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Fields Set For Haughton, Merrie Annabelle


Published: July 29, 2011 10:27 pm ET

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Big Chocolate rallied from the back of the field to win one of two $20,000 eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial Friday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Heavy rains soaked the track early in the card, creating sloppy conditions for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. That didn’t stop Big Chocolate from accelerating down the stretch to capture his first career win in 1:57. Owner Richard Keys of Chicago, Illinous bred the colt by Chocolatier-Shez Mine. Big Chocolate was driven by trainer Homer Hochstetler and paid $14.80 to win.

“I just kind of stayed in the back and wanted to see how thinks shook out,” said Hochstetler. “It wasn’t the greatest of trips but he’s strong enough. If he gets led up he usually trots straight to the wire and he did tonight. He raced really well last week and that was only his second start. I thought he would be stronger tonight.”

Lightning Storm and driver Yannick Gingras rallied in similar fashion, gunning down the leaders in the stretch, also winning their elimination in 1:57. The son of Donato Hanover-Lightning Flower was a $90,000 yearling purchase from the Lexington-Selected Sale for owner Tom Dillion of Anson, Maine. Steve Elliot bred the Jonas Czernyson trainee. Lightening Storm returned $12 to win.

The $400,000 Peter Haughton Memorial final will be contested on Hambletonian day, August 6. Astarsborn Hanover, Blomkvist, No Frosting, Nothing But Class, Possess The Will, Power Play, Quit Smoking Now and Trojan Horse will join Big Chocolate and Lightning Storm in next week's final.

Friday’s card also featured a pair of $20,000 eliminations for the $333,200 Merrie Annabelle for two-year-old trotting fillies.

In the first elimination, Miss Paris ($8.00) shook loose and sailed up the outside, trotting to victory in 1:57.2 with Dave Miller at the lines. The daughter by Kadabra-Pizza Dolce was purchased as a yearling for $210,000 at the Lexington-Selected Sale in Kentucky. Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Ont., Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, Florida and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida own the Nifty Norman trainee.

Check Me Out ($3.00) romped in the second elimination with Tim Tetrick at the lines, winning her Meadowlands debut in 1:56.1. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Illusion is perfect in five starts for trainer Ray Schnittker, who co-owns the filly with Charles Iannazzo of Tappan, New York.

The field for the $333,200 Merrie Annabelle Final on August 6 includes Aunt Mel, Bluff, Check Me Out, Dorsay, Love Walked In, Miss Paris, Quarantine S, Sterling Volo, Swinging Nadine, Upside Hanover.

Armbro Flight champion Action Broadway set a new lifetime mark of 1:52.3 in the $25,000 Miss Versatility Open for trotting mares. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains the seven-year-old daughter of Broadway Hall-Photo With Molly. She now has nine wins in 19 starts this season for owner Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, Ohio.

In regular racing action, the Blair Burgess-trained Il Villaggio ($7.60) and driver Tim Tetrick rallied home in :28.1 after sitting third for most of the mile to capture the $32,000 Invitational Trot by two and a half lengths in 1:51.4, matching his lifetime mark set two starts ago on July 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. The four-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Dance To Market, who finished fifth in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend at Mohawk, has won half of his eight starts this year for owners Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. of Wallkill, New York and the Il Villaggio Partners of Versailles, Kentucky.

The Pick 6 carryover continues to grow at the Meadowlands with $21,543 heading into Saturday night's card. A $1 base wager, the Pick 6 will begin in Race 4, the second of two $35,000 eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks. Jezzy, who is 18-for-19 lifetime, tops the field of three-year-old filly trotters. She is rated as the 5-2 favourite with entrymate Iron Lady.

For results from Friday's harness racing card, click on the following link: Friday Results - Meadowlands Racetrack.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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