Race Summary

Campbell Brothers Score Touchdown With Tagliabue

The 70th edition of the Cadillac Hambletonian provided a feeling of deja vu. Like the 1989 version of the Classic race, the two-year-old champions were expected to square off for the second jewel of trotting���s Triple Crown. But, like 1989, the script was subject to revisions. In 1989, Valley Victory, the dominant colt trotter, came down with an illness just days before the Hambletonian and never raced again. In 1995, Valley Victory���s son Donerail, the top colt trotter as a freshman, was not coming into the race as his trainer Stanley Dancer expected and he was retired just prior to the big event.

Peace Corps, the champion two-year-old filly of 1988, raced in the Hambletonian but was not up to par, finishing third. However, CR Kay Suzie last year's brilliant filly champion, came tinto the 70th Hambletonian with all indications that she was ready to become the first female victor since Duenna to wear the Hambletonian crown.

CR Kay Suzie was one of three horses racing for the Carl Allen family. Father Carl was aboard CR Trackmaster, son Mike would pilot Super Wally, and son Rod would be in his usual spot behind Suzie. CR Kay Suzie, who set world records on all three-sized tracks at two, had quite a following. members of the press often stopped by the Allen barn, and fans flocked to the races to see her. The discussions among racing fans before the Hambletonian centered not on whether Suzie would win, but how fast she would go and how much she would win by.

CR Kay Suzie drew into the first Hambletonian elimination, leaving from post six. She settled third through the first turn as Giant Hit took the lead, with Uma right behind. Rod Allen tipped her out past the quarter pole, and the filly picked up speed as she made a move for the front. Then, the unthinkable happened, Cr Kay Suzie went on a break in the blink of an eye, as Allen desperately tried to get her back trotting.

John Campbell, steering Arlene and Jules Siegel's lightly-raced Tagliabue, was following Suzie's move but was not affected by the break. Tagliabue did however, throw in a few steps on the turn, when he attempted to pass Giant Hit who had held onto the lead.

Campbell got the strapping colt back on stride quickly, but all eyes were on CR Kay Suzie, who had only to beat two colts to qualify for the final. It was not to be her day, however, as she struggled and finished sixth. Tagliabue swept by Giant Hit for the score, with that rival holding on for second, Uma third, Deliberate Speed fourth, and Climbing Bud fifth.

The Allen family's luck didn't improve in the second elimination. Mike Allen sent Super Wally, who won the Dexter Cup earlier in the year, for the lead. But when King Pine challenged up the backside, Super Wally went on a break. Father Carl and CR Track Master had jumped off stride in the first turn as well. Another surprise, Abundance, took the second heat. With John Patterson, Jr. in the bike, Abundance shoot loose after being locked into win in 1:56.2. Earthquake was second, and King Pine, whom most considered the one most likely to dethrone Suzie, was third. Trustworthy and Super Star Ranger rounded out the final five.

In the final, Giant Hit and Abundance carved the early fractions, while Deliberate Speed settled in the three hole. both Trustworthy and King Pine took themselves out of contention with a break in the first turn. Campbell moved Tagliabue first-over early at the quarter in :28, and nabbed the lead. They hit the half in :56.1, and when Uma made a move only to make a break, a locked-in Abundance and Bill Fahy were able to get racing room.

Tagliabue by that point was some five lengths in front, and cruised under the wire a comfortable winner by mroe that two lenths in 1:54.4. Abundance was second, and Giant Hit third.

The victory wasn't an ordinary Hambletonian victory for John Campbell, even though his fourth Hambletonian crown put him in very lofty company with Bill Haughton, Ben White and Stanley Dancer as the only men to drive four winners.

It was the fact that younger brother Jim trained the winner that gave Campbell such a thrill. "It's a tremendous feeling," he said, "It's even more special when it's with Jimmy." The Campbell's parents, Jack and Florence, joined the celebration in the winner's circle.

Tagliabue, bred by John and Adelaide Skoglund and named after NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was purchased as a eyarling for $55,000 by Arlene and Jules Siegel. The Siegels, who owned a chain of drugstores in New Jersey but now spend their time with their horses, tapped Jim Campbell to train their Fashion Farm horses just a year prior to their biggest victory.
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