My list of the greatest North American-bred female trotters I’ve seen race.
by The Curmudgeon
This ranking of what I feel are the baker’s dozen of the greatest trotting fillies trotting and mares that I have seen, has been my most difficult of the four categories I have ranked.
There are just so many good ones for whom a case could be made.
As with trotting horses, I am restricting my rankings to North American-bred trotting females. If that were not so, great mares such as Roquepine, Une de Mai and Ozo would be shoe ins for the top 13.
As with all the previous categories, honorable mention needs to go to the following which are listed in alphabetical order: Almost An Angel, Armbro Fling, Armbro Keepsake, Buck I St Pat, Cameron Hall, Casual Breeze, Davidia Hanover, Duenna, Elma, Emily’s Pride, Flamboyant, Hannelore Hanover, I’m A Lula, Imperfection, Impish, Japa, Kading, Kerry Way, Keystone Pioneer, Maven, Meadow Bright, Merrie Annabelle, Mystical Sunshine, Noccalula, Pampered Princess, Passionate Glide, Peaceful Way, Proximity, Rae, Scenic Regal, Shake It Cerry, Sprite Rodney, Syrinx Hanover and Windylane Hanover.
I’m sure that there are others deserving of mention who I have inadvertently left out. My apologies go to their connections.
Here is my list:
1. Moni Maker — She did it all. She was very good at two and three and arguably the best in the world at four and beyond. She held the all-time earnings title until recently. Winner of numerous classic events throughout the world, including the Prix d’Amerique and the Elitlopp. One of my greatest thrills in a lifetime of Harness Racing was watching the World Record under saddle performance by her and Julie Krone.
2. Continentalvictory — Until the advent of Muscle Hill, I felt that at her best, Continentalvictory was the greatest trotter that I had ever seen. Her Hambletonian win over Lindy Lane was a race for the ages. I’ll never forget her flagging her tail in that race, which for most horses mean “I’ve had it.” For her it was a signal to bring it on.
3. Fresh Yankee — The $900 wonder. Purchased as a yearling and developed by Sanders Russell for Duncan MacDonald, she reached stardom with Joe O’Brien. This great filly had and did it all. She was a wonderful filly at two and three. She turned into a great International superstar as an older mare and was winner of the Roosevelt International and the Elitloppet.
4. Delmonica Hanover — She cost more than four times as much as Fresh Yankee — all of $4,200. She was a world champion at two, three and four. She was an international superstar at four and beyond. Winner of both the Prix d’Amerique and the Roosevelt International.
5. Peace Corps — A truly great filly and mare every single year that she raced. All one would need to say is that she won five Breeders Crowns. But there is more, much more. She was an international superstar, and, in the process, she garnered numerous Classics events.
6. Mission Brief — Speed wise, she might be superior to those ranked above her. When she was on her game, she was virtually unbeatable. The only edge that those ranked above her have is that with the exception of Continentalvictory who won the Hambletonian, they all went on to become older international superstars. She may get there yet. But time will decide.
7. Bee A Magician — A dominant filly and mare every year she raced. Horse of the Year and undefeated at three and one of the best older mares in recent times. On occasion she was able to take on and eat the lunches of the boys.
8. Classical Way — Together with Nan’s Catch, the dam of Moni Maker and Helicopter, the dam of Armbro Flight, the only ones of this group who, herself was out of a great filly, being out of star mare Kerry Way. A great filly or international classics winner every year she raced. If one had seen her in training early in her two year old season, there would have been no way that one would have predicted her eventual stardom. She was raised at Gainesway Farm where all her buddies were thoroughbred fillies. They of course, wouldn’t trot. All they would do is canter and run. That’s all she ever learned to do. So when she went into training that’s all she could do. John Simpson Jr., her trainer, instructed his assistant Glydon Willis to just jog her every day until she hit the trot. After five or so miles of cantering, she eventually did. Eventually she realized she was meant to be a trotter and became one of the greatest ever.
9. Armbro Flight — A great filly each year that she raced. Her battle in the Hambletonian with Noble Victory, ended up with both of them knocking heads and leaving the door wide open for the race to be won by Egyptian Candor. This was most definitely a Hambletonian where the best horse did not win. She is the only one of these females whose dam was a Hambletonian winner and who herself produced a Hambletonian winner in Armbro Goal. Taking it one step further, she is the only one of these trotters who came close to reproducing herself.
10. Fancy Crown — One of two Max Hempt-owned prides and joys on this list. Both she and Stenographer were Horse of the Year. Unfortunately neither of them came close to reproducing themselves in the breeding shed. A top filly at both two and three.
11. Elaine Rodney — A great filly at two and three here in the United States. She then became a top international star after being sold to Italian interests. As a broodmare she did have one very good trotter named Top Hanover.
12. Stenographer — The second of Max Hempt’s prides and joys. She won the closest battle ever for Horse of the Year, defeating two-year-old champion Scott Frost by only a vote or two. Here’s something for you pedigree buffs. Stenographer’s dam Follow Me and the dam of the great pacing mare Dotties Pick, Pick Up were full-sisters. Neither Stenographer nor Dotties Pick came close to being the broodmare that they were race fillies.
13. (dead heat) CR Kay Suzie — Admittedly, she is this deep in the rankings because of my being prejudiced against trotters who wear hobbles. She was a truly great filly who set world records at both two and three.
13. (dead heat) Grades Singing — A very special filly here in North America at two, three and four. She was then sold to European interests, where she was even better, winning classic races throughout Europe.