Hambletonian Day 2013 – A Day for the Stars to Shine
Morning rain cleared, the
sun came out, and so did a typically large and roaring Hambletonian Day crowd
to enjoy a day when the stars shine and dreams came true. The final card of harness racing in front of
the original grandstand had both a nostalgic tone, as well as an optimistic and
anticipatory feel with a new, state of the art facility taking shape in the
I Luv The Nitelife kicked
off the proceedings with another one of her narrow decisions in the Miss New
Jersey. It was the seventh straight win
for the Rocknroll Hanover filly. Her
stakes record of 1:49 was a full second faster than Put On A Show in 2010 for
the same connections, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, Richard and Joanne Young.
In a battle of Jimmy
Takter’s undefeated fillies, Shake It Cerry went three-for-three by setting a
track record of 1:53.3 in the Merrie Annabelle with Ron Pierce. The Donato Hanover filly defeated stablemate
Lifetime Pursuit and Cee Bee Yes.
How fitting that a daughter
of Oaks champion Danae pulled her own Hambletonian Day upset in the $55,000 Ima
Lula Final. With Corey Callahan, the
Yankee Glide filly D’Orsay steamrolled to a world record equaling 1:51.4 at
17-1, leaving Personal Style and Check Me Out in her wake. Trainer Jonas Czernyson capped off his best
ever Championship Meet.
Corey Callahan came right
back with another upset in the Lady Liberty with 2011 Mistletoe Shalee winner
Drop The Ball. The Western Terror
millionaire, trained by Ross Croghan, turned the tables on two-time Dan Patch
Award winner Anndrovette in 1:49. Callahan
finished second in the Big M driver standing with 99 wins.
In the Peter Haughton
Memorial, it was Jimmy Takter again as Father Patrick dominated in 1:54.1 with
Yannick Gingras. The son of Cantab Hall
easily handled Nuncio and Southwind Spirit.
His brother Pastor Stephen was disqualified from first in the 2010 edition. The real Father Patrick, Reverend Patrick McDonnell,
the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Hightstown, N.J.,
was on hand for the trophy presentation.
Little Brown Fox gave Takter
a Hambletonian Day triple with a 1:53.3 mile in the $75,000 Vincennes Trot,
which also kicked off a sensational day for Brian Sears.
Sears set the tone in the
first Hambletonian elimination by going all the way from post eight with
Royalty For Life in 1:52. The son of RC
Royalty put trainer George Ducharme at ease with his convincing score over
Smilin Eli and High Bridge.
In his bid for five
Hambletonians, Hall of Famer Mike Lachance guided Creatine to a clear decision
in 1:52.4 for trainer Bob Stewart.
Wheeling N Dealin could not capitalize on a two-hole trip and
Aperfectyankee settled for third in the second elimination. Dontyouforgetit qualified as the fourth-place
finisher with the highest career earnings.
With a combined seven
Hambletonians, Ron Pierce (three) and Chuck Sylvester (four) sent out the third
elimination winner, Spider Blue Chip in 1:53.4.
It was back-to-back winners for sire Andover Hall, and with speed
dominant, all three elimination winners went wire-to-wire. Corky and Lauderdale
also advanced to the final.
Andy Miller took full
advantage of the speed favoring conditions with Sevruga in the John Cashman,
Jr. Memorial. The TVG-FFA Series points
leader and the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial winner padded his lead by going all
the way in 1:50.4, defeating Mister Herbie and Uncle Peter.
The sensational Bee A
Magician extended her 2013 undefeated streak to nine in a row and flaunted her
speed in the Hambletonian Oaks with a 1:51.4 stakes record. The Kadabra filly, who set a world record of
1:51 in the Delvin Miller Memorial, gave trainer Nifty Norman his second
consecutive Oaks. She defeated Classic Martine and To Dream On.
Royalty For Life asserted
himself again in the $1 million Hambletonian Final with another well controlled
mile in 1:52.1. Just as he did in 2009
with Broadway Schooner and Muscle Hill, Brian Sears swept the two biggest races
on the card, while notching his fourth win of the day. Smilin Eli edged Corky for second. Royalty For Life was a sweet triumph for
Massachusetts breeder and co-owner Alfred Ross, and co-owners Ray Campbell and
Paul Fontaine. After making breaks in
his first three starts of 2013, Royalty For Life came to form and proved to be the
best for Vernon Downs-based trainer George Ducharme.
In the New Jersey Classic,
Lucan Hanover exploded from off the pace in a career best of 1:48.3 for Dave
Miller and trainer Casie Coleman. The
son of Western Ideal rallied from post nine to his fourth straight win,
defeating Emeritus Maximus and Rockin Amadeus.
The magical late double
began when 2012 North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud converted a perfect
second over trip into a 23-1 upset in the US Pacing Championship in a career
best of 1:47.2. Fellow Hall of Famers
John Campbell and Bob McIntosh teamed up to beat Bolt The Duer and Golden
Receiver. Ponder, the 2006 winner for
Campbell and McIntosh, sired the top two finishers.
With his flair for the
dramatic, John Campbell rallied to sweep the late double with Dapper Dude,
another Bob McIntosh trainee. The
track’s all-time leading driver fittingly captured the $40,000 Auld Lang Syne
Free For All with a son of The Panderosa in 1:49.2, waving goodbye to a
treasure chest of memories and looking ahead to a new era at the Meadowlands.
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