by Bob Heyden
It’s now been 22 years since there was a repeat winner in the Horse of the Year race. Moni Maker was the last to do it in 1998 and 1999. Her 1999 earnings of $1,494,972 was a single-season record for female trotters that stood for 14 years until Bee A Magician bested it in 2013 ($1,547,304) en route to her Horse of the Year title.
Moni Maker also posted earnings of $1,229,828 in her first Horse of the Year season of 1998. No other horse — male or female, trotter or pacer — has won back-to-back HOY titles reaching seven figures in both seasons.
In fact, no other female standardbred has been
Her $5,589,256 in total lifetime has not been approached since by another female trotter.
Here’s one tough to beat
Four of the five Triple Crown winners in the 1960s raced more and won more often at age 2 than they did at 3 during their Triple Crown seasons.
1963 Speedy Scot
At 2: 14 for 19
At 3: 13 for 15
1965 Bret Hanover
At 2: 24 for 24
At 3: 21 for 24
1967 Nevele Pride
At 2: 26 for 29
At 3: 21 for 24
1969 Lindys Pride
At 2: 13 for 24
At 3: 11 for 17
Hambletonian starter that lived to 37
Hambletonian starter Waikiki Beach lived until age 37. The 1987 Hambletonian starter died the day he turned 37, in fact — Jan. 1, 2021.
Waikiki Beach had an interesting history. He was involved with two superstars — Mack Lobell and Varenne. Waikiki Beach was a stablemate of Mack Lobell’s in Chuck Sylvester’s barn and Waikiki Beach sired Varenne, the richest trotter of all time.
Full circle HOYs
What two HOYs were bred by the same farm where they later stood stud?
How about Donato Hanover, the 2007 HOY, that was bred and raised by Hanover Shoe Farms and later stood there, too.
Keystone Ore, the 1976 HOY, was bred and raised by Hempt Farms and later stood there, as well.
Debut at The Pomp after hitting $200 million
Long after Yannick Gingras reached $200 million in career driving earnings, he made his debut at Pompano Park.
This reminds me of Betting Line, who in 2016 became the only Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year to never have raced at the Meadowlands.
Late sellers that became stars
The following stars sold very late in at the yearling sales:
Artistic Fella sold next-to-last at the 2004 New Jersey Classic Sale, then went on to win $2.604 million lifetime.
Real Desire sold as Hip #655. He went on to be HOY in 2002. He won the Meadowlands Pace, the Breeders Crown twice and made the Hall of Fame.
Amity Chef sold as Hip #602. He went on to win the 3YOCP of the Year award and sired Miss Easy in his first try. She was the richest ever female pacer upon retirement ($1.777 million).
Sugarcane Hanover sold as Hip #648. He has two unique places in harness racing history. He won the 1987 Breeders Crown Trot at the Meadowlands — the first Breeders Crown race ever held there. Then he won the March Of Dimes Trot at Garden State Park on Nov. 17, 1988 in Cherry Hill, NJ — over HOY Mack Lobell and Ourasi.
Only harness racing can say this
Only harness racing can boast that a single race, the Hambletonian, will go for $1 million (as of the 2022 edition). Thoroughbred racing’s Breeders’ Cup is on year 38 this year.