Speedy Somolli - 1978
Speedy Somolli: In Historic Miles For the sixth time in seven years, the heat of the Hambletonian battle produced world marks. First, Speedy Somolli hauled Howard Beissinger around the DuQuoin mile oval in 1:55, trotting the final three-quarters in 1:25 and holding off Brisco Hanover and Florida Pro. In the second heat, Florida Pro, driven by George Sholty, moved out past the half following Speedy Somolli, then engaged the first heat winner from the five-eighths pole home and was up by a scant nose to grab victory in an identical 1:55 time. It was the first time in harness racing history that trotters had raced in 1:55, and two of them did it on the same afternoon. Florida Pro was shuffled back to fifth in the third and concluding heat while Speedy Somolli and Brisco Hanover fought it out up front. Brisco appeared to be mounting a drive inside the seven-eighths pole when he went off stride, with Howard Beissinger gaining his third Hambletonian victory with a 1:57 mile behind Speedy Somolli. The winner was bred by Howard’s wife, Anne, and Barbara Mumma of Harrisburg, Pa., and was owned at the time of his victory by Alan Leavitt, William Rosenberg, the Beissingers and Mummas.
First Hambleonian mile in 1:55. Speedy Somolli won the first heat in 1:55 - the fastest race mile ever by a trotter of any age. Florida Pro won the second heat in an identical 1:55. It was the sixth time in seven years that a world record had been set in a heat of the Hambletonian. Speedy Somolli had a third generation Hambletonian winner pedigree. He was the first horse to be sired by a Hambletonian winner (Speedy Crown) who was sired by a Hambletonian winner (Speedy Scot). Beissinger's wife Ann was the breeder of Speedy Crown. Speedy Somolli also won the Yonkers Futurity, but made breaks in both heats of the Kentucky Futurity which was won by Double Mint. Speedy Somolli was voted Trotter of the Year. In addition to 15 minutes live with Frank Glieber and Stan Bergstein on CBS following U.S. Open Tennis, the Hambletonian was broadcast live on the Mutual Broadcasting Co. radio network. First year of par-mutuel wagering at DuQuoin.