Linda Toscano became the first female trainer to win the sport’s most coveted prize when Market Share captured the $1.5 million, 87th edition of the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on Saturday afternoon.
The victory was also the first for leading driver Tim Tetrick, who a race earlier saw Hambletonian Oaks favorite Check Me Out break while on the lead.
Ron Pierce and Uncle Peter, the 8-5 favorite, left strongly from his rail position but yielded to 65-1 outsider Gym Tan Laundry on the first turn. Before Pierce had a chance to regain, Archangel and Jim Morrill Jr. were already in the midst of a second move and gained control past the quarter pole reached in a spirited :27 2/5.
Once the dust settled, Pierce sent Uncle Peter sharply for the front with the colt securing the lead well before the :54 3/5 opening half.
While the pacesetters were decisive in their movements, Jody Jamieson was sitting in fifth with 7-2 second choice Knows Nothing and waiting for action to develop. Eventually Tim Tetrick elected to pull Market Share off the rail to go on an uncovered jaunt. They quickly engaged Uncle Peter as the tandem clicked off the third quarter in 1:22 3/5.
Once in the homestretch Tetrick gave the son of Revenue his marching orders and Market Share kicked into high gear opening ground on his rival instantly and gaining separation from the other contenders.
Knows Nothing couldn’t keep up with the leader and Archangel lacked a solid burst. That left it to 21-1 shot My MVP between horses and 11-1 Guccio on the far outside to rally. That pair trotted in tandem on the outside and Tetrick worked his magic to keep his horse trotting through the wire.
Fortunately for Toscano and the Market Share connections, the wire arrived in time with Guccio a neck back of the winner in second on the wire and My MVP another neck back in third.
The mile of 1:52 1/5 was a fifth faster than Market Share went in his elimination victory.
Owner Richard Gutnick, who earlier saw his and trainer Linda Toscano’s Chapter Seven set a world mark of 1:50 1/5 in the $250,000 Nat Ray, was jubilant after the race. “Two months ago he was a 100-1 shot to even be in this race,” said Gutnick.
“It’s a dream come true,” continued the owner, who on August 1 sold a 25 percent interest in Market Share to TLP Stable and William Augustine. “I guess it was insurance,” said Gutnick. “I’m happy owning 75 percent.”
“Tim’s been taking care of him,” said trainer Linda Toscano of Tetrick’s driving style in the races coming into the Hambletonian. “We knew we’d have to race him today.”
Market Share paid $10.80 for a $2 win ticket as the third choice in the field of 10.
Undefeated as a two-year-old in 2011, Market Share won for the fifth time in 11 starts in 2012 and pushed his career bank account to $972,505.
Yonkers Trot winner Archangel finished fourth with Knows Nothing earning the final check. Race favorite Uncle Peter went to pacing instead of trotting after being passed by the winner and was placed eighth after finishing seventh for the infraction.
A crowd of 24,521 turned out to watch Toscano make history in the Hambletonian.
Personal Style Upsets Field In Hambletonian Oaks
Personal Style got the breaks on Saturday and captured the $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks as a 55-1 outsider in the wagering.
The breaks turned out to be that of 3-5 favorite Check Me Out who was on the lead as the field turned into the homestretch. When second choice Maven also lost her stride, it opened up the floodgates for Personal Style and driver Dave Miller to challenge and wear down Win Missy B nearing the wire.
The race took shape unexpectedly right from the start as Check Me Out inherited the pocket when Superstar Hanover broke from her rail position. The Tim Tetrick-driven filly briefly yielded to Win Missy B but reclaimed the top shortly past the :28 opening quarter.
Driver Yannick Gingras went on the offensive almost immediately from third at the quarter but within moments the driver recognized that Check Me Out was not about to yield her advantage. That left Check Me Out in control and Maven caught trying to look for a hole but finding none. The pace was hot however with Check Me Out reaching the half in :55 flat and the three quarters in 1:23 2/5.
That’s when the bizarre happened as Check Me Out suddenly lost her stride. The filly, that previously had won 20 of her 23 lifetime starts, drifted to the outside and in the process impeded the progress of Maven. For Maven, who had been parked during the middle half, was forced to check and then broke stride.
That paved the way for Personal Style and Win Missy B to suddenly be dueling for the Hambletonian Oaks first prize.
“I was following second over,” said winning driver Dave Miller, “When Maven went offstride she got out of my way and then my filly did the rest.”
The stretch drive looked like it lasted forever with both Win Missy B on the inside and Personal Style on the outside locked stride for stride, if not necessarily traveling at their fastest. In the deep stretch Personal Style finally wore down her rival to score by a neck in a 1:53 1/5 mile. The last quarter of :29 4/5 was the slowest of the afternoon program.
Owned by Mel Hartman and Brittany Farms, Personal Style, a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, won for just the third time in 10 trips to post in 2012. A daughter of Yankee Glide, Personal Style paid $116.40 for a $2 win wager.
Richard (Nifty) Norman trained the winner.
Check Me Out eventually recovered from her miscue and closed sharply to finish third but the judges ruled she interfered with Maven and subsequently disqualified her and placed her eighth.
Sassy Syrinx was placed third. Holier Than Thou advanced to fourth, while early breaker Superstar Hanover elevated to the final purse check.
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