View Full Version : Dan Patch Book, and How Fast Do Current Harness Horses Go?

Jun. 24, 2011, 06:09 PM
Finished another free book, and this one seemed much better than the new Affirmed book, which I quit on about 1/3 of the way through. That one isn't worth the price, but I recommend Crazy Good, the story of Dan Patch. I knew next to nothing about the subject horse, outside of a mention in the Music Man, but this was well written, had no obvious glaring errors like Affirmed, and seemed very thoroughly researched. I'm keeping this one for my horse library instead of trading it back again.

Very interesting to read about some of the horse's problems, too. He apparently required an extra-wide sulky and pretty major corrective shoeing on his left hind, or he banged it on both the cart and himself when he got going at speed.

Made me wonder, though, how fast harness horses go today? Dan Patch's best time was 1:55 flat for the mile. Since this was over 100 years ago, I assume they have beaten that. Thoroughbred tracks at least have gotten much better, and I assume harness tracks also have, as well as maintenance of them. But what is a "good" time today? And if it's still anything close to 1:55, I'm even more impressed with the horse.

Highly recommend this book. A very good read. :yes:

Jun. 24, 2011, 07:41 PM
Record mile for a pacer is 1:46 and change, over Colonial Downs. Most of the good horses average 1:51 and a bit, and sub 1:50 miles are getting to be pretty common. I well remember the days when a minute mile was a rarity, now it is common, and the new standard seems to be 1:50, but please note, west coast speeds are slower than east coast and, here, int the middle, we have mostly bullring tracks on a fair circuit that takes care of two and a half provinces and two states (ND & SD); Alberta has it's own meets although we get refugees from there as well.

Of course, this is all relative to where you race as well - the average small owner racing in his own backyard, so to speak, unless said backyard happens to be The Big M or Woodbine/Mohawk is looking at slightly slower times and even greatly slower times, depending on the track surface and the (non)skill of the track maintenance people. I think, barring cancellation, tonight will tell the tale of a couple of California horses brought to Saskatchewan to race; I am willing to wager they won't be zipping around Yorkton in 1:56 like they did at Cal-Expo.

I watched the whole 'super' crop of 77, with all the speed demons and the next almost super crop of 81, so the average speed tends to drop a bit in cycles.

Jun. 24, 2011, 07:55 PM
The Meadowlands owns the fastest 'pace' miles'......Holburn Hanover and Art Official....I believe 1:46.4, or close to that.

Approx. 1,000 races have been won in 1:50, or faster.

Time trials.......don't count.

Only 1 'trotter' has been clocked under 1:50. That, I believe was at Colonial Downs........1:49.3 by Enough Talk a couple years ago.

Enough Talk is gonna race as I type this.......Race 3 at Meadowlands right now.

Jun. 24, 2011, 08:08 PM
Billy Direct is the first official 1:55 mile......1938.

Dan Patch did his at a goofy time trial......1906.

Jun. 24, 2011, 08:10 PM
I had forgotten about Holborn Hanover and it was 1:46.4 but Art Official is listed at 1:47.

A list of records can be found here: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/content/world-records.html

Jun. 24, 2011, 08:28 PM
As of today:





There are drop-downs for historical and speed......evolution of the mile.

Very useful site.

Jun. 24, 2011, 08:50 PM
Just to put this in proper historical prespective- Falcon Seelster shattered the World Record by 2 and 3/5 seconds on this day. When Secretariat, the greatest racehorse ever, won the Belmont Stakes by 32 lengths, he shattered the World Record by 2 and 3/5 seconds as well.

Turn up the speakers on this one.....Falcon Seelster, 1985:


Jun. 25, 2011, 12:01 PM
World record for pacing (all age) was set by Cambest in a time trial. The record is 1:46.1. The article about O'Donnell and the trip, including a video of the effort, is here: http://standardbredcanada.ca/news/6-25-11/odonnell-cambests-mark.html

Jun. 26, 2011, 08:23 AM
I watched this race http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/6-5-11/record-mile-lisagain-des-smith.html live! Damn was it exciting!

FWIW at Rideau, if your horse paces around 1:56, it's a cheaper claimer. :( About 15 years ago, those were the open horses!

Jul. 7, 2011, 09:53 PM
I was there. I used to rub on Skipper Dale Marx. Any other year, Skip would have been right there.

Come to think of it, I took care of a very nice colt named Tarnished Treasure.
And what horse did we finish just behind everywhere we went?


Sometimes, I really miss it all.

But my DH lets me watch "Drive Time" on TVG or HRTV, whichever.

He gets it when I turn the sound all the way up, and when I root for David Miller.

Jul. 8, 2011, 05:47 PM
I used to rub on Skipper Dale Marx.

Saw him run a few times at old Sportsmans Park in the 80's.