to the Hambletonian 2012
and winding road to the $1.5 million Hambletonian, Saturday, August 4, is
coming down to the wire with eliminations this Saturday, July 28. We have
followed the top contenders and rated their performances on the stakes trail as
harness racing’s greatest day approaches. The Winterbook Top 10 grew to a
list of about 30 prospects at one point.
After sitting at number one throughout the entire process, trainer Ray
Schnittker decided the filly Check Me Out will now race in the Oaks. So, for
the first time we have a new leader in Uncle Peter, among those in the Top 10 who
have continued to win and impress. This
year’s Hambletonian looks wide open, and a key theme is strength in numbers
with multi-horse contingents from Jimmy Takter, Noel Daley, Jim Campbell, Julie
Miller and Trond Smedshammer. After sweeping
both Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions, Takter trainees rank 1-2 and the Hall
of Famer has three in the Top 10.
Peter – Goes into
the eliminations fresh off a perfect prep, a well controlled 1:53.1 score in a
Stanley Dancer Memorial division with Ron Pierce as the 2-5 favorite. Pierce said it was “a piece of cake” for the
son of Cantab Hall. This followed a
career best of 1:52.3 in the PA All-Stars at Pocono Downs. Last year’s Breeders Crown upsetter heads a
powerful Jimmy Takter battalion, which includes Little Brown Fox, Guccio and
Brown Fox – The
Muscles Yankee colt pulled a 23-1 Stanley Dancer Memorial division shocker in a
sharp 1:51.2 with Yannick Gingras. Gingras said, “He was very impressive.”
The Muscles Yankee colt beat his Jimmy Takter stablemate Guccio. He also
won the NJSS Final in 1:53.3.
Normand – Enters
the eliminations off a win in a division of PASS at Pocono by a nose in 1:52.4.
The son of Broadway Hall finished a solid second in the Yonkers Trot
after a second (timed in 1:51) to Googoo Gaagaa in the world record (1:50.4)
Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial. He also won his Beal elimination in 1:51.4.
The stablemate to Dan Patch Award winner Possess the Will (trainer Jim
Campbell) won the PASS Championship at two, and comes off Lasix.
Tonight – Comes in
on a high trend, finishing second (timed in 1:53.4), beaten a half length by My
MVP, in PASS at Pocono Downs on July 14 after missing three weeks. Bounced back after fading to seventh from the
rail in the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial. He shattered The Meadows track
record with a 1:52.4 score in PASS and gives Noel Daley (Broad Bahn) a serious
shot at a Hambletonion repeat.
The Will – The 2011
Dan Patch Award winner comes off his second tightener, made a first over bid
and finished third in the fastest (1:51.2) Dancer division. The Donato
Hanover colt was second in a Reynolds division in his 2012 debut.
Sickness had delayed his comeback and trainer Jim Campbell looks for him to be
fresh and sharp going into the Hambletonian. He was the top earner among
last year’s freshmen trotters. Both Jim
Campbell trained colts would be coming off Lasix, which is not allowed in the
Summit – Missed 28
days due to sickness, then set most of the pace and tired to fourth in PASS at
Pocono Downs on July 14. The stablemate
to Magic Tonight posted a perfect trip upset ($19.20) in the Goodtimes Final
with Ron Pierce in the bike for trainer Noel Daley, equaling the Mohawk track
record of 1:52.2. Daley noted the son of
Cantab Hall is best as a stalking threat.
7-Riccolo – The Illinois bred gelding by
Northern Kid made it a perfect nine-for-nine in 2012 with an easy wire-to-wire
Big M debut in 1:54.3. He was recently sold
to Norwegian interests and was making his first start for Trond
Smedshammer. He won his first eight starts this season at Balmoral Park,
and his latest there was a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Swedish driving ace
Olle Goop has been asked to drive him if he makes the Hambletonian.
8-Archangel – Made it seven in a row with a
Tompkins Memorial stakes record of 1:54.3 at Tioga Downs on July 21. He went wire-to-wire in the Yonkers Trot in
1:54.1 when the heavy favorite Googoo Gaagaa broke stride twice. This
Credit Winner colt broke his own Vernon Downs track record winning the Empire
Breeders Classic in 1:53.1 for trainer Peter Arrigenna. He will be making his
mile track debut.
