Dotties Pick

Hall of Fame Inductee, 1976

Dotties Pick was truly a world champion, defeating the finest male and female pacers during an illustrious five-year racing career in the 1950s. She routinely set track and earnings records before retiring to the Armstrong Bros., nursery in Brampton. Here she became one of the founders of a band of broodmares that made Elgin and Ted Armstrong one of the top breeders in the world. Succeeding generations of fillies have perpetuated her legacy as the foundation of one of the great maternal families in Canada.

A 1952 foal by the immortal sire Adios and a daughter of Pick Up, Dotties Pick compiled a record of 42 wins, 27 seconds and 13 thirds and earnings of $263,978. Elgin Armstrong, who had been searching the market for daughters of Adios, paid $8,200 for her as a yearling. Besides her numerous world records, she was the first pacing mare to top $100,000 in a single season and her lifetime earnings stamped her as the first mare to exceed $200,000 in career winnings. At two she won nine of 14 starts, including the Breeders Filly Stakes at Delaware, Ohio, where she launched her assault on the world record tables with the fastest two heats by a freshman filly on a half-mile track. In 1955 Dotties Pick entered the two-minute list, a major achievement at the time, and won 12 of 25 starts. She recorded her first 2:00 mile at Vernon Downs, N.Y., and later reduced her mark to 1:59.2 in a time trial at Lexington. It was during her 3-year-old season that she served notice of her future greatness. As only one of two fillies in harness racing’s coveted Little Brown Jug, she finished second in the three-heat event, winning the second heat in 2:00. It was the fastest mile by a mare of any age on a half-mile track.

When Dotties Pick came out in 1956 for her 4-year-old campaign, the practice of carding filly or mare races was still far off in the future. So mares were forced to race against their male peers and she proved she could compete against the best older horses in North America. She won 10 of 32. The grueling season included 14 starts in free-for-alls at Roosevelt. In the fall she was shipped to Hollywood Park, where she won four consecutive races, including two legs of the American Classics Pace. She lowered her win-race record to 1:57.4 and then took her career mark, garnering another world record with a 1:56.4 clocking in a time trial.

Dotties Pick was then shipped to Yonkers Raceway for one of the crowning achievements of her career, a $25,000 match race against Adios Harry, who also was at the peak of his career after becoming the first pacer to record a 1:55 mile in a race. Handled by her regular driver, Del Miller, she won by open lengths. She continued her winning ways to start the 1957 season with victories in her first three starts at Hollywood. She was then shipped back to Roosevelt to renew hostilities with Adios Harry, Diamond Hal and Duane Hanover and beat them in an Invitational in 2:01. The time made it the fastest mile ever paced by a female older than four on a half-mile track. In her final season she demonstrated her stamina by beating Diamond Hal in a mile and one-eighths race, clocked in 2:15 at Hollywood. The time tied the world record for the distance and established a world record for mares.

Her offspring included multiple stakes winner Eagle Armbro and HTA champion Armbro Kerry. Dottie’s Pick died in 1980 at age 28 and was the first standardbred to be buried at Armstrong Farms.