressen, a top tier daily newspaper in Sweden.

In 1990, he began to devote more of his time to training horses and took on more employees to help with the photography. Melander is assisted by his girlfriend, Catarina Lundstrom, a respected trainer in Scandinavia. They bought a training center in Enkoping and their stable has grown to be one of the most fruitful in Scandinavia.

Melander is the first horseman to bring a U.S.-brd trotter trained and developed in Europe to the U.S. and win the Hambletonian. Two horses have tried before, the Italian-owned Top Hanover in 1971 (finished sixth and eight in the first two heats) and the Swedish-owned Easy Lover in 1995 (finished seventh in elim).


The 75th anniversary of the Hambletonian was a celebration of the rich history and tradition of trotting's greatest race, but there was nothing conventional about the colt and trainer who brought home the 2000 trophy.

While many trainers believe the only way to prep for the Hambletonian is to race at the Meadowlands, Doug McIntosh opted for the road less traveled with his striking chestnut colt Yankee Paco. The Wheatley, Ontario native prepped Yankee Paco for the Hambletonian in rather unusual fashion staying in Ontario for Sire Stakes competition. Yankee Paco did not see the Meadowlands surface until he arrived for the eliminations on July 29.

The son of Canadian sire Balanced Image entered the Hambletonian eliminations with a four-race win streak, and made it five straight under the patient hands of driver Trevor Ritchie in the second of the three eliminations. The victory was particularly speical for McIntosh and his wife, Carrie, as it came on their son Dylan's second birthday.

"The birth of our son was the greatest thing in my life," said McIntosh just before the eliminations. "Winning the Hambletonian is the only thing I can think of that would come close."

A week later, McIntosh could compare the two feelings as Yankee Paco became the first Canadian sired horse to win the Hambletonian, bringing him the highlight of his career at age 57.

"It's a great thing for my career and a great thing for Canada," he said.

The 1:53.2 mile was a season record for a three-year-old colt and Yankee Paco's mile was all the more impressive by the fact that, leaving from post position seven, he was parked out the entire race, first-over after the half in 55.2. It was probably the first time a horse had won the Hambletonian without seeing the rail at any point in the mile.

When Legendary Lover K cleared the lead along the backstretch, Yankee Paco was suddenly left uncovered. In a display of gritty determination, Ritchie and Yankee Paco pulled away midstretch.

Mike Farrell of The Record wrote, "For any standardbred, that represents the moment of truth, leading to two options: press on for the glory, or fold and try again another day. On a glorious sun-splashed afternoon, Yankee Paco opted to fight."

In many ways, Doug McIntosh has been a man ahead of his time in the harness racing industry. The older brother of more heralded conditioner Bob McIntosh, Doug was a pioneer in communicating with owners and prospective owners. He advertised his services when that was considered "taboo" by the old guard. He was one of the first to publish a monthly newsletter, detailing the accomplishments and progress of his equine pupils. He hopped aboard the Internet explosion in the early stages, developing a comprehensive website and using e-mail to communicate with his clients.

Yankee Paco was a modest $30,000 yearling purchase by McIntosh from the Yankeeland Farm consignment at the 1998 Kentucky Standardbred Sale at Fasig-Tipton in Lexington on behalf of longtime clients Harry Ivey, a retired pharmacist, and his son, Dr. Tom Ivey, a heart surgeon.


1999 Hambletonian Sets the Tone for the New Milennium

The final Hambletonian of the 20 th century set new standards for the sport as two industry records were shattered on an electric August afternoon.

In a blistering performance, Self Possessed posted the fastest trotting mile in harness history in the $1 million final, and the total handle of $7,132,583 set the mark as the highest in the sport.

The charismatic colt commanded the lead at the half and drew off to an effortless five and a half-length victory in 1:51.3, a stakes, track and world record.

Self Possessed gave the team of driver Mike Lachance and trainer Ron Gurfein their third Hambletonian in six years. Lachance and Gurfein won in 1994 with Self Possessed's sire, Victory Dream, and in 1996 with the filly Continentalvictory.

"I can't take credit for it," Lachance said. "He did it on his own, and it was very easy for him. It's a very special day for me."

Though the end-result was a dream come true, Gurfein admitted the race did not start out as he imagined while drifting off to sleep the night before.

"I was picturing Secretariat," Gurfein said. "Watching Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, well that's a dream race for a trainer. I pictured Self Possessed going right to the top and just drawing off. Mike had a lot of decisions to make from the start to the quarter-pole. That was one of the greatest drives for $1 million you'll ever see in your life."

Self Possessed became the first sone of a Hambletonian winner to win the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. His victory solidified Victory Dream's status as a top stakes producer and added another laurel to the Valley Victory lineage.

As a member of the Self Possessed Stable, George Segal's Brittany Famrs earned its first owner's credit, and its second breeder's, in the Hambletonian. Brittany, which also bred Continentalvictory, sold Self Possessed at aution as a yearling for $100,000, but later joined the ownership team through a private purchase.


Campbell Muscles His Way to Record Fifth Hambletonian

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell earned his way into the record books yet again as he claimed his fifth Hambletonian victory with Muscles Yankee in 1998.

The powerful colt with a quick turn of speed also provided trainer Chuck Sylvester with his third win in the trotting classic.

Campbell eased the three-year-old colt up second-over, claimed the lead past the half and confidently sailed to a three-length victory.

"And when I asked him [Muscles Yankee] to step to the front, he responded very well, and he was really on the muscle and felt great," Campbell said after the race. "Coming around the last turn he was real strong, and I felt real confident. As Chuck said, he doesn't quit. He's never shown any quitting in any of the starts of his life. It was just a great performance." The time of 1:52.2 was only a fifth of a second off of Continentalvictory's stakes and track record.

David Raymond, also trained by Sylvester and driven by Cat Manzi, secured second place for Sylvester. Kick Tail, with driver Berndt Lindstedt, made two strong bids for the lead and ended up three and a half-lengths back in third.

Sylvester teamed with Campbell to win the 1987 Hambletonian with Mack Lobell. He also won the 1989 race with Park Avenue Joe in a unique deadheat with Probe.

"Muscles is the horse I said he was," said Sylvester, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in July of 1998. "He trotted home great and won easy. When Kick Tail was first up, I knew that unless something was wrong with Muscles, he would trot away. This is the one race if you ask any trainer the race they want to win, this is the ultimate race."

Muscles Yankee's victory in the Hambletonian was the first for each of his owners: William Perretti of Saddle River, New Jersey, Irving Liverman of Montreal, Quebec and David French of Boca Raton, Florida.

"This was fantastic," Perretti said. "I've waited 20 years for this."

Hambletonian Day realized a total harness handle of $6,503,202, (up from %6,115,766 in 1997), a record for the Hambletonian and second only to the $6.7 million of the 1997 Meadowlands Pace. The crowd of 25,873 included Beth Pritch of Clinton, New Jersey, honored as a the 500,000th guest to attend the Hambletonian since its debut at the Meadowlands in 1981.


Burroughs & Malabar Man Were Pros

Much was made of owner-breeder Malvern Burroughs status as an amateur driver in the 1997 Hambletonian . While the 56-year-old Burroughs may not drive for purse money [he donates it to charity, primarily the Seton Hall Seminary], he gave Malabar Man a perfect steer in the $1 million trotting classic.

As one reporter, Sherry Ross of the New York Daily News, put it, Burroughs "drove like a chilly professional when he threaded Malabar Man through the eye of the needle to skim the rail inside of Bowlin for Dollars and win the Meadowlands race."

Burroughs, who parlayed a single dump truck into a construction and real estate empire, was involved in building the Meadowlands racing strip in the mid 1970s. One this bright, sunny day he would win the track's most important race as only the second amateur (Harrison Hoyt was the first in 1948) to win the Hambletonian in the first 72 editions of the stakes.

Malabar Man was unbeaten in the first six starts he had at three, coming tinto the Hambletonian with victories in 19 of 21 lifetime starts.

Sent off as the 3-10 favorite in the $1 million final, he trotted the mile in 1:55, paying $2.60 as part of the three-horse entry. One of his stablemates in the care of trainer, Jimmy Takter, Take Changes, was one-length back in second.

"I wanted to win the race for the horse." Burroughs said, wiping at the tears that mixed with sweat. "I would have felt bad if I goofed up and caused the horse not to win. I was happy the horse could show his greatness.

"I just thank God for sending me this wonderful horse," said Burroughs, who lives in Flemington, New Jersey.

Malabar man's season continued after the Hambletonian victory, with wins in 13 of 16 starts, including that $594,000 Breeders Crown on October 24, his final start. He retired to a career at stud at Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, with a career bankroll of $2,143,903.

In post season balloting, Burrough's homebred son of Supergill-Lady Love McBur won the Dan Patch Award as Horse of the Year, along with honors as Trotter of the Year and Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year.

The 1997 edition of the Hambletonian marked the first time eliminations were held the week prior to the final.

Hambletonian Day was a betting bonanza with a total harness handle of $6,115,766 ( up from $5,819,226 in 1996) of which $3,167,323 (up from $3,139,833) was wagering at the Meadowlands. The crowd of 26,618 was off from the 1996 total of 28,299, but on-site betting (on the live and incoming simulcast signals) reached $4,343,416 versus $3,703,814 the previous year.


Filly Sets the Hambletonian Standard

As she muscled her way into the record book, Continentalvictory flicked her luxuriant black tail into the air and for the second time on Saturday, August 3, 1996, she crossed the finish line first to win the 71st Hambletonian. Next stop was victory lane where she would become the 13th filly to win the world´s most prestigious race for three-year-old trotters.

Since the introduction of the companion filly stakes, the Hambletonian Oaks, in 1971, few have opted to challenge the colts.

Continentalvictory did not only take on the colts, she obliterated the record book. Her opening heat of 1:52.1 was the fastest mile in Hambletonian history and a standard for three-year-old trotting fillies. It also equaled Mack Lobell's mark for sophomore trotters. With her 1:52.4 finale, she posted the fastest double heat total of 3:45, more than a second off the previous record.

Reduced to five starters, the second division participants, headed by Lindy Lane, were all assured a spot in the final. Bill O'Donnell, put the Lindy Farms homebred on top at the quarter pole and pulled away to a length and three-quarter victory in 1:53.2.

Despite her brilliant first heat performance, Continentalvictory was the betting public's second choice to Lindy Lane in the final heat raced late that afternoon - nearly four o'clock - before a crowd of 28,229 and millions of others watching at simulcasting locations and via the live CBS-TV broadcast.

The $1 million Hambletonian Final did not get off without a hitch. One of the finalists, Pine Man, was scratched sick. The Armbro Officer and Act Of Grace each caused delays by breaking at the gate.

Tony Oaks, 80-1, fired up by the two recalls, charged out after Continentalvictory and Lindy Lane, who were sitting 1-2 to the quarter in 28.1 and a half in 55.4. But Lachance was not about to yield to the longshot, leaving him parked along side Lindy Lane. Continentalvictory got a bit of a breather to a three-quarters clocked in 1:23 before the all out battle to the wire unfolded.

"I got within a head, and she just got away," O'Donnell noted. "(Lindy Lane) gave her a good run for the money. He thought he got to her and was going to get by her, and she shifted into an extra gear. What an athlete that filly is. She's like (Olympian) Jackie Joyner-Kersee."

Continentalvictory stopped the teletimer in 1:52.4, last quarter in 27.3 seconds, to secure the victory over Lindy Lane. It was four lengths back to Running Sea in third.

Into the jubilant winner's circle streamed the members of the Continentalvictory Stable: Deena Frost (Highland Beach, FL), Harvey Gold (Marlborough, CT), Rosalie and Jerry Silva (Oceanside, NY), Stix Inc. (Ken Orr of Saddle River, NJ and David Hauck of Conley, GA) and David Offenberg's Allister Stables (Marlboro, NJ).

Continentalvictory, with victories in the Yonkers Trot and the Hambletonian, had two thirds of the Triple Crown for trotters. Her bid to be the first filly to win the Triple Crown was denied when she pulled a suspensory and was scratched from teh first heat of the Kentucky Futurity on October 4. She was voted Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter of 11996 to add to her divisional honors at two in 1995. The ultimate accolade was to come as she was voted 1996 Horse of the Year.


