Will any of these droughts end in 2020?

Will any of these droughts end in 2020?

February 9, 2020

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by Bob Heyden

Not a single Horse of the Year in the 21st century has taken a step on overseas soil. Will that end anytime soon? Moni Maker, the last horse to step overseas and be Horse of the Year, is also the last to repeat at HOY (1998 and 1999). Can anyone go back to back-or win it twice?

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No driver since John Campbell has won the Hambletonian back to back since 1988 (Mack Lobell in 1987and Armbro Goal in 1988).

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No pacing colt since 2003 has won the Triple Crown the longest ever drought for the pacers capturing the Cane, Messenger and Little Brown Jug. No Pan Intended was the last to turn the trick in 2003.

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It’s been 48 years since a conditioner has twice sent out a Triple Crown winner. Stanley Dancer last did it in 1968, 1970 and 1972. Can Paula Wellwood, Rick Zeron, Blair Burgess, Ivan Sugg or Ben Wallace do it again?

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It’s been 39 years since Fan Hanover became the only female to take the Little Brown Jug (1981).

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It’s been 60 years since Countess Adios took the Cane and the Messenger of 1960. No filly has won either since.

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It’s been nine years since See You At Peelers beat the boys in the Rooney valued at $307,734 in 2011. Can a pacing filly beat the boys for a bigger pot anytime soon?

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It’s been 55 years since a horse won 35 straight — Bret Hanover to start his career in 1964-1965.

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It’s been 30 years since a pacing colt was named HOY with the same driver/trainer. Ray Remmen in 1990 with Beach Towel.

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It’s been 20 years since a 20-year-old won a Breeders Crown — the youngest to ever do so. Popcorn Penny, guided by Ryan Anderson, won the sophomore pacing filly Crown.

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It’s been 45 years since the richest race ever held was won by a female. Silk Stockings won the $230,521 Monticello OTB Classic I. Note, six weeks later, the Hambletonian went for slightly more ($232,192) and a colt won — Bonefish.

50 years on…

Here’s just some of the big happenings in harness racing in 1970:

• The year marked the first father-son duo to each win the Hambletonian. John Simpson, Sr. won the Hambletonian with Hickory Smoke and Ayres in 1957 and 1964, respectively. In 1970, John Simpson, Jr. won with Timothy T.
• Most Happy Fella won the Triple Crown, making trainer Stanley Dancer the first to win it twice and the first to win it with both a trotter (Nevele Pride, 1968) and a pacer. No other trainer has duplicated this feat since.
• 35,465 horses started that year.
• John Campbell turned 15, and Bill O’Donnell turned 22.
• They raced for $89,280,537 in total purses, an all-time high.
• The betting leaders by state were: New York ($843,711,053); Illinois ($262,587,645); Pennsylvania ($161,272,223) and New Jersey ($88,009,764).
• Fresh Yankee was in the midst of her 56 straight races finishing 1-2-during her career. In 1970, she went postward 31 times with 20 wins and 11 seconds.
• The HOY ballot looked like this: Fresh Yankee — 110, Most Happy Fella — 49, Timothy T — 29, Albatross — 10, Columbia George — 8, Fulla Napoleon — 1
• 1970 marked the 99th year of the Grand Circuit
• Albatross, the top 2YO in a landslide, banked $71,031 and was readying for his 1971-1972 HOY campaigns.
• Une De Mai ended 1970 as the all-time leader at $1,045,800 with the pacing side led by Cardigan Bay at $1,000,837.
• Steady Star time trialed in 1:54 as a 3YO. The following year he would set the all-time mark of 1:52 at age 4.
For the third time, the Jug went for six figures ($100,110).
• No one born in 1970 or later has made it to the Hall Of Fame until this year, when Tim Tetrick (born in 1981) was voted in.
• The Yonkers Trot was still called the Yonkers Futurity.
• Grandpa Jim was in the middle year of taking three straight Maple Leaf Trots.
• Herve Filion led the way in earnings at $1,647,837, with Del Insko next at $1,330,737.
• The top six money-winning drivers in 1970 were the same six as in 1969: John Chapman 6-6, Del Insko 1-2, Carmine Abbatiello 4-4, Stanley Dancer 5-2, Billy Haughton 3-3, Herve Filion 2-1. Filion led in victories at 486 to 295 for Carmine Abbatiello.

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