In honor of the 62nd edition of the Yonkers Trot, set for Saturday night, here are some notes of interest about the race through the years:
The Yonkers Trot went at one mile and a sixteenth from 1955-1962.
John Campbell, the all-time leading driver in Triple Crown victories, was born 90 days before the first Triple Crown got underway in 1955.
1955 — The Yonkers Trot debuts and is won by Scott Frost, the first Triple Crown winner.
1956 — Add Hanover won it, but he was not staked to the Hambletonian.
1965 — After causing a recall, Noble Victory won it, improving to 24-for-25 lifetime. He would be the sport’s first $1 million syndication.
1967 — Eight of the 13 entered broke strike. Pomp survived it all and paid $33.40 to win.
1968 — Nevele Pride is so dominant they would not allow wagering. It was his 18th straight win.
1977 — Green Speed won in 1:59 and broke the 2:01.3 stakes record, set by Ayres that had remained for 13 years. That’s not a misprint, Greed Speed broke the existing mark by nearly three seconds. Unfortunately Green Speed was not paid into the Kentucky Futurity — though he took his 1:55.3 lifetime mark in the Hambletonian — and it cost Billy Haughton his only trotting Triple Crown.
1983 — Joie De Vie won by the supplemental route with driver John Campbell in the sulky.
1986 — Hall Of Famer Richard Stillings had never driven at Yonkers prior to winning the Yonkers Trot with Gunslinger Spur.
1989 — Valley Victory won in record time in what was to be his 14th and final start ever (he was 11-for-14).
1992 — Twenty-one entered and it was the last time more than 20 went. The result was a dead heat between McCluckey and Magic Lobell for trainers Joe Holloway and Per Henriksen, respectively. Note that the only other Triple Crown dead head on the trot came three years earlier in the Hambletonian (Park Ave Joe and Probe) and the only pacing Triple Crown race dead heat was in 2004 at Freehold when the Cane Pace wound up a tie between stablemates in the Brett Pelling barn — Western Terror and Timesareachanging.
1994 — Two longshots finished 1-2. 21-2 Bullville Victory over 36-1 Bosphorus. The 8-5 second choice Mr Lavec was third for Jimmy Takter and the 3-5 favorite, Wesgate Crown, was last. Oddity: Wesgate Crown, the freshman champ, did not win a race as a sophomore.
2000 — Goalfish and Jacqueline Ingrassia won it, making her the first and only female driver to capture a Triple Crown event, seven years after Julie Krone did the same in thoroughbred racing winning the 1993 Belmont.
2006 — Glidemaster, the sport’s last Triple Crown winner, wins in late November. Yonkers had just had the slots program kick in and the Messenger and the Yonkers Trot were held there. George Brennan subbed for the injured John Campbell. Campbell was hurt in the Breeders crowns elims in Canada in October, thus preventing him from his lone career Triple Crown.
2009-2010-2011 — Jimmy Takter throws up a trotting Triple Crown race three-peat with wins by Judge Joe, On The Tab and Leaderofthegang in successive years. This year, Takter would have had a Hambletonian three-peat if Bar Hopping had won the final. The only other trainer active with a trotting Triple Crown three-peat is Chuck Sylvester who won the 1991, 1992 and 1993 Kentucky Futurity with Whiteland Janice, Armbro Keepsake and Pine Chip, respectively.