Campbell Brothers Score Touchdown With Tagliabue

The 70th edition of the Cadillac Hambletonian provided a feeling of deja vu. Like the 1989 version of the Classic race, the two-year-old champions were expected to square off for the second jewel of trotting���s Triple Crown. But, like 1989, the script was subject to revisions. In 1989, Valley Victory, the dominant colt trotter, came down with an illness just days before the Hambletonian and never raced again. In 1995, Valley Victory���s son Donerail, the top colt trotter as a freshman, was not coming into the race as his trainer Stanley Dancer expected and he was retired just prior to the big event.

Peace Corps, the champion two-year-old filly of 1988, raced in the Hambletonian but was not up to par, finishing third. However, CR Kay Suzie last year's brilliant filly champion, came tinto the 70th Hambletonian with all indications that she was ready to become the first female victor since Duenna to wear the Hambletonian crown.

CR Kay Suzie was one of three horses racing for the Carl Allen family. Father Carl was aboard CR Trackmaster, son Mike would pilot Super Wally, and son Rod would be in his usual spot behind Suzie. CR Kay Suzie, who set world records on all three-sized tracks at two, had quite a following. members of the press often stopped by the Allen barn, and fans flocked to the races to see her. The discussions among racing fans before the Hambletonian centered not on whether Suzie would win, but how fast she would go and how much she would win by.

CR Kay Suzie drew into the first Hambletonian elimination, leaving from post six. She settled third through the first turn as Giant Hit took the lead, with Uma right behind. Rod Allen tipped her out past the quarter pole, and the filly picked up speed as she made a move for the front. Then, the unthinkable happened, Cr Kay Suzie went on a break in the blink of an eye, as Allen desperately tried to get her back trotting.

John Campbell, steering Arlene and Jules Siegel's lightly-raced Tagliabue, was following Suzie's move but was not affected by the break. Tagliabue did however, throw in a few steps on the turn, when he attempted to pass Giant Hit who had held onto the lead.

Campbell got the strapping colt back on stride quickly, but all eyes were on CR Kay Suzie, who had only to beat two colts to qualify for the final. It was not to be her day, however, as she struggled and finished sixth. Tagliabue swept by Giant Hit for the score, with that rival holding on for second, Uma third, Deliberate Speed fourth, and Climbing Bud fifth.

The Allen family's luck didn't improve in the second elimination. Mike Allen sent Super Wally, who won the Dexter Cup earlier in the year, for the lead. But when King Pine challenged up the backside, Super Wally went on a break. Father Carl and CR Track Master had jumped off stride in the first turn as well. Another surprise, Abundance, took the second heat. With John Patterson, Jr. in the bike, Abundance shoot loose after being locked into win in 1:56.2. Earthquake was second, and King Pine, whom most considered the one most likely to dethrone Suzie, was third. Trustworthy and Super Star Ranger rounded out the final five.

In the final, Giant Hit and Abundance carved the early fractions, while Deliberate Speed settled in the three hole. both Trustworthy and King Pine took themselves out of contention with a break in the first turn. Campbell moved Tagliabue first-over early at the quarter in :28, and nabbed the lead. They hit the half in :56.1, and when Uma made a move only to make a break, a locked-in Abundance and Bill Fahy were able to get racing room.

Tagliabue by that point was some five lengths in front, and cruised under the wire a comfortable winner by mroe that two lenths in 1:54.4. Abundance was second, and Giant Hit third.

The victory wasn't an ordinary Hambletonian victory for John Campbell, even though his fourth Hambletonian crown put him in very lofty company with Bill Haughton, Ben White and Stanley Dancer as the only men to drive four winners.

It was the fact that younger brother Jim trained the winner that gave Campbell such a thrill. "It's a tremendous feeling," he said, "It's even more special when it's with Jimmy." The Campbell's parents, Jack and Florence, joined the celebration in the winner's circle.

Tagliabue, bred by John and Adelaide Skoglund and named after NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was purchased as a eyarling for $55,000 by Arlene and Jules Siegel. The Siegels, who owned a chain of drugstores in New Jersey but now spend their time with their horses, tapped Jim Campbell to train their Fashion Farm horses just a year prior to their biggest victory.


Dream Provides Victory Revisited

Valley Victory looked to be a formidable force in the 1989 Hambletonian, and a match-up with fabulous filly Peace Corps promised a great race. Alas, Valley Victory came down with a virus just days before the contest and was retired from racing.

With impeccable breeding, hopes were high for Valley Victory´s career at stud. His first crop of Hambletonian colts came of age in 1994. When the field went behind the gate on August 6, no less than five of his offspring were there looking to avenge their father.

Victory Dream had won all seven of his races at the Meadowlands leading up to the Budweiser Beacon Course and was widely considered to be the pre-race Hambletonian favorite but he lost a bit of his luster when he was a flat fourth in the Beacon Course Final.

Others that attracted plenty of attention coming into the trotting classic were Yonkers Trot winner Bullville Victory, another son of Valley Victory; Mr Lavec; and Two-Year-Old Champion Wesgate Crown.

Victory Dream's driver and trainer, Mike Lachance and Ron Gurfein, had never won a Hambletonian, but his owners, the Antonacci clan of Connecticut, certainly had. Frank Antonacci, who bred the colt along with his brother, Tommy, bought back Victory Dream as a yearling for his wife and daughters. He, along with his cousin, Guy Antonacci, owned 1969 and 1971 Hambletonian winners Lindy's Pride and Speedy Crown.

In the first elimination dash, Victory Dream was an easy two and a half length winner in 1:53.4. Bullville Victory edged Mr. Lavec in 1:54.4 in the other.

In the final, driver/trainer Jimmy Takter fired Mr. Lavec off the gate and led the way to a :26.3 opening quarter, the fastest such fraction in Hambletonian history. Mike Lachance sent Victory Dream after the leader at that point and was in control at the half, which was trotted in :56.1. Mr. Lavec shadowed the leader to the three-quarters in 1:25.4, but Victory Dream had plenty in the tank to repulse the challenge.

Lachance and Victory Dream sailed under the wire in 1:54.4. Mr. Lavec was second in spite of locking wheels with Bullville Victory in deep stretch. Bye Tsem was third, and Smasher was fourth. Smasher is owned by Arelene Traub, who also owned Valley Victory and, like the winner, is from that sire's first crop.

The Meadowlands handled $4.9 million total for the Cadillac Hambletonian Day card, a world and track record.


American Winner Trots Off on His Own

The often bulky Hambletonian field shrinks in a hurry when a dominant horse emerges in the three-year-old ranks. The 1993 Hambletonian produced just that scenario. American Winner, a homebred of Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania and Dr. John Glesmann of Bridgewater, New Jersey had reigned supreme throughout virtually every three-year-old stake race of 1993. American Winner, victorious in the Yonkers Trot, looked to be a serious contender for the trotting Triple Crown if he could win the Hambletonian and then the Kentucky Futurity at Lexington���s Red Mile in October.

The colt, sired by the 1972 trotting Triple Crown, Super Bowl, had reeled off seven straight stakes wins prior to the final of the $414,500 Budweiser beacon Course, the Meadowlands' prep race just one week prior to the Hambletonian. In the final of the Budweiser Beacon Course, American Winner tussled with an emerging power, a bargain-priced ($17,000 as a yearling) colt named Pine Chip.

The luck of the draw put Pine Chip and American Winner in the same elimination of the 14 horse Hambletonian field. American Winner, trained by retired navy Chief Milton Smith and drive by Ron Pierce, trotted out to grab the lead by the half mile mark. Pine Chip, with John Campbell aboard, had a tougher time of it, moving from sixth to tuck in behind American Winner at the three-quarters. Pierce and "Winner" trotted away from the field to win the first elimination by three and 3/4 lengths. Pine Chip moved along the outside to get into second position, a head behind "Winner" at the three-quarters. But Pine Chip lacked the brush to get by American Winner, was overtaken by Toss Out, and finished third.

Pine Chip would have another shot at American Winner, though. In the final, American Winner gained the lead without challenge by the quarter mile mark, with Pine Chip going three wide from sixth to get behind that rival at the three quarters. But when it came time to trot for the lead, American Winner was the stronger of the two, as he trotted off by himself, winning by a comfortable two and three quarters lengths.


Alf Palema Emerges from Crowd

A record 27 trotters dropped in the box for the 1992 Hambletonian, but the race was without a clear standout. Per Eriksson, who won the jewel the previous year with Giant Victory, had four sophomores entered. Of those four, King Conch had the most credentials.

The eliminations went in three fields of nine. In the first, Valley Boss Bi won in 1:563 , the filly Armbro Keepsake was second, and Ships Watch third. Favorite Magic Lobell went on a break in the stretch while on the lead, and didn´t make the cut. The second division went to King Conch in 1:56.4, with Herschel Walker and Rising Light next in line. The third contest was captured by Baltic Sonata, with Alf Palema second and Sirocco Spur third.

The nine lined up again for the final, with the winner of that dash capturing the coveted crown. King Conch turned back a challenge from Baltic Sonata, and then held off Armbro Keepsake at the head of the lane. Valley Boss Bi went on a break, and Herschel Walker was making a move.

The one moving fastest of all, however, was Alf Palema, as driver Mickey McNichol found a slim opening on the rail. Eriksson had pulled the colt's shoes after the first heat, and the barefoot boy got up to score over his stablemate by a head in 1:56.3. King Conch held on for second, with Herschel Walker third.


Giant Victory for All

The 1991 Hambletonian was story book material.

Fresh from a stunning triumph in the Meadowlands Pace with Precious Bunny, Jack Moiseyev, harness racing´s newest superstar of the sulky, won his second $1 million purse event in 22 days with Giant Victory´s win in the 66th Hambletonian.

Eleven months earlier, the 31-year-old native of Neptune, New Jersey, had completed a six-month suspension for driving infractions. Yet, for Moiseyev, his first Hambletonian was the ultimate catch-drive. Shortly after the draw for the race, he looked down at the overnight sheet and saw his name next to the eventual winner.

Per Eriksson, Giant Victory´s trainer, had explained, "We put Jack on because Sonny (John Patterson, Jr.) had MB Felty and he (Jack) has been hot lately."

And it just figured that the red-hot Giant Victory, a colt by Super Bowl, would come through with trotting's biggest prize in the shadow of Giants Stadium, home of the 1990 Super Bowl Champions.

Co-owners Jacqueline and Theodore Gewertz of Oradell, New Jersey, both long-time Giants fans, had put through a name change for their colt (formerly Healthy Glow) following the Giants' 1987 Super Bowl victory.

Together with partners Stan and Steve Robins of Yorktown Heights, NY, the Gewertzes saw their prize trotter post back-to-back, come-from-behind decisions in 1:54.4 (fastest of the day) and 1:55.

Giant Victory enjoyed a perfect trip in the second elimination and responded with a three-length score over Big Brown and Cysta's Best. The favored entry of MB Felty and UConn Don finished one-two in front of Super Pleasure in the first $119,000 elimination. The Ron Gurfein-trained winner, another son of Super Bowl, was timed in 1:55 for HVH Trotting Stable, M. Larsson, and MB Felty Stable and Lindy Farms (Antonacci family). The Antonaccis and trainer Osvaldo Formia (UConn Don) were both going for their fourth Hambletonian and a record three in a row. It was not to be.

Their charges were second and third, respectively, behind Giant Victory in the $1 million final.

Moiseyev stalked the pace from fifth position and masterfully wheeled his stretch kicker three-quarters of a length past his arch rivals. Giant Victory improved his 1991 record to 12-7-2-1.

The Gwertzes, trotting horse owners for the past ten years, and Per Eriksson, were high on Giant Victory right from the first time they saw him. Jacquie Gewertz remembers well when the colt first came into the sales ring as a yearling.

"My husband and Per looked at each other and said 'This colt's got Hambo written all over him. Let's buy him regardless of his price.' We did, and we got a hot Hambo horse for the first time for only $25,000."

With the 1991 Hambletonian under his belt, Giant Victory's bankroll swelled to $805,116, making him a giant bargain.


Harmonious Vindication for the Antonacci Clan

It was the same situation as in 1989. A horse owned by a Lou Guida-headed group and a horse owned by Frank Antonacci and partners were squaring off in the second jewel in trotting´s Triple Crown. The year before, the same confrontation ended in a dead-heat and a legal tangle.

