Mack Lobell - 1987
Mack Lobell: A Mack Attack Mack Lobell came into the 62nd Hambletonian with numerous records to his credit. He held a world record for two-year-old trotters of 1:553, track record of 1:54 at the Meadowlands in the Beacon Course Trot and was four-for- four on the year, including the Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. Mack’s sire, Mystic Park, had been the favorite for the 1982 Hambletonian, but had broken stride in the first heat and didn’t qualify for the final. He was found to be suffering from a staph infection. After he was retired from racing just one start later, he was stricken with Potomac Fever. The stallion then foundered, a condition that is usually fatal. But Mystic Park battled back and survived to stand at stud. Heavily favored at the windows in the first heat, Mack didn't disappoint his backers, trotting to a five-and three-quarter lenght victory in 1:54. But Mack did have a problem. He brok stride after the finish and it was determined that his feet were stinging him. Trainer Chuck Sylvester called on Robert "Beans" McWhinney, who reshod the colt between heats, adding a leather pad for cushion. Mack came back with a bounce in his step to win the second heat in 1:53.3 by better than six lengths, setting a track and world record of 3:47.3 for two heats. Both heats developed in much the same manner. John Campbell moved Mack to the front before the quarter, turned back mid-race challengers and drew off handily in the stretch.
First Hambletonian timed better than 1:54 (1:53 3/5). John Campbell wins his first of five Hambletonians. Mack Lobell's six and a quarter length victory in the final set a new record for the largest winning margin in the final heat. The previous record was held by Peter Astra (1939) and Nevele Pride (1968). The only drama of the day occurred when Mack Lobell made a break in the turn after the finish line in the first heat. Trainer Chuck Sylvester, after consulting with Campbell, thought the track was stinging the horse's feet and had him reshod with full leather pads in between heats. Mack Lobell won the next and final heat, but seemed to measure the finish line and brok into a gallop as soon as he was safely across the finish line. Mack Lobell also won the Yonkers Trot, but his Triple Crown of Trotting was denied by Napoletano in one of the most memorable Kentucky Futurities ever. Mack Lobell was voted Trotter of the Year, an honor he earned again in 1988 as a 4-year-old. Mack Lobell was from the first crop of Mystic Park. As a 4-year-old at the time of the mating, Mystic Park became the youngest stallion ever to sire a Hambletonian winner. Mystic Park was the beaten favorite in the 1982 classic.