Oaks Elim Winners In Peak Form

Published: August 4, 2016 05:11 pm EDT

After back-to-back wins at long odds, trainer Jonas Czernyson wonders what Side Bet Hanover needs to do to earn some respect. A victory in Saturday’s (Aug. 6) $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for three-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands might do the trick.

Side Bet Hanover won her Hambletonian Oaks elimination last week at 38-1, defeating favourite Caprice Hill by a head in 1:53.2 on a rain-soaked sloppy track at the Big M. It was Side Bet Hanover’s third consecutive victory, with her previous triumph in a division of the Reynolds Memorial Stakes coming at odds of 11-1.

“I didn’t get that at all,” Czernyson said about Side Bet Hanover’s odds in her Oaks elimination. “She had two straight wins, and not just in overnights. She’s really peaking at the right time, really coming on when she should.”

Side Bet Hanover, a daughter of Donato Hanover out of the mare Sea Level Hanover, was purchased as a yearling for $55,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. Her family includes Nova Award winner Spellbound Hanover.

This year, Side Bet Hanover has won three of five races and earned $54,871 for owner Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable. For her career, the filly has won four of 12 starts and banked $81,156.

“She was a little slow getting started this year and I didn’t want to push her and bring her out when she didn’t say she was ready to come out,” Czernyson said. “That’s why we took our time with her and it looks now that it paid off. She’s been a very nice horse all along. She’s just an overall nice horse to be around.”

Side Bet Hanover and driver Corey Callahan will start the Hambletonian Oaks final from post four. Side Bet Hanover is 8-1 on the morning line.

“We get to start off in a nice spot and we’ll go from there,” Czernyson said. “I think she fits in pretty good; she beat some nice horses in here. I think we have as big of a shot as anybody else. Now we just have to keep working for another week and make sure we stay as healthy and fresh as we can.”

Celebrity Eventsy won last week’s other Hambletonian Oaks elimination, defeating the breaking Broadway Donna by a neck in 1:53.1. Broadway Donna, the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly trotter, was placed third because of her misstep and All The Time was moved up from third to second.

A daughter of Manofmanymissions out of the mare Little Ms Queenie, Celebrity Eventsy has won three of six races this year and seven of 16 in her career. She has earned $323,053 for owner Sam Stathis’ Celebrity Farms.

Celebrity Eventsy’s victories last year included divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. She finished second to Caprice Hill in the Peaceful Way. She has finished worse than third only twice in her career.

“She made a break in last year’s Doherty final, but it was only because she was green and they had two photographers on the starting line and she had the rail,” trainer Staffan Lind said. “She got crooked looking at them and made a break. But besides that, she’s been the model of consistency.”

Celebrity Eventsy will start the Hambletonian Oaks final from post two. She is 6-1 on the morning line, with two-time Oaks winner John Campbell in the sulky.

“She, like many fillies, has an attitude about things she doesn’t like,” Lind said. “You have to work around her in most cases. But on the track she’s super. She’s got gate speed so I think we’re hopefully going to get a good trip again.”

Jimmy Takter-trained All The Time, last year’s Breeders Crown champion, is the 9-5 morning line favourite in the Hambletonian Oaks. Yannick Gingras will drive the filly. Takter and Gingras have teamed to win the past two editions of the Oaks, with Lifetime Pursuit in 2014 and Wild Honey in 2015.

All The Time has won three of six races this year and finished second in the remaining three starts.

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks - Race 12 - Post time, 4:41 p.m.
PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
1. Caprice Hill - Tim Tetrick - Tony Alagna - 5/2
2. Celebrity Eventsy - John Campbell - Staffan Lind - 6/1
3. Dream Child - Scott Zeron - Linda Toscano - 30/1
4. Side Bet Hanover - Corey Callahan - Jonas Czernyson - 8/1
5. Windowshopper - Brian Sears - Ake Svanstedtv40/1
6. All The Time - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 9/5
7. Broadway Donna - David Miller - Jim Campbell - 7/2
8. Wildflower - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 30/1
9. Black Broadway - Brett Miller - Michael Eaton - 50/1
10. Double Exposure - Tim Tetrick - Tony Alagna - 15/1

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.