by Bob Heyden
The trend is now winning once in heat events and coming out with the title. Check out some of the recent big events:
In the 2017 Little Brown Jug, Filibuster Hanover was second in the first heat at 7-1 then first in the deciding heat at 5-1.
In the 2017 Kentucky Futurity, Snowstorm Hanover was second in the first heat at 82-1 then first at 5-1.
In the 2017 Hambletonian, Perfect Spirit was third in the first heat at 11-1, then named the winner in the deciding heat at 7-1.
In the 2018 Hambletonian, Atlanta was just nipped a neck in the first elim in 1:50.1, then came back as the second choice ($6.40) to take the final.
Remember that others did this when the eliminations were the week before. Muscle Massive was 2-5 and third in his prep in 2010 and then won the final at 6-1 upsetting Trotter of the Year Lucky Chucky.
Alf Palema in 1992 was 15-1 and second before winning it all at 3-1 the same day.
Glidemaster was second at 5-2 in 2006 before uncorking a then Hambletonian best 1:51.1 en route to the Triple Crown at odds of 6-1.
Windsongs Legacy was the rare horse who won the Triple Crown and was not favored in either his elimination or final in 2004. The 8-5 second choice was third in the elimination, then a winner at 9-2 as the fourth choice.
Amigo Hall was third at 7-1 in 2003 then blew up the tote board at 27-1 in the final that year.
Q. Who was the last person not named Bill Fahy to drive Western Hanover?
A. Jeff Fout. He drove Western Hanover to victory on Oct. 10, 1992 in a $10,500 invitational handicap. (Western Hanover was 28 19-7-1 for the season with earnings of $1,844,315).
Remembering Shelly Goudreau
Thirty-six years ago this August, Shelly Goudreau had his fatal accident in California. He died the first week of September. The talented 34-year-old had a unique record that can never be duplicated. He was the only driver who had appeared in every million-dollar race contested to that point — all six. His only on the board finish was with Armbro Wolf, who was just edged out by 69-1 Land Grant for the biggest ever prize in the 1980 Woodrow Wilson ($2,011,000 purse).
The Meadowlands opened on Sept. 1, 1976. A crowd of 42,133 stormed the gates to welcome nighttime harness racing to New Jersey. Ray Remmen won the first race with Quick Baron in 1:57.2. Rambling Willie took the later feature in 1:55.2. The all-time New Jersey betting handle on track was smashed by the fifth race — $1,363,014 was the record going into the night. By 11:15 that night, only seven races had been run. Forty-nine drivers were on the card. That same night, Yonkers drew 11,783 and Freehold had an attendance of 2,951 that day.
Roosevelt Raceway opened on Long Island, NY on Sept. 2, 1940. It rained all the last week of August and a horse shortage was alleviated due to the rain delays. Approximately 8,000 fans showed up for the opener. A total of $40,862 went through the windows on night one, which was the introduction of nighttime harness racing to the Metropolitan area.