The Living Horse Hall of Fame nominating committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the results of recent balloting to determine the 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame.
Annual members (in good standing) voted for the two horses they felt best exemplified greatness. Their choices are racehorses Donato Hanover and Precious Bunny. The other nominees were Fool's Goal, Real Desire and SJ's Photo. Also entering the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2014 will be broodmare Hattie, having met the required criteria for induction (see below).
Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny and Hattie will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday (July 6). The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred horses will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit http://www.harnessmuseum.com/ or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845.294.6330.
Standardbreds are only eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade if they comply with the following strict criteria: They must be retired from racing for five years and had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have won 75 percent of their lifetime starts, or gone undefeated in a single season campaign of 12 or more races, or been the winner of $3 million lifetime or named Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada).
Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading money-winning sires at their gait or have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners or been a leading money-winning sire at his gait in three or more seasons.
Broodmares are automatically elected if they have produced a $1 million winner and two other winners of $500,000 or produced a Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada) and another $500,000 winner.
The 2014 Living Horse Hall of Fame inductees
2007 Hambletonian Stake winner and Horse of the Year Donato Hanover was the first trotter in history to earn more than $2 million in a single season. Foaled on May 3, 2004, he raced in 2006-2007 and never finished off the board, compiling a career record of 22-19-1-2. He is currently the fourth-leading single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time.
In 2006, 2-year-old Donato Hanover finished third in his career debut, but would win his remaining eight starts. The freshman earned $662,587 and was voted 2-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year. Major victories included the Peter Haughton Memorial (in a stakes record 1:55) and Breeders Crown.
As a 3-year-old in 2007, Donato Hanover would extend his winning streak to 19, remaining undefeated until his last two races in November. Major victories that year included the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Hambletonian Stake, World Trotting Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity. Donato Hanover earned $2,336,190 that year, and became the first trotter in the history of the sport to surpass career earnings of $2.5 million during his 3-year-old season. He broke the single-season moneywinning record for a trotter by well over $400,000 and was voted 2007 Horse of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Donato Hanover held the record for the fastest trotting mile on a mile track (1:50.1) and co-owned the record for fastest two-heat trotting race on a mile track (3:41.2).
As a sire, Donato Hanover has produced winners of more than $12.6 million, including 2011 2-year-old Filly Trotter of the Year and Breeders Crown winner Check Me Out 3,1:51.2 ($1,903,795).
1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny was foaled on May 6, 1988. At the time of his retirement, he ranked as the number one single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time (currently ranked ninth) and the fifth-leading moneywinning pacer of all time. Precious Bunny raced from 1990-1991 and had a lifetime record of 39-21-5-4.
As a 2-year-old in 1990, Precious Bunny had 14 starts, winning a New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finishing the season with a record of 1:57.2 and $63,920 in earnings.
In 1991, 3-year-old Precious Bunny won 20 of 25 starts, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace (setting the stakes record in the second fastest race mile in harness racing history and fastest mile ever under the lights), Art Rooney Pace (stakes record), Adios (tying the stakes record and the world record for fastest mile by a Standardbred on a five-eighths-mile track, and setting the world record for a second heat by a Standardbred on a five-eighths-mile track-1:50.4), Little Brown Jug (in straight heats with an electrifying start in the first), Cleveland Classic (stakes record), NJSS final and Windy City Pace.
With his Cleveland Classic victory, Precious Bunny became only the second Standardbred to earn $2 million in a single season (Immortal Beach Towel-1990). He was the first to win two $1 million races in one season (North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace). Precious Bunny was voted 3-year-old Pacing Colt and Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada.
As a sire, Precious Bunny has sired North American winners of more than $50 million, with 181 in 1:55, 141 $100,000 winners and three millionaires, including 2001 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Bunny Lake.
Precious Bunny was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Sired by 1978 Horse of the Year Abercrombie, pacer Hattie was bred by Richard Staley and was foaled on February 9, 1992 in Wallkill, N.Y. Hattie raced from 1994-1996 and compiled a record of 57-8-13-17 with earnings of $266,623. Her major career victories included a division of the 1994 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington, and a second-place finish in the 1994 Breeders Crown.
The progeny that qualified Hattie for the Hall of Fame are 2004 Meadowlands Pace winner Holborn Hanover p,1:46.4 ($2,070,648); 2006 Western Canada Pacing Derby winner Hyperion Hanover p,1:49.1s ($1,156,789); and Hillbilly Hanover p,4,1:49.3 ($592,218).
To date, Hattie has produced six fillies and seven colts, with 13 starters and earnings of more than $5,313,000. She is currently performing her broodmare duties for Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pa.
(USTA statistics as of January 2014)(Harness Racing Hall of Fame)