Chestertown - 1946
On the eve of the 1946 Hambletonian, William H. Cane sold Chestertown, a $6,500 yearling, to Walter E. Smith of Los Angeles for $40,000 after he defeated Victory Song in the National Stake. Smith turned the Volomite colt over to Tom Berry. In the first heat, Sep Palin scored with Victory Song by two lengths over Chestertown, but in the second heat, Don Scott struck Victory Song’s Wheel, causing a break. Chestertown went on to win the heat in 2:02½ over Deanna. In the final, Victory Song made a gallant try to catch Chestertown, but Berry kept his colt in front by a half-length in 2:03¼. Chestertown retired in 1950 with $108,864 in earnings, standing at stud at the Village Farm in Langhorne, Pennsylvania for one season, and then moved to Bonnie Brae Farm in Ohio.
Harry Whitney, who had trained Chestertown until the day he was sold to Smith, finished fifth driving Westfield Girl. The previous year he was second with Kimberly Hanover (6-2). It was Whitney‘s best finish in 12 races, including eight years (1939-1946) which, at the time, was a record for consecutive Hambletonian drives. He never won a Hambletonian. It was Delvin Miller’s first starter in a record 26 Hambletonians (27 horses). His charge, Don Scott, finished fourth overall in the placing. Van Riddle, driven by owner Earl Rowe, was the first Canadian-owned horse to start in the Hambletonian. As reported in a trade magazine, the Hambletonian received coverage on television for the first time. It was possibly local and not network coverage, although the newsreels of the day recorded the event for the theater audience. The first year that the modern Steve Phillips starting gate was used to start the Hambletonian.