It’s getting close to year-end voting time

Will the FanDuel Championships play any part at voting time?

by Bob Heyden

With a handful of stars taking on the older set in the year end FanDuel Championships (formerly known as the TVG), let’s take a look at some of the history of younger horses taking on their elders.

1. On Nov. 22, 1974 in the $50,000 Western Pace at Hollywood Park, 3-year-old pacing filly Handle With Care posted history’s first sub 1:55 mile for females with a 1:54.4 victory defeating older male rivals including defending HOY Sir Dalrae and world half-mile track record holder Armbro Nesbit. She was 19-for-28 on the year after starting her career with 24 straight and raced for 20-year-old Peter Haughton, the youngest driver in the field. The time equaled Albatross’ male mark set in 1971 at age 3.

2. Captaintreacherous was fourth going up against a tough group of older free-for-allers on Nov. 30, 2013 at the new Meadowlands which had just opened and it was the first stakes night at the new facility.  

3. What The Hill defeated the older trotting set in 2017 skimming the pylons for Dave Miller/Ron Burke a kind of “I told you so” mile for the only colt ever disqualified from first in the Hambletonian at the very same oval. 

4. Tactical Landing was the dominant 3YOTC in the latter half of 2018 and proved it beyond any doubt with a thrashing of any/all comers in the TVG, his career finale. His son Tactical Approach — from his first crop — will try to do the same.

5. Rainbow Blue beat older ladies in an open at The Meadowlands in November 2004. Many felt that effort, her first versus older, solidified her standing and eventual HOY status over idle Windsong’s Legacy.

6. In the 1988 March of Dimes at Garden State Park, the only 3YO in the field was No Sex Please who failed to get money. That race marked the very first time that every starter in a 10-horse field either had or would have a million-dollar career.

7. In 2001, the only meeting ever of what would be the richest ever male and female pacers — Gallo Blue Chip and Eternal Camnation — took place in the US Pacing Championship. Both were 4-years-old

and facing many rivals much older. Gallo Blue Chip was second to Goliath Bayama and Eternal Camnation didn’t get any money.

8. Albatross at age 2 would face older on several occasions and was voted the 2YOPC of the Year in 1970 for Harry Harvey.

9. ABC Freight, sire of 1984 Hambletonian winner Historic Freight, also bumped heads with older as a freshman for Clint Galbraith.

10. C R Kay Suzie beat older in the 1995 Breeders Crown and it didn’t hurt her in the balloting with a decisive HOY title awaiting. Lookout Victory was then able to win the 3YOFT that year in the Crown.

11. Muscle Massive competed versus older horses in the late spring and early summer of 2010, prior to taking on his own age in the Hambletonian and upsetting “Trotter of the Year” Lucky Chucky. I guess it didn’t hurt.

12. It was the same for Shiaway St Pat. In 1981, by design, Ray Remmen wanted his colt to be tested against older horses hoping it would help come crunch time, the first New Jersey Hambletonian. It sure did.


“There was not a lot of pressure in 2013 when Captaintreacherous tried this. He only got beat a couple lengths. That was a year with a very tough bunch of older pacers. He was fine, and at 4 he was too.

“I remember that night winning the TVG with Market Share from the outside post on the lead. I didn’t race him there much. If you looked at him, you probably weren’t that impressed. His gait wasn’t the best, but he was so darn fast.”

“Confederate is like Muggsy Bogues (smallest NBA star ever at 5’3”) out there, but competes like Michael Jordan. He is not like some of those much bigger stronger types, but he is so fast and keeps on going. I can’t think of a single horse who has passed him. It’s been a great ride. I’m going to be sad, heart-broken when he retires.

“Confederate has a little advantage over Captaintreacherous in this situation. With Captain, I had to race him or move him to the front as he was the huge favorite. Confederate is used to coming after horses and he loves it

“I still say Walner is the greatest horse I’ve ever driven. It’s such a shame that people never got to see what he really could do.”

Any regrets about not going faster than 1:46.1 this year with him?

“I never pulled the plugs and he was idling the last four, five pylons.”

Could he have gone faster?

“Yes, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea. You never want to go to the absolute bottom of the tank. You can’t be sure how they will race after that.

“When you drive a lot of great horses, you tend to take it for granted. I had Heston Blue Chip, Chapter Seven, Market Share, Captaintreacherous, American Jewel and horses like that all at the same time and at that moment, you feel this will happen every year. It’s only later you realize how it works, that is not the case. You have to appreciate it when it’s there.”


“I’ve twice been second in the TVG with a 3YO, Bettor’s Wish and then he won it at 4, and Niki Hill.

“I’ve waited all year to race Twin B Joe Fresh in this race. It’s a championship race and we want to take on the best. She’s built for this.”