Broad Bahn

Race Summary

The 2011 Hambletonian had as many storylines and as much drama as an afternoon soap opera.  


After 18 colts dropped in the box and were split into two eliminations the field was established for the $1.5 million final. In the first elimination, the favorite’s role was played by the Linda Toscano-trained Chapter Seven, who had prevailed by a determined head in his Stanley Dancer division prep race, his first start of the year and entrymate Blue Porsche, fresh off a win in the Goodtimes Trot in Canada. 


George Brennan nailed leading driver honors at the Meadowlands in 2010, and was hot on the trail of a second title. He drove Broad Bahn, a big son of Broadway Hall sharply out of the eight hole and was able to steal the race in rated fashion, tripping the timer in 1:53, nearly a length ahead of Chapter Seven. Fawkes, Whit and Luckycharm Hanover completed the first five finishers to advance. Entrymate Blue Porsche was dull, and had a tough time regaining his freshman form for the rest of the year. Orlando and Big Sky Storm both made early miscues and were counted out of the final. 


In the second elimination, the favorite, Manofmanymissions, performed as expected. After a six-length blowout in his Dancer division, the colt trained by Erv Miller and driven by his brother Andy seemed primed for a big effort. Never in doubt about his speed, Miller instead worried that a nagging foot problem might lead to the occasional break in stride Manofmanymissions had displayed on the rare occasion. So Andy Miller cautiously floated out of the gate, settled briefly in fourth, then attacked first over to win by a length in 1:52.4. George Brennan, driving Magnum Kosmos was second while defending Dan Patch champion Pastor Stephen was third. The last two finalists were Opening Night and Whiskey Tax to complete a field of 10. 


The connections of elimination winners Manofmanymissions and Broad Bahn picked their post positions prior to the draw to set the remainder of the 10-horse field. Broad Bahn’s name was picked first out the hat, so trainer, Noel Daley chose post position number one. “He’s got [gate] speed and he has the ‘Minister of Speed,’” Brennan said, referring his own nickname around the track. 


That prompted Erv Miller to select the two slot. 


“We’re going to take the two hole, right beside (Broad Bahn),” Miller said.  “We don’t want to be out too far and don’t want to get other horses in between us.” Manofmanymissions also earned the favorites role by virtue of his faster elim time, going off at 8-5.  


The post positions for the other eight 3-year-old trotters were determined in an open draw. On a hot and bright Saturday afternoon the field gathered behind the starting gate for the 86th Hambletonian, the 30th time the classic event would race over the host track of the Meadowlands. 


The race was over before it started for Magnum Kosmos and Brian Sears with an ill-timed break behind the gate. Longshots Whiskey Tax (Randy Waples) and Luckycharm Hanover (David Miller) both made attempts at leaving, but the Minister of Speed used Broad Bahn’s pole position and quick early foot to stuff them in behind him. Brennan unfurled a :27.1 first quarter, brisk but not excessive, then let Broad Bahn relax through a :56 half. 


This is where the battle should have been joined, as Manofmanymissions began his slow but steady march up the outside to try to wear down Broad Bahn. But Brennan was ready for the attack and asked his colt for another notch, which Broad Bahn easily gave. After a quickening third quarter of 1:23.4 the two colts seemed set for an epic stretch duel. In deep stretch Manofmanymissions began to falter then jumped it off, leaving Brennan and Broad Bahn clear sailing to the wire in 1:53, a time identical to his elimination win. The pocket-sitting Whiskey Tax was three and a quarter lengths back and the opportunistic Opening Night finished third for brothers John and Jim Campbell. Second favorite Chapter Seven closed for fourth, a good effort after he appeared to gap behind cover on the backstretch. Pastor Stephen followed along to earn the final fifth place money. 


Sent off as the 6-1 third choice in the field, Broad Bahn returned $14.60, $7.00 and $5.60 across the board. Whiskey Tax, a 39-1 shot, returned $26.00 and $11.60 for place and show. Opening Night paid $6.40 to show. The exacta pairing Broad Bahn and Whiskey Tax paid $462.40 for a $2 ticket, eclipsing the $292.20 record set in 2003. The trifecta with Opening Night returned $3,700.40, also topping the 2003 previous record of $2,630.80. 


The winners circle was a whirlwind of “firsts”. It was the first Hambletonian champion bred by the Mullen family’s Fair Winds Farm of Cream Ridge, NJ, though the farm had shared ownership on 1987 champion Mack Lobell and bred 2010 Oaks winner Bar Slide. The win was also the first Hambletonian victory for Danish owner Leif Alber’s Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC., and for trainer Noel Daley and driver George Brennan. It was the first Hambletonian credit for stallion Broadway Hall, an undefeated two-year-old of 2002 who was the Hambletonian winter book favorite but never made the race after a career-ending injury in the spring of 2003.