We want you, the fans, to choose your top moment from 2014! It was a year of ups and downs, incredible streaks and heartbreaking losses, which one do you think was most thrilling? Head over to the homepage at ustrotting.com to cast your vote for the Railbird Recognition Moment of the Year!
1. Commander Crowe wins the Breeders Crown Open Trot and bows to applause: Commander Crowe wowed us all with his dazzling final performance in the Breeders Crown. Perhaps the wise old war-horse knew that it was his grand finale, as he took full advantage of the limelight and offered a parting bow to his applauding fans.
2. Father Patrick breaks in the Hambletonian, Jimmy Takter wins anyway: An audible gasp could be heard at The Meadowlands, as Father Patrick saw his Hambletonian dreams dashed with a costly break leaving the gate. Though Hambletonian glory was not in the cards for the prodigal Father Patrick, his stablemate Trixton got the iconic for trainer/driver Jimmy Takter.
3. He’s Watching wins the Meadowlands Pace in a record equaling 1:46.4: This summer, He’s Watching showed us something we’ve seen only a very few times before. In the Meadowlands Pace he broke the elusive 1:47 barrier, winning in 1:46.4. He is one of only four horses in history to win a race in sub 47 fashion.
4. JK She’salady completes her perfect season with a Breeders Crown win: JK She’salady dominated her division this year, a perfect 12 for 12, never showing us the bottom of her talent and speed. Her flawless season culminated with a Breeders Crown win that sealed the deal for Horse of the Year honors.
5. Sebastian K’s world record 1:49 win at Pocono Downs: Sebastian K captivated American harness racing fans this season with his blistering speed. On June 28 he broke the harness racing equivalent of the sound barrier: trotting a mile in sub 1:50. His 1:49 mile at Pocono was something we had never seen before, and may not see again for a long while.
6. Sweet Lou goes out a winner in the TVG Final at The Meadowlands: Sweet Lou appeared unbeatable early this summer. He won 10 in a row, 6 straight in sub 1:48. Even though the streak was snapped, Sweet Lou made the most of his last career start. In the TVG Final Sweet Lou redeemed his losses with a dominating win, smoking the timer in 1:48 on a chilly 34 degree night.
7. The Miss Versatility at Delaware, Ohio, with Classic Martine beating Charmed Life in a photo in a National season record: The Miss Versatility final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds was one of the closest and most exciting races of the season. Classic Martine was all guts and glory, fending off Charmed Life in a National season’s mark of 1:54.1 on a half mile track.
8. John Campbell and Bob McIntosh winning the Breeders Crown with Thinking Out Loud: Bob McIntosh raised Thinking Out Loud from a foal and raced both of his parents, making his victory in the Breeders Crown Open Pace even more special for the Hall of Famer. It was the 16th Breeders Crown victory for McIntosh and the 46th for Campbell
9. Modern Legend winning the Canadian Pacing Derby against all odds: David Drew is not a big name trainer. He doesn’t have multiple horses in every major stake race of the season. In fact, he only has one. But Modern Legend is a good horse to have. His win in the C$583,280 Canadian Pacing Derby was both stunning and shocking, paying $66.85 for the win.
10. WEG’s smashing and successful experiment with the super Hi-5: The Jackpot Hi-5 was introduced by WEG this year and they saw immediate results. The 20 cent bet required players to pick the first five finishers in a race in the exact order, and offered a low takeout of 15%. The handle for the bet often hit $50 or $60,000 and at one point the carryover swelled to over $2 million.