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Amigo Hall is the longest priced Hambletonian winner in history, going postward at 27-1. He finished third in his elimination int he previous week at 7-1. In 1984, Delvin G Hanover won his elim at 62-1 and was second in the final at 5-2. Abundance (1995) won his elim at 51-1 then was second in the final at 13-1. The Ambassador (1942) was 33-1 when he won the second of three heats; he then won the final, the third heat, paying $3.40 on the dollar. Since the requirement of winning two heats was dropped in 1992, the highest winning $2.00 payoff in the final prior to 2003 have been Alf Palema (1992), $8.40, and Chip Chip Hooray (2002), $12.60. Since the eliminations were moved to the previous week in 1998, Amigo Hall is the first Hambletonian winner not to win his elimination. He was third, beaten four and a half lengths by Bebop and timed in 1:54.4. His mile in the final was career best 1:54. Since the open draw for the final was inaugurated in 1992, Amigo Hall is only the second horse (Muscles Yankee, 1998) to win from post position six. ONly Yankee Paco (2000) and Windsong's legacy (2004) have won from further out, post seven. The win was Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance's fourth. His previous three victories were all behind Ron Gurfein - trained horses: Victory Dream (1994), Continentalvictory (1996) and Self Possessed (1999). He joined Ben White, Bill Haughton and Stanley Dancer, who all have four Hambletonain wins. The record for the most number of Hambletonian victories is held by John Campbell (five). In fact, Campbell qualified Amigo Hall for the final but was committed to drive eventual race favorite Power To Charm. Amigo Hall represented the first breeder's credit for Walnut Hall Ltd. which was founded in the 1990s, although historic Walnut Hall Farm, operated by Meg Leavitt's family, had eight: The Marchioness (1932), Lord Jim (1934), Peter Astra (1939), The Ambassador (1942), Volo Song (1943), Lusty Song (1950), Sharp Note (1952) and The Intruder (1956). Only Hanover Shoe Farm has more, nine. In addition to Victory Dream (1994), which Walnut Hall Ltd. syndicated prior to the Hambletonian, owner Alan Leavitt stood in the winner's circle as a partner on Speedy Somolli (1978). His Lana Lobell Farms of New Jersey also bred Mack Lobell (1987). Stallions standing at Leavitt's farms over the years have sired eight winners: Speedy Somolli (1978), Prakas (1985), Nuclear Kosmos (1986), Mack Lobell (1987), Park Avenue Joe (1989), Alf Palema (1992) and Self Possessed (1999). Amigo Hall had a definite Canadian connection: he was sired by an Ontario stallion, owned in part and trained by residents of that province and driven by a native Quebec. He was Balanced Image's second winner in four years. Balanced Image remains the only Canadian sire to produce a Hambletonian winner. His first was Yankee Paco in 2000. Thirty-three winners, including Amigo Hall, trace their paternal line directly to Volomite, who finished second in the 1929 Hambletonian to Walter Dear. Volomite, considered one of the most influential sires in the sport, stood at Walnut Hall Farm for 20 years, and was a great-great-great-grandson of Hambletonian 10. A record five horses made a break before the 1/8 pole in the 2003 final. The field included Malabar Millennium, who possessed an all-Hambletonian pedigree. He was by 1997 Hambletonian winner Malabar Man out of 1994 Hambletonian Oaks winner Gleam, and both were owned and driven by amateur driver Malvern Burroughs. No Hambletonian winner has ever sired a winner out of a mare that won the Hambletonian or the Oaks. However, Armbro Goal (1988) is by Speedy Crown (1971) out of Armbro Flight (second to Egyptian Candor in 1965) and Park Avenue Joe (1989) is by Speedy Somolli out of Delmonica Hanover (2nd to Super Bowl in 1972). Though winless in 10 lifetime starts prior to the Hambletonian elims, Malabar Millennium's elim victory made him the first maiden since Calumet Butler to win either a heat or an elimination in the Hambletonian. The inaugural Hambletonian Parade took place on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey on the morning of the eliminations. Bagpipers, horse units, retired and racing standardbreds and Hambletonian himself led by William Rysdyck headlined the event.
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