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ryanxpress
08-23-2009, 09:11 AM
Niatross,Nihilator,Forrest Skipper,Somebeachsomewhere,Cam Fella?

MiJan
08-23-2009, 11:22 AM
That is a tough one. Somebeachsomewhere is an excellent horse under today's equipment and surfaces. But, one wonders how much better Niatross would have been with today's bikes and surfaces.

With those conditions as a factor - Niatross wins my vote.

TimesTheyRAChangin
08-23-2009, 12:25 PM
Dan Patch

pandy
08-23-2009, 12:53 PM
Niatross,Nihilator,Forrest Skipper,Somebeachsomewhere,Cam Fella?

I tend to break this into two categories, the horses I saw and the horses I didn't see.

Best I ever saw--

Nihilator. He paced in 1:49.3 in 1985, the first horse to ever break the 1:50 barrier in a race. This performance, at the Meadowlands, was the most powerful I've ever seen, especially when you consider that the bike he used was much slower than the Harmer that is used today.

But what was so impressive, Nihilator won 35 of 38 career starts and raced against quite possibly the best crop of colts in history. 7 horses from that generation retired with over a million in earnings including several great or near-great horses, Dragons Lair (who beat him in the Breeders Crown), Forrest Skipper, Chairmanoftheboard, Falcon Seelster, are a few that come to mind. Nihilator didn't just beat up on weak competition, he beat great horses on a regular basis.

Niatross and Cam Fella were also super horses but they did not face that type of competition.

Best I never saw--

Bret Hanover, a total freak of a horse. You also have to include Dan Patch, his final times in the old sulky were amazing.

wilderness
08-23-2009, 01:39 PM
The trotter Greyhound cannot be forgotten is such comparisons.

The very last comment on this page regarding Nevele Pride (http://www.mi-harness.com/SBreds/Heart9.htm) provides an interesting insight.

Pacingguy
08-23-2009, 02:21 PM
Niatross is my choice hands down. He was raced by a horseman who took on all comers; perhaps one of the last horses raced with no concern about the horse's value. Nihaltor was well managed; never saw a half mile track; everthing was done to maximize the horse's value.

pandy
08-23-2009, 02:26 PM
The trotter Greyhound cannot be forgotten is such comparisons.

The very last comment on this page regarding Nevele Pride (http://www.mi-harness.com/SBreds/Heart9.htm) provides an interesting insight.

Definitely when you rate trotters, Greyhound is number 1 for American Trotters in my opinion. He would have laughed at Mack Lobell while he trotted past him in the stretch.

Ray2000
08-23-2009, 02:28 PM
Messenger... his progeny has won every race :)

Just being silly cause it's impossible to compare the old performers with today.

How about Nonpareil?

From "The Complete Book of Harness Racing", Philip A. Pines




My vote... Rambling Willie, He won 128 races in 304 starts

wilderness
08-23-2009, 03:21 PM
Ray,
The Phil Pines book is an excellent model, with a structured outline that perhaps other turf scribes should be continuing today.

The book was published in multiple editions (believe there were four prints).

Many of the early books on harness racing were printed in as few as 150 or 300 copies (The P. W. Moser book on Greyhound is one example).

Many of the harness racing books today are not even being published as hardbacks. Costs are too prohibitive for market demand.

toetoe
08-23-2009, 03:32 PM
I give you ...


Takeshigemichi. :jump:

ryanxpress
08-23-2009, 07:53 PM
I tend to break this into two categories, the horses I saw and the horses I didn't see.

Best I ever saw--

Nihilator. He paced in 1:49.3 in 1985, the first horse to ever break the 1:50 barrier in a race. This performance, at the Meadowlands, was the most powerful I've ever seen, especially when you consider that the bike he used was much slower than the Harmer that is used today.

But what was so impressive, Nihilator won 35 of 38 career starts and raced against quite possibly the best crop of colts in history. 7 horses from that generation retired with over a million in earnings including several great or near-great horses, Dragons Lair (who beat him in the Breeders Crown), Forrest Skipper, Chairmanoftheboard, Falcon Seelster, are a few that come to mind. Nihilator didn't just beat up on weak competition, he beat great horses on a regular basis.

Niatross and Cam Fella were also super horses but they did not face that type of competition.

Best I never saw--

Bret Hanover, a total freak of a horse. You also have to include Dan Patch, his final times in the old sulky were amazing.
I read that Nihilator was way to big to run on a half mile track?I think On the Road again was very underrated horse

Hanover1
08-23-2009, 10:28 PM
I read that Nihilator was way to big to run on a half mile track?I think On the Road again was very underrated horse
Just to rangy to be handy on half-were a few 1/2 specialists that would have stayed eye to eye with him every step. Muscle Hill bailed on Yonkers right.............same deal imo

beaucap
08-23-2009, 11:35 PM
Albatross

http://www.harnessracingtoday.com/images/albatross.jpg Albatross (1968 - 1998) was a bay horse by Meadow Skipper out of Voodoo Hanover by Dancer Hanover. He was voted harness horse of the year in 1971 and 1972.

