Hollywood’s Hits: Twelve of harness racing’s most insurmountable leads

May 19, 2017

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by Bob Heyden

Can anyone catch the following drivers, trainers or even purses anytime in the future? For many at the top, it’s going to be a long time before they are unseated — if ever:

1. Dave Palone is some 50 wins away from 18,000 career victories. Next up on the list is Tony Morgan, about 2,150 wins away and four years older than Palone.

2. The $2,161,000 purse of the 1984 Woodrow Wilson stands as the richest race ever contested. No race has come within $600,000 of this since (the 1986 Wilson won by Cullin Hanover at $1,561,000). Is there any chance a purse will top the one in the ’84 Wilson? Doubtful.

3. John Campbell’s 16 national earnings titles. Billy Haughton had 12, but no one else is in double figures, although Tim Tetrick did roll off seven straight from 2007-2013.

4. Campbell’s earnings record of $299.7 million is $84 million in front of the retired Ron Pierce at $215 million. Of course, David Miller ($212 Million) and Tim Tetrick ($179 million) are still going strong. But Campbell’s is a high, high water mark.

5. Retired Cat Manzi’s 95,690 career drives putting him well over 10,000 in front of Tony Morgan (84,929). Herve Filion retired at 82,336. This one may not be out of each when all is said and done. On May 13, Tetrick became the youngest driver to reach 50,000 career drives. He is just 35 years old.

6. Foiled Again’s career earnings of $7,520,033. The possible contender to the throne is Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is $32,000 from moving past Won The West into fifth place all-time-and who just set the two-season, all-time pacing record for earnings — doing so at three and four. As a gelding, Wiggle It Jiggleit stands the best shot of one day of taking over at numero uno.

7. Foiled Again’s seven, eight and nine-year-old seasons totalling $4,018,120 — $1,405,707 at 7, $1,207,429 at 8 and $1,404,984 at 9. He is the only pacer with three straight $1 million seasons. This might be untouchable.

8. Ron Burke’s 36,053 starts — almost 10,000 more than Mark Ford (26,523). And this doesn’t even count Mickey Burke’s starts before 2008. No chance someone surpasses this one.

9. Three freshman in one year over $1 million in 1990 — Artsplace ($1,180,271); Miss Easy ($1,142,322) and Die Laughing ($1,128,956).

10. Can this ever be duplicated? He’s the only horse to have over 100 wins over 400 starts and a sub-1:50 mark. Who is he? Tattlers Jet. He was 462 120-76-73 $326,429 with a 1:49.2 mark taken at age 12.

11. No matter what happens, the minimum nine-year gap from 2008-2017 represents the longest time that a new single-season earnings record has not been set. Gallo Blue Chip at $2.428 million in 2000 to Somebeachsomewhere at $2.448 million in 2008 is the current longest gap. Can anyone top this in 2017? Huntsville? Downbytheseaside?

12. The three richest pacing seasons for a freshman all were set in the 1980s and remain the high water marks — #1 Redskin $1,407,263 1986; #2 Nihilator $1,361,367 1984 and #3 Fortune Teller $1,313,175 1982

In summation, we know records are made to be broken, but Jack Nicklaus’ 17 majors appears to be safe for awhile. Michael Phelps has 28 medals and 23 golds — more than 96 countries have! Tom Brady’s 5 Super Bowls, Wayne Gretzky’s points and goals. How about Michael Jordan not only winning 6 NBA finals, but being MVP all six times! Only time will tell, but for now, these stars of the sport have elevated to a perch that most can only dream of — fewer can even sniff — and should be celebrated for a job very well done.

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