Hollywood’s Hits: As the year winds down…

Are these two records safe?

$2,161,000 — the all-time biggest purse in the sport (1984 Woodrow Wilson won by Nihilator)

$1,407,263 — the single-season earnings record for a two-year-old (1986 Redskin)

HOY pairings

Pair up Victory Song, the 1947 Horse of the Year with 1958 Horse of the Year Emilys Pride and you get Noble Victory, the 1965 Hambletonian favorite and the first horse ever syndicated for $1 million.

How about the pairing between 2016 HOY Always B Miki and 2014 HOY JK She’salady? She’s booked.

Follow the leader

These are the last two horses to be voted Horse of the Year and lead in earnings, then the following year not be voted the HOY and, yet, lead in earnings again:

1970 — Fresh Yankee ($359,002) who then led all trotters in 1971 ($293,950).
2015 — Wiggle It Jiggleit posted a better than $2.1 million season as HOY and led the way, and this year again was the earnings leader with over $1.7 million. His was really impressive since he led all horses, on both gaits, twice!

23 years and counting

It’s been 23 years since the single-season record holder in earnings for a pacer was not named Horse of the Year.
In 1993, Presidential Ball set the seasonal record with earnings of $2,217,222, but lost the HOY vote to Staying Together by a vote of 181-44.

These are the others to do so in the past four decades:

In 1984, On The Road Again set the record with earnings of $1,751,695, but Fancy Crown won the HOY.

In 1983, Ralph Hanover set the record with earnings of $1,711,990, but lost to Cam Fella 182-90 in the HOY vote.

In the neighborhood

Casie Coleman’s top three single-season money winners all have a familiar look to them. All three are within $10,000 of each other in their standout season:

2012 — Michaels Power $1,463,912
2014 — McWicked $1,472,937
2016 — Betting Line $1,467,386

Examining Artsplace’s HOY season

In 1992, Artsplace won the Horse of the Year after going undefeated in 16 starts. But how does a horse win the title as the year’s best in his lowest earning season (some $932,000) of his three on track? Easy. The biggest purse he went for all year in 1992 was the $368,100 Breeders Crown.

A real mirror image

This mirror didn’t break or bring seven years of bad luck.

On the opening night of the Meadowlands (Sept. 1, 1976), the inaugural winner of the Meadowland feature was Rambling Willie in a track record 1:55.3 in a race that also featured Mirror Image and Buddy Gilmour. Why would this be of note?

Seven years later, they both matched up again at the Meadowlands in the Rambling Willie Retirement Race in August of 1983 and Willie won again!

Ladies decade

2010 was indeed the start of something for the ladies of harness racing. Prior, no female trainer had yet won a million-dollar race. That has changed, big time. No female trainer, up to that point, had a Horse of the Year. That is no longer the case.

Million-dollar wins:

• Casie Coleman 2010 NA Cup — Sportswriter (Metro was $920G the year prior)
• Casie Coleman 2016 NA Cup — Betting Line
• Linda Toscano 2012 Hambletonian — Market Share
• Jo Ann Looney-King 2015 NA Cup — Wakizashi Hanover
• Paula Wellwood 2016 Hambletonian — Marion Marauder

Horse of the Year:

In 2012, Linda Toscano finished 1-2 with Chapter Seven and Market Share (the first to go first and second in 40 years since Albatross and Super Bowl in 1972 for Stanley Dancer).

In 2014, Nancy Johansson had J K She’salady.

And, don’t forget Paula Wellwood with the 2016 Trotter Of The Year Marion Marauder.

0 for 70

That’s the record of four-year-old trotting mares for the Horse of the Year title. You certainly can’t blame Hannelore Hanover. She gave it a great try in 2016. She wound up third in the overall balloting.