Glidemaster Prevails in 2006 Hambletonian
Just days before the Hambletonian eliminations, Glidemaster pulled a horseshoe loose in the stall, then stepped on a nail which punctured the outer rim of his hoof. Round-the-clock care administered by his caretaker and co-owner Karin Olsson-Burgess delivered a horse sound enough to race in the eliminations. Glidemaster finished second to Mr. Pine Chip in their elim, and was even stronger by the final.
· Trainer Blair Burgess deserves enormous credit for bringing a mannered and manageable trotter back to the races at three, a real challenge after the colt, as a two-year-old had shown aggressive tendencies, even running away with his driver at one point in a stakes race in Lexington after a gate mishap. The Burgess family operation spent a lot of time channeling the colt’s energy in the right direction and he returned a real contender at three.
· The Glidemaster ownership is similar to a cell phone calling plan in that it is a friends-and-family network. Blair Burgess bought Glidemaster as a yearling for $10,000 on the opening night of the 2004 Tattersalls sale, and raced him as a two-year-old for an ownership that included his father, Bob, his wife Karin, and friend Marsha Cohen, who had gone partners with the Burgesses for several years on assorted horses. In September of 2005 after Glidemaster had won three of four freshman starts, an interest in the horse was sold to his breeder, George Segal’s Brittany Farms
· It was Marsha Cohen’s first start and first win in the Hambletonian. Brittany Farms picked up their second owners trophy as Segal was part of the Self Possessed Stable in 1999. Karin and her father-in-law Bob, were co-owners on their only other Hambletonian entrant 2003 winner Amigo Hall, in partnership with Walnut Hall Ltd.
· Glidemaster was only the fifth Canadian-owned horse to win the Hambletonian in 83 years, and the Burgess’s account for two of the last three since 1998, with Yankee Paco being the third
· Glidemaster gave Brittany Farms a third breeders credit. The Versailles, Kentucky, nursery also turned out 1996 winner Continentalvictory (1:52.1) and 1999 victor Self Possessed (1:51.3). Brittany-breds have owned the stake record in the Hambletonian for a decade. Glidemaster lowered the standard to 1:51.1. It would remain the fastest mile of his racing career.
· Brittany Farms became the first breeder to produce a Hambletonian (Glidemaster) and Oaks (Passionate Glide) winner in the same year; George Segal also owned both trotters. Segal had a phenomenal year by any yardstick, with big wins on both the trotting and pacing side. Horses he owned in whole or in part racked up more than $5 million in purses for the year.
· The 2006 Hambletonian was Blair Burgess’s fourth $1 million victory. He was favored in none of the events he won previously: the 1987 Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet); 2001 Meadowlands Pace (Real Desire); 2003 Hambletonian (Amigo Hall).
· Burgess and Chuck Sylvester are the only two trainers to win both the Hambletonian and the Meadowlands Pace in their career. Burgess is the ONLY trainer to have won it twice.
· Glidemaster was trainer Blair Burgess’ second entrant in the Hambletonian. His first, Amigo Hall, was the longest-priced winner in history, going off at 27-1. Burgess has twice played spoiler to trainer Trond Smedshammer's Hambletonian hopes. In 2003 it was Smedshammer’s heavily favored Power To Charm who fell to the Burgess-trained Amigo Hall. Though Smedshammer won in 2004 with Windsong’s Legacy, his three horse uncoupled entry in the Hambo, with Mr. Pine Chip the overwhelming favorite, finished third, sixth and tenth respectively. The same trio had finished 1-2-3 in the Stanley Dancer Memorial, the final prep to the Hambo.
· John Campbell, at the age of 51, won his sixth Hambletonian trophy, the most of any driver in the history of the event. It was his 22nd victory in a million-dollar race. No other driver comes close to that number. His record setting fifth Hambletonian was in 1998 with Muscles Yankee. On Hambo day, more than $3.8 million was distributed. John Campbell accounted for nearly one-quarter of all the purse money offered that day.
· Campbell suffered a near career-ending injury in 2003 and was not back in the sulky full time till 2005. His numbers that year were not inspiring, but in 2006 he silenced all questions about his driving abilities. Ironically, another driving accident in October would sideline him for several months.
· Year-end awards were showered on this group by the US Harness Writers. Glidemaster was voted HTA Nova three-year-old trotter of the year, Dan Patch 3-year-old trotter, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year. John Campbell was voted Driver of the Year, and George Segal was voted Norman Woolworth Owner of the Year. Dam Cressida Hanover won Trotting Broodmare of the Year. · Glidemaster’s sire, Yankee Glide , picked up his first Hambletonian credit. The son of Valley Victory won one of three Hambletonian eliminations in 1997 but broke stride in the final and finished tenth in the event won by Malabar Man.
· Yankee Glide also sired the Oaks winner, Passionate Glide. All told Yankee Glide offspring earned $1,365,000 on the day. Only two other times has the same sire claimed the winners of both races: Speedy Somolli in 1992 with Alf Palema and Worldly Woman; and Super Bowl in 1991 with Giant Victory and Jean Bi. · The Meadowlands has been home to the Hambletonian for 26 straight years, matching Goshen’s record of the longest any track has hosted the classic race. Prior to 1981, the Hambletonian was held at DuQuoin for 24 years.
· The attendance of 29,531 was a meet-high record. The world-wide handle on the day was more than $8 million for the 15-race program, third highest all-time.
· The 2005 Dan Patch champion, Chocolatier, finished second, from post 10.
· Cressida Hanover, the dam of Glidemaster was a $13,000 purchase by Ron Gurfein for George Segal, but the daughter of Mr. Lavec -Cristi Hanover raced just nine times in her life for a pedestrian $936 in earnings. In fact, the first four dams on his maternal side earned a grand total of $1,048! Glidemaster was her first foal. Despite her ignominious beginnings, Cressida Hanover was voted Trotting Broodmare of the Year by the US Harness Writers.
· Campbell drove Glidemaster to victory in his Breeders Crown elimination and then suffered a broken leg in an horrific accident four races later. Glidemaster, driven by George Brennan, lost the Breeders Crown to Majestic Son.
· Glidemaster would get his Crown a month later at Yonkers when Glidemaster became just the eighth trotter in history to capture Trotting’s Triple Crown of the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot.
· He was the first trotter since 1972 to win the Triple Crown over the traditional format of two mile tracks and a half mile oval of Yonkers. Windsong’s Legacy’s Triple Crown included the replacement of Hawthorne, IL, mile track while Yonkers was closed for renovations. · Glidemaster surpassed Windsong's Legacy's 2004 single season money-earnings mark of $1,713,806, ending his year with $1,918,701, the largest amount ever won by a trotter in a single North American campaign. He was never worse than second, winning eight of 15 starts and placing second behind the only trotter to consistently beat him Majestic Son, who took top honors in Canada as O’Brien Horse of the Year. · He was retired at the close of his sophomore campaign to stand at Walnridge Farm of Pennsylvania.