Hambletonian Day News Centre

Published: August 3, 2013 09:15 am EDT

Hambletonian Day featured many of harness racing's brightest stars on a stellar stakes-packed program at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Full coverage of the Hambletonian Day undercard can be found below. Click here for a recap of Saturday's featured event, the $1 million Hambletonian final.

$40,000 Auld Lang Syne Free-For-All Pace

Driver John Campbell swept the late Daily Double as he sent another late-rallying Bob McIntosh trainee, Dapper Dude, to victory lane in the $40,000 Auld Lang Syne Free-For-All Pace, the final dash to be raced in front of the Meadowlands' old grandstand.

Dapper Dude got up to win the Hambletonian Day finale in dramatic fashion, stopping the clock in 1:49.2. After outsider Hugadragon (Yannick Gingras) cleared ahead of Fred And Ginger (Ron Pierce) past the :26.1 first quarter mark and laid down middle splits of :52.4 and 1:21, Dapper Dude came storming home from third over to prevail by a neck. He paid $17 to win. Malak Uswaad N (Tim Tetrick) and Abelard Hanover (Frank Milby) came on for second and third.

Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. also owns and bred the four-year-old pacer, who is by The Panderosa out of Dress To Suggest. The win was Dapper Dude's third in six seasonal starts and 12th lifetime, bumping his bankroll to $613,021.

$213,650 U.S. Pacing Championship

Thinking Out Loud rallied home from second over to pull off a 23-1 upset in the $213,650 U.S. Pacing Championship with the mile of his life in rein to John Campbell for trainer Bob McIntosh.

Early speedster Golden Receiver (Corey Callahan) posted a :26.2 opening quarter before being confronted by Sweet Lou (Yannick Gingras), who was flushed first over from fourth during the second panel by favourite Warrawee Needy (Jody Jamieson). Sweet Lou swept to command past the :53.4 half-mile mark and raced to three-quarters in 1:20.1 as Warrawee Needy advanced with Thinking Out Loud positioned second over. Warrawee Needy battled head-to-head with Sweet Lou into the stretch, but Thinking Out Loud put them both away as he surged to the wire in 1:47.2, shaving two-fifths of a second off his lifetime mark. Early pocket-sitter Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) came on for second, finishing one and three-quarter lengths behind, while Golden Receiver won a photo for show over Pet Rock (David Miller).

"I got to follow Warrawee Needy right until the the Promise Land," said Campbell. "He took me right into the stretch and when I called on him, when I tipped him out, he paced right to the wire very strong.

"I think he'll get better with racing," he added. "He's grown a lot and filled out."

Thinking Out Loud returned $49 to his backers while earning the first win of his four-year-old campaign after a $1.2 million sophomore season in which he upset the North America Cup in similar fashion.

The homebred son of Ponder and Los Angeles is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont., Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont., and Ohio's C S X Stables.

$250,000 New Jersey Classic

Lucan Hanover was a track bias-busting winner on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands thanks to his come-from-behind tally for driver David Miller in the $250,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic. The suddenly-streaking gelding, who was sent off at odds of 5-1, froze the teletimer in a career-best clocking of 1:48.3.

It certainly helped that the fractions in front of him were ferocious. Race favourite Word Power (Jim Morrill Jr.) parked Wake Up Peter (Ron Pierce) past the quarter pole in :26.1 before releasing him to the top. Word Power came right back around for the retake, and he proceeded to do his Roadrunner imitation to the half in :53.4.

Rockin Amadeus (Yannick Gingras) made a snap move going into the final turn, and he easily accelerated past Word Power before tripping the teletimer beam at the three-quarter marker in 1:21.1. David Miller, who was out and tracking cover at the half with Lucan Hanover, fed his charge some racetrack coming off the final turn and the pacer charged past them all for the win. Emeritus Maximus (Tim Tetrick) was up in time to grab the runner-up award, with the show dough going to Rockin Amadeus.

“He ended up being fourth over, but it wasn’t a bad spot because they were kind of going along pretty good there,” said David Miller. “I actually raced him earlier this year and he had a wicked brush to him.”

“From day one I’ve been really high on this colt,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “As a two-year-old he really disappointed me and at the start of this year it looked good and then we got some bad trips and he was running out here in the first turn at The Meadowlands so I took him home and got those problems corrected.

“He’s fully staked as a three-year-old,” she added. “He’s got a lot on his plate. He has a few weeks off and then he goes to the Cane next, I believe.”

