It’s the 50th anniversary of Team Haughton’s greatest training season

by Bob Heyden

It’s the 50th anniversary of probably the greatest training season ever.

In 1974, Team Haughton, dad Billy and son Peter, had 88 stakes’ wins and over $3 million in earnings.

Of the seven $100,000 races in the sport that year, six of the seven were won by the Haughtons with three for Billy and three for the19- and then 20-year-old Peter.

Peter won:

The $150,000 Prix D’Ete.

The $117,095 Colonial.

The $100,000 American Pacing Championship. (Handle With Care thus became history’s first sub 1:55 winner beating the boys at Hollywood Park in 1:54.4).

Billy won:

The $160,150 Hambletonian. (His first, with Christopher T).

The $104,350 Adios.

The $100,300 L K Shapiro.

Along the way, Armbro Omaha became the first winner of five $100,000 races in a single season.


A major statistical oddity on Night #2 of the recently opened Hoosier Park meet. On Saturday (March 23) in race 4, a $20,000 claimer named I C Caviar was second for driver Marvin Luna and trainer Charles Stewart. The 13YO gelding is by Malabar Millennium, and was making his 315th lifetime start. His slate now reads 315 49-55-43 good for $543,474. The oddity? His dad was just 1-for-12 lifetime for 71G, and that one was the 2002 Hambletonian elimination, his claim to fame. Speaking of oddities, on Opening Night, an 18-year-old driver handled a 12-year-old horse. Wyatt Farmer with Bell I No, also hit the board, finishing third at 7-1.


We are a month out (April 28) from the 27th birthday for Gallo Blue Chip, who is now the oldest living standardbred Horse of the Year. CR Kay Suzie’s passing last year at 30, passed the torch to Gallo, who was not only the HOY 24 years ago, but was the single season money record setter at $2.4 million topped only by Somebeachsomewhere eight years later.


Can the winningest 2YO trotter combine with the winningest active money-winning driver to win the 2024 Hambletonian? Can Dave Miller breakthrough in the 25th anniversary year of his very first Hambletonian drive — 1999 getting no money with two also-rans (Supershade eighth and Big Z Crown ninth). Can Miller follow the Billy Haughton blueprint of not win in your first quarter century and then break the ice in your 50s? Haughton started in 1949 to no avail with Crossbow, and a quarter century later in 1974 at age 50 he did get it done with Christopher T.


World Champions were foaled everywhere in the year 2012. Consider that it was the year that Pinkman was born and he was so non-descript early on at 2 in 2014 he would be entered as Hip #1518 in the Harrisburg Mixed Sale. Taken out after he found his stride. To this day he is the single-season record holder for any Jimmy Takter trainee at $1.9 million in 2015.

• Homicide Hunter is now 6 years into being the fastest trotter ever, 1:48.4, not counting his Breeders Crown win at Pocono.

• Hannelore Hanover was born the same year as Homicide Hunter and she scorched the same Red Mile oval in 1:49.2 during her 2017 HOY season with $3 million, too.

• Wiggle It Jiggleit was the 2015 HOY and to this day is the all-time two-season record holder (2015-16) in earnings among all pacers at $3.9 million plus.

• Always B Miki, the 2016 HOY was the first to win in 1:46 and now the fastest sire ever to six Breeders Crown wins. He is the reason WIJI didn’t surge past $4 million for that illustrious 2015-16 period.

• Mission Brief, born on Leap Year Day in 2012, is the greatest 2-3YO trotting filly these eyes have seen. Try and find another female trotter at 2 and 3 who was the fastest of the age group, regardless of sex.

• JK She’salady ran the table in 2014 at 2 en route to HOY, and then, incredibly, was the Broodmare of the Year five years later.

• Freaky Feet Pete, born in 2012, was 32-for-42 at 2-3-4. Outstanding, especially doing so against two Horses of the Year in ABM and WIJI.


He’s coming off an epic season which saw his horses completely dominate the trotting scene. Now 65, Ake Svanstedt is looking to keep the ball rolling especially on Hambletonian Day where he’s already a two-time winner.

History says:

• Del Miller last drove in the 1982 Hambletonian at age 69 making a break with favored Arndon.

• Stanley Dancer was 65 for his Hambletonian finale in 1992 with Guardian Angel who was unable to make the final finishing fourth in his elim. 

• Howard Beissinger was 66 in 1989 when his Shogun Lobell was fourth in the dead-heat Hambletonian season. Beissinger was just 20 years removed from his debut in 1969 with Triple Crown winner Lindy’s Pride at age 46.

• Mike Lachance was 62 with Creatine in 2013, where he won his elim but was eighth with the big money on the line.

• John Campbell had three shots at it at age 61 in his finale in 2016 with longshots in the elims — The Royal Harry, Mavens Way, Hollywood Highway — and none went forward.

• Doug Ackerman was 63 in 1991 with Wall Street Banker who was eighth in his elim.

• Berndt Lindstedt was 66 in 2002 with Likely Lad, who finished fourth in the elim, but he took Choco Chip Hanover who hit the board in his elim and then was seventh in the final.


Last year, five winners were from their sires first offerings: Walner with Jiggy Jog S, Huntsville with Max Contract, Downbytheseaside with Bythemissal, Always B Miki with Grace Hill and Tactical Landing with Tactical Approach.


Can anyone top this? Pete Wrenn has the distinction of being able to say he was leading driver at nine different tracks. Is it even possible to eclipse that?


Will anyone younger than 22 years and two weeks ever again win a Triple Crown event?

Peter Haughton’s record from the 1976 Kentucky Futurity with Quick Pay has been approached just once, by Scott Zeron (23) in the 2012 Jug with Michaels Power.

Will anyone capture the Pacing Triple Crown, vacant since 2003 when No Pan Intended did it?


Answer in next column… Looking for the sire with the fewest career starts who has a HOY credit. So far, Swan For All at 11 8-2-0 with Hannelore Hanover in 2017 is a good start.