by Bob Heyden

Ron Burke, 53, nears $300 million.

He’s at $297,623,198 as of March 24th and no other trainer in the industry is close.

Only these four thoroughbred coaches have more money than Burke and are all older than him:

1.Todd Pletcher, 55, $454,843,720

2. Steve Asmussen, 57, $407,648,594

3.Bob Baffert, 70, $341,430,502

4. Bill Mott, 69, $326,488,699

George Brennan, who turns 56 on April 20, is at $199,187,630 as of March 24.

He will soon be the seventh member of the $200 million club and the fourth oldest.

John Campbell will be 68 on April 8 and as of July 31 has held the all-time number one spot for an incredible 37 years.

On March 25, Tim Tetrick and Dave Miller were the 32nd and 33rd leading money-winning drivers in North America. They are the two richest drivers of the 21st century.


What was the impact of Woodrow Wilson, who has been extinct for over a decade?

In the 1980s, eight of the top 10 money winners were not Horse of the Year.

Even Odds, the 1987 Wilson Champion, made more at 2 than his father Bret Hanover in his entire career. Even Odds made $950,108 and Bret Hanover made $922,616.

* * *

In 1980, the same weekend that Niatross won Meadowlands Pace, 24-year-old Ron Pierce had two rides about 90 miles north at Monticello, and both were longshots that accomplished little.

In 1987, then 30-year-old Ron Pierce started the Meadowlands meeting 1-49 and in mid-May was tied 16th in the Drivers’ Championship with 17-286.

Does that sound like the only driver to have won either the Hambletonian or the Meadowlands Pace five years in a row (from 2007 to 2011)? Apparently he was a late bloomer.

* * *

One of the craziest race results of all time? Maybe the Sweetheart at The Meadowlands from 1981.

Savilla Lobell, the big favorite, won for fun but was disqualified. The filly was Willow Bust (95-1) with Herve Filion. This filly would not win a single race at 3 (0-for-21).

The top four drivers in the race – in the days leading up to the Superperfecta – all rode bombs. Bill O’Donnell was second with Allwin Bunny, John Campbell was third with Elvira Childer and Billy Haughton was fourth with Nut House. As if that wasn’t enough, the consolation winner in a faster time (1:57.3 to 1:57.4) was the easy division winner (185 votes to 48) Three Diamonds, who played at her the week before first attempt in the mud broke.

Her 304 division votes the following year (1982) remains the most in the sport’s history for a division winner.

* * *

April 6 marks the 40th anniversary of the debut of Green With Envy, a Meadow Skipper daughter who was trained by Jim Doherty for Anne Rosenberg, wife of Dunkin Donuts man Bill.

Green With Envy did not race at 2 and only had three wins in 11 starts at 3.

It’s fair to say that at the time no one thought we were looking at the 1984 Pacing Mare of the Year.

* * *

The first trainer with two up-and-coming studs to make over $1.7 million in a single season?

Harry Poulton

1984 – On the Road Again – $1,751,695

1988 – Matt’s Scooter – $1,783,552

* * *

In October 1986, John Campbell ventured into Freehold and won eight with a single card. Thirty-seven years later, that still holds true.

* * *

The 1980s was also a decade of deep sadness. We have lost so many top riders to accidents on or off the track: Bobby Samson, Peter Haughton and then his father Billy, Shelly Goudreau, Jim Rankin, David Dunckley, Vern Crank and Lew Williams.


Marion Marauder won it and remains the sport’s last Triple Crown winner.

In the same race, all-time leading Triple Crown racer John Campbell made his final appearance in a Triple Crown race.


What’s more impressive? Nelson Rockefeller, future Vice President of the United States, or Redskin, the all-time most successful two-year-old in a single season in the history of the sport, trotter or pacer?

Rockefeller appeared on the front page of the New York Times the day of his birth, July 8, 1900.

Redskin appeared within hours of his foal hoofbeats Welcoming children to his stable.


Unofficially I go with Mal Burroughs, 112. He won the 1997 Hambletonian with Malabar Man.

For his career, Burroughs’ UDRS was 0.357 against pros and 0.287 against amateurs.


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