Hickory Smoke - 1957
The Hambletonian was in its first year at a new home, the DuQuoin State Fair, and 21 starters paid the freight for their shot at the trophy. The large field was divided into two divisions with each group racing two heats and the winners returning for a fifth and final heat. One of the favorites, the Sheppard and Mudge-owned Hickory Smoke, took the heats of the first division in 2:01 and 2:00 1 for John Simpson Sr. The Hoot Mon filly, Hoot Song, took both heats of the second division for Ralph Baldwin and Two Gaits Farm of Indiana in 2:02 1 and 2:02. The final belonged to Hickory Smoke, who trotted the final quarter of his 2:08 4 mile in 28.3 to hold off a fast closing Hoot Song. Of note in the field of starters was Charlotte Sheppard’s Cassin Hanover, who as a broodmare later produced Elma to the cover of Hickory Smoke. Elma went on to win $164,710 in a successful American and European career. As a broodmare, Elma produced Japa, at one time the world record holder for three-year-old trotting fillies, and Texas, runnerup to Green Speed in the world record 1:55 3 Hambletonian in 1977. Finishing third in both heats behind second division winner Hoot Song was the young Rodney stallion,Speedster, who later would sire two Hambletonian winners, full brothers Speedy Scot and Speedy Streak. Also of note in the 1957 field was the 10-6 finish of Flicka Frost, driven by William Haughton. Flicka would later earn a niche in the history of the Hambletonian as the dam of two winners, Timothy T. in 1970 and Chris-topher T. in 1974.
The Hambletonian was moved to DuQuoin, Illinois from Good Time Park in Goshen, NY, - prompted by a dispute between the United States Trotting Association and New York State racing officials. In a statement issued by Hambletonian Society president E. Roland Harriman, "The directors of the Hambletonian Society were agreed that the proper place for the Hambletonian is Goshen. (First raced there in 1930 and every year since except 1943.) However, in view of the unsatisfactory conditions under which harness racing is being administered at the present time in New York State, a contract was awarded for two years to the DuQuoin State Fair, DuQuoin, IL, by unanimous vote." The race stayed at DuQuoin for 24 years. Becuase of the 21 starters, the classic was conducted in an elimination format with two divisions, each racing two heats. Hickory Smoke won both his heats and then defeated Hoot Song in the final race-off between the two. He was the only horse ever required to win three heats to take home the Hambletonian trophy. The only horse ever to win two heats of the Hambletonian but not the trophy was the filly Hoot Song. She won both her divisional heats, but lost the Hambletonian in the third heat race-off, thereby finishing second in the summary. No wagering on the race at DuQuoin until 1975. DuQuoin's Hambletonian Song is written and performed for the first time by Leah Hayes.