by Bob Heyden
Tuesday night (Sept. 5) the first and last race at Yonkers had dead heats for win.
The 2017 Yonkers Trot and the Messenger were both decided by a nose, as well as the Lady Maud, making the three richest races on the Sept. 2 card ALL that close.
Brian Sears doubled up in the Messenger with Downbytheseaside and the Flight Angel in the Yonkers Trot. This came two months after Sears’ Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, and 13 years to the weekend of his driving the very first sub-1:50 freshman Rocknroll Hanover to a 1:49.4 score in the Metro for Brett Pelling.
Sears has two more chances at a Triple Crown race before he turns 50 in January of 2018 — the Jug and the Kentucky Futurity. Can you remember which horse Brian drove in his initial Jug assignment? It was Eicarls Rum And Coke, who was sixth in 1995.
Meanwhile, Sears’ nose victory in the Messenger was no big deal compared to the 1969 edition when driving brothers Stanley and Vernon Dancer finished a nose apart at the wire with Bye Bye Sam and Tempered Yankee, respectively, despite being sixth and eighth at the top of the stretch.
With Flight Angel winning the Yonkers Trot from the second tier, it evoked memories of the 1966 Little Brown Jug, when in the first heat Romeo Hanover won from post 6, but both the place and show finisher started in the second tier. Good Time Boy for Jimmy Larente from post 11 and Silent Byrd for Vernon Dancer from post 10. This was a 12-horse field won in straight heats by Romeo Hanover.
Ladies Night at Yonkers
And on a Triple Crown Night, no less. Female conditioners had over half of a Triple Crown race field — the 2017 Yonkers Trot. Julie Miller was 1-3-6, Nancy Johansson was fifth and Annette Lorentzon ninth in this nine-horse field. five of the nine starters. Linda Toscano, not to be outdone, then went 1-3 in the Lady Maud two races after the Yonkers Trot.
Record miles 24 minutes apart
In Toronto in 2004, Cabrini Hanover and Rocknroll Hanover posted the fastest ever freshman miles 24 minutes apart when filly Cabrini Hanover posted a 1:51 scorcher with Mike Lachance, followed by Rocknroll Hanover’s 1:49.4 world record. It was especially historic for Cabrini Hanover’s trainer Jimmy Takter, who, on the very same weekend had his sophomore colt Tom Ridge become the sport’s fastest trotter with a 1:50.2 world record mile. Last year, Takter sent out history’s fastest standardbred when Always B Miki seat a 1:46 world record.
Youth on the Jug menu again?
In 2012, Scott Zeron was 23 when he won the Jug with Michaels Power. In 2015, Montrelle Teague was 24 when he won the Jug with Wiggle It Jiggleit.
That makes them the only two drivers to win the Jug prior to their 25th birthdays.
John Campbell was 27 when he won his first of three Jugs in 1982 with Merger. Mark MacDonald was 27 in 2006 when he made his Delaware, OH debut a winning one with Mr Feelgood and Hall Of Famer Del Cameron was 27 in 1951 when he won the Jug with Forbes Chief.
Doug McNair, Matt Kakaley, Marcus Miller and Zeron could all continue this youth movement in 2017.
No Jet Lag here
In 1999, Jet Laag with Luc Ouellette driving for Linda Toscano, won the Senior Jug in a world record 1:49 on Sept. 19, then came back four days later to win the Magical Mike in 1:50.1.
Herve and Campbell
You don’t normally think of Herve Filion and John Campbell as trainers, but both trained their first Jug winner — Filion in 1971 with Nansemond and Campbell in 1982 with Merger.
Q. When was the first pacing Triple Crown race held on a mile track?
A. In 2015, Dealt A Winner — with David Miller driving for Mark Silva — won the Cane Pace at the Meadowlands in 1:47.3. It still stands as the fastest Triple Crown race ever.
Q. Tom Artandi won his first two times in the Jug with B Js Scoot in 1988 and Matts Scooter in 1989. Many forget he won the 1990 Jugette, as well. Can you name the filly?
A. Lady Genius.
Holloway’s speed demons
Check out this Joe Holloway stat. He trained the first ever 1:50 two-year-old — Badlands Hanover (in 1998); the fastest three-year-old filly of all time — Shebestingin in 1:47 flat; the first horse to win in 1:47.3 — Jennas Beach Boy in 1996 and trained Always B Miki for a big chunk of his career.