Trained and driven by Stanley Dancer, he won 25 of his 28 races as a three-year-old, including the Adios Stakes, the Cane Pace, and the Messenger Stakes. As a three-year-old he also set a record for fastest race mile with two races in 1:54.4 at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. He broke this record as a four-year-old with a race in 1:54.3 at Sportsman's Park in Chicago.

After his four-year-old season he retired to stud at Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He is the sire of Niatross (winner of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers in 1980 and also a world champion with a mark of 1:49.1), and of Fan Hanover, Merger, Colt Fortysix, and Jaguar Spur, all, like Niatross, winners of the Little Brown Jug. He was also an outstanding broodmare sire.

Albatross died in 1998 and was buried at the Hanover Shoe Farms horse cemetery.

botster
08-24-2009, 12:02 AM
I read that Nihilator was way to big to run on a half mile track?I think On the Road again was very underrated horse

OTRA certainly was underated, he was really overshadowed by the change to the awe of speed of the 1980's.He was so versatile and determined and Buddy always drove him with something left in the tank.

CAM FELLA was the greatest I ever saw.Let's not forget the competition that he raced against either.SOKY'S ATOM,MILLERS SCOUT,PERFECT OUT,ARMBRO AUSSIE,JD'S BUCK. THESE WERE TOP NOTCH PACERS, and who can forget that awsome comeback effort against IT'S FRITZ! Pat Crowe was an average driver at best and this horse performed at that superior level, that must be considered too.

wilderness
08-24-2009, 12:09 AM
beaucap,
Here's four photo's of Albatross. (Have more and tried to provide some variety.

It should be noted that Harry Harvey actually gave Albatross his early training and even raced him as a 2YO.

1971 USTA Publicity Photo (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/Albatross2StanleyDancer.jpg)

1971 USTA Publicity Photo Cameo of Stanley and Albatorss (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossStanleyDancer.jpg)

Sportsmans Park Record (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossSportsmansPkRecord.jpg)


Jan 1972 Hoof Beats Cover (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossCover.jpg)

I'm sure there some photo's of Albatross in the Kentucky Digitial Archives (http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?type=simple&c=eadimages&q1=harness+racing&rgn1=entire+record), however I could not locate them (most of the photo's there on harness racing are absent names) quickly.

wilderness
08-24-2009, 12:13 AM
from Jan 1986 USTA Hoof Beats.

On the Road Again and Buddy Gilmour (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/OnTheRoadAgainBuddyGilmour.jpg)

beaucap
08-24-2009, 12:27 AM
beaucap,
Here's four photo's of Albatross. (Have more and tried to provide some variety.

It should be noted that Harry Harvey actually gave Albatross his early training and even raced him as a 2YO.

1971 USTA Publicity Photo (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/Albatross2StanleyDancer.jpg)

1971 USTA Publicity Photo Cameo of Stanley and Albatorss (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossStanleyDancer.jpg)

Sportsmans Park Record (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossSportsmansPkRecord.jpg)


Jan 1972 Hoof Beats Cover (http://www.mi-harness.com/eur/AlbatrossCover.jpg)

I'm sure there some photo's of Albatross in the Kentucky Digitial Archives (http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?type=simple&c=eadimages&q1=harness+racing&rgn1=entire+record), however I could not locate them (most of the photo's there on harness racing are absent names) quickly.

Thanks Don...I was at Sportsman Park the night he set the record of 1:54.3
Those are some nice pictures.

Sea Biscuit
08-24-2009, 12:35 AM
Albatross

He is the sire of Niatross (winner of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers in 1980 and also a world champion with a mark of 1:49.1),

Taking nothing away from Niatross, but I believe that 1:49:1 mark was in a time trail.

Sea Biscuit.

beaucap
08-24-2009, 02:55 PM
Taking nothing away from Niatross, but I believe that 1:49:1 mark was in a time trail.

Sea Biscuit.

You are correct SB......but.......

niatross world records

Niatross set 15 World Records racing as a two and three year old. Niatross retired as the World-Record holder on half mile and mile racetracks. The elegant, ever-cool pacing superstar paced the fastest race mile of all-time on half-mile (Delaware) and mile (Hollywood Park) tracks, both times breaking his own record set earlier in the year.

More Records

In addition, Niatross set World Records at Vernon Downs and Hollywood Park. At Vernon he paced the fastest two heats (in some harness races a horse must win 2 heats to win the race) ever (regardless of age), 1:53.3 & 1:54. At Hollywood Park (against aged horses) Niatross shattered the 14 year old record of True Duane (2:09.1) and driver Chris Boring by pacing a mile and an eighth in 2:07.3.