The son of Western Ideal-Lauren Order is owned by West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Christine Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. The victory was his sixth of the season in 10 tries and the lion’s share of the loot lifted his bankroll to $219,820.

He paid $13.60 to win.

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks

The winning streak is now 10-in-a-row and counting for Bee A Magician who steamrolled over nine foes to capture the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with the greatest of ease. The filly, who many feel is one of the all-time greats in the history of the sport, halted the teletimer in 1:51.4.

Brian Sears got away fifth with the O’Brien Award-winning daughter of Kadabra-Beehive while Classic Martine (Ron Pierce) hustled to the lead and threw down an opening quarter of :26.4. To Dream On (Yannick Gingras) made a rush to the lead in the backstretch, and hot on her heels was Bee A Magician. Those two trotted past the mid-way point in :54.1 before Bee A Magician worked her way to the top.

Sears let his charge trot the third quarter in :28.2, and that put the field at the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3. A :29.1 closing panel was more than enough for the Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman pupil to secure the victory over Classic Martine and To Dream On.

“I think we’ve a got a good shot because ‘Spider’ [Spider Blue Chip] is at his peak right now,” said owner Mel Hartmann when asked about his chances of scoring the Hambletonian Oaks/Hambletonian double. “He’s really come along very well and we’re very happy with him. If we get lucky enough in the next race you’ll have to carry me out of here.”

After going 10-for-13 last season, Bee A Magician is now undefeated in nine starts this season for the partnership of Ottawa's Hartman, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, Florida and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida. The $250,000 payday helped her lifetime earnings climb to $1,540,903.

The favourite paid $2.40 to win.

$318,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot

Sevruga captured the $318,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot, formerly the called the Nat Ray, with a 1:50.4 effort for the husband and wife team of driver Andy and trainer Julie Miller.

When the wings of the gate swung open, the trotters battled five-wide into the first turn with Sevruga eventually emerging with the lead from the four-path past the :27-second opening quarter mark. The five-year-old SJs Caviar-Stunning Lindsey gelding carved out middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:22.2 with 2-5 favourite Market Share (Tim Tetrick) advancing first over and picking up cover around the final turn by the pocket-pulling Uncle Peter (David Miller). However, Sevruga dug in down the homestretch to prevail by two lengths. O'Brien Award winner Mister Herbie (Jody Jamieson) was a fast-closing second over Uncle Peter.

Sevruga’s winning time came within three-fifths of a second of the all-age trotting world record on a one mile track, which is co-held by the Miller’s 2009 Nat Ray champion Lucky Jim. He paid $21.60 for the upset win.

“That’s his best game -- to stretch him out a little bit and go big fractions,” said Andy Miller. “His ears came up around the last turn just looking for challengers so I asked him to go and he just took off.”

"If he got to the front I knew he would be tough and he was tough," commented New York owner Howard Schneidler of Kdm Stables Corp. "He was unbelievable. It's just thrilling, a thrilling day.”

The consistent trotter has now put together a 9-4-2 record in 16 seasonal starts. He is now 26-for-55 lifetime with earnings soaring to more than $800,000.

$1,000,000 Hambletonian Final

1. Royalty For Life – Brian Sears
2. Spider Blue Chip – Ron Pierce
3. Corky – David Miller
4. Creatine – Mike Lachance
5. Dontyouforgetit - Johnny Takter
6. High Bridge – Yannick Gingras
7. Aperfectyankee – Jim Oscarsson
8. Lauderdale – Corey Callahan
9. Smilin Eli – Tim Tetrick
10. Wheeling N Dealin – Sylvain Filion

$70,000 Hambletonian – 3rd Elimination

Speed ruled in the first two eliminations of this year’s Hambletonian, and driver Ron Pierce wasn’t about to be the odd man out when it came to mapping out his plan of attack for Spider Blue Chip. The gelding marched to the top and just kept on going en route to a 1:53.4 score in his assignment.

The son of Andover Hall-Southwind Caitlin, who was sent off as the 4-5 favourite, sprinted to the lead from post six and carved out fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.2 before using a :28.2 final frame to seal the deal over Corky (David Miller), Lauderdale (Corey Callahan) and Possessed Fashion (John Campbell).

“He trained just now, I didn’t ask him to go much at all,” said Pierce. “He had plenty left in his tank just now.”

