Harrison Hoyt is a chunky, red-faced man who lives in Connecticut and makes hats. Unlike most fairly well-to-do men who own harness horses, he likes to race his own in the big time. At Goshen's Good Time Park last week, tradition was against him as he maneuvered his prize three-year-old into line for the start. No amateur had ever won the famed Hambletonian, trotting's Kentucky Derby.
Hatmaker Hoyt was in a sulky instead of a saddle strictly by accident. Several years ago, he bought a saddlehorse named Louis Cobb, which had been a trotter. Just for the fun of it, he decided to put him back in a sulky. After four victories, Driver Harrison Hoyt was a wholehearted harness horseman (he even named a hat the Louis Cobb). He began to buy harness horses. At a Harrisburg (Pa.) yearling sale two years ago he paid $2,600 for a bay horse named Demon Hanover and got a bargain.
Like all harness horses, Demon Hanover had to learn not to break into a gallop or canter, a process known as teaching a trotter "good manners." The Demon caught on beautifully. Last season, mostly on half-mile tracks, Demon Hanover won twelve races in 14 starts. Last week, Hoyt felt so certain of his chances in the big race that he closed up his Danbury hat factory for the day.
Most of his 85 employees turned out at Goshen, N.Y. to pull for the boss: he had promised them their day's pay if he won. There wasn't much doubt about the first heat. Demon Hanover stepped along in front easy as could be, with the boss, in his goggles and cap, driving like a professional. Demon Hanover won the heat without straining. His time: 2:03 1/5. If he could repeat in the second heat, there would be no necessity for a third. In the second, Demon Hanover trotted even better (2:02), won the Hambletonian, the richest harness race in the world. His share of the purse—$32,500.
Hoyt had already turned down $75,000 for his $2,600 buy. Now that he had won the Hambletonian, he might accept the offer, if repeated. And his 85 employees expected soon to be turning out a new hat called Demon Hanover.
Oddly enough, it's not the Montecristi superfino I wish I could afford *eyes panamabob's site*; my grail hat is a basic simple leather one I had as a child. I've not been able to find one like it since. I may have to make it myself, but I've not worked with leather for many years.
Yes....the stetson 100 was my holy grail.My father in law had one.He bought it and a Cadillac when he decided he had made it in life.He was very proud,he had a Gvt. contract and was making quite a lot of money.Most of his life he worked as a mechanic,then opened his own shop and did very well.I was dating his daughter when he showed me the hat and told me it cost a hundred bucks,I was very impressed.I suppose now I'll have to set a new goal......
Having just acquired a lovely Lavender not Stetson Stetson fedora, the vintage hat that goes to the top of my list is a peach Portis, sterling or better quality, in my hat size 7 3/8 or 1/2. I fear that this quest, though, is foolhardy, but hope springs eternal.