by Bob Heyden
The following stubbed their toe once or twice, but they still were voted Horse of the Year. Let’s take a look at the rare down moments for these stars:
C R Kay Suzie in 1995 jumped it off finishing sixth at 10 cents on the dollar on Hambletonian Day. She still dominated from there and was an easy choice for HOY with a record of: 13 10-0-1, $910,535.
Abercrombie answered the call an amazing 33 times in 1978, so he can certainly be excused for any minor mishap. He was seventh in the Gaines at Vernon Downs on July 28 and eighth in the Jug final on Sept 21, but finished the year 33 22-6-3, with then-record earnings of $703,260.
Rainbow Blue was 20-for-21 in 2004 and edged out Triple Crown winner Windsongs Legacy for HOY honors. Her only blemish in a year in which she earned $1,195,010 came with an untimely break in the Mistletoe Shalee on Hambletonian Day.
Niatross missed a single check in two years falling over the rail at Saratoga on July 5, 1980 in the Battle of Saratoga.
Rock N Roll Heaven did not finish in the Burlington (now called the Somebeachsomewhere) in 2010 during his spectacular HOY season of 21 16-2-1, $2,156,192.
Gallo Blue Chip was last twice in 2000 — once via DQ — during his $2,428,816 record-breaking season (29 19-5-1). He was also seventh in the second heat of the Jug.
Moni Maker had afib in 1999 during the Titan Cup eliminations and was eighth, but went on to be HOY for the second straight season. She was 21 14-43-2 and earned $1,494,972 in her bruising 1999 campaign which saw her set an earnings mark that stood until Bee A Magician broke it 14 years later for a female trotter.
Beach Towel, in 1990, was the first $2 million single season (23 18-4-0, $2,091,860) but that lone blemish came in the North America Cup in which he finished last.
Shartin N missed the board from post 8 in a Matchmaker leg in 2019 during her HOY season.
Matts Scooter was 30 23-3-1, $1,140,994 in 1989 the last time any horse was named HOY with at least 30 starts. He failed to get any money at Hazel Park on June 10.
Fancy Crown in 1984 was 21 13-4-2, $701,189 and HOY. Her only blemish came in the Impish — her first start of the year for $11,800.
Cam Fella had two sevenths in 1982 at age 3 — the Spring Championship Final at Los Alamitos and then again in the Meadowlands Pace elims; April 23 and July 9, respectively — and then did not miss the board ever again.
Staying Together was 26 21-2-0 as a 4 Year Old in 1993 for Bob McIntosh, a strong HOY season which featured a 1:48.2 win in the Haughton final. He was seventh in the Tricentennial, his only missed check.
Precious Bunny in 1991 reset the earnings mark from Beach Towel the year prior with a 25 20-3-1, $2,217,222 year. He ALMOST missed a check in his last start, a fifth in the Provincial Cup final.
Mack Lobell was eighth in the 1987 World Trotting Derby during his HOY season. He started up late — on June 30 after a 20-start freshman season.
Real Desire was ninth early in the year of his 4-year-old, award-winning season of 2002 — his lone missed check. He finished 13 10-1-1, $1,059,790.
HOYs that raced in another barn the year prior
Albatross 1971-1972 – Harry Harvey to Stanley Dancer
Precious Bunny 1991 — Staffords to Bill Robinson
Artsplace 1992 — Gene Riegle to Bob McIntosh
Cams Card Shark 1994 — Mickey McGivern to Bill Robinson
Cam Fella 1982-1983 — from Doug Arthur to Pat Crowe
Abercrombie had a handful of trainers at 2 in 1977, then HOY in 1978 with Glen Garnsey
Keystone Ore only raced one year for Dancer and was HOY in 1976
Staying Together and Moni Maker both started elsewhere before landing with Hall Of Famers Bob McIntosh and Jimmy Takter, respectively.