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Hambo Eligible To Begin His Quest

Published: May 1, 2019 5:39 pm ET

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Osterc will take his first steps on the Hambletonian trail Saturday (May 4) when he faces seven foes in the $118,950 Dexter Cup for three-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. Osterc, last season’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, will be making his 2019 debut after having sat out last week’s Dexter elimination thanks to a bye he received for being the field’s top money-earner.

The Dexter Cup is the traditional first stakes race on the road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian, the sport’s premier race for three-year-old trotters. Osterc is among five Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the final, along with elimination winner Whirl Winds K, Cavill Hanover, HL Revadon, and Jasons Camden.

Osterc will start the Dexter Cup from Post 6 over Freehold’s half-mile oval. Yannick Gingras will drive the colt for trainer Per Engblom and breeder-owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk. Osterc qualified twice ahead of Saturday’s start; he won in 1:55 on April 6 at the Meadowlands Racetrack and then finished second behind pacer Albergo Hanover on April 19 at Freehold. Osterc was timed in 1:56.4.

“I was very pleased with that last qualifier,” Engblom said. “He was ‘plugs in’ and strong in that mile. I’m hoping he can go forward from there.”

Osterc, a son of Cantab Hall-Oh Oh Hereshecomes, won five of seven races last year and earned $226,401. Four of his victories came in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series, including the final. The remaining win came in a conditioned race.

Engblom said he decided to accept the bye and skip the Dexter elimination in the hopes of keeping Osterc fresh through the year. He has the first leg of the sire stakes on May 11.

“This is just the beginning of the season,” he said. “I’m hoping he is going to have a good season; I don’t want to burn him out. We’re going to start out in Pennsylvania and if he’s good enough he has the Grand Circuit.

“I’m very happy with the way he came back. He’s going to make some money this year and hopefully we can get a little bit of luck down the road, too. He’s coming back a little stronger than I anticipated. He doesn’t have the greatest of gaits maybe, but he is very honest and gives you what he’s got. His two qualifiers were very good. Let’s hope that’s a good sign for this week.”

Whirl Winds K, who won the Dexter elimination by a nose over Cavill Hanover, will start the final from Post 4 with George Brennan in the sulky for trainer Rich Gillock. The colt is owned by breeder Bob Key. He has won four of 13 career races and earned $54,965. Two of the victories came last year when Whirl Winds K was limited to four starts.

“He had a few little issues and it just took a little while to get him squared away,” Gillock said. “Before you knew it, it got to be October before he was able to keep going forward.

“He’s a nice horse, he just has to get a little better so he can go and be competitive in the bigger races. Hopefully he will. He’s got a great attitude about him, so that’s a big factor.”

Saturday’s card at Freehold also includes the $66,000 Lady Suffolk for three-year-old female trotters. The race attracted a field of nine, including Hambletonian Oaks eligibles Rush Lane, Golden Tricks, and Presto Change O. The remainder of the group is Cardinale, Big Weezy, Magical Beliefs, Meadowbranch Vicki, Matterlei, and Atonement.

Racing will begin at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) at Freehold on Saturday. The Dexter Cup has been carded as Race 10 and will be preceded by the Lady Suffolk.

The field for the $118,950 Dexter Cup appears below.

1-Cotton To You-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin
2-HL Revadon-Dexter Dunn-Harry Landy
3-Jasons Camden-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
4-Whirl Winds K-George Brennan-Rich Gillock
5-Cavill Hanover-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt
6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom
7-Big Money Honey-Joe Bongiorno-Travis Alexander
8-Skyway Kon Man-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer

(Hambletonian eligible: HL Revadon, Jasons Camden, Whirl Winds K, Cavill Hanover, Osterc)


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