Mainliner, who won the 1951 Hambletonian, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. A massive field of 20 went to post in two tiers in 1951 for the richest purse in harness racing history, $98,263.93. Driven by Guy Crippen, the long strided, roman-nosed Mainliner emerged the victor for Ralph H. Kroening of Milwaukee, Wis.
It was the first Hambletonian win for a Wisconsin combination, with Mainliner hitting the headlines all over the nation the next day to become "The Horse That Made Milwaukee Famous."
The win was an extremely popular victory among horsemen, especially due to the high regard in which Guy Crippen was held and the modest and sportsmanlike demeanor of owner Kroening.
Mainliner, a foal of 1948, earned $124,707 in his racing career. He was a $3,300 yearling purchase at the Tattersalls sale and was sold a year later for $25,000 to Ralph Kroening. Mainliner was the best available candidate to win the 1951 Hambletonian and Ralph Kroening wanted to win the Hambletonian. His desire to win the number one stake was stimulated in part by reading Marguerite Henry's Born To Trot.
The one time Hambletonian king was forced into early retirement from competition because of an injury in 1955. He then stood stud in Pennsylvania and Canada. In 1967 Mainliner came home to the Kroening farm in Waukesha, Wis. for good, to live out what already was a long and productive life. The old champion lived the life he so richly deserved, that of a king.
The induction will take place at the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association's annual banquet on Saturday, Jan. 22,at the Howard Johnson in Madison, Wis. Tickets are going fast for this honorable and fun filled event. If you are interested in attending the banquet and fund raising auction, please contact WHHA President, Gabe Wand, at email@example.com or call 608.574.5468.
by Susan Schroeder, for the WHHA