“After they went in 1:52...I said ‘Oh my, we’ve got our work cut out for us,’” said trainer Chuck Sylvester. “The one thing I told Ron was to try to bring us a horse back for the second heat, and he sure did. He protected him. He’s a nice horse who gets better every start.”

After going two-for-eight in his rookie season, Spider Blue Chip racked up an impressive boxscore of 5-1-1 from eight trips to the track this season for his four-time Hambletonian-winning trainer. The career winner of $206,294 is owned by David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Mel Hartmann of Ottawa, Ont.

He paid $3.80 to win.

$70,000 Hambletonian – 2nd Elimination

Creatine continued the Hambletonian elimination trend overcoming his own outside post eight start with Mike Lachance to win by two lengths over 8-5 favourite and reigning divisional champion Wheeling N Dealin (Sylvain Filion) and last year’s Peter Haughton winner Aperfectyankee (Jim Oscarsson). Dontyouforgetit (Yannick Gingras) finished fourth.

Lachance fired Creatine off the gate into a :27-second opening quarter and established the lead over second panel breaker Celebrity Maserati (Tom Jackson). Wheeling N Dealin inherited the pocket spot as the field headed down the backstretch with Donyouforgetit third and Aperfectyankee moving first over after a :55 half, but not gaining much ground. Creatine remained in control past three-quarters in 1:23.4 and opened up a pair of lengths down the stretch to score in 1:52.4. He paid $13.80 to win as the 5-1 fifth choice in the wagering.

“My horse can leave good and what am I going to do? Take back and you have almost no chance to come back in the first three,” said Lachance when asked if his racing strategy was influenced by Royalty For Life’s winning effort from post eight in the previous elimination. “He is a very talented horse and it doesn’t bother him one bit to go a half in :55.

“Just to be in it is something very special,” added the reinsman, who is vying for his fifth Hambletonian victory. “It’s a dream for a young driver and for an old driver it’s an even bigger dream.”

Diamond Creek Racing’s homebred Andover Hall-Berry Nice Muscles colt is trained by Bob Stewart, who conditioned his sire along with Angus Hall and Conway Hall, all former Hambo contenders.

“It’s hard to compare horses with 15-16 years in between, but they were at the top of their class and I think he’s at the top of his class also,” said Stewart.

The win improved the flying-under-the-radar colt's seasonal record to 3-2-0 in seven starts and lifted his earnings to $98,527. He is six-for-14 lifetime with a career bankroll totalling $161,547.

$70,000 Hambletonian – 1st Elimination

The betting public was bang on with its pari-mutuel assessment of Royalty For Life in the first elimination of the Hambletonian. The colt was sent off at odds of 3-5, and the was 3-5 the best.

In charge from the outset, the son of RC Royalty-Bourbon N Grits shot the front for driver Brian Sears and successfully sliced out panels of :26.4, :54.3, 1:23.1 before using a :28.4 kicker to win in under-wraps fashion in 1:52. Smiling Eli (Tim Tetrick) was second best, High Bridge (Yannick Gingras) finished third and E L Rocket (Jim Morrill Jr.) grabbed a fourth-place cheque.

“He was a little aggressive, but not terrible. I’ve seen him a lot worse,” said Sears. “He’s getting some more starts in him and some more confidence and he’s getting to know what we’re trying to do out there. He’s a little more comfortable I think. He was two-fingers calm. He was a little more excitable in the [Stanley] Dancer, but I think the more races he gets under his belt the better he’ll be. I think he had a little more in the tank.”

“Right now I really believe now that he’s got in a regular schedule of racing every week that we’re ahead of the curve a little,” said trainer George Ducharme. “He’s not just a dead front-runner, and I think we’ll be able to do whatever Brian would like to.”

The homebred, who is owned by Alfred Ross, Raymond Campbell and Paul Fontaine, improved this year’s record to 3-1-0 in six tries while pushing his seasonal bankroll to $194,850. The 10-time winner has racked up more than $527,000 to date.

He paid $3.40 to win.

$75,000 Vincennes Free-For-All Trot

Little Brown Fox gave Jimmy Takter a training triple on Hambletonian Day as he held off the late-closers to win the $75,000 Vincennes Free-For-All Trot in 1:53.3 with Brian Sears in the sulky.

Little Brown Fox won an early battle for the lead over Cedar Dove (Andy Miller), the favoured trotting mare in the field of 11, after leaving from the middle of the pack. He cleared to command at the :26.4 first quarter mark before being confronted by Tall Cotton (Yannick Gingras) down the backstretch.

