Day At The Track

"Good Time" the best 65 years ago

10:59 PM 29 Apr 2015 NZST
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Good Time Good Time pictured with Frank Ervin
Good Time
Hoof Beats Photo
Good Time pictured with Frank Ervin
Frank Lucas Photo

One of the early super stars of harness racing was the pacer Good Time, a horse small in stature but large in heart. He was the dominate pacer some 65 years ago and he made his presence felt in Illinois from competing from the bottom of our state to near the top of it.

Trained and driven by Frank Ervin. Good Time was the first to be named Harness Horse of the Year, taking the title in 1949 as a 3-year-old in 1952 as a 6-year-old.

Nicknamed “The Little Giant” he won major races on the Chicago circuit at Maywood Park, Sportsman’s Park, in southern Illinois at Fairmont Park and Du Quoin and in the middle of our state at Springfield.

A bay son of Hal Dale and the Volomite mare, On Time, he stood barely fourteen hands high.

When Good Time retired from racing in 1952, he was the richest Standardbred ever up to that time, with earnings of $318,793

As a sire his fastest offspring were Columbia George, 1:56 and Best of All, 1:56.2. He was the sire of eighty-three 2:00-minute performers at the time of his death at Castleton Farms in 1977.

In a 1953 article in Hoofbeats, written by Jim Harrison, Frank Ervin had this to say about Good Time:

“I have had many great horses and other trainers will have other great ones in days to come. There will be horses that will win more money, both in their lifetime and in a single year. And there will be horses that will go faster.

"But there was only one Good Time and there can only be one. When I asked for more, he always had it. Where the short-legged little guy got it, I'll never know. But it was always there and as far as I'm concerned there'll never he another like him."

In a 3-year-old start at Springfield in 1949, Ervin drove N. D. Hal and had Ken Cartnal pilot Good Time who had drawn 16th post. When the field straightened away for the stretch drive Good Time was four deep and way back but the little horse flew home to win in 2.04.

At Du Quoin that year in the McMahon Memorial, Good Time started in the back tier and got in a jam leaving. Nevertheless, he came on from 13th and last to post a 2:03.3 victory. His driver (Ervin) timed him in 2.01.

At  Fairmount Park he breezed in its Matron Stake.

Also in 1949 Good Time came to Maywood Park for its $10,000 Maywood Pacing Derby on September 27 when the temperature a record low of 36 degrees. The chilly weather didn’t bother Good Time as he won handily.

At Sportsman’s Park a huge crowd turned out to see Good Time take on the best 3-year-old pacers in the country in the $12,425 Trotting Club take, a prelude to the American National, and watched “The Little Giant” prove best when the Cicero, Illinois track was a half-miler.

In 1952 at the age of six, Good Time made two more starts at Maywood Park that June. He was the odds-on favorite in both and didn’t disappoint his supports with convincing victories.

Good Time Career Record

Year  Sts   1ST    2ND   3RD   Earnings

1948  17   12   3    2    $46,433
 

1949  18    15   2    1     $58,766
 

1950  20    14   1    3     $52,705
 

1951  22    14   5    2     $50,589
 

1952  33    23   4    2     $110,299
 

          110  78  15   10 $318,792

Mike Paradise

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