Nevele Pride - 1968
It was a foregone conclusion that Nevele Pride would win the 1968 Hambletonian. There was little suspense to it, the exact figures as to how fast he would trot and how much he would win by were the sub-jects of discussion. It turned into that kind of rout, but it was an important victory for Stanley Dancer, the ultrasuccessful trainer and driver of trotting’s wonder horse. Dancer had been bitterly disappointed in 1965 when he trained the favorite for that race, the brilliant Noble Victory. But Noble Victory had an off day over an off track and Dancer was set upon getting his first Hambletonian silver with Nevele Pride. It was pure and simple vindication for Dancer. It was not that Nevele Pride set the trotting world on its ear. He merely mowed down the field with perfunctory ease and so dominated the race that at no point in either heat did another horse get in front of him. Dancer set him rolling in high gear for the lead in the first heat and never looked back. He also never asked Pride to really trot in the 1:593 and 1:592 miles, which were nearly a full second slower than he had trotted a year earlier over the same DuQuoin track as a two-year-old. Nevele Pride would go on to win the trotting Triple Crown. Pride’s arch-rival Snow Speed was off form on this day and fin-ished 9-7 for Ralph Baldwin. Keystone Spartan, Dart Hanover, Larengo Hanover and Master Yankee trailed the winner in identical order in both trips.
Nevele Pride became the fourth horse to win the Triple Crown of Trotting. In addition he captured two other stakes, the Colonial and Dexter Cup, which constituted the "Big Five" trotting races at the time. His margin of victory of five and a half lengths possibly equaled the Hambletonian record of Peter Astra in 1939, which was before the days of charting and the photo finish. Stanley Dancer drove his first Hambletonian winner, 15 years after driving in his first Hambletonian (Newport Champ in 1953). Keystone Spartan and Dart Hanover, who finished second and third respectively in both heats, were both exported and became stars in Europe. Voted Horse of the Year in 1968, Nevele Pride was also honored the previous year at two, and repeated again as a 4-year-old. He is the only trotter ever to be voted Horse of the Year in three straight years.