As we blog types chat about here - "great" is thrown around way too much in our game. If a horse wins some races, even if he is under the stick, or beating sub par horses, he gets the moniker. It is truly one of the most overused adjectives in our sport.
When a horse does something special is when we get a bit stoked that we might be seeing something worth talking about. For example, when the Beach won last year in 49 (easily) and set a world record, those who follow the game knew that something was up.
Well last night it happened again with Muscle Hill.
As we mentioned below while handicapping, this group of trotters is immensely talented. Rumour has it that earlier in the year a portion of Federal Flex was sold pro-rated at $2M. Explosive Matter (my pick against Muscle Hill last night... blush) was 5 for 5 and a world record holder. Hell, the one horse was a world record holder and he was a longshot.
Muscle Hill made them look like they did not even belong on the same racetrack.
Some history of the Breeders Crown for two year old colt trotters.
Deweycheatumnhowe 3 1°/1 1/1H 1/1H 1/2T 1/1 1:57.2 29.1
Time: 28.4 57.1 1:28.1 1:57.2
Two years ago - Donato Hanover.
4 7°/7T 5°/6 2°/HD 1/1Q 1/4 1:56 30
Time: 28 57 1:26 1:56
Three years ago - Chocolatier.
1 4/5Q 1/2 1/H 1/1 1/2T 1:56.1 28.3
Time: 28.3 57.3 1:27.3 1:56.1
2 4/5T 1°/H 1/H 1/1 1/3 1:53.3 28.2
A world record - in November! A back three-quarters in 124 flat. He beats millionaires like Dewey, Donato and Chocolatier by an average of three seconds. He goes faster than the three year olds do a race later on the card! Want to know when a horse is special? Watch Sears in the stretch. He is pretty much a statue. And he is beating some awesome stock in a world record effort at 35 degrees. In the words of a gambling friend "never a doubt."
Repeating at three and capitalizing on promise for a horse like this is a challenge. In fact, the Haughton-Hambo double is very hard to do. Young trotters who show that kind of speed can get tweaked (just ask Snow White). But if by some chance this colt realizes this potential and comes back strong I think we are looking at the first 49 sophomore trotter in our sport.
In a nice gesture, Jerry Silva in the winners circle last night threw his solid support behind trainer Greg Peck. Greg is not a well known guy in racing and when the syndicates get together they tend to want the horse trained by someone else - a big name. Silva, paraphrasing, said 'many people called about this horse but it was always with the condition of 'get rid of Peck'. We don't do business like that.'
In a year in which Somebeachsomewhere is trained by a car salesman, and Dewey was driven by a trainer, I can not believe that people still think like this, but they do. I admire Silva for saying that. We need more fresh honesty in our game.
I am a Muscle Hill fan. Are you?
Photo courtesy Harnesslink and the Meadowlands