A.C.'s Viking - 1962
The year marked the end of an era in Hambletonian history — that of the last son of the great stallion Hoot Mon to earn Hambletonian glory. Hoot Mon, winner of the 1947 Hambletonian, sired four winners of this great event, but A. C.’s Viking was the last. Sanders Russell, the 62-year-old Alabama horseman, prepped his big colt perfectly but needed every inch of the stretch in both heats for narrow wins over Safe Mission and Isaac in the 1:59.3 and 2:00 heats. Russell drove in the classic event himself despite the fact he had a broken ankle and had to be helped on and off the sulky. One of the highlights of the 1962 race was the appearance of four of the finest trotting fillies in the history of the sport. Impish, the world cham-pion two-year-old trotting filly with a mark of 1:58.3 was 3-5 for Frank Ervin despite a long layoff prior to the race. The famed Rodney daughters, Spry Rodney and Sprite Rodney also competed, along with Worth Seein.
Trainer/driver Russell won two straight heats with his foot in a cast. Despite his injury, he felt it was his best chance to win the Hambletonian. A.C.'s Viking also won the Yonkers Futurity, but was beaten in straight heats by Safe Mission in the Kentucky Futurity. A.C.'s Viking was voted Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year.