This time, however, there was a clear cut, if slightly unlikely, winner of the 65th Hambletonian.

The pre-race favorite was Royal Troubador, 1989´s Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year who had already captured the Yonkers Trot. Others that merited respect included King Of The Sea, Armbro Iliad, The Devil, Crown Bones and Beacon Course victor Embassy Lobell, who was owned by a Lou Guida-managed group.

Embassy Lobell captured his division of the first heat in 1:56.1 with Mike Lachance at the lines. Trapped on the rail for three-quarters of a mile. Embassy Lobell made up ground when he shook loose and trotted by Armbro Iliad in the deep stretch.

In the second division, lightly-raced Harmonious, co-owned by Antonacci, didn't figure against veteran Royal Troubador. But someone forgot to tell Harmonious. John Campbell sent the strapping son of Crowning Point after Royal Troubador at the half, and blew on by to win in 1:55.

Harmonious almost didn't make it to the Hambletonian, much less the second heat. Only a few days before the big day, trainer Osvaldo Formia had found the colt cut and scraped in his paddock, after hurting himself suffering from colic. The cuts weren't severe, however, and Formia treated Harmonious' colic with the human medicine Maalox.

In the final heat, Embassy Lobell drew the rail and Harmonious the two-hole. Campbell elected to drop in behind Lachance and Embassy Lobell, while Royal Troubador and King of the Sea battled on the front end. Lachance made his move on Royal Troubador after that colt posted a :56.2 half, and Campbell sat in third.

Royal Troubador held the lead until the three-quarter mark in 1:25, and Campbell took Harmonious around that rival and Embassy Lobell as well. Harmonious coasted under the wire a length and a half in front in 1:54.1, with Embassy Lobell second and Royal Troubador hanging on for third.

It was a glorious day in the winner's circle for Lindy Farms' Frank Antonacci, his family, and trainer Formia. After the frustration of the outcome the year before, the victory was all the sweeter.

And the hero of the day was the lightly-raced, slightly banged and battered Harmonious - and a dose of Maalox.


Park Avenue Joe & Probe: Dead Heat Excitement

The 64th Hambletonian looked to be one of the most exciting, eagerly anticipated battles in many years - pitting two-year-old champion colt Valley Victory against two-year-old filly champ Peace Corps. The Hambo did indeed live up to its hype but neither Valley Victory nor Peace Corps played a part in it. Valley Victory, suffering from a virus, never entered the race, leaving Peace Corps the overwhelming favorite.

The filly carried a 17-race winning streak into the Hambo, and the hopes were high among her trainer Tom Haughton, driver John Campbell, and owner Bjorn Pettersson of Sweden.


Armbro Goal: Swede Dreams

Despite their reputation and skill with trotters, Swedes had never won America´s premier trotting event. Not until Armbro Goal, trained by Jan Johnson and owned by Tomas Bertmark, both from Sweden, won the 63rd edition of the Hambletonian.

Driver John Campbell captured his second consecutive Hambo, the first time a driver accomplished that feat since the late Bill Haughton won back-to-back in 1976 and 1977.

Campbell employed the same strategy with Armbro Goal he used with Mack Lobell in 1987: get the lead early in both heats. He won the first heat in 1:543 by three lengths over maiden Rule The Wind, then posted a four and a quarter length victory in 1:551 over Firm Tribute to take the crown in straight heats.

Bertmark purchased Armbro Goal just one week before the Hambletonian for $2.5 million from James Plate, Paul Ryan and Michael Caggiano of New York and New Jersey. The horse was to race under his former owners' names the rest of the year, with Bertmark splitting earnings and expenses.

Armbro Goal earned $578,400 with his Hambletonian victory, Firm Tribute took home second money of $289,200 on the basis of his third place finish in the first heat and his second place spot in the second heat. Firm Tribute had to start from post number 13 (third from the rail in the second tier) in the first heat, and earned post positions three for the second heat.

Since at least 15 trotters have to be entered before the race is split into divisions, the Hambletonian was contested in one division this year. That was the first time the race went in one division since Legend Hanover won in 1979.


Mack Lobell: A Mack Attack

Mack Lobell came into the 62nd Hambletonian with numerous records to his credit. He held a world record for two-year-old trotters of 1:553, track record of 1:54 at the Meadowlands in the Beacon Course Trot and was four-for- four on the year, including the Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown.

Mack���s sire, Mystic Park, had been the favorite for the 1982 Hambletonian, but had broken stride in the first heat and didn´t qualify for the final. He was found to be suffering from a staph infection. After he was retired from racing just one start later, he was stricken with Potomac Fever. The stallion then foundered, a condition that is usually fatal. But Mystic Park battled back and survived to stand at stud.

Heavily favored at the windows in the first heat, Mack didn't disappoint his backers, trotting to a five-and three-quarter lenght victory in 1:54. But Mack did have a problem. He brok stride after the finish and it was determined that his feet were stinging him.

Trainer Chuck Sylvester called on Robert "Beans" McWhinney, who reshod the colt between heats, adding a leather pad for cushion.

Mack came back with a bounce in his step to win the second heat in 1:53.3 by better than six lengths, setting a track and world record of 3:47.3 for two heats.

Both heats developed in much the same manner. John Campbell moved Mack to the front before the quarter, turned back mid-race challengers and drew off handily in the stretch.


Nuclear Kosmos: Imported Driver Guides Hambo Winner

Trainer Per Henriksen was taking no chances with Nuclear Kosmos in the 61st Hambletonian. He wanted one of the best to handle his colt, so he sent all the way to Norway for four-time world champion Ulf Thoresen.

Henriksen, who was Kosmos regular driver and also a native of Norway, had been friends with Thoresen for 25 years. Thoresen had never before driven in, or even seen, a Hambletonian.

Enough three-year-olds were entered to warrant two divisions of the first heat. In the first division, Royal Prestige scored by two lengths over the filly Britelite Lobell and Nevele Typhoon. In the second, Thoresen sent Nuclear Kosmos for the lead from the nine hole, dropped back to third at the top of the stretch, then wore down the leaders to win by a length over Buck Newton in 1:554. Express Ride, the prerace favorite, tired badly in the stretch.

In the second heat, Kosmos again was sent to the lead and had to turn back longshot Speedy Tomali early. Britelite Lobell took up the challenge at the top of the stretch and Royal Prestige, the 4-5 favorite, shook loose a sixteenth out. He was closing on Nuclear Kosmos at the finish, but Kosmos gamely held on. Britelite Lobell was third.

The 40-year-old Thoresen, who had won major races all over Europe, called the Hambletonian victory the biggest thrill of his life.


Prakas: O´Donnell Gets First Hambletonian Win

Hambletonian records were at the mercy of Prakas and Bill O´Donnell in 1985. They won the 60th edition of the race in straight heats at the Meadow-lands, and stopped the clock in 1:543 in the second heat - snapping the record 1:55 for the fastest heat shared by Speedy Somolli and Florida Pro.

The first division was captured by Torway and Howard Beissinger in 1:55.2. Torway, a 37-1 shot, had only one win and raced mostly in New York Sire Stakes prior to the Hambletonian. The record crowd of 37,652 backed Mark Six, who had captured the Canadian Trotting Derby at Greenwood earlier in the year.

Prakas garnered the title of pre-race favorite by virtue of his six wins and three seconds in nine starts and his track records at Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands, both in 1:56.

When the gate left, Ben Webster and Flak Bait grabbed the lead with a :28.2 quarter. O'Donnell then pulled Prakas from the two hole and carried the field through clockings of :57.3 and 1:26.4. In the stretch, O'Donnell waved his whip at the colt and Prakas opened up to win by three and a half lengths in 1:55.1.

In the final, Flak Bait was again the first to show, Piggvar dropped in second and Mark Six was parked to the quarter in :28.2. Prakas, after getting away fifth, challenged and took the lead past the half in :56.4 and the three-quarters in 1:25.2.

They turned for home and Prakas' victory was sealed when Mark Six, the biggest threat, started to fade. A tired Prakas drifted out as he neared the wire, but had enough left in the tank to set the record of 1:54.3.

The purse of $1,272,000 was the richest ever for the Hambletonian, and Prakas took home $636,000 for owners Hans Enggren, Iain MacKenzie and Carl Vizzi. Enggren was the breeder of not only Prakas, but also Torway, whom he sold as a yearling for $32,000. Prakas was trained by Per Eriksson, who arrived from Sweden with the father-son team of Soren and Jan Nordin, but had recently struck out on his own.


Historic Freight: On the Fast Track

Historic Freight, racing in a claiming event with a price tag of $52,500 only weeks before, captured the 59th Hambletonian which featured a record purse of $1,219,000.

A record number of 26 entries were scheduled to go postward (two divisions of 13 each) but three scratches in the first division reduced that event to ten.

In the first elimination, Gentle Stroke, handled by George Sholty, used his second tier post 11 to perfection and won the heat in 1:574. Overlooked in the wagering, Gentle Stroke paid $21.40 to win. The 70 to 1 chance, Father Soren, finished second.

In that event, Wholly Arnie took the lead immediately and had a four-lenght lead at the eight pole, but reminiscent of the 1933 Hambletonian when Brown Berry stumbled while leading, he, likewise, went to his knees and wound up fifth, placed seventh.

In the second division, the 60 to 1 shot Delvin G. Hanover, driven by Hakan Wallner, upset his field by defeating pacesetting Historic Freight in 1:56.2. Delvin G. Hanover's win price of $126.20 remains the largetst in the race's history.

Delvin G. Hanover had the ten post and was twelfth at the quarter, eleventh at the half, and still tenth with a quarter of a mile remaining.

In the second heat, driver Webster rated Historic Freight on the lead and sealed the heat with a :28.2 final quarter, winning in 1:57.3 over the fast closing Delvin G. Hanover.

The three winners, Delvin G. Hanover, Gentle Stroke, and Historic Freight, came back for the deciding heat and, once again, Webster gave his trotter a picture perfect drive.

From the two post, Historic Freight immediately took command and led the field, the opening quarter in :29.2. With no challengers materializing, Webster grabbed hold of his charge, gave him a breather with a second panel in :31.1, and a thrid quarter in :30.3. It was all over with a final quarter of :28.2, closing the door on Delvin G. Hanover and Gentle Strok. Delvin G. Hanover was disqualified and placed third in the final for a lapped-on break at the wire.


Duenna: A Storybook Ending

In what can only be described as a storybook ending, Duenna overcame seemingly unbeatable odds, and driver Stanley Dancer conquered painful grief to win the 58th edition of the Hambletonian.

The drama of the 1983 Hambletonian began long before post time. Dancers prize colt, Dancers Crown, overwhelming favorite to win that years Hambletonian, died 18 days before the race of complications resulting from a displaced colon.

Dancer���s hopes of winning the classic seemed all but gone, but owner Norman Woolworth gave Dancer a second chance-however remote it seemed-when he decided to bypass the Hambletonian Oaks and enter his filly against colts in the Hambletonian.

There were 25 names in the entry box, necessitating two divisions, with 12 and 13 respectively, in the first million dollar Hambletonian. Duenna and Winky's Gill were the only fillies.

In the first division, the highly regarded Joie De Vie, handled by John Campbell, conquered a second tier 12 post and a tough trip on the outside to score over a sloppy oval in 1:59.

In the next division, Duenna also had to overcome a second tier post to after the half and drew away for an easy win in 1:57.3.

In what turned out to be the final, Duenna easily won in 1:57.2, leading almost every step of the mile. There was a five-horse photo for second and the picture showed the other filly, Winky's Gills, a neck ahead of Speedy Claude for the place spot. Joie De Vie and Astro Hill dead-heated for fourth.

Duenna thus became the twelfth filly to win the prestigious Hambletonian, and the first since Kerry Way outclassed her field in 1966.

For Dancer, it was his fourth Hambletonian win, a feat accomplished by only two other drivers: Ben White and Billy Haughton.


Duenna: A Storybook Ending

In what can only be described as a storybook ending, Duenna overcame seemingly unbeatable odds, and driver Stanley Dancer conquered painful grief to win the 58th edition of the Hambletonian.

The drama of the 1983 Hambletonian began long before post time. Dancers prize colt, Dancers Crown, overwhelming favorite to win that years Hambletonian, died 18 days before the race of complications resulting from a displaced colon.

