Digging deep on rich International Trot history
by Bob Heyden
The International Trot was contested at Roosevelt Raceway from 1959 to 1987.
Jamin won the first edition, and many remember the ‘Artichoke’ story associated with him generated by publicist Joey Goldstein. But many forget that two years later, Jamin, during the week of the third edition of the International, was lonely and was brought his own goat by Tina Louise, three years before she starred as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.
This year marked the 60th anniversary year of first era of the race and the 50th anniversary of Une De Mai defeating a pair of Horses of the Year in 1969 — Nevele Pride (1967-1968-1969 HOY) was second and Fresh Yankee (1970 HOY) was third. Une De Mai repeated as International champion in 1971 and when she was officially at Roosevelt in 1974 she was the richest of all standardbreds.
Ideal Du Gazeau won the Roosevelt International three straight years from 1981 to 1983, then was followed by Lutin D’Isigny back to back, giving France five straight International titles.
Of the 29 Internationals held at Roosevelt, the USA and France were tied with 11 victories each.
Su Mac Lad and Stanley Dancer became the first repeaters in the International, taking it in 1961 and 1963. Oddly, Su Mac Lad was the HOY in between International victories in 1962.
Peter Haughton won the last two Internationals he drove in — at age 23 and 24 in 1978 and 1979 with Cold Comfort and Doublemint, respectively.
Cold Comfort was to attempt a repeat in 1979, but a stall injury on the eve of the race necessitated his scratch.
The International used to be part of a three race package: The American Trotting Championship, Roosevelt International and Challenge Cup.
Armbro Flight was the 1965 Hambletonian runnerup and then the 1966 International winner. Delmonica Hanover and Savoir did the same. finishing second in the Hambletonian, then emerging victorious in the International. Savoir was the 1971 Hambletonian runnerup to Speedy Crown (the 1972 International winner) and then won the 1975 International. Delmonica Hanover was second to Super Bowl in 1972, then backed up International wins in 1973-1974, the second one proving just enough to vault her to HOY honors despite just a 5-for-17 record.
The 1972 International winner, Speedy Crown, interrupted a streak of what could have been nine straight female winners. Speedy Crown, the sires of the richest female trotter, Moni Maker, is still the #1 trotting sire by progeny earnings of all time with over $103 million made (Balanced Image at $102 million is second).
Norway and Sweden won the last two Internationals at Roosevelt (1986 and 1987), respectively and then it moved to Yonkers in 1988 when Mack Lobell proved the best.
Fresh Yankee was a six-time Canadian representative in the Roosevelt International.
Roosevelt Raceway averaged 19,000 or more in attendance for 15 straight years from 1957-1971 and over 20,000 a night 11 straight seasons from 1957-1967.
Five times at Roosevelt a driver won the International back to back.
Herve Filion never captured the International.
The 1965 winner provided a nice payout for the longshot players. $62.40 was the return for Pluvier III of Sweden before a crowd of 41,908.