Ayres - 1964
Ayres: Winner had a Mind of His Own Ayres, the tiny fireball with a mind of his own, provided John Simpson, Jr., with his second Hambletonian winner in stakes record time of 1:564 in the opening heat. As a two-year-old, Ayres was a fast but tempera-mental colt, but patient and competent handling by Simpson turned him into the fastest Hambletonian performer of that time. Ayres was the third winner sired by Hanover Shoe Farms’ great sire, Star’s Pride, and he defeated one of the smallest, but most quality-laden fields in Hambletonian history. The first five finishers all became top trotting sires and Ayres, Speedy Count and Speedy Rodney became sires of Hambletonian winners. Ayres sired full brothers Christo-pher T. and Timothy T. to win the classic in 1974 and 1970, respectively. Speedy Count sired 1976 winner Steve Lobell, and Speedy Rodney sired 1977 champion Green Speed. Owned and bred by Charlotte Sheppard, Ayres trotted miles of 1:561 and 1:581 to turn back Big John and Speedy Count. The mile in the first heat trotted in 1:564 equalled Speedy Scot’s then world mark for trotters, but Ayres had trotted faster than any other in Hambletonian history.
In the first national telecast of the Hambletonian, the race was broadcast tape-delayed three days later on ABC's Wide World of Sports. The homebred Ayres was the third horse to win the Triple Crown of Trotting. Ayres' first heat was a stake record and tied the world record for three year olds in 1:565.4. Ayres was the 3-year-old Trotter of the Year. The five money winners all became top sires; three of the five (Ayres, Speedy Count and Speedy Rodney) produced Hambletonian winners. The other two were Big John and Dartmouth. 39,068 may be the largest crowd to see a Hambletonian at DuQuoin. Nearly 40,000 also attended the 1966 classic. Harness Horsemen International founded.