Dancers hopes of winning the classic seemed all but gone, but owner Norman Woolworth gave Dancer a second chance-however remote it seemed-when he decided to bypass the Hambletonian Oaks and enter his filly against colts in the Hambletonian.

There were 25 names in the entry box, necessitating two divisions, with 12 and 13 respectively, in the first million dollar Hambletonian. Duenna and Winky's Gill were the only fillies.

In the first division, the highly regarded Joie De Vie, handled by John Campbell, conquered a second tier 12 post and a tough trip on the outside to score over a sloppy oval in 1:59.

In the next division, Duenna also had to overcome a second tier post to after the half and drew away for an easy win in 1:57.3.

In what turned out to be the final, Duenna easily won in 1:57.2, leading almost every step of the mile. There was a five-horse photo for second and the picture showed the other filly, Winky's Gills, a neck ahead of Speedy Claude for the place spot. Joie De Vie and Astro Hill dead-heated for fourth.

Duenna thus became the twelfth filly to win the prestigious Hambletonian, and the first since Kerry Way outclassed her field in 1966.

For Dancer, it was his fourth Hambletonian win, a feat accomplished by only two other drivers: Ben White and Billy Haughton.


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.


Burgomeister: Final Hambletonian At DuQuoin

Burgomeister, owned by the estate of Peter Haughton and handled by his father, Billy Haughton, dramatically captured the 55th edition of the Hambletonian.

With a field of 19 necessitating two divisions, the first event fea-tured a field of ten, and it was Final Score, handled by Bill Haughtons son Tom, who scored a 1:563 win over Devil Hanover and Noble Hustle.

In the next division, Bill Haughton drove Burgomeister to a win in 1:58 over Nevele Impulse and Thor Viking.

The Hambo crowd made Burgomeister the logical and sentimental favorite, and he didnt disappoint anyone, charging through the stretch to roll home a winner by almost three lengths.

Devil Hanover and Noble Hustle followed the winner in the 1:563 mile. It was an emotional and exciting win in this final Hambletonian at DuQuoin, and a wonderful remembrance to a young man who had tragically lost his life in an automobile accident only months before. Peter Haughton had become a prominent force in the sport while still in his twenties, and his fathers Hambletonian win, with the colt he had owned and campaigned at two, was a fitting tribute.


Legend Hanover: Sholty & Illinois Owner First Victory

Legend Hanover was two-year-old Trotter of the Year in 1978 and was one of the early choices for Hambletonian favorite. But coming into the race, he had only four wins in 19 starts and he was to be driven in the biggest race of his life by a driver who had never ushered him around a racetrack.

But Legend Hanover overcame these obstacles and provided one of the most interesting Hambletonian victories ever with a straight heat 1:57, back in 1:561 triumph in the sports greatest race. George Sholty, who had driven Florida Pro to a world record 1:55 heat win in 1978, got his first Hambletonian victory with two flawless drives of the Messenger Stables Super Bowl colt.


Speedy Somolli: In Historic Miles

For the sixth time in seven years, the heat of the Hambletonian battle produced world marks. First, Speedy Somolli hauled Howard Beissinger around the DuQuoin mile oval in 1:55, trotting the final three-quarters in 1:25 and holding off Brisco Hanover and Florida Pro.

In the second heat, Florida Pro, driven by George Sholty, moved out past the half following Speedy Somolli, then engaged the first heat winner from the five-eighths pole home and was up by a scant nose to grab victory in an identical 1:55 time.

It was the first time in harness racing history that trotters had raced in 1:55, and two of them did it on the same afternoon.

Florida Pro was shuffled back to fifth in the third and concluding heat while Speedy Somolli and Brisco Hanover fought it out up front.

Brisco appeared to be mounting a drive inside the seven-eighths pole when he went off stride, with Howard Beissinger gaining his third Hambletonian victory with a 1:57 mile behind Speedy Somolli.

The winner was bred by Howards wife, Anne, and Barbara Mumma of Harrisburg, Pa., and was owned at the time of his victory by Alan Leavitt, William Rosenberg, the Beissingers and Mummas.


Green Speed: Colt That Had Raw Speed

Although it took Bill Haughton nearly 20 years to win his first Hambletonian, this famous trainer-driver now has a strangle hold on trotting���s top prize after Green Speed rolled to two world record miles with Haughton in the bike in 1977.

A son of the Rodney stallion, Speedy Rodney, Green Speed turned in two letter-perfect miles in 1:553 , equalling the all-age mark for trotters held by Noble Victory and lowering the Super Bowl���Steve Lobell three-year- old mark by nearly a full second.

Green Speed was the favorite, and he looked and acted like the best all day. Texas tried gamely in both heats but was no match for the winner. It seemed the outcome would have been no different under any circumstances.

The winner was bred by Lloyd Lloyds, a longtime patron of the Haughton Stable, and was given to his wife, Beverly, after she refused to purchase the horse. He was syndicated in the off-season for $3.2 million for stud duty at Pine Hollow Stud in New York.


Steve Lobell: Second Straight 4-Heat Clash

In the long and storied history of the Hambletonian, only six races had taken four heats to declare a winner. In 1975, Bonefish proved toughest of all and in 1976, Steve Lobell and Bill Haughton responded to the call of greatness with a record-breaking victory.

Haughton, who won his first Hambletonian with Christopher T. in 1974, returned to Victory Lane for the second time in three years with Steve Lobell, a son of Haughton pupil Speedy Count.

The first heat of what would be the sixth four-heater in history was taken by the cleverly named Zoot Suit, a son of Nevele Pride���Glad Rags, who trotted in 1:582 for Vernon Dancer. Steve Lobell and Haughton returned in the second, equalling Super Bowl���s three-year-old record of 1:562 . Then the filly queen, Armbro Regina, knocked the colts over with a resounding 1:563 photo decision of the narrowest kind with Zoot Suit and Quick Pay right there.

The final was cut out by Armbro Regina, but Steve Lobell prevailed in the final sixteenth for Haughton and his owners.


Bonefish: Pressure Squarely on Dancer

The 1975 renewal of the Hambletonian had several things going for it. There was a nationwide television audience, the first parimutuel betting in DuQuoin, and it was the 50th renewal of harness racings greatest race.

It also became one of the most thrilling events in the history of the Hambletonian. The undisputed favorite was Bonefish, the handsome son of Nevele Pride-Exciting Speed, owned by the A. M. Cuddy Stable of Canada and Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Dancer. The Dancers and the Cuddys had sold Bonefish to Castleton Farm of Lexington, Ky., prior to the race and a $1 million tag rode on Bonefishs nose throughout the day. The pressure was clearly on Dancer from the word "go."

The crowd was buzzing aplenty when Bonefish, in the words of trainer Dancer, "just went bad a heat" to be ninth in the first heat, which was trotted in 1:59 by outsider Yankee Bambino and young Walter Ross.

The second heat was won by Noble Rogue and Jimmy Arthur, trotting in 1:592 over Yankee Bambino and Bonefish, who made a late, but impressive rally. The day was growing old, but the field had set it up for Bonefish to win if he could go the distance.

Carefully prepped by Dancer, Bonefish was ready to assume his favorite role by the time the third heat rolled around and his cruising 2:003 win in the third heat foretold his eventual victory, but not without the struggle of his life.

Bonefish, Yankee Bambino, and Noble Rogue all reappeared for the fourth and decisive heat, only the sixth time in history the race had gone that distance.

Three tough, tired and game trotters answered the call for the final. And in a stretch battle that might have come out of a Hollywood script, Bonefish prevailed by a scant nose. Yankee Bambino showed he was dead game and gave it a marvelous try. It was victory number three for Dancer in trottings number one event and another vindication of his supreme training and driving skill.


Christopher T.: Now Haughton Can Smile

Bill Haughton had a lot of frustrating days at DuQuoin. Many times, he had come to this classic harness race with a horse he thought could win. It is an irony that the Hambletonian victory that finally came his way was one he didnt think he had a shot to win.

He was second with Galophone in 1955, third with Circo in 1959, third with Speedy Count in 1964, fourth with Carlisle in 1966, second with Keystone Pride in 1967, third with A. C.s Orion in 1971, and fourth with Spartan Hanover in 1972.

In 1974, a colt he did not want to start named Christopher T. surprised Haughton, his owner John Thro, and nearly everyone else with two relatively simple wins over a modest field of colt trotters in the rain delayed Hambletonian.

The purse had grown to a record $160,510 and Christopher T. blew past the leaders in late stretch in the first heat to score 1:594 win over Golden Sovereign and Sing Away Herbert. Nevele Diamond captured the second elimination, trotting in 2:002 for Stanley Dancer. The final, though, belonged to Christopher T., the full brother to 1970 winner, Timothy T., in command in the 1:583 mile. The race was delayed for two days due to heavy storms in the area and was raced over a track less than fast.


Flirth: Almost Overlooked

Few geldings have ever won the Hambletonian, the first being the immortal "Grey Ghost" Greyhound, who accomplished that feat in 1935. Another came in 1973 in the form of the Florican gelding Flirth. Owned and bred by the Arden Homestead Stable and trained by Ralph Baldwin, Flirth was a rank outsider to most observers on this Hambletonian Day, with most of the interest centered on John Simpson, Jr.s Knightly Way or Gene Riegles Arnie Almahurst. Then there were the talented Florican fillies, Florinda and Honeysuckle Rose. Nearly everybody overlooked Flirth.

Baldwin had brought Flirth and stablemate Fetisil to DuQuoin nearly a week ahead of schedule and put some blistering workouts over the DuQuoin track, operating in near obscurity except for some local observers.

Flirth was lying in ambush on Hambletonian Day. He took over the lead in the first heat shortly after the quarter and never looked back, trotting home in 1:582 over Florinda and South Bend. In the second, he lowered the all age world mark for geldings to 1:571 with the same don���t-look- back style. Noble Jade rallied for second in the final heat and South Bend was again third, but there was no menacing the winner.


Super Bowl: A Super Fast Colt

Although it took Stanley Dancer quite a few tries to win his first Hambletonian, Dancer trained and drove Super Bowl to two perfect victories in 1:572 , and 1:562 , the latter a new world standard for three-year- old trotters in 1972.

Super Bowl was the eighth winner for his sire, Stars Pride, in 12 years, adding to the luster of his great sire���s accomplishments in this most famous trotting race. Super Bowls chief rival was the gifted Delmonica Hanover, a filly handled by the veteran Delvin Miller.

Delmonica was second in both heats and trotted miles that would have been world filly marks in chasing Super Bowl. But she never really bothered the winner in each heat. Super Bowl and Dancer were simply the best. The Bill Haughton stable entry of Flush and Spartan Hanover traded a pair of thirds with The Black Streak fourth in each heat.

It was a predictable end to this Hambletonian, and a "super" victory for Super Bowl, who won all three legs of the Triple Crown in 1972, the last trotter to do so.


Speedy Crown: "Speedy" Crowned the Champ

There are several accepted routes to Hambletonian fame. One is to make all the stops and meet all opposition and reach peak form at DuQuoin. Another is to pick your spots along the way, bring your colt to a peak of performance and hope everything happens the right way.

It certainly did for Howard Beissinger and Speedy Crown in 1971. Speedy Crown was considered a rank outsider when the 1971 seaon began, but during the course of the season, Beissiner brought his charge along carefully, showing that he could trot with the best of them early and often. Not eligible to the Review Futurity at Springfield's Grand Circuit stop, he instead elected to go a time trial with Speedy Crown, and the colt responded wtih a 1:57.2 "workout" which was faster than the 1:58.2 mile recorded by Quick Pride and Hoot Speed in the Review. After that, with the rest of the field shipping to Indianapolis for the Horseman Stake, Beissinger elected to ship right to DuQuoin and work his charge out for two weeks over the Hambletonian track. He put several stiff works in him as he was razor sharp for the race, trotting two near perfect 1:57.2 and 1:58.1 miles, easily whipping Savoir and A.C.'s Orion. Speedy Crown went on to complete the 1971 Triple Crown.