Tall Cotton advanced from fourth and began to edge out in front at the :55.4 half-mile mark with trotting mare Beatgoeson Hanover (David Miller) following his cover and then fanning three-wide during the third panel. Meanwhile, From Above (Corey Callahan) moved up to fill the second over spot.

However, Little Brown Fox did not cave under pressure as he regained the lead past the 1:24.1 third quarter station and held off the late-closers, who spread across the track in a photo for place. From Above was second, half a length behind, with Beatgoeson Hanover finishing third.

Little Brown Fox paid $10.60 to win as the 4-1 third choice.

Takter’s wife Christina shares ownership of the four-year-old millionaire son of Muscles Yankee and Malvictorian with John and Jim Fielding of Scarborough, Ont., Sweden’s Brixton Medical Ab, and Brittany Farms of Kentucky.

$280,500 Peter Haughton Memorial

Father Patrick was light years the best in the Peter Haughton Memorial for the dynamic team of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter. The colt covered the mile in an effortless manner in 1:54.1.

The son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream tucked into the three-hole in the early going while Well Built (Ron Pierce) marched to the motor and threw down a first fraction of :27.4. Gingras hit the accelerator in the backstretch, and he was allowed to clear to the lead without a tussle. He led the group to the half in :55.1 while feeling pressure from the parked out Nuncio.

Gingras stretched out and eventually released Nuncio and John Campbell to the lead, with that duo rushing to the front. Nuncio arrived at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4, but Father Patrick was back out and rolling as the field turned for home. Father Patrick blew right by the tempo-setter and drew clear to win by 10 lengths. Nuncio was the best of the rest, with third prize going to Southwind Spirit (Brian Sears).

“It was a fast half, but I thought it was a two-horse race,” said Gingras. “I got the jump making the lead first. I figured I'd take some of John’s power away by taking it to him a little bit and my horse won very, very easy. [The track crew] did such a great job. With the rain we got earlier, the track is fast right now. All the credit to the crew, they did a great job.”

Father Patrick is a full-brother to millionaire trotter Pastor Stephen, who was first-placed-sixth in the 2010 edition of the Haughton. This year’s winner is named after Rev. Patrick McDonnell, the pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Hightstown.

“It feels good to be in this environment,” said Rev. McDonnell amidst the winner’s circle celebrations. “I go by the stable every day. I see ‘Patrick’ and whisper a couple of words in his ear.”

Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, New Jersey owns the rookie, who improved his record to 3-1-0 from just four trips postward. His share of the purse lifted his lifetime loot to $168,375.

Father Patrick paid $4.80 to win as the 3-2 favourite.

$217,100 Lady Liberty

Drop The Ball wore down the popular pacesetter Anndrovette in the $217,100 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares to bring driver Corey Callahan right back to the winner’s circle.

Two-time O’Brien Award winner Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) established the lead from post six and put up a :26.1 opening panel while Drop The Ball, parked from post eight, was able to find a spot along the pylons in fourth. However, Callahan had Drop The Ball out and rolling again as the field approached the half in :53.3. She then moved up to challenge Anndrovette past the 1:21 three-quarters mark and into the stretch, eventually persevering by less than a length in 1:49 flat over the track downgraded to "good" for trainer Ross Croghan.

Sent postward as the 9-2 third choice in the field, Drop The Ball paid $10.60 to win. Anndrovette, who mowed down Drop The Ball the last time they faced off in the Roses Are Red Stake on July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack, settled for runner-up honours this time out. Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras) finished over four lengths behind in third.

“She deserved to win today,” commented Callahan after the race. “Anndrovette is such a tough competitor and she’s been getting the upper hand on Drop The Ball so it’s nice for her to get her picture taken today.

“I was lucky to get a little bit of a tuck there," he added, referring his early move in the race. "I was probably in for maybe a sixteenth or eighth of a mile and she was right back out, but she’s tough. Ross had her ready today and she went a big effort.”

Croghan trains the five-year-old Western Hanover-Mattcheck Girl mare for Florida owners Let It Ride Stables Inc., Dana Parham and Robert Cooper Stables LLC. She now boasts 19 wins on her career record with purse earnings soaring to $1.26 million.

