Many of the sport’s stars were out on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and none shown brighter than Archangel who won the first elimination for the John Cashman, Jr Memorial trot in a world record 1:50 flat. The mile broke a six-way tie for the fastest mile ever by a trotter on a mile track.
Yannick Gingras sent the handsome five year old millionaire son of Credit Winner out fast for the lead with a wicked 26.1 opening quarter then set even fractions of 54.4 and 1:22.3 in the record mile. Archangel was a geared down length and a three quarter winner over Intimidate with Market Share third. Your So Vain and Sevruga round out the qualifiers from this elimination for next Saturday’s $300,000 final.
Gingras had high praise for Archangel in the post-race interview, “I told his caretaker Sarah I was gonna roll him. He has the ability, just hasn’t been lucky. He was staying with Sebastian K in the 1:49 mile at Pocono when he broke on the turn. I think he’ll give Sebastian some competition in the final, I’d take it if I could cut the mile against him next week in the final.”
Ron Burke trains the winner for Legendary Standardbred Farm and Claire Semer.
Sebastian K was back to his winning ways in the second elimination for Ake Svanstedt with an easy three length score in 1:51. The race began with Creatine flying off the wings from the outside for Mike Lachance and clearing Sebastian as they reached the quarter in a dazzling 26 flat. The pace slowed abruptly when Lachance took up on the lead and Svanstedt was forced to yank Sebastian K out quickly before Mister Herbie could get the jump on him from third. He got out, though the judges flashed inquiry and reviewed the move, and back to the top.
Sweet Justice mounted a final turn challenge but was rebuffed with a 27.3 final quarter. Mister Herbie split horse late to be second, Uncle Peter third in his return to US soil, Appomattox a solid fourth and Arch Madness captured the final berth in next week’s race.
The winner is trained in the Svanstedt barn for Knutsson Trotting and was winning for the sixth time this year in seven tries.
The 2014 Hambletonian Oaks did not require eliminations and Racing Secretary Peter Koch offered the entrants the chance to race in a $35,000 prep. Nine of the eleven accepted but the field was reduced to eight with the defection Cooler Schooner, a sick scratch.
Designed To Be and Shake It Cerry would square off again in what would prove to be a driver’s race. Posted just to the right of Designed To Be and Brian Sears, Ron Pierce send Shake It Cerry away crisply to secure the lead, repelled the mild bid Sears offered from the pocket then slowed the pace through the middle fractions. Clearance would not be availed to Designed To Be again until deep in the stretch and by then Pierce had used Cerry’s quickness to pad the cushion on her rival, which diminished to a half-length at the wire. Lifetime Pursuit was third.
Shake It Cerry is trained in the Jimmy Takter stable for Solveig’s Racing Partners. It was her fourteenth win in eighteen career starts and she has earned over $1 million.
It sets up to be a very interesting contest in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks next Saturday afternoon.
The United States Pacing Championship drew nine entries that will all advance directly to next Saturday’s $257,700 final and a $40,000 tune-up was offered to that group as well. Sweet Lou has been invincible since uniting with Pierce mid-May and would add another sub 1:48 mile to his résumé in this one with a 1:47.3 score. Pierce brushed the flashy pacer to the front near the 54.1 half then strung together 27.2 and 26 flat quarters to close it out.
Captaintreacherous went a big trip to be second, coming from last in the field of seven at the half and pacing his individual final half 52 flat and 25.4 last quarter to be beaten less than two lengths. Thinking Out Loud also raced great, surviving an uncovered run at Sweet Lou and living to tell of it, finishing third.
The winner is trained in the Ron Burke stable on behalf of owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. He has now won his last seven starts, all in 1:48.3 or better with a five eighths mile track world record of 1:47 flat the fastest.
The Lady Liberty required a single $40,000 elimination when eleven Free For All quality pacing mares dropped in the box. A free pass to the $177,750 final in the form of a bye was offered to the top seasonal money winners and after a few declined (more on that later) Ron Burke accepted for Rocklamation. The remaining ten went to the post with their assignment to avoid be last and thus eliminated.
They raced it out like it was for the big money here, with Corey Callahan sending Drop The Ball out hard, yielded to Shelliscape for a step then removed and took on all comers. Dead game to the wire, Drop The Ball held sway in 1:49.2 using a 26.4 final quarter to seal the deal. Jerseylicious was a closing second and Charisma Hanover third.
On the flip side, division leader Androvette’s connections declined the bye, then she finished last of the ten (though beaten a mere 3 ½ lengths) and is, at this point, eliminated from the final.
When Drop The Ball is good, she’s really good and she’s looking pretty good lately for trainer Ross Croghan and her owners; Let It Ride Stable, Mentally Stable and Dana Parham. She won the right to select her post for the final and she’ll have to be dealt with.
Things are shaping up nicely for a fantastic end to the 2014 Championship Meet with next Saturday’s Hambletonian program.
On the wagering front, total handle for the Saturday program yielded an increase of nearly 10-percent from the same program in 2013, while live handle was up nearly 15-percent.
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