Timothy T: Father-Son Combos Prove Too Tough

The year could have been devoted to the two father-son teams which combined for a Hambletonian in world record time. First Ayres, winner of the 1964 Hambletonian was the sire of one of the favorites, a colt trained by John Simpson, Sr., named Timothy T. The colt was scheduled to be driven by Simpson���s son, John, Jr., and there was little doubt he would win this classic race after his first heat win in 2:001 over Flower Child and Victory Star.

But, in the second heat, young Simpson moved too early with his charge and Formal Notice, trained and carefully driven by Jimmy Arthur, got home on top in 1:582 , fastest trotting mile of 1970. Both young Simpson and Timothy T. got their act together again in the final heat, drawing clear from Formal Notice in 2:003 to gain the Hambletonian silver.

At 27, John Simpson, Jr. became the youngest driver at the time to win the Hambletonian. Flower Child, who wound up third over all in the summary, became a top notch free-for-all trotter as a four and five-year-old and trotted the fastest mile ever in Europe at 1:584 in Sweden as a five-year-old.

The training of Timothy T. was a swan song for John Simpson, Sr., one of the finest and most accomplished colt trainers ever. Simpson hung up his training goggles shortly after that and assumed command of the vast Hanover Shoe Farms breeding operation, the largest stan-dardbred nursery in the world. Timothy T. went on to a successful career in Europe, being a champion on two continents.


Timothy T: Father-Son Combos Prove Too Tough

The year could have been devoted to the two father-son teams which combined for a Hambletonian in world record time. First Ayres, winner of the 1964 Hambletonian was the sire of one of the favorites, a colt trained by John Simpson, Sr., named Timothy T. The colt was scheduled to be driven by Simpson���s son, John, Jr., and there was little doubt he would win this classic race after his first heat win in 2:001 over Flower Child and Victory Star.

But, in the second heat, young Simpson moved too early with his charge and Formal Notice, trained and carefully driven by Jimmy Arthur, got home on top in 1:582 , fastest trotting mile of 1970. Both young Simpson and Timothy T. got their act together again in the final heat, drawing clear from Formal Notice in 2:003 to gain the Hambletonian silver.

At 27, John Simpson, Jr. became the youngest driver at the time to win the Hambletonian. Flower Child, who wound up third over all in the summary, became a top notch free-for-all trotter as a four and five-year-old and trotted the fastest mile ever in Europe at 1:584 in Sweden as a five-year-old.

The training of Timothy T. was a swan song for John Simpson, Sr., one of the finest and most accomplished colt trainers ever. Simpson hung up his training goggles shortly after that and assumed command of the vast Hanover Shoe Farms breeding operation, the largest stan-dardbred nursery in the world. Timothy T. went on to a successful career in Europe, being a champion on two continents.


Timothy T: Father-Son Combos Prove Too Tough

The year could have been devoted to the two father-son teams which combined for a Hambletonian in world record time. First Ayres, winner of the 1964 Hambletonian was the sire of one of the favorites, a colt trained by John Simpson, Sr., named Timothy T. The colt was scheduled to be driven by Simpson���s son, John, Jr., and there was little doubt he would win this classic race after his first heat win in 2:001 over Flower Child and Victory Star.

But, in the second heat, young Simpson moved too early with his charge and Formal Notice, trained and carefully driven by Jimmy Arthur, got home on top in 1:582 , fastest trotting mile of 1970. Both young Simpson and Timothy T. got their act together again in the final heat, drawing clear from Formal Notice in 2:003 to gain the Hambletonian silver.

At 27, John Simpson, Jr. became the youngest driver at the time to win the Hambletonian. Flower Child, who wound up third over all in the summary, became a top notch free-for-all trotter as a four and five-year-old and trotted the fastest mile ever in Europe at 1:584 in Sweden as a five-year-old.

The training of Timothy T. was a swan song for John Simpson, Sr., one of the finest and most accomplished colt trainers ever. Simpson hung up his training goggles shortly after that and assumed command of the vast Hanover Shoe Farms breeding operation, the largest stan-dardbred nursery in the world. Timothy T. went on to a successful career in Europe, being a champion on two continents.


Speedy Streak: Cameron Wins Third Hambletonian

Del Cameron joined select company in 1967 as he won his third Hambletonian stake with the sore-footed Speedy Streak.

Speedy Streak was the most expensive yearling (he cost $113,000) ever to grace the Hambletonian winner���s enclosure and he was a full brother to 1963 winner, Speedy Scot.

Speedy Streak was trained by Frank Ervin, who also trained 1966 winner Kerry Way. But because of illness, Ervin was unable to drive Speedy Streak and asked Cameron, one of the craftiest drivers of the time, to handle Speedy Streak.

Speedy Streak had soundness problems in that he was bothered by sore hooves, which robbed him of speed. Furthermore, it complicated the intense training needed to prepare for the Hambletonian. It is one of the crowning achievements of Frank Ervin���s career that he was able to direct the training of the Speed-ster colt to overcome the soundness problems and yet reach a competitive peak at just the right time.

Keystone Probe was second and third in the two heats, while Speedy Streak���s stablemate, Speed Model, was second in the final heat.


Kerry Way: A Filly Winner

For the third year in a row, a son or daughter of Stars Pride was a Hambletonian winner. Kerry Way, a filly bred by John Gaines of Lexing-ton, Kentucky, and owned by Gainesway Farm, set a world record for two heats by a trotting filly. Kerry Way was the eleventh filly to win the great race.

Polaris was second in both heats of the 1966 race with the miles trotted in 1:584 and 1:593. Frank Ervin trained and drove Kerry Way, a beautifully gaited filly who gave Ervin some anxious moments after the first mile when it was discovered that she had struck herself on a knee. Between heats of the Hambletonian, trainer Ervin decided to add equipment. The outcome could have been disastrous if the filly had rejected her new equipment, a pair of knee boots. With the boots in place, however, she roared into the lead at the three-quarters and under strong driving, held off the rally of Polaris.

It was the second Hambletonian victory for Frank Ervin, but his first as both trainer and driver. He had driven the 1959 winner, Diller Hanover, who was trained by Ralph Baldwin.


Kerry Way: A Filly Winner

For the third year in a row, a son or daughter of Star���s Pride was a Hambletonian winner. Kerry Way, a filly bred by John Gaines of Lexing-ton, Kentucky, and owned by Gainesway Farm, set a world record for two heats by a trotting filly. Kerry Way was the eleventh filly to win the great race.

Polaris was second in both heats of the 1966 race with the miles trotted in 1:584 and 1:593. Frank Ervin trained and drove Kerry Way, a beautifully gaited filly who gave Ervin some anxious moments after the first mile when it was discovered that she had struck herself on a knee. Between heats of the Hambletonian, trainer Ervin decided to add equipment. The outcome could have been disastrous if the filly had rejected her new equipment, a pair of knee boots. With the boots in place, however, she roared into the lead at the three-quarters and under strong driving, held off the rally of Polaris.

It was the second Hambletonian victory for Frank Ervin, but his first as both trainer and driver. He had driven the 1959 winner, Diller Hanover, who was trained by Ralph Baldwin.


Ayres: Winner had a Mind of His Own Ayres, the tiny fireball with a mind of his own, provided John Simpson, Jr., with his second Hambletonian winner in stakes record time of 1:564 in the opening heat. As a two-year-old, Ayres was a fast but tempera-mental colt, but patient and competent handling by Simpson turned him into the fastest Hambletonian performer of that time.

Ayres was the third winner sired by Hanover Shoe Farms��� great sire, Star���s Pride, and he defeated one of the smallest, but most quality-laden fields in Hambletonian history. The first five finishers all became top trotting sires and Ayres, Speedy Count and Speedy Rodney became sires of Hambletonian winners. Ayres sired full brothers Christo-pher T. and Timothy T. to win the classic in 1974 and 1970, respectively. Speedy Count sired 1976 winner Steve Lobell, and Speedy Rodney sired 1977 champion Green Speed.

Owned and bred by Charlotte Sheppard, Ayres trotted miles of 1:561 and 1:581 to turn back Big John and Speedy Count.

The mile in the first heat trotted in 1:564 equalled Speedy Scot���s then world mark for trotters, but Ayres had trotted faster than any other in Hambletonian history.


Speedy Scot: A Powerful Win

The Hambletonian and world trotting mark was lowered nearly a full second in 1963, but not by eventual winner, Speedy Scot. Florlis, his season-long arch rival, upset both Speedy Scot and the experts with an amazing 1:57 3 opening heat victory that left the Hambletonian outcome strictly in doubt.

But, in the final analysis, Speedy Scot, one of the great trotters of all time, prevailed in a world-record setting three heat battle closed off with final miles in 1:58 and 1:58.2.

Bred and owned by Castleton Farm of Lexington, Ky., Speedy Scot entered the race as the prohibitive favorite. After the first heat loss where Speedy Scot was forced to go three wide in the final turn, the burly Speedster colt responded in the next two trips with nearly perfect miles, earning him the silver.

Speedy Scot and Florlis were clearly the best of this field, which also included Elma, future dam of former record holder Japa, 3, 1:56.3, and Texas, second in the 1977 Hambletonian.


A. C.'s Viking: The "Viking" Sails to VIctory

The year marked the end of an era in Hambletonian history ��� that of the last son of the great stallion Hoot Mon to earn Hambletonian glory. Hoot Mon, winner of the 1947 Hambletonian, sired four winners of this great event, but A. C.���s Viking was the last.

Sanders Russell, the 62-year-old Alabama horseman, prepped his big colt perfectly but needed every inch of the stretch in both heats for narrow wins over Safe Mission and Isaac in the 1:59.3 and 2:00 heats. Russell drove in the classic event himself despite the fact he had a broken ankle and had to be helped on and off the sulky.

One of the highlights of the 1962 race was the appearance of four of the finest trotting fillies in the history of the sport. Impish, the world cham-pion two-year-old trotting filly with a mark of 1:583 was 3-5 for Frank Ervin despite a long layoff prior to the race. The famed Rodney daughters, Spry Rodney and Sprite Rodney also competed, along with Worth Seein.


A. C.'s Viking: The "Viking" Sails to VIctory

The year marked the end of an era in Hambletonian history ��� that of the last son of the great stallion Hoot Mon to earn Hambletonian glory. Hoot Mon, winner of the 1947 Hambletonian, sired four winners of this great event, but A. C.���s Viking was the last.

Sanders Russell, the 62-year-old Alabama horseman, prepped his big colt perfectly but needed every inch of the stretch in both heats for narrow wins over Safe Mission and Isaac in the 1:59.3 and 2:00 heats. Russell drove in the classic event himself despite the fact he had a broken ankle and had to be helped on and off the sulky.

One of the highlights of the 1962 race was the appearance of four of the finest trotting fillies in the history of the sport. Impish, the world cham-pion two-year-old trotting filly with a mark of 1:583 was 3-5 for Frank Ervin despite a long layoff prior to the race. The famed Rodney daughters, Spry Rodney and Sprite Rodney also competed, along with Worth Seein.


Blaze Hanover: First 4-Heat Race at DuQuoin

The gruelling test of stamina and courage that befits a great and classic race like the Hambletonian was evident in the 1960 race, with the gutsy Blaze Hanover earning the winner���s trophy after a long, tiring afternoon.

It was an exceptional field which faced the starting gate on this afternoon, with Blaze Hanover, a son of Hoot Mon owned by S. A. Camp Farms taking the first heat in 1:59 4, equalling the stake mark held by Emily���s Pride.

Not since 1934 had the Hambletonian gone four heats. In reality, it probably would not have gone that distance had O���Brien, driving Blaze Hanover, not clipped the wheel of another horse making the apparent winning move in the second heat, won in stake record time of 1:59 3 by the Victory Song colt Quick Song and Frank Ervin.

The third heat was taken by Hoot Frost, a full brother to 1955 Hambletonian winner, Scott Frost, scoring for Jimmy Arthur in an identi-cal 1:59 3 . It was the first time in history that a three heat race had the first three miles all trotted faster than 2:00.

The final, with so much speed, proved to be one of the most memorable of all time. The three speedsters loafed through an opening three-quarters of a mile in 1:43, but then thundered through the long stretch in an unbelievable :27 3 final quarter with Blaze Hanover holding firm over Quick Song and Hoot Frost.

The purse was again a new record $144,590 and the winner, again bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, proved his mettle in the heat of battle.


