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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Memorable Moments In Harness Racing Part 1

The Harness Racing Fan Zone is running a 100 Memorable Moments promotion. Dean Hoffman penned a definitive list of the sport’s most significant moments in a recent edition of HRU, and while many of these probably wouldn’t make the cut for that list, they are still noteworthy.

Oct 4, 1960: Adios Butler went the fastest mile ever with a 1:54.3 TT for owner Paige West at the Red Mile.

Dec 10, 1983: Cam Fella passed Rambling Willie as the sport’s all-time money leader, winning his final start—number 28 in a row—at Greenwood Raceway.

Nov 10, 1958: Dancer Hanover, by Adios out of The Old Maid, sold to Stanley Dancer for a record $105,000 at Harrisburg. It was the highest price ever paid for a yearling—standardbred or thoroughbred—in the United States.  

Aug 26, 1973: Armbro Nadir paced the fastest mile ever in Canada in the richest race ever held in that country when he won the $130,000 Prix d’Ete in 1:56.1 at Blue Bonnets. He topped the 1:56.3 mile Albatross recorded at Windsor.

Aug 4, 2012: Check Me Out and Maven both jumped on the last turn leaving 55/1 shot Personal Style to win the Oaks in 1:53.1 for David Miller.

Dec 1, 1978: Savoir retired as the richest standardbred ever.

Sept 18, 1971: Roger White was killed in a plane crash in Pennsylvania while traveling to Harrisburg for a yearling sale.

June 17, 1972: Romalie Hanover became the first filly or mare to break 2:00 at Pocono Downs—1:59.4.

Aug 31, 1985: Prakas became the fastest trotter ever when he won the World Trotting Derby for 24-year-old Per Eriksson in 1:53.2.

Sept 27, 1985: Glen Garnsey died in an automobile crash after leaving a horse sale in Lexington with his wife.

Aug 16, 1984: Nihilator won the two million dollar Wilson—richest purse ever—in a world record 1:52.4 for Bill O’Donnell, who drove him for the first time. O’Donnell earned a record 1.4 million in purse money that day.

Sept 18, 1974 Handle With Care equaled the world record of 1:57.4 in the first heat of the Jugette.

June 27, 2009: Well Said crushed the opposition in the North American Cup, setting a Canadian, stakes and track record of 1:48.1 for Ron Pierce.

June 6, 1941: The Daily Double was introduced at Roosevelt Raceway.

Sept 1, 2007: SBSW became the fastest 2-year-old ever with a 1:49.3 win in the Metro.

Oct 10, 1969: Lindy’s Pride completed a sweep of the “Big Five” as he won the $173,000 Dexter Cup at Roosevelt Raceway.

Oct 7, 1964: 2-year-old Noble Victory matched Scott Frost’s 2:00 trot mark at the Red Mile for Stanley Dancer. That record had been set ten years earlier.

May 14, 1960: Countess Adios won the Messenger for Del Miller.

Sept 23, 1988: Matt’s Scooter became the fastest standardbred ever when he TT in 1:48.2 at the Red Mile.

Aug 21, 2009: Lucky Jim made it 14 in a row with a comfortable win over Arch Madness in the BC Open at the Meadowlands. The 1/9 favorite completed the mile in 1:52.1 for Andy Miller.

Sept 26, 1970: The single shaft sulky made its debut at Monticello.

Nov 16, 1987: Mack Lobell became the first horse to hold world records on all three size tracks when he won the $442,000 Breeders Crown Trot at Pompano Park by 13 lengths over Napolitano for John Campbell. The 1:54.1 mile was the fastest ever on a 5/8 track, eclipsing Express Ride’s 1:55 standard.

July 16, 1955: Adios Harry matched Billy Direct’s 1:55 world record at Vernon Downs.

Oct 2, 1982: Fan Hanover TT in 1:50.4 at the Red Mile—fastest ever by a mare and second only to Niatross.

