David McDuffee may never top this

David McDuffee may never top this

September 22, 2022

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by Bob Heyden

Owner David McDuffee is likely Hall Of Fame bound one year soon. But I wonder if he has ever topped the weekend of Aug, 13-14 in 1994. He was five-for-five, winning two overnights at Foxboro, the

$747,400 Woodrow Wilson by a nose with Magical Mike, the Adios as a longshot with full brother Miles McCool and the Wilson consolation with Hawaiian Hole.


On July 24, 1996, Dixie Cheer lowered his own mark at Vernon Downs — the quarter-mile dash mark — to :24. Greg Merton drove the 8-year-old gelding who improved to $56,087 lifetime. He won by 4 and a half lengths.

It is now 26 years later and he still holds the record. How long will this stand?


Workaholic, the first Breeders Crown winner, was born 40 years ago (3/15/82). We are about two weeks from his milestone win in the first ever Breeders Crown, held at Lexington on Oct. 5, 1984. His yearling ad looked like this:

“Half brother to European champion At Risk 3, 1:59.4, the first 3-year-old to trot under 2:00 in Europe and winner of his first 17 starts. Family of Speedy Somolli world champion 1:55.”


You want points for honesty? This buyer sure gets them. I recently came across a resale slip from 74 years ago at Harrisburg. All slips carry the reason that such and such a horse has to be resold. Check this one out:

Hip #68 Bertie Schuyler: “Buyer bought more horse then he can handle.”


Yes, there was another trotting filly named Atlanta. She was born in 1883 and was sired by Attorney.

Several ownership transfers and she wound up the property of Daniel Hayes. Her first foal in 1888 was Alix, who became the fastest ever female trotter — 2:03 ¾.

Her second dam was sired by the thoroughbred Iowa.


In 1962, $928,740,959 was bet on the sport up 8.2 per cent from 1961. The attendance of 16,161,655 was up 6 per cent from the year prior.

Su Mac Lad was 8-for-13 and earned Horse of the Year honors.

There were 112 2:00 miles recorded 94 by pacers and 18 by trotters.

Matastar twice time trialed in 1:55.4 in an attempt to lower Greyhound’s record set 24 years earlier.

A Cs Viking won the Hambletonian for Sanders Russell who with a broken ankle had to be lifted in and out of the race bike.


If he makes it to the 2023 Hambletonian at age 61, it would be the same age as his brother John when he made his final Hambletonian start (2016 — ninth with The Royal Harry).

Jim is a one-time assistant to Glen Garnsey — but only after he assisted John in 1982 the year they won the Jug with Merger.

Run The Table, Tagliabue, Indian Alert, Jefs Eternity — it’s easy to forget some of Jim Campbell’s former stars because he is still so relevant.


He’s not 44 until December, but Mark MacDonald has reached the $100 million club. At the same age, Ron Pierce was at $54 million in 2000.

Still, MacDonald is a long way from his $300 first purchase of Jim Bob Skipper at age 13. His first two winners on the fair circuit at the very same oval Joe O’Brien won his first races in 1932 — St. Peters Matinee Track.


• Born 2/3/52

• 2015 Unsung Hero winner and Presidents Award winner.

• 1996 Canadian Trainer of the Year.

He campaigned:

• Twin B Champ — $437,235, 1:50.4 and the 2000 North America Cup favorite.

• Gothic Dream, a $27,000 yearling (sound familiar?) won the Metro equaling the 1:51.3 world record.

• Northern Luck, a son of Camluck, won $907,974 and was the 1:49.1 fastest ever nighttime horse (at 3) after winning the Tattersalls at the Red Mile.

In summation, set the world record at 2 with Gothic Dream, the world record at 3 with Northern Luck and the world record at 4 with Bulldog Hanover.


Taking us to where we are today:

1897 — Star Pointer TT 1:59.1/4

1903 — Dan Patch TT 1:59

1903 — Dan Patch TT 1:56.1

1904 — Dan Patch TT 1:56

1905 — Dan Patch TT 1:55.1/4

1938 — Billy Direct TT 1:55 (same week as Greyhound’s 1:55.1 on the trot)

1955 — Adios Harry 1:55

1960 — Adios Butler TT 1:54.3 (first HOY to do this (the award did not begin until 1947))

1966 — Bret Hanover 1:54 (first to do so in a race — Vernon Downs for a $26,000 purse)

1966 — Bret Hanover TT 1:53.3

1971 — Steady Star TT 1:52

1980 — Niatross TT 1:49.1

1988 — Matts Scooter TT 1:48.2

1993 — Staying Together 1:48.2

1993 — Cambest TT 1:46.1

2016 — Always B Miki 1:46

2019 — Lather Up 1:46

2022 — Bulldog Hanover 1:45.4

Notice the dominance of sire Adios from Adios Harry-Adios Butler and then Bret Hanover.

Direct Scooter (Sampson Direct-Noble Claire by Noble Victory) sired Matts Scooter and had trotting blood.

Here’s the copy from his 1978 ad selling as a 2-year-old unraced at Harrisburg:

“A quick and well-gaited individual who goes free-legged and worked in 2:14 before being turned out in May. Should make a very useful raceway horse. He is the second living foal of the stakes-placed Noble Clair 2:04 she a half-sister to the trio of stakes-winning fillies Lucille Eagle 2:00.1, Claire Sampson 2:003 and Jean Sampson 2:02.3 and to the dame of Noble Gal, 1:58.2.”

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