Diller Hanover: Trainer Baldwin Finishes One-Two

As has often happened in Hambletonian history, a trainer of two colts entered in the great race has chosen one of his two possible mounts and given the other drive to a friend, and then watched as that friend drove his way to victory lane.

Such was the case in 1959 when Ralph Baldwin gave the drive behind Diller Hanover to Frank Ervin, who would gain his first Hambletonian victory in ten tries. Diller Hanover, a son of Star's Pride, rewarded his young sire with his second straight Hambletonian winner with miles in 2:01.1 and 2:01.4 over a track dulled by rain a day earlier.

Ralph Baldwin trained Diller and prepped him for the race, but chose instead to drive Tie Silk, who finished second fourth with Circo and Bill Haughton trotting home second in the final heat, but not menacing the winner.

The purse was a record $125, 283, at the time the richest harness race ever, and the winner's share of $73,666 made Diller Hanover the leading money winning two-and three-year-old of all time in harness racing.


Emily's Pride: The Star's Pride Era Begins

The three-heat victory of Emilys Pride was the beginning of a new Hambletonian era that of the domination of Victory Lane at DuQuoin by sons and daughters of Stars Pride. Bred by the noted Connecticut breeder Charles W. Phellis, Emilys Pride was owned by Castleton Farm and Walnut Hall Farm of Lexington, Kentucky and was driven by Flick Nipe for trainer Fred Egan.

Emilys Pride won her first heat in 2:00 1 , beating Mr. Saunders and Gene Riegle, and Sharpshooter, driven by Harry Pownall. She was 12th in the second heat after going offstride on the backstretch. Fred Egan recaptured her form in the third heat, trotting past second dash winner Little Rocky and Joe O´Brien in a beautiful 1:59 4 mile, which at the time was the fastest mile trotting in this stake.

The new stake mark did not come easily as Emilys Pride had to circle the field from the 12th post position and was still parked on the outside past the half in :59 3 . Nearing the three-quarters, trotted in 1:29 3 , Nipe asked the filly to trot again and she zoomed into command and held off the close of Sandalwood and Ralph Baldwin.


Hickory Smoke: The Hambletonian´s DuQuoin Debut

The Hambletonian was in its first year at a new home, the DuQuoin State Fair, and 21 starters paid the freight for their shot at the trophy. The large field was divided into two divisions with each group racing two heats and the winners returning for a fifth and final heat. One of the favorites, the Sheppard and Mudge-owned Hickory Smoke, took the heats of the first division in 2:01 and 2:00 1 for John Simpson Sr. The Hoot Mon filly, Hoot Song, took both heats of the second division for Ralph Baldwin and Two Gaits Farm of Indiana in 2:02 1 and 2:02.

The final belonged to Hickory Smoke, who trotted the final quarter of his 2:08 4 mile in 28.3 to hold off a fast closing Hoot Song.

Of note in the field of starters was Charlotte Sheppard���s Cassin Hanover, who as a broodmare later produced Elma to the cover of Hickory Smoke. Elma went on to win $164,710 in a successful American and European career. As a broodmare, Elma produced Japa, at one time the world record holder for three-year-old trotting fillies, and Texas, runnerup to Green Speed in the world record 1:55 3 Hambletonian in 1977.

Finishing third in both heats behind second division winner Hoot Song was the young Rodney stallion,Speedster, who later would sire two Hambletonian winners, full brothers Speedy Scot and Speedy Streak. Also of note in the 1957 field was the 10-6 finish of Flicka Frost, driven by William Haughton. Flicka would later earn a niche in the history of the Hambletonian as the dam of two winners, Timothy T. in 1970 and Chris-topher T. in 1974.


The Intruder: Bower Wins His Hambletonian Debut

The Intruder, owned by the Allwood Stable of Far Hills, New Jersey, captured the 31st Hambletonian, and the final one at Goshens Good Time Park. In an exciting three heat duel, driver/trainer Ned Bower became the second youngest man to win the big race in his first Hambletonian appearance.

Bower, just shy of 33, swept the final two heats after finishing seventh in the first heat, which was won by Valiant Rodney.

In the initial heat, The Intruder had second tier 11 post and was forced into a break when Dial Tone, on the rail, made a break. Meanwhile, Valiant Rodney stormed through the stretch to beat Moray, who made a break at the wire. Moray was later placed fourth.

In the next heat, favored Egyptian Princess, given some sharp handling by Earle Avery, reached the lead and cut fractions until the three-quarter mark. The Intruder was ninth at the quarter, tenth at the half, and 15th at the three-quarter mark. But he rallied to win the heat by a half a length.

In the final, Egyptian Princess again cut the mile while The Intruder remained off the pace, seventh at the half and three-quarters. But Bower got his charge rolling shortly thereafter and won going away by three-quarters of a length.

The Intruder was the fifth performer by the stallion Scotland to win the famed classic, joining Rosalind (1936), Spencer Scott (1940), The Ambassador (1942) and Hoot Mon (1947).


Scott Frost: The Champ Comes Through

Seldom has there been as much of a solid favorite for the Hambletonian as Scott Frost. Joe O Briens star pupil, owned by S. A. Camp of Shafter, California, lived up to his billing in the Hambletonian tuneups. The son of Hoot Mon and Nora was unbeaten in his three-year-old form when he paraded to post for the Hambletonian. His first race had taken four heats at Historic Track.

Trainer O Brien, always known for his guarded pessimism, was far from happy about the prospects on race day. The brilliant colt had worked poorly in his final prep and the condition of the track just didnt suit the long striding favorite.

The first favorite to win since Demon Hanover in 1948, Scott Frost forged home in 2:013 and back in 2:003. Only his sire, Hoot Mon had trotted faster (2:00) to that point. The two heat total was the best on record for the event, displacing the 2:01-2:01 duet set by Shirley Hanover.

In the first heat, stablemate Butch Hanover shoved his head past Scott Frost at the third pole, but Scott Frost turned for home on top. It looked like a breeze until the last sixteenth when John Simpson fired up Leopold Hanover for a sizzling sprint, forcing Joe O Brien to shake his colt up to win by half a length.

The second mile, Scott Frost had the lead at the three-quarters. Billy Haughton behind Galophone made his bid an eighth from home and the pair engaged in a head and head duel. Fifty feet out it looked as if Galophone might snatch the decision but Scott Frost hung on and won by a head.

Scott Frosts dam, Nora, was purchased by Roy Amos of Frost Hill Farm, Edinburg, Indiana at the W. N. Reynolds dispersal sale at Harrisburg. Scott Frost was foaled on his property and raised at the Hoosier farm. An all-time great, Scott Frost followed up on his Hambletonian win with victories in the Yonkers Futurity and the Kentucky Futurity. Back on his home ground in California, the bay colt blazed to a 1:592 triumph over the best aged trotters. Not only did Scott Frost win more money than any other horse in a single season, the Camp headliner took over the leading money winning stallion title.

Only the first four finishers received checks (60% - 25% - 10% - 5%)


Newport Dream: The Comeback

The champion two-year-old the previous year, Newport Dream had been lame in the spring of 1954. But when the Axomite colt, owned by Octave Blake and trained by Del Cameron, got to Goshen, he was ready for the Hambletonian.

In the first heat, Newport Dream trailed in eighth position to the half and used a burst of speed to take the lead for a three-lenth victory in 2:024. He won the second heat in the same time, rallying to catch Harlan in the final strides of a tight four-horse finish.

For Grand Circuit President Blake, his first Hambletonian victory came after favored Newport Star, full brother to Newport Dream, failed in the 1953 Hambletonian. Early in 1955, Blake���s Hambletonian trophy was washed out of his Cape Cod home by a hurricane and was found a few days later nestled in the sand near the cottage.


Helicopter: Records Galore
A slew of firsts marked the filly Helicopters victory in the 1953 Hambletonian.
J. Elgin and C. E. Armstrong of Brampton, Ontario, were the first Canadian owners to win the trotting classic; Helicopters sire Hoot Mon (1947 Hambletonian winner) was the first winner to sire a winner; Harry Harvey, at 29, was the youngest winning driver at the time; the total first place money of $53,126.59 was the most won in a single season by a three-year-old trotting filly, and the total purse of $117,117.98 (including breeders awards) was the largest to date.

Helicopters 17th place finish after breaking in the first heat didnt suggest that the filly would have much of a chance. Morse Hanover captured the first contest.
In the next two, however, Helicopter was victorious, holding off stablemate Singing Sword with Delvin Miller in one and Kimberly Kid with Tom Berry in the other.

Helicopter, so named because Mrs. Frances Van Lennep used a helicopter from her Castleton Farm to deliver a baby in a Lexington hospital when winter storms closed the roads, was retired to Armstrong Farm. She is the dam of Armbro Flight, who won a heat of the 1965 Hambletonian. Armbro Flight, in turn, is the dam of 1988 Hambletonian winner Armbro Goal.


Sharp Note: The Old and the New

At 74, Bion Shively, known as the Oklahoma Sage, became the oldest driver to win a Hambletonian when he accomplished the feat with Sharp Note in 1952 for owner C. W. Clark of Dearborn, Michigan.

Sharp Note, a $1,000 yearling purchase from the Walnut Hall Farm 1950 consignment, was lightly-raced at two.

As in the previous year, showers caused the 1952 Hambletonian to be delayed from Wednesday to Thursday. It was nearly 4 p.m. when the field of 16 went to post. Sharp Note was off poorly on a break in the first heat and finished a distant 10th as Hit Song won by half a length over the favored Duke of Lullwater.

In the second heat, Sharp Note stormed around the field and won easily.

Leaving from the pole in the final heat, Sharp Note took charge at the three-quarter pole, coasting home to a two-length victory over Hit Song in 2:03.2.


Mainliner: On Wisconsin

A massive field of 20 went to post in two tiers in 1951 for the richest purse in harness racing history, $98,263.93.

Driven by Guy Crippen, the roman-nosed Mainliner emerged the victor for Ralph H. Kroening of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kroenings first Hambletonian starter, Lord Steward, finished third in 1950.

Kroening, preoccupied by his engineering business, didnt see the colt race until the Hambletonian. Sent off at 27-1, Mainliner rated early and brushed to the front past the three-quarters and won by two lengths over Spennib in 2:02.3.

Crippen, who would die the following year at the age of 62, positioned the colt on the rail in the second heat, sitting third most of the way. Crippen moved Mainliner at the head of the lane, urging him to a length and a half advantage over Scotch Rhythm in 2:04.3.


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Demon Hanover: The Amateur Touch

When Demon Hanover swept the two-heat 1948 Hambletonian, "Steamin Demon" and owner-driver Harrison Hoyt were joined in the winner���s circle by Hoyts wife and two young sons. Hoyt, a Bethel, Connecticut hat manufacturer, had been driving for just three years.

Purchased for $2,600 at the Harrisburg Sale, Demon Hanover raced in Saratoga Amateur trots at two. In 1948, he won the Historic Dickinson Cup and the Matron before the Hambletonian. It was the only time that a Hambletonian winner was selected, trained, and driven by an amateur.

Demons sire, Dean Hanover, was the last foal of Dillon Axworthy, sold for $410 to H. Stacy Smith, a well-known Newark, New Jersey amateur. Dean trotted a then three-year-old world record of 1:58�� driven by 11-year-old Alma Sheppard, daughter of Lawrence B. Sheppard of Hanover Shoe Farms.

Demon Hanover dominated not only the three-year-olds, but also the free-for-allers, racing until the end of the 1951 season. He retired with a then trotting record $187,344.61 to his credit, with wins in the Roosevelt Two Mile Trot, American Trotting Championship, Trotting Derby, aged division of the Hambletonian, Sportsmans Park Trotting Derby (twice), Batavia Downs Invitational and the Michigan Governors Trophy.


Hoot Mon

The rugged black colt, Hoot Mon, holder of the 2:00 record for the Hambletonian was twice sold for $50,000: first by his breeder, Charles W. Phellis, to Castleton Farm, then a year after his Hambletonian victory, for the same amount to Hanover Shoe Farms where he stood at stud. In the hands of Fred Egan, Hoot Mon made his modest debut at Old Orchard, Maine. An impressive second to heavily-favored Rodney in the Tompkins and wins in the American Stakes at Milwaukee and the DuQuoin Stakes led to his sale to Castleton.

The duel with Rodney resumed in Lexington with Hoot Mon prevailing.