9-Guccio – This Yankee Glide colt is going
in the right direction to complete the Top 10 trio for Jimmy Takter. He rallied for second (timed in 1:52) behind
stablemate Little Brown Fox in the fastest (1:51.2) Dancer division despite having
issues getting a hold of the track. He
also finished second to Little Brown Fox in the NJSS Final.
Share – Stormed
home in :27.3 in a Three Year Old Open on July 21 after finishing third in the
Yonkers Trot. The son of Revenue S was a fast-closing fifth as the beaten
favorite in the Goodtimes Final, and won his elimination in 1:53.2. The
stablemate to world champion four-year-old Chapter Seven was also the beaten
favorite (third) in the NJSS Final, and won a NJSS division by nine lengths in
1:53.1 for trainer Linda Toscano.
Volo – The Erv
Miller (Manofmanymissions) trainee was a locked-in second behind Uncle Peter in
his Dancer division with Jim Morrill, Jr., who’s also been driving Archangel. Unraced at two, the son of Yankee Glide came
bursting on the scene winning his first four starts, including an impressive
1:52.3 blowout at Pocono Downs.
Solvato – Stablemate to Trond Smedshammer
newcomer Riccolo finished a hard-charging third, beaten a neck in PASS at
Pocono Downs after a third to Uncle Peter in the PA All-Stars. Owns a win
in a PASS division in 1:53.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, who said he’s fast
enough, still fresh and a trip horse just like Windsong’s Legacy.
My MVP – Goes into the eliminations off a
win his division of PASS at Pocono Downs in a career best 1:53.4 on July 14
with Mike Lachance after a second to Uncle Peter in the PA Allstars. The
son of Cantab Hall, trained by Tony Alagna, also won a division of PASS at The
Meadows in 1:55.1 over Beer Summit & Solvato.
Delano – Heads into the eliminations off his
third straight NYSS win and fourth this season, scoring a half-length decision
in 1:55 at Vernon Downs for Ray Schnittker. The son of Credit Winner went
wire-to-wire in a NYSS division at Yonkers
in 1:56.4 on July 3. He also won a NYSS division in a Buffalo Raceway
track record of 1:56.3 on June 17. The son of Credit Winner started 2012
going wire-to-wire in NYSS in 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs.
Nothing – Rallied
from well off the pace to win the Canadian Breeders Championship in 1:54.3 on
July 21 at Mohawk despite missing 35 days.
Unraced at two, he finished a strong fourth in the Goodtimes
Final. He won his first starts, including a Goodtimes elimination in
1:53.4 for Jody Jamieson & Jeff Gillis. Unraced at two, his sire
Kadabra enters the Canadian Hall of Fame in August. Jamieson and Gillis finished ninth in the
2009 Hambletonian with Federal Flex.
Storm – Comes into
the eliminations on a high note off a second (1:52.4) by a nose to Stormin
Normand in PASS at Pocono Downs. The son of Donato Hanover was third to
Money On My Mind in the Reynolds Stakes at the Big M, and kicked off 2012 with
back-to-back wins of 1:53.3 and 1:53.4. The Peter Haughton elimination
winner at two is trained by Jonas Czernyson, who has sent out six Hambletonian
finalists in the last four editions.
Appomattox – Grinded first over and finished a
solid third behind Uncle Peter in a Dancer division with Tim Tetrick
driving. Finished second to Coraggioso in the Historic at Tioga Downs on
June 17. He rallied from post nine to win his 2012 debut in 1:56.1 on
June 1 at the Big M for trainer Frank Antonacci, who was second in the 2008 Hambletonian
Weingartner – Last year’s Peter Haughton
Memorial upsetter returned from a P-1 fracture. The son of Donato Hanover finished
third in a Three Year Old Open on July 21 after winning a qualifier on July 12
in 1:55 for Jimmy Takter, who said he’s coming back better than expected.
My Mind – Perhaps
the best hope for Andy and Julie Miller.
Beaten seven lengths, finished fourth (timed in 1:52.4) in the fastest
Dancer division following a well rated wire-to-wire win in the Reynolds Stakes
in 1:53.3. The son of Cantab Hall was a distant second in Magic Tonight’s
1:52.4 track record in PASS at The Meadows back on May 30.
