by Bob Heyden
Yannick Gingras drives the top three horses in the Hambletonian Society / Breeders Crown poll — all trotting females. Could this set up a scenario where the Horse of the Year gets a much lower percentage of the vote? In 1975, Savoir was the HOY with just 27 per cent of the first place votes, which was good enough for the HOY decision over Silk Stockings. Machego, Ariana G and Hannelore Hanover may be in the position where they are divvying up the ballots amongst themselves.
Female HOY trotters through the years
1950 — Proximity $87,175 2:00.1
1954 — Stenographer $65,137 TT 1:59.1
1958 — Emilys Pride $118,830 TT 1:58.1
1970 — Fresh Yankee $359,002 1:58.4
1974 — Delmonica Hanover $252,165 2:00.2
1984 — Fancy Crown $701,189 1:53.4
1995 — C R Kay Suzie $910,535 1:52.4
1996 — Continentalvictory $1,178,360 1:52.1
1998 — Moni Maker $1,229,828 1:52.3
1999 — Moni Maker $1,494,972 1:53.4
2013 — Bee A Magician $1.5 million-1:51, plus a new single-season money standard for female trotters.
Dozen does it
Twelve wins is the most common number for a horse to be crowned Horse of the Year. Eight times the winners of the award has done it with 12 wins, in 70 editions, including last year Always B Miki 12-for-18 and three years back with J K She’s A Lady 12-for-12.
Who was the last horse to enter a season as the all-time leading money winner and then win his/her first HOY title?
Su Mac Lad in 1962. He was 13 7-3-0 $112,350 that season, but came into that season at $455,499 lifetime, just ahead of Darn Safe at $450,427.
Nothing average about these two
The two richest single-season performers all time among pacers — Gallo Blue Chip and Somebeachsomewhere —varied greatly in starts and money averaged during their award-winning sophomore seasons. In 2000, Gallo Blue Chip earned $2,428,116, averaging $83,959 per start. In 2008, SBSW earned $2,448,003 and averaged $163,200 per start, the high water mark for any pacer ever for a single season.
Speaking of above average
Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere, the two dominant sires on the trot and pace, respectively, gave us a big clue how they would do as stallions based on their success on the track. A look at the North American-bred horses who averaged over $100,000 start and you have not only a very short list, but you also have a wide gap back from this pair to the rest.
1. Muscle Hill — 21 starts $3,273,342 — $155,873 average per start.
2. Somebeachsomewhere — 21 starts $3,221,299 — $153,395 average.
3. Donato Hanover — 22 starts $2,998,777 — $136,308 average.
4. Deweycheatumnhowe — 25 starts $3,155,178 — $126,207 average.
5. Sportswriter — 14 starts $1,566,460 — $111,890 average.
6. Rocknroll Hanover — 26 starts $2,754,038 — $105,925 average.
7. Windsongs Legacy — 17 starts $1,744,644 — $102,626 average.
2009 Experimentals right on it
Stan Bergstein, who started the Experimentals in 1965 with both Bret Hanover and Noble Victory on top, did some extraordinary work on the list in 2009, two years before he passed away.
He correctly nailed the following — #1 Muscle Hill, #2 Explosive Matter, #3 Federal Flex and #4 Swan For All.
Last Saturday at the Meadowlands, 47 of the 109 horses on the card were driven by a “Miller”. The final tally was five wins and 29 checks, this coming the same night that Andy Miller left Freehold with a 7-winner day, just one off the October 1986 high water mark for the half-miler set by John Campbell.