The battle for HOY honors will heat up over the next five weeks and explode on November 30 when and if The Captain and Bee race in the TVG Final and Moni Maker, respectively. It’s appropriate that Bee A Magician finish her undefeated campaign in the Moni Maker because that one took HOY honors twice during a five-year stretch in the late 1990s when mares won that title four times in five years. Continentalvictory and CR Kay Suzie are the other two fillies that won it.
The year that best parallels 2013 is 1998 when five-year-old Moni Maker beat out sophomore trotting champ Muscles Yankee by a vote of 125 to 90. While Muscles won the Hambletonion, BC, Yonkers Trot, Stanley Dancer and a few others, following a path that would lead to HOY honors in a typical year, Moni Maker spent much of her season in Europe, winning such prestigious stakes as the Elitlopp, and she also won the BC and Nat Ray in NA. She won 11 of 16 starts and more than 1.1 million dollars. Milestone voting is very important; it has been a major factor in Foiled winning his division the last couple of years as he chased and finally surpassed Gallo’s earning’s mark. In 1998 Moni Maker was closing in on the three million dollar mark. Any bias in favor of potential stallions that some believe exists in the mind of voters was overcome in 1998.
In 1981, when Fan Hanover was voted HOY in the US and Canada, there was no competition to speak of from sophomore pacing colts. She received 133 votes while the four-year-old pacer Royce was second with only 20. Conquered, who won the Pace, Confederation Cup and Matron, was tied with Eastern Skipper, who won the James Dancer and the Clark, with seven votes each. Fan was in the right place at the right time on Jug Day, and she cleaned up in the traditional filly stakes.
Beating the boys goes a long way for a filly or mare in search of the highest honor. That was the case in 1996 when Continentalvictory won HOY off of her win in the Hambletonion. The top sophomore pacer that year was the Jaguar Spur gelding, Hot Lead, who won the Pace. The previous year CR Kay Suzie failed to win the Hambletonion when she broke stride in her elimination heat, but she crushed the boys from the outside post by seven lengths in the Yonkers Trot. She was the first filly in 39 years to win that race. Moni Maker, Fan, Continentalvictory and Suzie all have beating the boys on a big stage in common.
Another mare who won HOY honors off of the way she beat up on the boys is Fresh Yankee. She won in 1970 at age seven, the year she won the Roosevelt International, Elitlopp, Challenge Cup and UN Trot. She beat her male counterparts in all of those races. 207 votes were cast that year and the daughter of Hickory Pride received 110 of them. The competition was brutal; it consisted of Timothy T, who won the Hambletonion and Kentucky Futurity; Most Happy Fella, who won the Jug, Cane, Messenger and Adios, among others; and two-year-old Albatross, who won 14 of 17 starts for Harry Harvey. The voters certainly didn’t privilege the stallion prospects over the mare in 1970.
In 1974 when Delmonica Hanover was voted HOY she beat the boys in the Prix d’Amerique, Roosevelt International and Titan Cup. And in 1958 when Emilys Pride won she beat the boys in the Hambletonion. Right or wrong, that’s the way it has been during the last sixty-five years: the fillies and mares that achieve HOY status beat the boys.