Calumet Butler - 1931
The storied Calumet Farm is recognized as one of the premier thoroughbred breeding farms of modern times. However, it started as a standardbred nursery when it was founded by baking powder magnate William M. Wright. Mr. Wright’s homebred Calumet Butler was an unremarkable two-year-old, going the year without a single win. Sadly, over that winter, Mr. Wright suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma, never to see his horses race again. At three, Calumet Butler, with a pair of heat victories after a third place finish in the first heat, became the first maiden ever to win the Hambletonian. Mr. Wright died later that year, never knowing the glory of a Hambletonian win. His son and heir, Warren Wright, converted the farm to a thoroughbred nursery.
In an emotional victory for trainer and farm manager Dick McMahon and the Wright family, the Calumet hombred won as owner & farm founder William Monroe Wright lay in a coma on his deathbed. Wright was one of th founding driectors of the Hambletonian Society, and one of its first presidents (1926-1931). The smallest field (6) in Hambletonian history. The first of two maidens ever to win the Hambletonian, and those two heats remained the only victories of his career. McLin (1938) won a heat, but never a race prior to the Hambletonian. Calumet is one of only three farms to breed both a Hambletonian winner and a Kentucky Derby winner; the Lexington, KY. farm has bred nine Derby winners, itself a record. In addition, Almahurst and Stoner Creek [Stud], or their owners, have bred winners of both classics. Nedda Guy, the favorite owned by William H. Cane, was fifth the first heat and second the next. When scratched before the third heat, her backers in the auction pools objected so strongly that the filly had to be led out in front of the stands to prove her lameness. Her contribution to the sport came later as the granddam of the world champion pacer Good Time.