by Bob Heyden
Where have I seen this before?
In the 2010 Meadowlands Pace, One More Laugh, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Ray Schnittker won by a head in 1:47.4.
In the 2017 Pace, Huntsville, driven by Tetrick and trained by Schnittker won by a head in 1:47.4.
Schnittker steps up
Who does Ray Schnittker think he is, Blair Burgess or something?
The first four Schnittker entered in the Hambletonian and the first two he has tried in the Pace have all been on the board.
In 1997, Armbro Plato was third in the Hambletonian at 40-1. In 2000, Armbro Trick was third in the Hambletonian at 47-1. In 2008, undefeated favorite Deweycheatumnhowe won the Hambletonian the same year Schnittker’s Make It Happen was third.
In 2010, One More Laugh won the Meadowlands Pace in Schnittker’s debut.
In 2017, Huntsville — bred and trained by Schnittker — was the odd-son favorite and scored over a hard charging Downbytheseaside.
Marion Marauder’s inner Speedy Scot / Nevele Pride
Marion Marauder, Speedy Scot and Nevele Pride were all Trotting Triple Crown winners. In 1963, 1968 and 2016. With Marion Marauder’s impressive start to his 4 YO season, it has evoked memories of those two great trotting Triple Crown winners of the 1960s and how they did at age 4.
In 1964, Speedy Scot followed up his strong sophomore award-winning season with a 14 12-0-0 $235,710 year and made a strong run at repeating as Horse Of The Year.
In 1969, Nevele Pride had already been twice named Horse Of The Year, and he also started 14 times. He won 10 of those with two seconds and a third, good for $222,875 and an unprecedented third HOY title for any trotter — ever.
(PS — Lindys Pride, the last trotter to win the Triple Crown and return at age four, did so in 1970. but didn’t fare so well: His record was:6 1-2-0 $9,431)
Another top trotter in a year of 7?
Walner, despite the late start on July 8, has looked every bit as dominant as ever this year. Years ending in “7” have been kind to young trotters:
In 2007, Donato Hanover, the Hambletonian winner as the favorite, took 19 straight and was voted Horse Of The Year.
In 1997, Malabar Man, the Hambletonian winner as the favorite, won the divisional title and Horse of the Year.
In 1987, Mack Lobell, the Hambletonian winner as the favorite, was the overwhelming choice for Horse Of The Year.
In 1977, Green Speed, the Hambletonian winner as the favorite, would probably have won the Triple Crown but was not made eligible to the Kentucky Futurity. He was the first and only trotter to be named HOY for the Billy Haughton stable.
In 1967, Nevele Pride couldn’t dominate the Hambletonian, yet — he’d do that in 1968. But, at two, the son of Stars Pride was perhaps the greatest freshman of all time with a 29 26-2-0 slate good for HOY honors — one he’d repeat at three and four.
In 1947, Victory Song posted a 12-20 season and became the first ever HOY — a trotter, of course.
Go fourth young man
If Walner goes on to win the Hambletonian, he’ll be the third winner of this Classic whose sire finished fourth in the Hambletonian himself — Chapter Seven in 2011.
In 1998, Conway Hall (fourth) sired 2004 Triple Crown winner Windsongs Legacy.
In 1988, Supergill (fourth) sired 1997 Horse Of The Year and Hambletonian winner Malabar Man.
Another Walner-Chapter Seven tie-in?
Chapter Seven holds the record for fewest starts for any Horse Of The Year (10 8-2-0 in 2012). Walner is going to try and do something not yet done — be Horse Of The Year without racing in the first half of the season. He started on July 8. Some who won the HOY title with late start-ups include:
Mack Lobell 1987 June 28 (Yonkers Trot)
Chapter Seven 2011 June 23
Real Desire 2002 June 1
Malabar Man 1997 June 11
Glidemaster 2006 June 10
Betcha didn’t know this…
That the Dexter Cup, for three straight years, went for more money than the Hambletonian — and it was not even close.
In 1967, the Dexter Cup went for $183,463 to the Hambletonian’s $122,650.
In 1968, it was $166,746 to $116,190 and in 1969, it was $174,455 to $124,910.
Happy 80th birthday Clint Galbraith
It was on Pace Night 2017 that Niatross’ record for earnings for a Triple Crown winner was finally topped, as Marion Marauder did so winning the Hambletonian Matturity. Until that night, Niatross was the only $2 million winning Triple Crown winner in the sport’s history. Clint Galbraith, the man behind Niatross, turns 80 on Saturday (July 22).
Galbraith’s best horse prior to Niatross was ABC Freight in the late 1970s, and his best after clearly was Call For Rain, the back-to-back Breeders Crown winner voted the best Older Pacer of 1988
Galbraith holds a very unusual distinction.
He appeared only once in a million-dollar Meadowlands Pace-, and it was the sport’s first ever, too, winning it with Niatross in 1980.
He appeared in only one million-dollar trotting event — and it also happened to be the first trotting event for seven figures — the 1983 Hambletonian won by Duenna. Galbraith drove Sea Chanty, who was fifth in his elim and ninth in the final.
Finally a quiz
Q. With the Hambletonian on the horizon, can you remember the race in 1984 when Delvin G Hanover paid a Meadowlands Hambletonian elimination record of $126? Who was the horse on the board with him in that race who was even higher odds?
A. Desert Ruler, third — in Ted Wing’s lone Hambletonian appearance — was 77.20-1.