Assuming Always B Miki wins the TVG Final Saturday night at the Meadowlands and if he’s named Horse Of The Year, he’ll join a list of super-notables that met the following criteria: Triple Crown winner or world record holder/setter who were named Horse of the Year and scored a win in New Jersey in their last career start.
In 1984, John Henry won his last start at the Meadowlands on the Turf in the Ballantines Scotch Classic on Oct. 13 for a $400,000 purse, plus a $500,000 bonus for winning the Turf Race in New York, also. The nine-year-old gelding improved to $6.597 million — the highest ever for a racehorse — was named HOY for the second time and never did race again.
In 1985, Nihilator won the Breeders Crown on Nov. 29 at Garden State Park to cap off a HOY season.
In 2003, No Pan Intended wrapped up his super season with a Breeders Crown triumph at the Meadowlands and became the only horse ever to double up in the Breeders Crown and the Triple Crown.
In 2005, Rocknroll Hanover won the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands and waltzed to a Horse Of The Year coronation. He then stayed in Jersey to stand at Perretti’s and embark on a fabulous stallion career.
In 2008 Somebeachsomewhere, won the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands, wrapped up the HOY and sailed off to become the number one pacing sire in the sport in 2016.
If Miki is HOY…
… It will be the first time since 2008 that the fastest horse of that year will have been so honored (Somebeachsomewhere in 1:46.4 in 2008).
… It will be the 24th consecutive year that a different stallion (Always A Virgin in Always B Miki’s case) would have had the best at years end. The last time a sire repeated was 1991 and 1994. Cam Fella did it with both Precious Bunny and Cams Card Shark. (Note that Speedy Crown repeated also, but with the same horse 1998-1999 with Moni Maker)
… It will be the first time since Adios Butler in 1961 that a five-year-old pacing stallion was so honored.
… It will give Jimmy Takter three HOY credits before going into the Hall Of Fame and his first after.
… and Wiggle It Jiggleit and Hannelore Hanover are in the top three for HOY, it would give Indiana-breds a clean sweep going into the Hoosier Park Breeders Crown debut year.
… Part-owner Bob Boni can say he’s seen this before. In 1985, he also raced Nihilator, who called it a career with a win in the Breeders Crown, and he too was the fastest racehorse of all time by virtue of his 1:49.3 at the Meadowlands just three months earlier (August)
The year will end with two trainers from Sweden having conditioned the fastest ever trotter and the pacer. Ake Svanstedt with Sebastian K in 1:49 and Takter with Always B Miki in 1:46.