Expertly Handled

Niatross, expertly managed and raced by Galbraith, usually responded whenever asked. Galbraith never gutted his coltneedlessly chasing records and as a result Niatross was usually well within himself at the finish. In fact, in all 37 of his victories, Niatross was never involved in a photo finish!

Lexington

That scenario set the stage at Lexington for the event that would place Niatross at the top of the list of greatest standardbreds ever. Everyone knew that despite all the kudos and records the conservative Galbraith had yet to unleash his powerful colt. Niatross would get that chance against his only true foe, the clock.

How Much?

It was not a question of would Niatross break Steady Star's Time Trial record of 1:52 but by how much. A few experts had mentioned 1:51 but Niatross (taking care of business as usual) shocked everyone in the horse world by pacing his mile in an incredible 1:49.1,with the 27.3 opening quarter the slowest of the mile.
Forget about 1:51 or even 1:50!

Scary!

Is there any doubt this generation-skipping champion would have lowered that standard if he had raced at four? It's scary to even think about!

Niatross World Records on a Mile Racetrack

All Age Fastest Mile - 1:49.1 (Lexington)
All Age Fastest Race Mile - 1:52.1 (Hollywood Park)
All Age (Heat Racing) 1st Heat - 1:53.3 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2nd Heat - 1:54 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:47.3 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Mile and an Eighth) - 2:07.3 (Hollywood Park)
Three Year Old Fastest Mile - 1:49.1 (Lexington)
Three Year Old Fastest Race Mile - 1:52.1 (Hollywood Park)
Three Year Old (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:47.3 (Vernon Downs)
Niatross World Records on a Half-Mile Racetrack

All Age Fastest Mile - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
Three Year Old Fastest Mile - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
All Age (Heat Racing) 1st Heat - 1:55 (Delaware)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2nd Heat - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
All Age (2 Heat Race) 3:49.4 (Delaware)
Three Year Old (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:49.4 (Delaware)

Sea Biscuit
08-24-2009, 03:39 PM
You are correct SB......but.......

niatross world records

Niatross set 15 World Records racing as a two and three year old. Niatross retired as the World-Record holder on half mile and mile racetracks. The elegant, ever-cool pacing superstar paced the fastest race mile of all-time on half-mile (Delaware) and mile (Hollywood Park) tracks, both times breaking his own record set earlier in the year.

More Records

In addition, Niatross set World Records at Vernon Downs and Hollywood Park. At Vernon he paced the fastest two heats (in some harness races a horse must win 2 heats to win the race) ever (regardless of age), 1:53.3 & 1:54. At Hollywood Park (against aged horses) Niatross shattered the 14 year old record of True Duane (2:09.1) and driver Chris Boring by pacing a mile and an eighth in 2:07.3.

Expertly Handled

Niatross, expertly managed and raced by Galbraith, usually responded whenever asked. Galbraith never gutted his coltneedlessly chasing records and as a result Niatross was usually well within himself at the finish. In fact, in all 37 of his victories, Niatross was never involved in a photo finish!

Lexington

That scenario set the stage at Lexington for the event that would place Niatross at the top of the list of greatest standardbreds ever. Everyone knew that despite all the kudos and records the conservative Galbraith had yet to unleash his powerful colt. Niatross would get that chance against his only true foe, the clock.

How Much?

It was not a question of would Niatross break Steady Star's Time Trial record of 1:52 but by how much. A few experts had mentioned 1:51 but Niatross (taking care of business as usual) shocked everyone in the horse world by pacing his mile in an incredible 1:49.1,with the 27.3 opening quarter the slowest of the mile.
Forget about 1:51 or even 1:50!

Scary!

Is there any doubt this generation-skipping champion would have lowered that standard if he had raced at four? It's scary to even think about!

Niatross World Records on a Mile Racetrack


All Age Fastest Mile - 1:49.1 (Lexington)
All Age Fastest Race Mile - 1:52.1 (Hollywood Park)
All Age (Heat Racing) 1st Heat - 1:53.3 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2nd Heat - 1:54 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:47.3 (Vernon Downs)
All Age (Mile and an Eighth) - 2:07.3 (Hollywood Park)
Three Year Old Fastest Mile - 1:49.1 (Lexington)
Three Year Old Fastest Race Mile - 1:52.1 (Hollywood Park)
Three Year Old (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:47.3 (Vernon Downs)
Niatross World Records on a Half-Mile Racetrack

All Age Fastest Mile - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
Three Year Old Fastest Mile - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
All Age (Heat Racing) 1st Heat - 1:55 (Delaware)
All Age (Heat Racing) 2nd Heat - 1:54.4 (Delaware)
All Age (2 Heat Race) 3:49.4 (Delaware)
Three Year Old (Heat Racing) 2 Heat Race - 3:49.4 (Delaware)



Very impressive indeed!!!


