by Bob Heyden
There are striking similarities between David Miller in the Pepsi North America Cup and Billy Haughton in the Hambletonian.
Miller won his first North America Cup in his third decade of trying (2016 – Betting Line).
Haughton won his first Hambletonian is his third decade of trying (1974 – Christopher T).
Miller was already in the Hall Of Fame when he won his first NA Cup (2014 inductee).
Haughton was already in the Hall Of Fame when he won his first Hambletonian (1968 inductee).
Miller turned 52 last December and will turn 53 this year in his second Cup-winning year (Fear The Dragon).
Haughton turned 51 the year he won his first Hambletonian, 53 when he won his second two years later (Steve Lobell — 1976) and 54 when he tripled up with Green Speed in 1977.
When Haughton won his fourth and final as a driver in the Hambletonian of 1980 with Burgomeister, he was second to Herve Filion on the all-time earnings list at that point.
When Miller won his most recent NA Cup with Fear The Dragon, he was on the doorstep of Ron Pierce and about to move into the runner spot behind only John Campbell.
All American night?
U.S. trainers Brian Brown, Ray Schnittker and Brian Brown again grabbed the three top money sports in the NA Cup.
Also, for the fifth straight year, a U.S. born driver has taken home the hardware.
In 2013, it was Tim Tetrick, followed by Brian Sears in 2014, Tetrick again in 2015 and David Miller in 2016 and 2017.
This after 23 of the first 29 NA Cups went to a Canadian-born driver.
Father’s Day weekend
Father’s Day weekend was a good one for the Zerons, as Scott and dad Rick finished 1-2 in the $251,000 Goodtimes Final. By my calculations, this is the third richest father son 1-2 finish, the other two coming in Triple Crown races and with dad coming out on top both times.
In the 1977 Cane Pace, Jack Kopas won over John Kopas as Jade Prince held off stablemate Nat Lobell at Yonkers.
In the 1980 Hambletonian, Billy Haughton won over son Tommy (with the horse Peter picked out) Burgomeister over Final Score.
First, it was a nose — a vote of 73-72 that saw her finish second to the Triple Crown winning Marion Marauder in 2016 for the Trotter Of The Year award. Now Hannelore Hanover wins on NA Cup Night by three-and-a-quarter lengths. What is the significance of this?
All the other stakes on last Saturday’s Mohawk card, added together, were won by a combined two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Pelling is back
Brett Pelling, for the first time since early in 2006, is back and listed as a trainer in the third at the Meadowlands tonight.