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Hot Hitter (foaled 1976) was a bay Standardbred Champion racehorse who won two of the Pacing Triple Crown races in 1979 while on his way to setting a single-season earnings record of $826,542 for a harness horse.[1]

Hot Hitter
SireStrike Out (USA)
GrandsireBret Hanover (USA)
DamTimely Queen (USA)
DamsireGood Time (USA)
CountryUnited States
BreederCastleton Farms & Anthony Tavolacci
Owner1) Alterman Stables, Inc./SAJ Ranch, Ltd./Soloman Katz
2) Louis P. Guida & Morton Finder
TrainerLouis Meittinis
Major wins
Little Brown Jug (1979)
Messenger Stakes (1979)
Prix d'Été (1979)
Adios Pace (1979)
Meadowlands Pace (1979)
1979 USA 3 Year Old Colt Pacer of the Year
Last updated on 29 September 2016

Purchased as a yearling by trainer Lou Meittinis for the bargain-basement price of $21,000, Hot Hitter would eventually sell to various investors for $6 million.[2]

Racing careerEdit

For his important races, Hot Hitter was driven by Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductee Hervé Filion. Racing as a two-year-old he met with limited success but at age three developed into the 1979 U.S. Champion 3-year-old pacer.

Triple Crown racesEdit

On June 30, 1979 Happy Motoring nipped Hot Hitter at the wire in the first leg of the Triple Crown series, the Cane Pace at Yonkers Raceway.[3] However, on September 20 at County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio Hot Hitter soundly beat Happy Motoring in the Little Brown Jug, the second leg of the Triple Crown and North America's most prestigious harness race for pacers. The Cane Pace winner finished a distant seventh in the Jug's eight‐horse field.[4] On October 27 at Roosevelt Raceway, Hot Hitter easily won the 3rd leg of the series, the Messenger Stakes.[5]

World Record performanceEdit

The Prix d'Été, another of the big wins of Hot Hitter's career, took place August 26, 1979 at Blue Bonnets Raceway in Montréal, Québec. His winning time of 1:54 in Canada's then richest and most important race set a new world record for a 5/8 mile track.[6] While not a world record, Hot Hitter's win in the 1979 Adios Pace was another memorable performance. He won both heats, on a muddy track, in the process defeating Sonsam who had set a world record for a one-mile oval in winning the July 19 Meadowlands Pace and was widely seen as invincible.

Stud recordEdit

Hot Hitter failed a fertility test that led to a $1.3 million insurance payment.[7] As a result, he would produce only a small number of offspring. Of his progeny, the best performance was by his gelded son Willie Mays who won in a time of 1:53.2.[8]


  1. ^ New York Times - October 28, 1979
  2. ^ Sports Illustrated - October 1, 1979
  3. ^ Sports Illustrated - July 2, 1979
  4. ^ New York Times - September 21, 1979
  5. ^ "Hot Hitter Easily Takes Messenger Stakes Pace". The New York Times. 28 October 1979. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. ^ Montreal Gazette - August 27, 1979
  7. ^ United Press International, Inc. - October 31, 1983
  8. ^ Classic Families - Hot Hitter