Heyden's Hambo By The Numbers

Published: August 5, 2010 07:15 pm EDT

With the Hambletonian just a few days away, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden has been busy digging up stats and notes about the Holy Grail of harness racing and he’s shared a number of them with Trot Insider


Here’s a “By The Numbers” look at some of the history of the famous trotting event:

0 - Never has a $300,000 or higher yearling won a $1 million race - or any Hambletonian. This year, Muscle Massive will attempt to become the first ($425,000). In 2004 two $300,000 and up yearlings hit the board. They were Cantab Hall (2nd) and Cash Hall (3rd).

0 - Never has a trainer won both the Hambo and the Meadowlands Pace in the same year. Ray Schnittker, trainer of Cassis and the trainer of Meadowlands Pace winner One More Laugh, can become the first.

1 - Brian Sears became the only driver ever to win the Hambo and the Oaks in the same year. He did it last year with Muscle Hill and Broadway Schooner. It resulted in a $1.566 million day for Brian Sears, the highest single earning day in history for any driver.

$1.1 million - That's the sales tag for Cameron Hall, which remains to this day the highest priced horse ever sold at public auction. She’s the dam of Hambletonian Oaks starter Ultimate Cameron.

3 - Ron Pierce is the only repeat winning driver in the Hambletonian Oaks in the past decade. He’s won it three times.

3 - Takter entrants in the 2010 Hambletonian. In 1998, Chuck Sylvester sent out four finalists and finished with 'double bookends' - first, second, last and next to last.

4 - The following four drivers, all Hall Of Famers and the four richest drivers of all time, each won their biggest race ever after being inducted into the Hall Of Fame:

John Campbell - 1990 induction – Glidemaster - $1,500,000 Hambo - 2006
Mike Lachance - 1995 induction - Mach Three - $1,123,400 Metro Pace - 2001
Ron Pierce - 2004 induction - Donato Hanover - $1,500,000 Hambo - 2007
Cat Manzi - 2002 induction - Mantacular - $1,629,500 North America Cup - 2004

4 - Chuck Sylvester is trying to win his 5th Hambletonian in his 4th different decade! He captured the Hambo in 1987, 1989, 1998 and 2002!

4 - Speaking of four, Chuck Sylvester had a big hand in John Campbell not winning four Hambos in a row. John won it in 1987,1988 and1990, but Chuck’s Park Avenue Joe won the dead-heat Hambo in 1989. That denied John, who drove race favourite Peace Corps, in what would have been his third straight en route to four-in-a-row.

5 - Temple Of Doom's lifetime winning percentage (1-for-20 = 5%) is lower than the sales tax in New Jersey.

6 - Last year, the three marquee events in New Jersey - the Haskell, the Hambletonian and the Meadowlands Pace, had winners (Rachel Alexandra, Muscle Hill and Well Said) with the same winning margin of six lengths. And just for good measure, Muscle Hill won the Peter Haughton the year before by - you guessed it - six lengths. And ALL were odds-on favourites, too.

6 - Trainer Jan Johnson has won six editions of the Hambletonian Oaks. That includes 17-1 shot Silver Springs in 2005. Her daughter, Springtime Volo, will try and make it seven for Jan in 2010.

10 - Ten different drivers won the Hambletonian in the last decade at the Meadowlands.

14 - Out of the 29 Hambletonians contested at the Meadowlands, 14 have been won by a driver born in Canada.

18.3 That is the average number of horses entered in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands since it debuted here in 1981. (24 this year)

22 - The number of years since Jan Johnson was the last trainer to win the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks in the same season. He did it in 1988 with Armbro Goal and Nans Catch.

23 - The number of years between favourites in the Hambletonian for Chuck Sylvester? It could very well be if Lucky Chucky is the post time choice. Mack Lobell paid $2.20 to win in 1987 for the exact same team of Campbell and Sylvester.

44 The number of years since a sire produced three straight winners in the Hambletonian. Stars Pride did it from 1964-1966. Muscles Yankee (Muscle Massive) will try it in 2010. Muscles Yankee sired the winner in 2008 (Deweycheatumnhowe) and again in 2009 (Muscle Hill).

50 Jimmy Takter turns 50 at the end of next month.

59 - Mike Lachance (12/16/50) at age 59 is two months older than Roger Hammer was in 2005 when he won the Hambo with Vivid Photo.

94-63-6 - That was the balloting in 2009 for the top three Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts of the Year. All three (Lucky Chucky, Pilgrims Tag and Holiday Road) are in the Hambletonian.