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1946 DOMINION HANDICAP
Back in 1930 Tod Lonzia, a two-year-old, trotted a mile against time in 2:22 2-5. Sixteen years later the pacemaker in the Dominion Handicap, a £2000 race holding pride of place in the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's Show Day programme, took round about the same time to trot the first mile of this two-mile contest.
A great deal hung upon this race - the general welfare of the trotter, his status on future Metropolitan programmes, his eventual right to equal opportunities with the pacer. It must be confessed that as a spectacle the Dominion Handicap was a complete let-down for those ardent supporters of the trotter who have been pleading his case.
The fact that the principal two-mile events for pacers were run in much the same way is no excuse - this was the trotter's opportunity to step into the breach and put on a real show. But everyone was content to allow Steel King to slow the field to a jog for more than a mile. Many of the field broke because they were only scratching along.
Casabianca had the run of the race and would probably have won in any circumstances, but that does not exonerate any member of the field from a charge of tedious loitering. They will have to do much better than that.
1st: S T Webster's CASABIANCA. Trained by the owner and driven by J B Pringle, started from scratch.
2nd: W H Roche's MAE WYNNE. Driven by W R Butt, started from scratch.
3rd: V A Barker's MEDICAL STUDENT. Driven by A Holmes, started off 12yds.
4th: J R McKenzie's FANTOM. Driven by G B Noble, started off 24yds.
The winner won by four lengths, with five lengths to the third horse.
Also started: Hidden Note, Ordnance, Steel King, Sure Lady, Forewarned, Will Cary, Sea Max, Douglas McElwyn & Royal Worthy.
Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 13Nov46