The 2014 Hambletonian at the New
Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment is Saturday, August 2, and for the second
straight year a son of Cantab Hall, Father Patrick, heads the Winterbook Top 10
list. Cantab Hall went 10-for-10 as a
freshman, but had to settle for second in the 2004 Hambletonian. In 11 outings, Father Patrick only lost his
second career start, then reeled off nine straight wins and was the
overwhelming division champion.
Patrick – Jimmy Takter converted a
two-year-old champion into a Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man, then twice
came up short with Ken Warkentin and Father Patrick’s full brother Pastor
Steven. Takter said he’s never had a
better horse than this one as a two-year-old and believes this time he has colt
comparable to Muscle Hill. Like that
standout, this son of Cantab Hall romped in the Peter Haughton Memorial, and
also dominated the William Wellwood Memorial and the Breeders Crown, winning
his elimination in a world record of 1:52.1.
Yannick Gingras declared Father Patrick the most talented horse he’s
2-Nuncio – With Donato Hanover to his credit in
2006, Andover Hall sends out a late-blooming bargain $7,000 yearling. Jim Oscarsson finished fourth in the 2013
Hambletonian with Aperfectyankee and hopes Nuncio can better that after
finishing a distant second in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Breeders
Crown. Freshened up off a sick scratch
in the Fall, Nuncio set a Dover Downs track record of 1:53 in the Matron Final with
John Campbell in the bike.
Spirit – The first crop of 2009 champion Muscle Hill reached Top Five status
led by this $105,000 Harrisburg yearling, who set a Balmoral Park track record
of 1:54.1 and dominated the American National for the Burke Barn. The NJ-bred half brother to Breeders Crown
champion Southwind Serena lost by a nose in a world record 1:53.1 Bluegrass
division, and capped his freshman season going all the way in the Kindergarten
Classic Final in 1:55 at Vernon Downs.
Network – The first crop of Muscle
Hill produced this world champion who broke his maiden at the Red Mile in
1:53.2, eclipsing his sire’s world mark by a fifth, while parked the mile. After spending just two weeks with trainer
Jonas Czernyson, the private purchase by Frank Bellino colt pulled a 1:55.1
upset in the Valley Victory for Dave Miller, prompting Czernyson to declare
Muscle Network Hambletonian material.
Fashion – It’s been 19 years since
Team Tagliabue, trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms, were basking in
Hambletonian glory back in 1995. Credit
Fashion, a Credit Winner colt, distinguished himself in NYSS, finishing second
in the final at Yonkers Raceway. Credit
Fashion was also third in both the William Wellwood Memorial and the Breeders
Crown, and took a mark of 1:57.1 at Tioga Downs.
Dorado – Tim Tetrick captured his first Hambletonian with Market Share in 2012,
and the Bionic Man could return with a speedy Donato Hanover gelding named Don
Dorado, who emerged as The King of PASS, going wire-to-wire in the final in
1:56.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Trained
by Bob Baggitt, Jr, Don Dorado was freshened up for the Breeders Crown with two
impressive qualifiers at Pocono Downs, but broke after a taking a bye into the
Amethyst – Muscle Hill’s first crop yielded another promising colt, and the third
foal out of two-time Breeders Crown champion Mystical Sunshine flashed some
major league talent with a wire-to-wire win in the Bluegrass in 1:54.2, beating
next-out winner Muscle Network. Odds On
Amethyst was a late-season purchase by Diamond Creek Racing for trainer Chris
Ryder, who has another Muscle Hill prospect in Well Built.
Hanover – Trainer Steve Elliott may be back on the scene with a son of his 2007
champion Donato Hanover, who was a Grand Circuit stakes winner and strong in
PASS, finishing third in that final.
This $42,000 Harrisburg yearling won six of 11 and took a mark of 1:55.2
at Vernon Downs.
Hanover – Aside from Nuncio, Andover Hall had a big year with Hambletonian
elimination winner Spider Blue Chip, and one of his newest prospects is
Auspicious Hanover. Although he failed
to win in 11 starts at two, Auspicious Hanover had his moments for
trainer/driver Charlie Norris. His
highlight came finishing second to Don Dorado in the PASS Final, he picked up
checks in Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile and was a Breeders Crown
Society – Great Society showed immediate promise in his baby races at the
Meadowlands. This Tony Alagna-trained
son of Muscle Hill then began to really blossom in the Fall at The Red Mile
where he cruised in a pair of lighter late closing events in 1:56 and 1:55.2 –
encouraging miles from this $50,000 yearling for top connections.
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