Mainliner - 1951
A massive field of 20 went to post in two tiers in 1951 for the richest purse in harness racing history, $98,263.93. Driven by Guy Crippen, the roman-nosed Mainliner emerged the victor for Ralph H. Kroening of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kroening’s first Hambletonian starter, Lord Steward, finished third in 1950. Kroening, preoccupied by his engineering business, didn’t see the colt race until the Hambletonian. Sent off at 27-1, Mainliner rated early and brushed to the front past the three-quarters and won by two lengths over Spennib in 2:02.3. Crippen, who would die the following year at the age of 62, positioned the colt on the rail in the second heat, sitting third most of the way. Crippen moved Mainliner at the head of the lane, urging him to a length and a half advantage over Scotch Rhythm in 2:04.3.
A private $25,000 acquisition during the previous year’s Grand Circuit meeting at DuQuoin, Kroening purchased Mainliner from Sep Palin. Mr. Koening’s desire to win the Hambletonian was stimulated in part by reading Marguerite Henry’s Born To Trot. It was the second Hambletonian winner for Mainliner’s caretaker 71-year-old Mickey Jackman who also "rubbed" Titan Hanover (1945). A "mile-track trotter" Mainliner’s long odds (27-1) were due in part to his previous race, the Volomite Trot on Roosevelt Raceway’s half-mile oval. Mainliner made a break before the start and finished last. Probably the most memorable performance of the day was that of the filly Scotch Rhythm, who came from 19th to finish second in the final heat, beaten only a length by the "breezing" Mainliner.