Hollywood's Hits

Hollywood’s Hits: Go 4th, young man

December 2, 2016

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If Always B Miki is named the Horse of the Year, he will have finished fourth in his only off-the-board finish this year. That fourth-place finish came at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, which is the exact same day, location and finish position as the 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit’s lone off-the-board result of the year.

Others who were HOY with a fourth on their yearly bio were 2010 winner Rock N Roll Heaven who was fourth in the North America Cup, and No Pan Intended, who missed the board only once all season with a fourth in the 2003 Meadowlands Pace.

The rich go broke on Hambletonian Day

Even the richest trotters of all time occasionally went “broke” on Hambletonian Day.

Great, or almost great horses, that made a costly break on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands Include:

1981 — Super Juan, who still managed to make the Hambletonian raceoff as the favorite and just missed taking the whole enchilada.

1982 — Both favorites broke while on or making the lead in their elims — Arndon, 10-for-13 coming in and Mystic Park 11-for-13 coming in. So did another horse, 72-1 longshot Diamond Exchange, who 11 months later would be the first ever 1:55 trotter in Meadowlands history.

1984 — Gentle Stroke broke and finished ninth in the second heat.

1985 — Master Willie broke, but he atoned by winning the Yonkers Trot. Another Miracle broke also, but, a year earlier, he won the first ever $1 million two-year-old trotting event when he was victorious in the Peter Haughton.

1987 — Waikiki Beach broke and finished last. Hardly anyone was thinking that he would be the sire of Varenne, the richest trotter of all time.

1987 — Jimmy Takter’s first Hambletonian starter, Sir Taurus, was off stride and finished sixth and didn’t make the final with Benny Webster driving.

1989 — Some people forget that Probe made a break in his second heat, but fought back to dead heat Park Avenue Joe for the win in the raceoff.

1992 — Magic Lobell broke and wound up last, but he dead heated in the Yonkers Trot with McCluckey.

1994 — Jimmy Takter’s Whiteland Image broke stride, but he came in off an upset score in the Beacon Course.

1996 — Act Of Grace was second in the first hear to Continentalvictory’s 1:52.1 world record —making it an all-girls finish. But, Act Of Grace made a break in the final.

1997 — Yankee Glide broke and finished last the year Malabar Man won. Yankee Glide won the Peter Haughton the year prior, later sired Triple Crown winning Glidemaster and is the last sire to go one-two in the Horse of the Year ballot (2006 with Glidemaster and Passionate Glide).

2000 — Master Lavec broke a year after wiring his field in the Breeders Crown.

2002 — Andover Hall made a costly break early at 3-5 and lost all chance. As a stallion, his progeny’s Hambletonian Day was one for the record books. He finished first and second in the Hambletonian with Donato Hanover and Adrian Chip and he also was the sire of Hambletonian Oaks winner Danae.

2004 —Sand Vic, a career winner of $2.1 million, made a break.

2005 — Ken Warkentin (2-5) made a break and was placed sixth not advancing.

2006 — R C Royalty broke, but made up for it big time siring the 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life.

2007 — Pampered Princess shunned the girls and took on Donato Hanover and wasn’t up to the task on this day. She broke and finished sixth.

2008 — Not everyone remembers that Lucky Jim made a break then racing for Trond Smedshammer. It was a year later that he would tie the world record of 1:50.1 and go 17-for-18.

2010 — Holiday Road made a break on the same day that, a year earlier, he set the Peter Haughton stakes mark of 1:54.

2011 — Manofmanymissions, a year after winning the Breeders Crown, broke in the stretch as the public choice the year Broad Bahn won.

Chuck Sylvester’s best day ever?

I’ll suggest Aug. 7, 1982 was trainer Chuck Sylvester’s best day ever.

It was the day the relative unknown spring-boarded into national prominence.

Sylvester, then 41, raced an 0-for-5 three-year-old-a son of Arnie Almahurst that he got for a song. Diamond Exchange went off at 72-1 and broke stride. Hardly anyone noticed. Two others who did draw attention — and also broke stride — were Mystic Park at 30 cents on the dollar and 6-5 choice Arndon. Neither made the Hambletonian final in the second year the event was held at the Meadowlands.

Why would this day be of significance to Chuck Sylvester?

1. Eleven months later, on July 4, 1983, Diamond Exchange would become the first ever 1:55 trotter in Meadowlands history.

2. It would be five years until Sylvester broke through on Hambletonian Day— with Mack Lobell in record time. Mack clearly put Sylvester on the map to stay. Mack Lobell was from the first crop of Mystic Park, one of those who also broke in the 1982 Hambletonian.

3. It would be a little more than a decade until Pine Chip would surface. He is the last horse to be named Trotter of the Year both years he raced — three and four. You guessed it, Pine Chip was a son of Arndon, a son of another breaker on that fateful Hambletonian Day in 1982.
And, by the way, both Mack Lobell and Pine Chip cost $17,000. Coincidence?

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