by Frank Carulli
April 20, 2020
Shartin N, the 2019 Horse of the Year, faced perhaps her stiffest challenge to date last week. She met 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the Sweet 16 round of the Greatest of All Time Challenge.
Shartin N won eight, six-figure races in 2019 and, the year prior, became the first female pacing millionaire. Hannelore Hanover was a two-time Breeders Crown champion trotter, $3 million earner and 46-87 in her career.
Shartin N prevailed in a photo finish in the Twitter-only voting presented by Omega Alpha and the U.S. Trotting Association FanZone.
When the voting re-opens this Wednesday, April 22, Shartin N will meet Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada after he won the Hambletonian by 6 lengths and his second consecutive Breeders Crown trophy.
The voting continues until 9 a.m. EST Friday, but fans will need every minute to sort through the Elite Eight matchups that feature champions spanning the last five decades.
The Shartin N-Muscle Hill winner will advance to the Final Four against the Moni Maker-Somebeachsomewhere victor. Moni Maker won major stakes in four countries, was named Trotter of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and finished 67-for-105. Fueled by a 2008 season in which he earned $2.4 million, Somebeachsomewhere was named Horse of the Decade from 2000-09, his only loss in 21 starts coming by a neck in the Meadowlands Pace.
The other half of the bracket features all multi-millionaires remaining. The bracket began with 32 horses.
Niatross, the 1980 Pacing Triple Crown winner and 37-39 lifetime, squares off with Wiggle It Jiggle It, who won 37 races and $3.9 million in a 2-year span (2015-16). Niatross advanced to the Elite Eight with a win over Foiled Again, the ageless wonder and harness racing’s all-time leading money earner.
Nihilator, the sport’s first $3 million earner and 1985 Horse of the Year, meets Mack Lobell, who won more than 30 races in the U.S. and Europe, including two Breeders Crowns, the Yonkers Trot and two Elitloppets.