If he had been running today he would have given SBSW a run for his money.


Sea Biscuit.

wilderness
08-24-2009, 04:08 PM
Greg DeFrank has had a website on Niatross (http://www.niatross.com/index.html) for quite some time (the purple font is something he utilizes).

speed
08-24-2009, 07:08 PM
I read that Nihilator was way to big to run on a half mile track?I think On the Road again was very underrated hrse

He won the Little Brown Jug run over a half mile track

Actually earlier that day Falcon Seelster ran 151 flat which for me is the greatest race ever run.

Postime
08-24-2009, 07:54 PM
He won the Little Brown Jug run over a half mile track

Actually earlier that day Falcon Seelster ran 151 flat which for me is the greatest race ever run.

I was at the Jug that bright Thursday morn, setting in a lawn chair on 3/4 turn where Nihilator made his move to victory. Pandy is correct the crop of 3yo was the all time best that year. 2nd best class was the Life Sign year.


http://www.barbaralivingston.com/albums/ontrack19741999/nihil.thumb.jpg

sonnyp
08-24-2009, 08:39 PM
maybe not the greatest harness horse of all time, but the greatest performance i ever saw was by french trotter "une de mai". shipped all the way from france to yonkers for "the international". raced parked 2 wide, on that 1/2 mile track (4 turns), outside and head to head with the "incomparable" nevele pride and dusted him in the stretch. just an astonishing performance.

stanley dancer, trainer-driver of nevele pride, a man of many words (especially in praise of himself (i worked for him and had to listen), was absolutely speechless !!!

ryanxpress
08-24-2009, 09:41 PM
maybe not the greatest harness horse of all time, but the greatest performance i ever saw was by french trotter "une de mai". shipped all the way from france to yonkers for "the international". raced parked 2 wide, on that 1/2 mile track (4 turns), outside and head to head with the "incomparable" nevele pride and dusted him in the stretch. just an astonishing performance.

stanley dancer, trainer-driver of nevele pride, a man of many words (especially in praise of himself (i worked for him and had to listen), was absolutely speechless !!!
Was he better then Ideal de Gazeau

sonnyp
08-24-2009, 10:10 PM
Was he better then Ideal de Gazeau


great comparison ! both french, both huge, physically, both with similar racing styles.....out in the middle of the track with no regard to being "parked".

i'd say une de mai for 3 reasons.
1. the international was actually raced at roosevelt that year (my mistake, not yonkers) at 1 1/4 miles, so that means "parked" 5 turns.

2. "he" (une de mai) was actually a "she", 4 y. o. trotting mare.

3. she did it against/to perhaps the greatest northamerican trotter of all time, nevele pride.

pandy
08-24-2009, 11:07 PM
I saw Une de Mai race the year after she beat Nevele Pride, it was one of the first times I'd ever been to the track. I remember thinking that I may never see another trotting mare that great. I never did.

JustRalph
08-24-2009, 11:24 PM
Anybody ever heard of "Nero" or "Rambling Willie" ?

I saw them........pretty good ones.........surely not the best though

pandy
08-24-2009, 11:37 PM
Both top horses. Rambling Willie is sort of like the John Henry of harness racing, real game horse.

wilderness
08-25-2009, 12:52 AM
Anybody ever heard of "Nero" or "Rambling Willie" ?

I saw them........pretty good ones.........surely not the best though

Ralph,
There was a book on Rambling Willie, " The Horse that God Loved", by Donald Evans and Phil Pikelny. It's interesting, however the pages didn't jump out at me. (Same remark for the books on Adios, Bret Hanover Cardiagn Bay and few other similar.)

The Bill Heller book on Billy Haughton is a superb read.

There's not much on the internet of Nero (although I remember the name and its presence), nor have I proceeded to those years in my archival.

BTW, some of the USED Rambling Willie books may be found occasionally with his hoof print in the front cover, which was part of the tour promotion.

wilderness
08-25-2009, 12:59 AM
Both top horses. Rambling Willie (http://web.archive.org/web/20041206044106/http://www.kyhorsepark.com/khp/champions/willie.asp) is sort of like the John Henry of harness racing, real game horse.

Cute Bob.

From my point of view (and I've likely read more Hervey than anybody), there's simply no equal to Hervey (man or horse), although you'd get a hard argument (while he was living) from Henry Ten Eyck White (http://www.mi-harness.com/hof/0wxyz0.html#HTEWHITE) ;)

(Mr. White was a competitor of Hervey's

wilderness
08-25-2009, 02:14 AM
Oh my bad.

John Henry not John Hervey.

Guess I have a one-track mind ;)