Christopher T - 1974
Christopher T.: Now Haughton Can Smile Bill Haughton had a lot of frustrating days at DuQuoin. Many times, he had come to this classic harness race with a horse he thought could win. It is an irony that the Hambletonian victory that finally came his way was one he didn’t think he had a shot to win. He was second with Galophone in 1955, third with Circo in 1959, third with Speedy Count in 1964, fourth with Carlisle in 1966, second with Keystone Pride in 1967, third with A. C.’s Orion in 1971, and fourth with Spartan Hanover in 1972. In 1974, a colt he did not want to start named Christopher T. surprised Haughton, his owner John Thro, and nearly everyone else with two relatively simple wins over a modest field of colt trotters in the rain delayed Hambletonian. The purse had grown to a record $160,510 and Christopher T. blew past the leaders in late stretch in the first heat to score 1:594 win over Golden Sovereign and Sing Away Herbert. Nevele Diamond captured the second elimination, trotting in 2:002 for Stanley Dancer. The final, though, belonged to Christopher T., the full brother to 1970 winner, Timothy T., in command in the 1:583 mile. The race was delayed for two days due to heavy storms in the area and was raced over a track less than fast.
For the first time, the elimination system was implemented in the Hambletonian; only the first five finishers came back from each elimination division of eleven starters for a second heat. Christopher T. and Timothy T. (1970) were the fourth pair of sibling to win the hambletonian. They were full brothers by 1964 Hambletonian winner Ayres and out of the Victory Song mare Flicka Frost. Their three-quarter sister Cora T. won the Hambletonian Oaks in 1978. She was by Ayres' sire Star's Pride. Flicka Frost was owned by the partnership of Don Millar (Bonnie Keek Farm) and John Thro, although Bonnie Keek was listed as the breeder of record on Christopher T. as well as Timothy T. Millar recalled that initially the partners would flip a coin and alternate each year on the ownership of each foal. Bill Haughton won his first Hambletonian 25 years after making his first start (with Crossbow who did not finish in 1949). He went on to win three of the next six (1976,1977 and 1980), and trained the winner of 1982. Christopher T., Haughton's 16th starter in the Hambletonian was entered at owner Thro's insistence despite Haughton's pessimism regarding his chances. The event was postponed two days by rain, and the highly regarded Golden Sovereign may have hurt himself in the stall during the delay, finishing second in his elim and fouth in the final. The other co-favorite, Nevele Diamond, won his elim but suffered from bad feet and could not overcome the rain-hardened racetrack.