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Muscle Hill Team Has Haughton Prospect


Published: July 31, 2009 9:37 pm ET

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It seems driver Brian Sears and trainer Greg Peck, the team behind the Hambletonian favourite Muscle Hill, already have a top prospect for next year's race in their arsenal.

Holiday Road drew off to a convincing 1:56.3 victory for the duo in the first of three eliminations for the $523,600 Peter Haughton Memorial, the Meadowlands' premier event for two-year-old trotters, on Friday night. The top three finishers in each $20,000 elimination, plus the fastest fourth-place finisher overall, advanced to the Peter Haughton Final on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 8.

Holiday Road [$3.00, $2.40, $2.20] took command at the quarter-pole and coasted to a 2 1/4-length margin over Wishing Stone [$3,80, $2.80] in the evening's third race. Plan B In HD [$4.80] came first up to finish third. It was the colt's second win in three pari-mutuel starts.

"My horse got used pretty good, but I was able to back down the third quarter a little bit," Sears said of the fast fractions up front [:28.1, :57.2]. "He was well in hand. I felt like he had plenty of trot to get me down to the wire. He's a big strong colt and getting better every week. He's going to be very competitive at the top of the two-year-old ranks this year."

Holiday Road was a $115,000 yearling purchase at the 2008 Lexington Selected Sale by Peck of Newtown, Pennsylvania; Jerry Silva of Long Beach, New York; TLP Stable [Tom and Lou Pontone] of Kearny, New Jersey; and Patricia Bolte of Moorestown, New Jersey. The son of Yankee Glide-Jambo is a half-brother to Ken Warkentin [$902,355, 1:52.3]. The team of Peck, Sears, Silva and TLP Stable will send out Muscle Hill in Saturday's Hambletonian eliminations at the Meadowlands. The defending two-year-old champion is undefeated in three starts this season and looms the overwhelming favourite heading into the $1.5 million Hambletonian Final on August 8.

"He trained well and we've got a round-the-clock Hambletonian operation, making sure we dot all our i's and cross all our t's," Peck said of Muscle Hill. "We're confident, but it's a horse race. We know that."

Lucky Chucky wired the field in the first of the Haughton eliminations, Race 2, with John Campbell in tow. Trained by Chuck Sylvester, Lucky Chucky was the fastest of the three elimination winners with a 1:56.2 mile. Temple Of Doom got up to finish second, while Chimon rallied for third. Lucky Chucky, a son of Windsongs Legacy, is now perfect in three starts for Sylvester and co-owners Neal Goldman of Washington Township, New Jersey and Amy Stoltzfus of Williamstown, New Jersey.

Pilgrims Taj and driver Mike Lachance tipped off cover on the final turn and flew home in a :27.4 final panel to win the third elimination in 1:57.4. Senor Glide held second, while Guard Dog closed from seventh at the top of the stretch to grab the show spot. The 1-5 favourite, Break The Bank K broke stride at the start of the race and finished seventh. Monte Gelrod trains Pilgrims Taj, a son of Broadway Hall, for Bob Bongiorno of Colts Neck, New Jersey; Bix DiMeo of Red Bank, New Jersey; Val D'Or Farms of Millstone, New Jersey; and Peter Heffering of Post Perry, Ont.

A random drawing will decide the final spot in the Peter Haughton Final. Smooth Power and Homerun Hitter tied for the fastest fourth with a 1:57.4 clocking.

In this week's $31,500 Invitational Trot, odds-on favourite Lanson and driver Mike Lachance wired the field in 1:52.4 for trainer Don Swick and Royal Wire Products Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio. The five-year-old Self Possessed-M Stewart gelding cleared the lead by the quarter pole from the outside Post 7 and clicked off the remaining panels en route to a 4 3/4 length victory over Chick N Tell, who came on for second, and the first over challenger, Misterizi.

Lanson, who finished second to Lucky Jim in the Titan Cup on July 4 at the Meadowlands and won an Open on July 20 at Chester, scored his fifth win in 13 starts this year increasing his earnings to $198,200. The 12-time career winner has banked $325,691 to date.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click here.


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