Standardbred Canada has a poll up asking who is the greatest trotter who ever lived. These questions are fun, but really it is impossible to compare a horse who raced in 1930 to today, is it not?
We had this question last year with Beach. Is he better than Dan Patch? Who the cripes knows; not me that's for sure. It's not like we can say we watched Dan Patch get hooked by a horse in 1903 and lose, while Beach getting hooked with Shadow Play in the Messenger and winning makes me think he is.
I like Beach and Muscle Hill. Love them. I think they are the two best three year olds of this generation, however that is as far as I can go.
Another thing that makes it hard to compare is longevity. Is Muscle Hill better than Peaceful Way? Probably, but hold on. She demolished boys and won way more money. Maybe he isn't.
It is a neat question though, because it makes us think of all the greats. People are generally biased in putting modern horses over older ones in these lists. I remember growing up and watching Gretzky and it was the same there with hockey players - "he ain't no Gordie Howe" people would say. Well ya, he was actually. For me there are five or six great trotters that I absolutely think were awesome and I would have Muscle Hill on the list. He is the best of the modern super-speedy trotter (one that reminds us of a pacer) and that means something. I would add Greyhound because he went 155 and 1/4th when that time was something bizarre, Mack Lobell for his pure speed and race record, Varenne for an absolutely unparalleled career and Nevele Pride for his pure speed and amazing run at two and three.
These horses were generational, or they lasted long at an extremely high level, changing the way we think of the breed forever. Just don't try and get me to separate them; because there is no way I can.
Greyhound in action. Wow. Fast forward to 1:11 for some really cool video of this great horse.
And present day. 150.1 under pretty much a hold. 99 out of 100 3YO pacers would lose this race.