by Bob Heyden
The one and only time the following has happened:
• Brian Sears twice won the Horse Of The Year with an undefeated horse — 2009 with Muscle Hill 12-for-12 and 2013 with Bee A Magician 17-for-17. Nobody has ever matched this.
• Susan Looney winning a Meadowlands race at age 16 (in June, 1984, with One For All). This might last into eternity with the driver age rule hiked.
• Only one female has won a trotting event in sub-1:50 time — Hannelore Hanover. Only one female has lost a trotting event timed in sub-1:50 while doing so. Shake It Cerry was a long nose behind J L Cruze in 2015 during his epic 1:49.4 score.
• Only one trainer has had the HOY on two continents in the same year. In 1997, Jimmy Takter had Malabar Man in the U.S. and Kramer Boy in Sweden.
• Only once has a horse won the richest race of all time twice — the second one being a million-dollar event — Niatross won the $862,750 Woodrow Wilson in 1979 and the $1,011,000 Meadowlands Pace in 1980, the first seven-figure event in the sport’s history..
• Only once has a horse at the Meadowlands won a maiden race twice. It happened on April 20 and 24, 1978 with New Lew and Lew Williams. New Lew was eligible at the time of entry, a rule that was then quickly amended.
• Only one driver — not counting Hall Of Fame races strictly for Hall Of Fame drivers — won a race at the Meadowlands at 74 years 7 months old. Terry Morgan did just that on Friday, March 9, 2018, going wire-to-wire at 36-1. Morgan was born right smack in the middle of WWII (August 15, 1943).
• Only one Trotting Triple Crown winner has banked over $2 million — Marion Marauder. His 5th birthday was Tuesday, March 13. Note that the first six Trotting Triple Crown winners all lived until at least 28, with the average length of life a touch under 30 years of age.
• March 16, 1979 was the one and only time a horse was claimed for $100,000. Thomas Fay of New Hampshire claimed Taurus Romeo for that amount at the Meadowlands.
• Only one horse in the past half century — Rambling Willie — has twice been the richest pacer ever. How? He entered 1980 as the pacer with the biggest bankroll ever, but a horse called Niatross came in and had a lot to say about it, thus becoming the richest and the first $2 million winner. But Willie was to race 3 more years, and at age 13, in 1983, he caught Niatross in the fall to re-establish himself as the richest pacer, only to watch a streaker by name of Cam Fella pass them both on Dec. 10 of that same year.
• Elsie Berger, who started Niagara Acres in 1947, was downsizing her broodmares in the mid-1970s. She decided to keep just one mare — Niagara Dream — the dam of Niatross. This coming after Niagara Dream had a couple of solid performers — Minute Ms and Best Bizarre. The first time she paired her lone mare with Albatross — whose fee at the time was $5,000 — BINGO, Niatross arrived. My guess is that this is the main reason that, later on, Albatross’ stud fee zoomed to an industry all time high of $75,000.
• The one and only time Cat Manzi drove Artsplace he set the world record of 1:49.2 — seven years after Nihilator established the mark of 1:49.3 on Hambletonian Day. Cat is the all-time leader in drives, with over 95,000, making this even more of a statistical oddity.
Jimmy Takter is the one and only trainer to have three straight Horses Of The Year with two different horses. He did this in 1997 with Malabar Man and 1998-1999 with Moni Maker. Takter has also been first or second each of the past three seasons — Pinkman was the runnerup in 2015 runnerup, Always B Miki was the 2016 winner and Ariana G and Manchego were second and third, respectively to Hannelore Hanover in 2017.
• Only Hall of Famer Dave Magee could say that he appeared in exactly one Hambletonian. He was sent off as the 9-5 favorite with Dreamaster — who won the Beacon Course/Dancer the week before — and finished fifth the very same year he was inducted into the Hall!
• My Field Marshal and He’s Watching have now made Art Major the one and only stallion who can say he’s sired a sub-1:47 winner in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere — 1:46.9 for the 6-year-old Down Under bred My Filed Marshal — a new mark there — and He’s Watching, whose 1:46.4 in the Meadowlands Pace still stands as the fastest ever Pace in 41 editions
• Five-year-olds, for the first time, have been named Horse of the Year in back-to-back years —Always B Miki in 2016 and Hannelore Hanover in 2017.
• Hannelore Hanover is the only trotter that won the Horse of the Year award and has a sub-1:50 record (1:49.2 at Red Mile).
• Walter Case, Jr. is one of four drivers to win more than 1,000 races in a single season. But Case is the only one to do it with fewer than 3,000 starts — in 1998 he had 2,993 starts.
• From Western Dreamer to Keystone Velocity, Western Hanover sired a Triple Crown winner with his very first crop (1997) and a division winner and a 1:47.3 winner with his very last crop-Keystone Velocity.
Captaintreacherous is the only colt to win the Woodrow Wilson in sub-1:50, doing so in 1:49.3 in 2012. It was the last edition of that race.
• Stephane Bouchard recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of his epic day from March 3, 2003. He won 11 straight drives — the last three at Freehold and the first eight at Yonkers. He is the only driver to pull this off.
• Brett Pelling is the only trainer to have won the Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup twice and neither horse was named the 3-year-old pacing colt of the year. In 1995, Davids Pass turned the trick the year Jennas Beach Boy won the division crown. In 1999 The Panderosa won the Cup and Pace, but the division title went to pacing Triple Crown winner Blissfull Hall.