Nov 6, 1963: A bartender from Connecticut won a record $79,660.30 Twin Double payoff at Roosevelt Raceway.

Aug 10, 1973: Sir Dalrae matched the Roosevelt track record of 1:57.4 (BBB & Adios Butler) when he won a leg of the HTA USPC for Jim Dennis.

Oct 1, 1994: Pine Chip became the fastest trotter ever with a 1:51 TT at the Red Mile.

Nov 16, 1968: Nighttime harness racing made its California debut at Hollywood Park.

Sept 8, 2005: Stanley Dancer died.

Sept 19, 1996: Stand Forever set an all-age record of 1:49.2 at Delaware, Ohio for John Campbell.

July 22, 1972: Four-year-old Albatross failed to make the board for the first time in his career as he was upset by Nansemond in the Adios Harry at Brandywine. Track Record 1:56.1.

Oct 3, 2003: Silk Stockings died in New Jersey at 31.

Nov 19, 1971: More than $165,000 was bet on the first televised superfecta race from Monticello Raceway. The payoff for a $3.00 wager was a modest $1,097.

Aug 17, 2008: SBSW set a world record of 1:49.2 for a sophomore on a half when he won the Confederation Cup.

Nov 22, 1974: Delmonica Hanover, who ranked seventh all-time in wins with 46, was sold at Tattersalls in Lexington for $300,000, more than three times the record auction price for a trotting broodmare. She went on to produce Park Avenue Joe and Delmegan.

Aug 26, 1972: Albatross broke Bret Hanover’s two minute mile record as he notched his 32nd in the Canadian Pacing Derby at Greenwood—1:58.4.

Sept 16, 1978: Try Scotch paced the second fastest mile ever at Hollywood Park when he won the Nansemond Pace in 1:55 for Joe Lighthill.

Nov 29, 2007: Delinquent Account was euthanized when unable to adapt to the loss of her sight.

Aug 19, 1998: Albatross died at 30.

Aug 19, 1996: Delvin Miller died at 83.

May 8, 2008: Cat Manzi became the all-time leader in races driven—82,182.

Nov 22, 1961: There was a retirement ceremony at Roosevelt Raceway for the world’s greatest pacer, Adios Butler. Eddie Cobb drove the world record holder on one mile and half mile tracks to the finish line where groom Sylvanus Henry stripped his gear off, all but his shoes which he refused to give up.

Oct 1, 1980: Niatross eclipsed Steady Star’s nine-year-old 1:52 world record with a 1:49.1 TT.

July 27, 1975: Silk Stockings set an all-age world record of 1:57.3 on a half in the OTB Classic at Monticello for Preston Burris Jr. It was the richest stakes race ever.

Sept 30, 1995: Jenna’s Beach Boy won in a world record 1:48.4 at the Red Mile.

March 25, 1972: Isle Of Wight beat Albatross for the third time in three weeks as he won the Clark at Liberty Bell.

Oct 29, 1966: Romeo Hanover completed the Triple Crown as he won the richest harness race ever—Messenger—in 2:01 for George Sholty.

March 5, 1965: Stanley Dancer declared Speedy Scot to be the greatest trotter that ever lived.

Oct 25, 1967: After winning the Westbury Futurity with his prize two-year-old trotter, Nevele Pride, Stanley Dancer declared him to be the greatest trotter he’d ever seen.

Nov 30, 1985: Nihilator ended his racing career on a winning note by capturing the Breeders Crown for Bill O’Donnell in 1:53, paying $2.20 and $2.10. Of the $391,136 in the place pool, $386, 117 was bet on the winner. The Niatross colt retired as the richest pacer in the history of the sport, having earned $3,225,653, easily surpassing the $2.8 million earned by On The Road Again. Nihilator won 35 of 38 starts and was syndicated for $19.2 million, the highest syndication price in the history of the sport.
Aug 24, 1980: Niatross went the fastest mile ever in Canada when he won the Prix d’Ete at Blue Bonnets.
Joe FitzGerald

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