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Melander On His Hambo Hopefuls

Published: August 3, 2018 4:32 pm ET

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Marcus Melander will send out multiple horses in the Hambletonian, with 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension at 10-1 in the second elimination and Evaluate at 15-1 in the first.

Fourth Dimension, owned by Unibet-founder Anders Strom’s Courant Inc., won eight of 11 races last year including the Valley Victory Stakes.

This year, Fourth Dimension made his seasonal debut with a second-place finish in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs, and then went off stride in his elimination for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono. He also went off stride in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands.

Fourth Dimension, a son of Chapter Seven out of Corazon Blue Chip, enters the Hambletonian off a 1:52.4 win in a qualifier on July 21 at the Meadowlands.

“I was very happy with his qualifier here, he was very good,” trainer Marcus Melander said. “He did (1):52.4 very easily. I think he’s going to show a lot more in the Hambo. His season has been a little strange. First he was very good in his first start and then two breaks. It’s been a little weird.

“But he feels very good and I’m very happy how he feels. I think he’s very sharp and in good form. A lot of these horses that are good now maybe weren’t as good last year and they’ve caught up to him.”

Melander attributed Fourth Dimension’s two breaks to equipment issues.

“It’s just been a little unlucky,” Melander said. “I’m not worried about that.”

Evaluate is owned by Melander’s uncle, Stefan Melander, who trained and drove 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight. Evaluate, a son of Andover Hall out of Blathin, has won four of 11 career races and finished second four times.

“Of course, he is not one of the favourites, but he’s got some potential,” Melander said. “With a good draw he’ll be right there.”

Evaluate will be driven by Swedish Hall of Famer Örjan Kihlström, who already has two stakes wins at the Meadowlands in his career, capturing the 2014 Breeders Crown Open Trot with Commander Crowe and 2015 Fresh Yankee with D One on Hambletonian Day. He drove Cruzado Dela Noche in his Hambletonian elimination in 2015, finishing ninth and failing to advance to the final.

He is perhaps best known internationally for his wins with Nuncio, Magic Tonight, and From Above in the Elitlopp and his win with Maharajah in the Prix d’Amerique. He also has driven stars such as Giant Diablo and Propulsion.

Kihlström’s most recent drive in the U.S. came in 2016 when he finished fourth with On Track Piraten in the Yonkers International Trot.

When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Kihlström’s bio proclaimed: “Magic hands. Nerves of steel. Ice cold as few. He has the ability many want, but few possess.”

Hambletonian Elimination One
PP - Driver –Trainer - Morning Line
1 - Shoshie Deo - George Brennan - Dewayne Minor - 10/1
2 - Evaluate - Orjan Kihlstrom - Marcus Melander - 15/1
3 - Mets Hall - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1
4 - Lawmaker - David Miller - Andrew Harris - 8/1
5 - Wolfgang - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 5/2
6 - Crystal Fashion - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell - 7/2
7 - Atlanta - Scott Zeron - Rick Zeron - 3/1
8 - Hat Trick Habit - Brian Sears - Scott DiDomenico - 12/1
9 - Zephyr Kronos - Jimmy Takter - Jimmy Takter - 10/1

Hambletonian Elimination Two
PP - Driver –Trainer - Morning Line
1 - Fashionwoodchopper - David Miller - Jim Campbell - 10/1
2 - Patent Leather - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell - 15/1
3 - Classichap - Trond Smedshammer - Trond Smedshammer - 6/1
4 - Alarm Detector - Trevor Henry - Benoit Baillargeon - 10/1
5 - Fourth Dimension - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander - 10/1
6 - Southwind Chrome - Scott Zeron - Paula Wellwood - 5/1
7 - Tactical Landing - Jimmy Takter - Jimmy Takter - 4/1
8 - You Know You Do - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 8/1
9 - Six Pack - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 2/1

(USTA)


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