Trotting tidbits

by Bob Heyden

George Brennan and Brian Sears are the only two drivers to win the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks in the same year.

Brennan, who celebrated his 52nd birthday Saturday, did it in 2011 with Broad Bahn and Bold And Fresh. Sears turned the trick twice — in 2009 and 2013.

Triple Crown triple?

This year, Bob Baffert year will try to win the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown for the third time. Nobody in either racing breed not named Stanley Dancer has ever done this. Baffert is also trying to do so in a five-year span, the exact same time period for Dancer back a half century ago.
Baffert — 2015 American Pharoah / 2018 Justify / 2019 ???
Dancer — 1968 Nevele Pride / 1970 Most Happy Fella / 1972 Super Bowl

39th Hambletonian in NJ in 2019

The 39th edition of the Hambletonian will be held this year once again at the Meadowlands. In each of the last 36 years, the Hambletonian crowd was the meet’s largest, but not in year one and year two.

1981 — attendance of 20,677 was the 42nd highest crowd of the season.
1982 — attendance of 23,153 was the 14th highest crowd of the season.

Another Chapter?

Chapter Seven that is. He sired the 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta, and has the winter book choice this year with Gimpanzee. That would be a filly and a colt in consecutive years. The last sire to do this? Stars Pride more than a half century ago.
1964 Ayres / 1965 Egyptian Candor / 1966 Kerry Way (filly).
Then he waited a year and went back-to-back with colts — 1968 Nevele Pride and 1969 Lindys Pride and they both won the Triple Crown.

All or nothing at all

Don’t Let Em won last year’s Peter Haughton in 1:51.4, in dominating fashion. But, since then, he has broken in five or six starts with the other being another romp.

IN-eligible bachelors

(At least at the time they were)
NOT being eligible for the Hambletonian in back to back years did not prevent these two from winning their division with healthy bankrolls nonetheless.

2001 — S Js Caviar $1,198,490
2002 — Kadabra $1,215,496

Second Hall?

Only one “Hall” has won the Hambletonian — Amigo Hall upsetting in 2003. Chin Chin Hall will try to double that in 2019 coming off a freshman season of 7 2-2-1 $201,320. The flood of “Halls” more or less started in 1998 when Conway Hall finished fourth-then sired the 2004 Triple Crown winner Windsongs Legacy. (It was 65 years from 1933-1998 for any “Hall” to compete in the Hambletonian, the first being Prince Hall, who was fifth in 1933 (4-6-4))

Marcus Melander-The “G” Whiz?

Can he win with the three standout colts from last year — all with names beginning in “G” — Gimpanzee, Green Shoe or Green Manalishi S? There have been five Hambletonian winners past whose names began with a “G”.

1926 — Guy Mc Kinney
1935 — Greyhound
1977 — Green Speed
1991 — Giant Victory
2006 — Glidemaster


(Melanders’ trio combined for a 2018 slate of 23 16-5-0 just under $1.2 million)

What happened in year two, 1927?

The 1926 Hambletonian had a purse in excess of $73G. So, naturally, the anticipation was high for that and more in 1927. As of April, the estimated purse was $115G. But, as it turned out, only half as many (14-7) went to the gate with Iosolas Worthy winning in a race with a pot of $54,694. It took until 1950 —Lusty Song over Stars Pride — for the purse to actually vault past year one’s total.

Swede truth

This year can mark the sixth consecutive year that a Swedish trainer can capture a million-dollar race in the USA.
2014 — Jimmy Takter — Trixton — Hambletonian 
2015 — Jimmy Takter — Pinkman — Hambletonian 
2016 — Ake Svanstedt — Resolve — Yonkers International 
2017 — Ake Svanstedt — Perfect Spirit — Hambletonian 
2018 — Marcus Melander — Cruzaado Del Noches — Yonkers International 
2019 — Green Shoe, Green Manalishi or Gimpanzee in the Hambletonian would do it

The odd record of Wesgate Crown

Wesgate Crown was a $2,574,045 lifetime earner racing from 1993-1998. Yet, just $100,287, or 3.9 per cent of his lifetime bankroll, was earned in his sophomore season — 1994.


Which of these “fours” is the most impressive?
Jimmy Takter winning the Hambletonian four times with four different drivers, one of them himself?
Moni Maker from 1997-2000 being named “Trotter Of The Year” each season?
Stars Pride siring four Triple Crown winners in a nine-year span — 1964 Ayres, 1968 Nevele Pride, 1969 Lindys Pride and 1972 Super Bowl?