Continental Victory - 1996
Filly Sets the Hambletonian Standard As she muscled her way into the record book, Continentalvictory flicked her luxuriant black tail into the air and for the second time on Saturday, August 3, 1996, she crossed the finish line first to win the 71st Hambletonian. Next stop was victory lane where she would become the 13th filly to win the world’s most prestigious race for three-year-old trotters. Since the introduction of the companion filly stakes, the Hambletonian Oaks, in 1971, few have opted to challenge the colts. Continentalvictory did not only take on the colts, she obliterated the record book.
Her opening heat of 1:52.1 was the fastest mile in Hambletonian history and a standard for three-year-old trotting fillies. It also equaled Mack Lobell's mark for sophomore trotters. With her 1:52.4 finale, she posted the fastest double heat total of 3:45, more than a second off the previous record. Reduced to five starters, the second division participants, headed by Lindy Lane, were all assured a spot in the final. Bill O'Donnell, put the Lindy Farms homebred on top at the quarter pole and pulled away to a length and three-quarter victory in 1:53.2. Despite her brilliant first heat performance, Continentalvictory was the betting public's second choice to Lindy Lane in the final heat raced late that afternoon - nearly four o'clock - before a crowd of 28,229 and millions of others watching at simulcasting locations and via the live CBS-TV broadcast. The $1 million Hambletonian Final did not get off without a hitch. One of the finalists, Pine Man, was scratched sick. The Armbro Officer and Act Of Grace each caused delays by breaking at the gate. Tony Oaks, 80-1, fired up by the two recalls, charged out after Continentalvictory and Lindy Lane, who were sitting 1-2 to the quarter in 28.1 and a half in 55.4. But Lachance was not about to yield to the longshot, leaving him parked along side Lindy Lane. Continentalvictory got a bit of a breather to a three-quarters clocked in 1:23 before the all out battle to the wire unfolded. "I got within a head, and she just got away," O'Donnell noted. "(Lindy Lane) gave her a good run for the money. He thought he got to her and was going to get by her, and she shifted into an extra gear. What an athlete that filly is. She's like (Olympian) Jackie Joyner-Kersee." Continentalvictory stopped the teletimer in 1:52.4, last quarter in 27.3 seconds, to secure the victory over Lindy Lane. It was four lengths back to Running Sea in third. Into the jubilant winner's circle streamed the members of the Continentalvictory Stable: Deena Frost (Highland Beach, FL), Harvey Gold (Marlborough, CT), Rosalie and Jerry Silva (Oceanside, NY), Stix Inc. (Ken Orr of Saddle River, NJ and David Hauck of Conley, GA) and David Offenberg's Allister Stables (Marlboro, NJ). Continentalvictory, with victories in the Yonkers Trot and the Hambletonian, had two thirds of the Triple Crown for trotters. Her bid to be the first filly to win the Triple Crown was denied when she pulled a suspensory and was scratched from teh first heat of the Kentucky Futurity on October 4. She was voted Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter of 11996 to add to her divisional honors at two in 1995. The ultimate accolade was to come as she was voted 1996 Horse of the Year.
Continentalvictory became just the second filly to win the Hambletonian since the Oaks was inaugurated in 1971. First elimination heat won by Continentalvictory in 1:52.1 was a Hambletonian stakes record. The mile tied the existing 3-year-old world record (Mack Lobell) and was a world record for 3-year-old fillies. It also broke the track record at the Meadowlands for a three year old, regardless of gender, and was the fastest pari-mutuel race at the track by a trotter, regardless of age. Third of only three black trotters to win; Hoot Mon and Park Avenue Joe were the others. Hambletonian Oaks winner Moni Maker has a rich Hambletonian winner Speedy Crown, out of the 1988 Oaks winner, Nan's Catch. Nan's Catch is the only Oaks winner to produce an Oaks winner.