by Dean Hoffman
The Little Brown Jug was still preparing to celebrate its fifth birthday in 1950 while the Hambletonian was already a quarter-century old. Both races clearly established themselves as the most desirable plums for sophomore stars in harness racing.
The 1950 Hambletonian was taken by the meteoric Lusty Song, owned by Hayes Fair Acres Stable of Illinois and driven by Delvin Miller, a Pennsylvanian who was making big waves in the sport.
Miller was serving as the catch-driver for the Hayes Fair Stables horses in the summer of 1950. Both Lusty Song and Dudley Hanover had been selected as yearlings and given their early lessons in 1948-49 by Dr. H.M. Parshall of Urbana, Ohio. By 1950, however, Parshall was too ill to drive in races.
Dudley Hanover drew post 10 in a field of 11 pacers entered in the 1950 Little Brown Jug. The colt was unusual in that he raced free-legged (without the aid of the customary hobbles around his legs). He was much like his sire Billy Direct, another free-legged pacer.
This Jug was contested on Saturday after a rain delay of two days. The first heat was taken in a stunning upset by Thomas Hat with Dudley Hanover second. There was no doubt who was the best colt in the field in the second and third heats, however, as Dudley Hanover swept to victory with a second-heat time of 2:02.3, then the fastest mile ever in the Jug.
Miller thus became the first driver ever to win the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug in the same season and owner Hayes Fair Acres attained the same honor.
Delvin Miller was far more than just a crafty catch-driver, of course. He trained the winners of the next two Little Brown Jugs—Tar Heel and Meadow Rice—but did not drive them. Using his victories in the Hambletonian and Jug in 1950 as a springboard, Miller went on to be the most influential person in harness racing in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.
This year’s 69th Annual Little Brown Jug is brought to you by Fazoli’s