At three, Hoot Mon won a $3,000 stake in California early, then was injured when shipped East. He finished second to Rodney on June 20, and didn���t race again until the Hambletonian.

Master horseman Sep Palin brought the colt back from lameness and layoff for the Hambletonian. Rodney took the opener in 2:012, Hoot Mon a fast-closing second. The next mile, Hoot Mon was away a bit slowly, Rodney setting a swift pace. Leaving the half, Hoot Mon moved up and outdrove Rodney in the stretch to win by two lengths in the official time of 2:00. Palin timed his colt in 1:593. The final was clinched by Hoot Mon in 2:021 handily. Thereafter, the black colt won the American Stake, the DuQuoin Stake, and the $36,905 Kentucky Futurity to wind up a career in which he earned $74,950.

His first crop appeared at the races in 1952 and they proceeded to set marks from the word go. His eleven trotting winners, seven in 2:10, set an all time mark for the first crop by a trotting stallion and their winnings totalled $132,667.58.


Chestertown: Luck was With Him
On the eve of the 1946 Hambletonian, William H. Cane sold Chestertown, a $6,500 yearling, to Walter E. Smith of Los Angeles for $40,000 after he defeated Victory Song in the National Stake.
Smith turned the Volomite colt over to Tom Berry. In the first heat, Sep Palin scored with Victory Song by two lengths over Chestertown, but in the second heat, Don Scott struck Victory Song���s Wheel, causing a break. Chestertown went on to win the heat in 2:02�� over Deanna.
In the final, Victory Song made a gallant try to catch Chestertown, but Berry kept his colt in front by a half-length in 2:03��.
Chestertown retired in 1950 with $108,864 in earnings, standing at stud at the Village Farm in Langhorne, Pennsylvania for one season, and then moved to Bonnie Brae Farm in Ohio.


Titan Hanover: The Little Giant

Short in stature but long on power and speed, Arden Homestead Stables��� Titan Hanover stood out as champion two- and three-year-old trotter. His mile in 2:00 at Lexington as a two-year-old slashed two full seconds off the juvenile standard, marking a milestone in harness horse history. Trainer Harry Pownall deserved full credit for the career of the "Fightin��� Titan" as he was a handful to break and train.

Titan Hanover worked a mile at Roosevelt Raceway in 2:07�� before going to the races. At Old Orchard, he split heats in his debut, tying for first with the fastest mile in 2:08��. Next he took the National Stake, the Tompkins Memorial at Goshen, the Harriman Challenge Trophy and the Horseman Stake and the Reading Futurity in the mud at Trenton.

In his Lexington race he set a two-heat standard of 2:02��, 2:02��, timed better than 2:02 one trip. Then came an assault on the clock, the quarter in :29��, the half cyclonic in :58��, three-quarters in 1:29��, the mile achieved in 2:00. Again at three he was unbeaten, winning the Stallion Stake and the Matron Stake with ease. The $51,046.96 Hambletonian was next and Titan Hanover delivered easily according to expectations, though Axomite made it interesting for a few strides nearing home the first trip.

Titan Hanover was an outstanding performer again at four and five, and retired to stud at Hanover Shoe Farm.


Yankee Maid: Another for Elizabeth
As a broodmare, Elizabeth, by Peter The Great, was already immortalized by her great gelded son, Greyhound (1:55��) and in Yankee Maid she had a second Hambletonian winner, sharing that feat with Margaret Arion.
Purchased from Almahurst Farm by owner A. L. Derby of Wichita, Kansas, for a modest sum, Yankee Maid was lightly-raced at two. But she set a world record for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track of 2:06 3/4 and clinched juvenile honors with a race-off win at Lexington.
Triumphs in the Matron, Stallion Stakes at North Randall and the National Stake, preceded her two-heat win in the Hambletonian, the third for driver-trainer Henry Thomas.


Volo Song: 1-2-3 Finish for the Volomites

Volo Song, the champion at two, was favored in the classics at three. The big, brown colt by Volomite out of the mare, Evensong (who had six 2:00 offspring), was a $5,000 yearling purchase by William H. Strang and was turned over to Ben White to drive and train.

The 1943 Hambletonian was contested at the slow Empire City running track because of wartime travel restrictions. Volo Song, who had won the Matron, American Stake and Hambletonian Test, broke in the first heat of the Hambletonian and finished third, with Worthy Boy winning the race.

But Volo Song rebounded to win the next two, giving Ben White his fourth Hambletonian victory.

When Worthy Boy and Phonograph were second and third, respectively, in the summaries, and Gordon Gray was fifth, sons of Volomite finished 1-2-3 and had four of the six purse awards.

Sold to E. J. Baker the next season, and campaigned by Harry Fitzpatrick, Volo Song had his career and life cut short when he suffered a broken leg in a race at Elkhorn, WI.


The Ambassador: A Surprise Package

By all the laws of breeding, The Ambassador should have been one of the most highly regarded of Hambletonian candidates. By the mighty Scotland, sire of two previous winners and champions in Rosalind & Spencer Scott, his dam was Margaret Arion whose previous performers included the champion Protector, the Hambletonian winner The Marchioness, & His Excellency, a heat winner in the Hambletonian. Further, he was trained by the most famed of all developers, Ben White. Still, the high-going colt owned by the popular Bill Strang of Brooklyn, NY, was given little consideration by either the experts or the public.

A few weeks before, The Ambassador had won the first heat of his life in an overnight event at Old Orchard, but it was a major effort for him to trot in 2:06�� over the kite track. The erratic but phenomenally fast Colby Hanover still retained a firm grip on the favorite role, however, for the forthcoming Goshen battle.

The 1942 Hambletonian will go down as one of the genuinely wild and woolly struggles, with excitement at its peak as the various participants strutted their stuff in scorching finishes. A combination of bad starting luck and a subsequent exhibition of bad manners eliminated Colby Hanover from all contention, throwing the race wide open. Follow Me, Green Diamond, The Ambassador and Scotland���s Comet were all in the bunch massed at the head of the lane as the final drive began. The sixteenth was a thrilling spectacle as five horses charged to the finish. The photo showed that canny Lee Smith had saved enough ground with Pay Up to get up by inches over Scotland���s Comet on the extreme outside.

The second heat again saw little backing for The Ambassador though the Scotland colt had been only a half a length back at the wire. Ben White handled him confidently, going to the top nearing the half and holding sway to the end to win by a length. The pay-off of $68.20 on The Ambassador was the highest odds ever quoted on a winner to that time.

The final showed that the second heat was no fluke, as The Ambassador was cleverly rated until turning for home, catching Scotland���s Comet that had led from the five-eighths to win by two lengths in 2:04. The Ambassador never lived up to his great race again, though a contender in many other stakes. Retired to Peninsula Farm after taking a mark of 2:02, his first crop included a pair of 2:05 three-year-old trotters, but his sale to Sweden ended his American stud career.


Bill Gallon: The Tarheel Terror

A relative newcomer to the sport, R. Horace Johnston of Charlotte, N.C. made a very astute and economical buy at the first Standardbred Sale in Harrisburg in 1939, purchasing the Sandy Flash colt, Ashley Hanover, for $1,800. His new owner, a textile manufacturer, changed the colt���s name to Bill Gallon in honor of a friend and turned him over to the soft-spoken Lee Smith for development.

Bill Gallon was a top juvenile trotter. Among his wins were the Tompkin Memorial and the Horseman Stake. Bill Gallon was off to a rather slow start at three, sickness and slight lameness halting his progress. In his tune-up start in the Hambletonian Test at Old Orchard, the handsome colt was twice second to Volstadt and then took the third heat in 2:04, beating His Excellency.

The Hambletonian of 1941 was a slow race as practically every participant had been ill or off form slightly during the preceding weeks. Added to this, an atrocious barrier start cost Bill Gallon all chances the first heat, His Excellency coasting in with a 2:07�� clocking. Bill Gallon came back to win the next by a neck from His Excellency with a nicely-timed drive in 2:05 and won the final by open lengths in 2:05��.

Retired to stud at his owner���s Whitehall Farm, Bill Gallon had limited opportunities as he was not situated in a busy breeding area. Later moved to Hanover Shoe Farms, he sired one of the outstanding two-year-old trotting fillies of all time, Stenographer.


Spencer Scott: Worth Waiting For

The 1940 Hambletonian was a very popular one among the Grand Circuit regulars and close followers of the sport, as no one deserved a victory more than Charles W. Phellis of Greenwich, Connecticut, and his trainer-driver, Fred Egan. Phellis��� home bred Grand Circuit campaigners had raced to this time with limited success. In this instance, he was racing the handsome black colt, Spencer Scott.

Sickness and temporary lameness handicapped the colt at two, but when he attained his form, he was second only to the 1939 champion, Kuno. After a couple of races in which he was a contender, Spencer Scott whipped all the contenders, including Kuno, in the Noyes Stake at Syracuse in 2:05. He won a heat and second money in the rich Horseman Stake and was again a close runner-up to Kuno. At three, Spencer Scott was the king of the crop and won every stake engagement but one in impressive fashion.

Spencer Scott was clearly the best in the Hambletonian. Masterfully driven by Fred Egan, the superb black colt set his own pace and held off the stretch drives of Remus and Kuno to win in 2:02 and 2:03, making Phellis, breeder David Look and Fred Egan a happy trio.

Retired to Hanover Shoe Farms with earnings of $52,742.66, the young stallion accomplished much before his untimely death at thirteen. His phenomenal son, Rodney 2, 2:02, 1:572, came within a fraction of dethroning his sire, and retired in 1949 as the leading money-winning trotting stallion.


Peter Astra: The Doctor's Dream

Dr. L. M. Guilinger of Andover, Ohio, owner of the 1939 Hambletonian winner, was a country doctor who, in the early years of his practice, always had a fast-stepping road horse to carry him to the bedside of the suffering. Even with the advent of the automobile Dr. Guilinger kept his horses, but when the automobile became a real necessity switched his interest to owning harness horses for the track.

He entrusted a couple to ""Doc"" Parshall and the doctor decided to take a flyer in the stakes field, though with some misgivings as to what his many patients would think of the wisdom of paying the $3,250 that Peter Astra cost as a yearling. As it turned out he need not have worried.

Peter Astra had a veritable victory parade at three. With Nibble Hanover sidelined by sickness, the Peter Volo colt turned on his sweeping long stride whenever needed to win every engagement. The Hambletonian was won with complete ease, much to the pleasure of his owner. The colt then won at Springfield, Syracuse, and Lexington, winning more Grand Circuit stakes than any other three-year-old had ever done.

Retired to stud at Gainesway Farm, Peter Astra sired 2:05 performers at both gaits, but never came close to sending out his successor for the classic contests.


Mc Lin (Hanover): Two in a Row

Hanover Shoe Farms was back in the winner���s circle again at Goshen in 1938 as the newly purchased McLin Hanover shut out the field in straight heats. He brought honors for the second straight year to his owners, driver Henry Thomas and his sire, Mr. McElwyn, also at Hanover. The 1938 winner was bred by William H. Cane, Master of Good Time Park and was out of Ethelinda, the three-year-old champion of her day.

McLin, as he was called before his purchase, proved a bitter disappointment at two, wild breaks putting him far back in his few starts. However, he was kept up in the stakes as he had demonstrated extreme speed.

At Agawam, Mass., the colt skyrocketed to prominence in the American Stake. In the second heat over a slow track he came from far back at a speedy clip, swept past the favored Long Key only to make a break with victory in his grasp. The final mile Carl Dill handled McLin with kid gloves, bringing him out in the middle of the track to sprint home. Lawrence Sheppard then stepped in and bought the colt for $25,000 from Mr. Cane, having already been impressed by his remarkable speed flights in training.

The same schooling process that had been employed with Shirley Hanover was next used on McLin at Goshen. The colt learned to take off like a bullet and keep his feet on the sprint for the first turn. Though his supporters were nervous, the Hambletonian proved anti-climactic. Henry Thomas used the unbeatable formula of getting away on top and improving his position and the colt was never threatened, winning both heats by open lengths. McLin Hanover was sold to Italy that fall and proved to be an oustanding sire.