$55,000 Ima Lula Series Final

The world record for four-year-old trotting mares on a one-mile track was matched by Dorsay, who rolled to a jaw-dropping clocking of 1:51.4 for driver Corey Callahan in the $55,000 final of the Ima Lula. The performance matched the mark held by Beat The Wheel (1994), Peaceful Way (2005) and Queen Serene (2007).

Callahan got away in mid-pack with the daughter of Yankee Glide-Danae while One More Ginny and Sylvain Filion sliced out early fractions of :28 and :56. Callahan had his mare out and driving on the way to the half, and after going into sprint mode in the final turn the Jonas Czernyson trainee muscled her way to the lead.

Dorsay proceeded to lead the group to the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1 before uncorking a :27.3 closing panel en route to the score by three and three-quarter lengths. Personal Style (David Miller) was second, Check Me Out (Tim Tetrick) recovered from a backstretch break to finish third while race favourite Maven (Yannick Gingras) was a disappointing fourth.

Consus Racing Stable of Delray Beach, Florida owns the six-time winner who now boasts a three-for-eight record this season. Her bankroll swelled to $211,323 with the victory.

Dorsay paid $36.60 for the 17-1 upset win.

$321,700 Merrie Annabelle

Two-year-old trotting filly Shake It Cerry went wire-to-wire to win the $321,700 Merrie Annabelle in a 1:53.3 track record clocking over her fellow Jimmy Takter trainee Lifetime Pursuit.

Driver Ron Pierce rolled 3-2 favourite Shake It Cerry, who received a bye into the final, to the lead from post six and carved out fractions of :28.3, :56.4, and 1:25.2 with elimination winner Lifetime Pursuit (Yannick Gingras) on her helmet. The latter tried to rush up the inside lane down the stretch, but Pierce kept the drifting Shake It Cerry on task to score over her stablemate by one length. Cee Bee Yes (Andy Miller), who also advanced to the final with a bye, finished nearly 17 lengths behind in third.

“Having two amazing fillies like those two is of course a great thrill,” said Takter, who earned his second win in the Merrie Annabelle with the homebred Donato Hanover-Solveig filly named after his sister Cerry. “Both of those fillies have been standing out in my eyes for the last six or seven weeks.”

Shake It Cerry, who now boasts a perfect three-for-three record, paid $5 to win. She is owned by Solveigs Racing Partners of New Jersey.

$125,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey

O’Brien Award winner I Luv The Nitelife kicked off the Hambletonian Day program with a stakes record-setting performance of 1:49 for driver Tim Tetrick in the $125,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey Final for three-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing fillies.

The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune took an early three-hole tuck behind the battling tandem of Authorize (Ron Pierce) and Ms Caila J Fra (Simon Allard). Those two fillies battled to the quarter pole in :26.2 before Ms Caila J Fra cleared to the position of command. Jerseylicious (Corey Callahan), who got away fourth, roared to the front in the second quarter with an impressive-looking backstretch brush move. She hit the half-mile marker in :53.1.

Tetrick pushed the button on I Luv The Nitelife as the field motored into the final turn, and the top two choices sprinted to the three-quarter pole in 1:21. The war waged on into the lane between those two before I Luv The Nitelife edged away in deep stretch. She hit the line in 1:49, with Ms Caila J Fra re-rallying to finish second. Authorize was third, and Jerseylicious faded to finish fourth in the seven-filly affair.

“She most definitely earned it today,” said driver Tim Tetrick. “They take it at her all the time. I guess she hasn’t earned other people’s respect yet. She doesn’t win by many [lengths], but she likes to put her nose out there, and she’s really, really tough to get by.

“I knew I had to make a move after the big half [in :53 seconds],” Tetrick added. “I wanted to make the thing happen and not let Corey [Callahan with Jerseylicious] get too much of a breather. He’d already been pushed hard, and I thought he might let me go, but he didn’t so we raced from there.”

"I knew it was going to be a slugfest, but she’s never lost one yet," said trainer Chris Ryder. "So I knew she was going to make it. She goes to the big race at Pocono next, not the Battle of Brandywine, but the filly division [Valley Forge]."

The stakes record-setting performance chopped a full second off the former mark of 1:50 set by a former Chris Ryder champion, Put On A Show.

I Luv The Nitelife, who is owned by Richard and Joanne Young of Coconut Creek, Florida, improved this year’s record to 8-0-1 from nine trips to the track with the win. The lion’s share of the purse boosted her lifetime cash stash to $1,261,390.

I Luv The Nitelife paid $2.80 to win.

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