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Warkentin On Hambletonian Watch

Published: July 1, 2009 5:51 pm ET

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Each week, Meadowlands track announcer Ken Warkentin ranks the top 10 contenders for the $1.5 million Hambletonian.

1. MUSCLE HILL - Won a qualifier at the Big M on June 25 in 1:55.1 and was "poetry in motion" according to trainer Greg Peck. Qualifies again on July 9, "then he'll go in the Stanley Dancer divisions on July 17".

2. FEDERAL FLEX - Held on to win the $333,200 Goodtimes Final at Mohawk in a career best 1:54.2, final quarter in :27.4 on June 27. "It's real difficult to be disappointed in a horse when you pick up $150,000, but he's a better horse than that," said Jody Jamieson.

3. EXPLOSIVE MATTER - Took on older horses on June 26 at Big M and faded to third as the beaten favorite. Looks to rebound from post two in the second division (race five) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.

4. TOM CANGO - Beaten favourite (second) on June 19 returns with post six in the second division (race five) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.

5. THE CHANCELLOR - Yankee Glide colt and stablemate to Lucky Jim finished second in all three NJSS races. Returns almost three weeks later with post six in the first division (race two) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.

6. MY BACK PAGES - Stablemate to Muscle Hill finished third in a qualifier on June 25, timed in 1:56.2 over a "Good" track, and was a judges scratch on June 26. Has post three in the first division (race two) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.

7. RUSSELL HILL - Son of Conway Hall has won five of seven starts this season, and his last four in a row, including the Empire Breeders Classic Final and three straight NYSS divisions. Drew the rail in the first division (race two) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.

8. MR CANTAB - Rebounded off a break in his previous start with an emphatic front-end score in a lifetime best 1:54.4 on June 25 at Big M.

9. TRUTH IN ACTION - Cantab Hall colt was an eye-catching runner-up from post ten in the Goodtimes Final at 43-1. Blair Burgess won in 2003 with Amigo Hall ($57).

10. SYMPHONIC HANOVER - Conservatively handled and finished a disappointing second as the beaten favorite, timed in 1:54.4 over a track rated good on June 26. Landed post five in the second division (race five) of the Dickerson Cup on July 3.


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