Shirley Hanover: When the Chips Were Down

Shirley Hanover was bred to be a champion. Her dam was two-time World Champion Hanover���s Bertha, Hanover Shoe Farms��� first Hambletonian winner, and her sire, Mr. McElwyn, was himself three-time World Champion. She inherited the speed of her parents, but was handicapped throughout her career with bad manners.

In the hands of Henry Thomas, Shirley Hanover was one of the fastest youngsters in the Hanover string. Among her victories were the Review and Horseman Futurities. Her manners showed in the American Stake when she reared at the start and went down, knocking her wind out. Carefully schooled for the big stakes at Goshen, Hambletonian Day found Shirley in perfect stakes form and she carried the orange and blue colors to an upset victory in record time.

That moment of glory was to be her last start. As a broodmare, Shirley Hanover produced the double-gaited Hava Hanover and Reine Hanover, but never foaled a performer comparable to herself.


Rosalind: A Family Affair

Rosalind, the sturdy daughter of Scotland and Alma Lee, represented the culmination of Ben White���s career as a trainer and driver. The soft-spoken Canadian with the magic feather touch on the reins brought out many champions and scored his second Hambletonian win with Rosalind, making him the first driver to score twice.

Not only did Ben White train and drive this fabulous filly, he bred her as well and gave her to his son, Gibson, as an incentive to recover from a serious illness. There is no question that the medicine worked, as Gibson White later became his father���s assistant trainer and a winning driver in Grand Circuit competition.

Victorious in six of her 10 starts at two, Rosalind clinched the two-year-old title decisively when she triumphed in the Junior Kentucky Futurity in a sparkling 2:03. The next year Rosalind won seven of her eight stakes engagements, her sole loss being to a stable mate.

In the Hambletonian it was strictly a case of Rosalind first, and the rest nowhere, as Ben White moved his son���s filly right to the top and held sway thereafter, the best mile in 2:01��, a stake mark. Gib White smilingly joined his father in the winner���s circle with the crowd wildly cheering the popular victory. The story of filly���s victory and Gib���s recovery are recounted in the Marguerite Henry classic, Born to Trot.


Greyhound: The Trotting King

Most spectacular of Hambletonian winners and the greatest to ever capture the victor���s laurels at Goshen was the majestic grey gelding, Greyhound. Greyhound was the idol of the harness racing crowds during his star-studded campaigns through the Grand Circuit. As Greyhound grew older, his coat became almost pure white, giving further strength to his apt nickname ""The Grey Ghost."" To list his world records and phenomenal performances would take pages.

Bred at Almahurst Farm by Henry Knight, Greyhound was Sep Palin's masterpiece. The tall Hoosier horseman and the leggy, gangling youngster developed into a virtually unbeatable team.

The Hambletonian represented his richest triumph. Both miles Palin rated the favorite far back until the five-eighths, then set sail with those tremendous, space-devouring strides to swirl past the field. The first mile in 2:02��, last half timed better than :59 set a new record for the race, the 2:02�� second heat making it the fastest race to date. Greyhound was in the headlines steadily from that time on.

To many, the most unforgettable feat of Greyhound���s were the team miles he trotted with Rosalind 1:56��, the World Champion trotting mare and winner of the 1936 Hambletonian. Both victors in America���s most coveted harness classic, the fastest and second fastest trotter in the world combined to trot a marvelous mile in 1:58��, a mark that many thought would never be surpassed.

Greyhound spent his retirement years at the farm of his owner, E.J. Baker in St. Charles, Il.


Lord Jim: Last of the Guy Axworthys

One of the remarkable attributes of the great progenitors of the standardbred is their ability to sire outstanding performers at an advanced age. The longtime premier of Walnut Hall Farm, Guy Axworthy, outdid them all by siring a Hambletonian winner at the venerable age of twenty-eight. For many years, Guy Axworthy was the undisputed king of stakes sires.

Guy Axworthy had started the ball rolling for the Hambletonian by siring both the winner and runner-up in the first two Hambletonians. Thereafter three others of the get of Guy Axworthy had taken down second honors, but the victory of his son Lord Jim, from his final crop, in 1934, put Guy Axworthy again in the lead for winners, not to be surpassed until 1947 when Scotland sent out his fourth winner.

Lord Jim was owned by E. L. Mefford of Columbus, Ohio, and the reinsman that brought the Guy Axworthy colt to prominence was the youngest thus far to succeed in winning the coveted classic, Dr. Hugh Parshall of Urbana, Ohio. For a period of a dozen years or so "Doc" Parshall was usually the leading race-winning driver in the United States.

Lord Jim was rightly regarded as one of the best juveniles of his season. A winner early, the colt also won at Columbus, Indianapolis and Nashville and wound up by beating Bertha C. Hanover, trotting a final quarter in :29. However, Lord Jims Hambletonian rating was not high early in the season; the Guy Axworthy colt raced in aged events, cutting only a slight figure.

The first heat of the Hambletonian found Princess Peg whipping the field from well back. The next mile "Doc" Parshall had Lord Jim on edge and the colt held off Princess Peg in 2:02. Muscletone, driven by Daryl Parshall, stole off to a long lead in the third and won in 2:04��. Lord Jim moved from the three-quarters to win the fourth heat from Muscletone in 2:04.

The colt was later sold back to Walnut Hall to emulate, if possible, the speed-siring feats of his sire. However, though a speedy and game colt trotter, Lord Jim did not make the grade in Kentucky, though siring several fast performers.


Mary Reynolds: Up From the Sunny South

William N. Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was one of the leading breeders and owners in harness racing until his death in 1951. Chairman of the Board of Reynolds Tobacco, Reynolds sent his homebred filly Mary Reynolds to the care of trainer Ben White as a yearling.

The filly was campaigned lightly at two and wound up the year by winning a heat of the Kentucky Futurity, which was then a two-year-old event.

Her three-year-old season set her up as a contender for the Hambo, with several stakes wins and placings to her credit. With a pair of wins and a second on Hambletonian Day, she became the third filly in just eight years to take that classic.

Mary Reynolds was unraced at four, but came back to race as a five-year-old before beginning her broodmare career. She was the dam of several stakes winners before she was exported to Europe.


The Marchioness: A Sister's Revenge

Will Caton, the trainer of 1932 Hambletonian winner The Marchioness, first came to prominence as a trainer and driver in Czarist Russia. For many years prior to World War I and the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, Caton was the tops on that scene. However, his life´s work was swept away in the revolution and he returned to his native United States to ply his trade.

Caton had great success in the early thirties with the trotter Protector, he won virtually every stake but the Hambletonian, as he had not been kept eligible.

He promptly set about a course to win the 1932 Hambletonian with Protector´s full sister, The Marchioness, who was kept eligible to the big race.

A top filly from the start of her career, The Marchioness, given the chance her brother never had, won a four heat struggle to take the Hambletonian trophy.

Purchased that fall by Count Orsi Mangelli of Italy, she never produced a foal that could duplicate her speed or stamina.


Calumet Butler: The Irony of Fate

The storied Calumet Farm is recognized as one of the premier thoroughbred breeding farms of modern times. However, it started as a standardbred nursery when it was founded by baking powder magnate William M. Wright.

Mr. Wright´s homebred Calumet Butler was an unremarkable two-year-old, going the year without a single win. Sadly, over that winter, Mr. Wright suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma, never to see his horses race again.

At three, Calumet Butler, with a pair of heat victories after a third place finish in the first heat, became the first maiden ever to win the Hambletonian. Mr. Wright died later that year, never knowing the glory of a Hambletonian win. His son and heir, Warren Wright, converted the farm to a thoroughbred nursery.


Hanover's Bertha: A Triumph of Breeding

The foundation for the filly who won the 1930 Hambletonian was laid down at the time of the inaugural Hambo in 1926. It was that year that Lawrence B. Sheppard and C. N. Meyers purchased the entire horse population and farm that made up Hanover Shoe Farm in South Central Pennsylvania from Alexander B. Coxe.

One of the mares that changed hands in that transaction was Miss Bertha Dillon. In 1927, Miss Bertha Dillon foaled the little bay filly named Hanover´s Bertha that terrorized the trotting ranks in 1929 and 1930.

Already a champion at two, Hanover´s Bertha and her trainer Tom Berry were unbeatable at three until a team effort by competing horsemen forced her into a break in the first heat of the Hambo. She romped in the two remaining heats, leaving no doubt of her prowess over colts and fillies. Her feat is even more amazing because without a mobile starting gate, it took 16 attempts to get her winning second heat under way.

With her daughter, Shirley Hanover, winning the 1937 Hambo, Hanover´s Bertha became the first winner, regardless of gender to produce another winner of that race.


Walter Dear: Goshen's Pride

With a head of steam built up during a championship two-year-old season, the Hambletonian was all but conceded to Walter Dear in 1929.

He won all six of his starts leading up to the big day in Lexington, the second year in which the Hambletonian was held a the historic oval. In two trips to the post on Hambletonian Day, Walter Dear was the best both times, and thus the coveted trophy was his. Walter Dear's owner, William Cane, also owned the fourth place finishing filly, Miss Woerner.

After the Hambo, Walter Dear was sold at a big price to stand in Germany. He won the 1934 Prix D'Amerique and later disappeared when the Russian Army swept through Germany during World War II. Ther is no definitive word on what became of Walter Dear, though popular theories include him being smuggled back to the Soviet Union to improve the breeding stock. Others think the horse was secreted away to protect him, and may have died before the war was over. None of the theories have ever been proven.


Spencer: Lord of Castleton

The year 1928 marked the first year that the name Castleton Farm appeared in the Hambletonian annals. The farm, outside Lexington, Kentucky, was owned by David Look at the time, and it would go on to become a leading breeder and owner of Hambletonian winners.

The bay colt Spencer chased the best as a two-year-old; while he won a few stakes, it was Fireglow who was the top trotter among the juveniles.

As three-year-olds, the two were again frequent foes until a frightful pile-up was caused by Fireglow in a race near Cleveland, Ohio. While Spencer quickly recovered from his injuries, Fireglow died two days afterward.

Spencer prepped for the Hambletonian with a win and a second place finish in the Horse Review Stakes at Goshen before heading upstate to Syracuse for the big test. It was to be the high-headed, pure gaited Spencer´s shining day as he took both heats of the Hambletonian in stakes winning time.

Spencer lived out his days as the premier stallion at Castleton Farm.


Iosola's Worthy: The Speed Fountain

Hambletonian lore is rife with tales of horses that enter the race in anonymity and are bedded down that night as immortals. Iosola's Worthy is a mare of just that description.

A June foal, Iosola's Worthy was brought along slowly by Ben White as a two-year-old. Her lone victory came in a small stake at the Lexington Trots. She was sold over that winter by her breeder Fred Field of Brockton, Massachussetts, to E.J. Merkle of Columbus, Ohio.

Spring came, and with it, steady improvement by Iosola's Worthy, who placed progressively better in each race she entered. She outlasted all the contenders in a four heat Horse Review Futurity and several other races leading up to the Hambo. The first filly to win the Hambletonian, Iosola's Worthy handled that task in straight heats and her $56,538 in career earnings made her the leading female money earner until 1930.

Sold that fall to Walnut Farm for $10,700, she became the sole mare of her era to produce 2:00 performers by three different stallions.


Guy Mc Kinney: The Last Shall be First

Horse owners are renowned for their optimism and in the case of Guy McKinney, it was owner Harry B. Rea´s optimism that carved him a unique niche in the annals of harness racing, that of the very first horse to win the Hambletonian.

A $925 yearling, Guy McKinney developed a critical illness shortly after his purchase. He recovered and trained for a two-year-old career with only three starts in which he never figured.

Harry B. Rea ignored the colt´s past futility on the racetrack and made the January 1, 2023 nominating payment. The colt responded to this show of faith with flair  he put together an unbeaten string of wins to carry him to the Hambo.

On Hambletonian Day, Guy McKinney continued that skein with a straight heat victory. From there, he won several other stakes, including the Kentucky Futurity, amassing $68,742 in single season earnings, a mark that stood until 1949.

Guy McKinney changed hands at auction in the fall of 1926, with the fledgling Hanover Shoe Farm the winning bidder at $12,000. He was turned over to trainer Tom Berry for the specific purpose of breaking the 1:59 record. On Thanksgiving Day in 1930, Guy McKinney set a new standard of 1:58 in Phoenix, Arizona, which stood until 1938.