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Fan Guide

Superstars and Legends


Harness racing has produced countless equine stars, from yesteryear to the reigning Horse of the Year. Here is just a sampling of some of history’s most legendary pacers and trotters.

Dan Patch

Dan Patch An unmatched celebrity in his time, Dan Patch set many records and never lost a race. In 1905, he set a record of 1:55-1/4 at Lexington, Ky., a new world mark for pacers that stood for 33 years. Glorified with memorabilia and merchandise, Dan Patch was America’s most famous athlete, human or equine, at the turn of the 20th century. He earned money even after his racing career ended by traveling the country, making public appearances for his adoring fans as the “King of the Pacers.” He is featured in the book, Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America, by Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Charles Leerhsen.

Bret Hanover Bret Hanover

A three-time Horse of the Year from 1964 through 1966, Bret Hanover was one of the greatest pacers ever to look through a bridle. He won 62 of 68 races, including the Pacing Triple Crown: the Cane Pace, Messenger Stakes and Little Brown Jug. He retired as the fastest and richest Standardbred of all time, and as a stallion, was one of the most in-demand sires of his day. He is often considered one of the top stallions and broodmare sires of the 20th century.

Niatross

Niatross Niatross won Horse of the Year in 1979 and was considered “America’s Super Horse.” At 3, he won the 1980 Pacing Triple Crown and another Horse of the Year title. He was the first horse to top $2 million in earnings, and in 1980 he beat the existing world record for pacers by nearly three seconds when he time-trialed in 1:49.1. Considered by many to be the greatest Standardbred in history, he was also a successful stallion, having sired two Little Brown Jug winners in his first two crops.

Moni Maker

Moni Maker One of the greatest trotters ever, Moni Maker was named Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999. She competed both in the United States and in Europe successfully, and retired as the richest female horse of any breed with $5,589,256 in purse earnings. She set records both in harness and under saddle, toting famed jockey Julie Krone around Lexington’s Red Mile in a record mile of 1:54.1.

The Best and Brightest

Famous drivers Drivers are the stars of harness racing. The most famous driver is John Campbell, who has won more than $250 million in purses and was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame at the age of 35. Dave Palone has won more than 12,000 races in his career. Tim Tetrick holds the record for wins (1,189) and earnings ($18.3 million) in a single season. Ron Pierce is also a Hall of Famer, and Brian Sears is perennially one of the top drivers at The Meadowlands.

While drivers are in the spotlight, some very talented trainers are sending out top racehorses year after year. Ron Gurfein and Bob McIntosh are both members of the Hall of Fame. Jimmy Takter has won many major stakes, including the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug. He also trained top trotting mare, Moni Maker. And George Teague Jr. conditions some of the top stakes horses every year.