by Bob Heyden
There are 22 members of the $100 million driving club with Sylvain Filion likely to join the group this summer. He stands at just over $95 million in career earnings.
Of the 22 that have surpassed $100 million, Cat Manzi leads them all with 95,690 career starts. Tony Morgan is next at 84,934.
Of the active drivers on the list, David Miller and Tim Tetrick are the two leading money drivers. John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance are the leading money drivers among inactive reinsmen.
Yannick Gingras is about $800,000 shy of catching Cat Manzi and moving into the #8 slot.
Dave Magee with 70,119 drives will soon see Dave Palone surge by into the all-time #3 slot for career starts on the $100 million list. Palone is less than 500 away.
Palone is also tops on the list in terms of career wins with 18,233 career victories — 7,392 in the 20th century and 10,841 in the 21st century.
Jim Morrill, Jr. (37,482) and Yannick Gingras (38,368) are the only two among the top 22 drivers with fewer than 40,000 career drives.
Jason Bartlett is 25th on the all-time earnings list having landed in the top three in 2017 for the first time.
The following list is of great achievements in the sport of harness racing that came in bunches — bunches of five to be exact. Many of these are unlikely to be duplicated.
1. Adios siring five straight Little Brown Jug winners:
1958 — Shadow Wave
1959 — Adios Butler
1960 — Bullet Hanover
1961 — Henry T Adios
1962 — Lehigh Hanover
2. The all-time fastest Breeders Crown mile is 1:47 set in 2009 by a five-year-old named Won The West.
3. John Campbell broke the logjam at four with his fifth Hambletonian in 1998 with Muscles Yankee.
4. Jimmy Takter — likely with Manchego — will go after his record fifth consecutive Hambletonian Oaks in 2018.
5. Five Horse of the Year titles for Frank Ervin— done with just two horses!
1949, 1952 Good Time 1964, 1965, 1966 Bret Hanover
6. Five year olds went back to back in the Horse of the Year race for the first time ever in 2016-2017 as Always B Miki and Hannelore Hanover won year-end hardware.
7. 2018 marks five years since the last HOY won a race on Hambletonian Day, the longest ever such drought
2014 – J K She’s A Lady didn’t race
2015 – Wiggle It Jiggleit was fourth in the Cane won by Dealt A Winner
2016 – Always B Miki — part of a stellar field in the U S Pacing Championship — was unable to stall the late rally of Shamballa in 1:47.1.
2017 – H annelore Hanover was sent off at 20 cents on the dollar, but tired in the deep stretch to Pasithea Face, the French Jimmy Takter mare who grinded it out first over.
8. Five straight division titles for Peace Corps who won it each year from ages 2 to 6 (1988-1992).
9. Five times Mike Lachance drove the winner of a million-dollar race never having driven that horse before in a race:
1992 — Safely Kept NA Cup
1998 — Straight Path NA Cup
2001 — Mach Three Metro
2003 — All American Theory Meadowlands Pace
2003 — Amigo Hall Hambletonian
10. Five Breeders Crown driving wins for David Miller in Canada in 2015
11. Artsplace, during his undefeated 1992 season, had a streak of five straight different drivers that summer. Most notably, Cat Manzi, whose one and only assignment with the great Artsplace resulted in a 1:49.2 world record at the Meadowlands on June 20, 1992. The first to lower Nihilator’s mark of 1:49.3 in a race set seven YEARS earlier.
12. Valley Victory siring the winners of all five checks in a major trotting event — the 1996 Beacon Course (Stanley Dancer today) — with Lindy Lane-Act Of Grace-Continentalvictory, Pietro Pan and Mr Vic.
David Miller then and now
1981 — 30 4-2-2 .193 UDRS $1,891
1982 — 42 3-2-5 .164 UDRS $4,788
1983 — 6 0-0-2 .111 UDRS $1,203
1984 — 7 2-0-0 .286 UDRS $2,120
That’s — $10,004, combined, if you’re counting at home.
Since then, Miller is the only driver ever to:
• win with a Triple Crown and Breeders Crown winner (No Pan Intended).
• win five Breeders Crowns in one night (2015).
• defeat Muscle Hill (Homer Jay – 2008 NJSS).
• win with a female horse in 1:47 (Shebestingin).
• win with a male horse in 1:46 (Always B Miki).
• have 15 $10 million seasons.
• be the leading active money-winning driver.
• have a streak of four straight years of having a 1:47 or better race winner each year (2013-2016).
• win the Jug and 10 races the same day.