Jimmy Takter has won the Hambletonian four times, but he has not sent out a winning favorite in the 21st century.
His 2015 champ, Pinkman, was the second choice.
The year before, Trixton won, but stablemate Father Patrick was favored and broke at the start.
In 2010, Muscle Massive was 6-1 in a race in which Lucky Chucky was the favorite.
Takter’s first Hambletonian winner, Malabar Man in 1997, was the favorite.
The Dancer-Takter connection
There are quite a few similarities between Jimmy Takter and Stanley Dancer:
• Both went into the Hall Of Fame at age 51.
• Both won the Hambletonian four times.
• Takter is the winningest trainer of all time in divisional titles; Dancer is the winningest trainer of all time in Horse of the Year titles (seven).
• Takter won the Hambletonian in 2010 when it went for $1.5 million — tied for the highest trotting purse. Dancer won the sport’s first million-dollar trot in 1983 with Duenna in the Hambletonian that carried a purse of $1,080,000.
• Both Dancer and Takter had one of their four Hambletonian winners named HOY — Nevele Pride in 1968 for Dancer and Malabar Man in 1997 for Takter.
Q. Can you name the last horse to set the earnings record for his age at two, three and four?
A. Albatross. In 1970, when he was two, he earned $183,540. He earned $558,009 in 1971 at age three. In 1972, at age four, he earned $459,921.He retired the fastest and the richest pacer ever. He was the first horse to win a combined $1 million over a two-year period and was twice voted the Horse of the Year.
Thirteen times a driver has finished second twice in a row in North America in dash wins — six of those drivers never grabbed the whole enchilada.
• 1948-49 — Levi Harner
• 1953-54 — John Chapman (never led)
• 1955-56 — Stanley Dancer (never led)
• 1957-58 — Buddy Gilmour (never led)
• 1966-67 — Del Insko
• 1972-73 — Joe Marsh, Jr. (never led)
• 1977-78-79 — Carmine Abbatiello (never led)
• 1982-83 — Walter Case, Jr.
• 1986-87 — Herve Filion
• 1989-90 — Cat Manzi
• 1993-1994 — Dave Palone
• 1997-98 — Dave Miller (never led)
• 2000-2001 — Stephane Bouchard
North America Cup, remembering ’84
The North America Cup is the richest pacing event on the calendar again this year. It began in 1984. Why that year?
Jack Kenney was the president of the Ontario Jockey Club at the time. “We have decided the North America Cup best reflects the true international flavor of our major harness racing event. The name symbolizes friendship and a keen rivalry between Canadian and American horsemen dating back to the early 1800s,” Kenney said.
The previous three Horses Of The Year in America all had Canadian ownership at that time — and that doesn’t even take into account the ’83 Triple Crown winning Ralph Hanover. The list includes Cam Fella in 1982-’83 (owned by Norm Faulkner and Norm Clements), Fan Hanover (Dr Glen Brown) in 1981 and two-time Horse of the Year Niatross, who was bred and co-owned by Canadian born Elsie Berger.
The North America Cup replaced the Queen City Pace and actually was contested on a Monday (July 2) in year one.
Q. Who is the only member of the $2 million club to lose his/her first 20 starts?
A. Vintage Master.
Four trainers have had the Horse Of The Year in their barn the same year they won the Hambletonian with a different horse. Who are the four?
1947 — Sep Palin had HOY Victory Song and Hambletonian winner Hoot Mon.
1966 — Frank Ervin had HOY Bret Hanover and Hambletonian winner Kerry Way.
1971 — Stanley Dancer had HOY Albatross and Hambletonian winner Super Bowl.
2012 — Linda Toscano had HOY Chapter Seven and Hambletonian winner Market Share.