Billing – Comes
into the eliminations off a top effort, a gutsy first over win by a nose in
PASS at Pocono Downs in 1:53.4 with Tyler Buter driving. The son of
Andover Hall was the Spring Survivor winner at the Big M for Andy & Julie
One In A
Million – Rebounded
from a break in the second Dancer division by going wire-to-wire in a standout
qualifier on July 21 [:26., :54.2, 1:23.1, 1:53] with Brian Sears. Son of Donato Hanover dominated an overnight
in a career best of 1:53.3 on July 6. Won his 2012 debut with a mighty
sweep from post 10 in 1:55.2 on June 15 for Chuck Sylvester, who has four
Coraggioso – Cruised in a Tompkins Memorial
division at Tioga Downs in 1:55.3 on July 21 and has now banked over $200,000
this season. Finished second as the
beaten favorite in NYSS at Vernon Downs on July 11. Went all the way from
post seven in a NYSS division at Yonkers
on July 3 in 1:56. Cruised to a lifetime best of 1:54.3 in the Historic
at Tioga. The son of Conway Hall, co-owned by legendary announcer Tom
Durkin, finished second in the Empire Breeders Classic for trainer/driver Phil
Fluet, and won a NYSS division at Tioga in 1:55.4.
– This son of
Kadabra broke and finished ninth in the Canadian Breeders Championship on July
21 at Mohawk after winning his elimination in 1:54.3. Romped in an OSS
Gold Final in 1:54 at Georgian Downs on July 7 with Sylvain Fillion driving
after grinding out an elimination in 1:55.2. Capped his freshman season
winning the OSS Super Final for trainer Dustin Jones.
Smith – Disappointed
again, making breaks and finished seventh in the first Dancer division after an
inspiring qualifier (timed in 1:54.3) behind Invitational trotter Hot Shot Blue
Chip. The freshman NJSS champion broke and finished ninth in the NJSS
Final on June 2. The son of Yankee Glide won his 2012 NJSS debut in
1:55.3, then lost by a nose to Little Brown Fox in 1:54.1 for Andy and Julie
Above – Faded to
sixth behind Riccolo in a Three Year Old Open on July 21 after finishing fourth
behind Uncle Peter in a Dancer division. The Donato Hanover colt has
offered some encouraging qualifiers, but hasn’t quite measured up to the top
colts yet. Trainer Greg Peck (Muscle Hill) was expecting big things from this
son of Donato Hanover, who won back-to-back Grand Circuit stakes at The Red
Mile at two.
Jester – Won a
qualifier at Vernon Downs on July 20 in 1:58.2 after being scratched sick out
of a NYSS division there. Recently switched to trainer Tracy Brainard and
finished a well beaten fourth in a NYSS division at Yonkers on July 3.
Fifth in the Empire Breeders Classic after setting the pace and second in his
elimination as the beaten favorite. The son of RC Royalty also posted a
second to Archangel in NYSS at Tioga Downs.
Laundry – Remains
winless in eight starts this season. Finished
a nonthreatening fourth behind Riccolo in a Three Year Old Open on July 21
after a seventh to Little Brown Fox in a Dancer division. Those two
starts came after 28 days off. The son
of Yankee Glide set a strong pace from post nine and finished a surprising
solid third in the Goodtimes Final at 99-1, beaten only half a length for
trainer Noel Daley.
Chocolate – Broke
for the third time in his last four starts, faltering in a Dancer division right
after winning an overnight at Vernon Downs on July 4 in 1:55.2 for Homer
Hochstetler. The son of Chocolatier won a division of NJSS in
Gangster – Finished
fourth in an overnight at Pocono Downs on July 20 after fading to fifth in the
stallion series there. The son of Andover Hall made breaks in his first two
starts of the year. As a freshman, he set a Mohawk track record of 1:54.4
in his William Wellwood elimination for trainer Chris Oakes.
Meadowlands Racetrack - 50 State Route 120 - East Rutherford, NJ 07073 - Call us at (201) THE-BIGM
©2013 New Meadowlands Racetrack, LLC. All rights reserved.