Horse of the Year potpourri

by Bob Heyden

The sport’s two leading farms, each have three Horse of the Year credits in the 21st century, so far.

Hanover Shoe Farms produced Rocknroll Hanover (2005), Donato Hanover (2007) and Hannelore Hanover (2017).
 Winbak Farms produced No Pan Intended (2003), Rainbow Blue (2004) and Muscle Hill (2009).

Only two

The only two horses to finish in front of the 2008 and 2009 Horses of the Year are Art Official and Homer Jay, respectively.

Art Official handed 2008 HOY Somebeachsomewhere his only career defeat (in the Meadowlands Pace). Homer Jay defeated 2009 HOY Muscle Hill by a neck in the latter’s first career start (in a NJSS event).

The Captain

Captaintreacherous, the two-time Pacer of the Year, and the only horse since Niatross to do so at 2 and 3, has vaulted past $10 million in progeny earnings and into the top five stallion-despite the fact that none of his offspring are older than 3.

Dynamic duo

This marks the 13th straight year that either Yannick Gingras or Tim Tetrick is leading the North America drive colony. In 2014 they combined with Horse of the Year J K She’salady to win the hardware. Gingras drove her in her first 10 starts and Tetrick was in the sulky for her last two.

Times are a changin’

Times are changing, indeed:

In 2012, Horse of the Year Chapter Seven had a record of 10 8-2-0, $1,023,025 for the year.
In 1978, HOY Abercrombie had a record of 14 10-3-0 just in August and September, alone.

HOY born in October?

This year will mark a first if Shartin N is voted Horse of the Year. The Down Under-born mare would become the first HOY born in October. She was foaled on Oct. 20, 2013.

Speaking of Shartin N, whose 1:46.4 career-best mile was the fastest on Hambletonian Day, if she is named HOY it will be the first time since Real Desire earned the honor in 2002 that a HOY posted its fastest career mile on Hambletonian Day.

Female HOYs

Females are 16-for-72 (22 per cent), as far as taking home the Horse of the Year award.

Batting 0.00 in HOYs

The following trotting sires who were voted Horse of the Year have never produced a Horse of the Year:

Muscle Hill, Nevele Pride, Chapter Seven, Donato Hanover, Glidemaster, Malabar Man, Mack Lobell, Green Speed, Speedy Scot, Scott Frost, Rodney and Victory Song.

Three times a bridesmaid…

… but then a Horse of the Year. Three times a Hambletonian runner-up has gone on to become Horse of the Year, but never in the same year. In 1946, Victory Song finished second in the Hambletonian, but won the 1947 HOY award. In 1971, Savoir was second in the Hambletonian four years before being voted HOY in 1975. In 1972, Delmonica Hanover was the Hambletonian bridesmaid two years before being voted 1974 HOY.

Name this horse…

He never was named Horse of the Year. He never won double-digit races in any one season, but he out-earned both Nihilator and Somebeachsomewhere in career money. Who was this iron horse?

Boulder Creek, who earned $3,425,857 lifetime.

The year 2003 was his winningest season 23 8-3-3, $263,548m but he had five bigger earning seasons.


Q. He’s a Horse of the Year trainer. He’s also the only trainer to have had a colt win two million-dollar races in the same year – twice — and neither time were they voted sophomore pacing colt of the year. Who is he?

A. Brett Pelling. In 2005 he had Horse of the Year Rocknroll Hanover. In 1995, his trainee Davids Pass won both the Pepsi North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace, but Jennas Beach Boy was voted the division’s best. In 1999, Pelling’s trainee The Panderosa won those same two races, but was edged out by Triple Crown winning Blissfull Hall.