Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Hambletonian Attracts 11 – Wagerng Format Announced
With 11 horses entered in The Hambletonian, the three year old colts will go straight to the Final worth $1,006,125. The Hambletonian will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program.
The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th American Trotting Classic.
Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice.
The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for The John Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Oaks.
Hambletonian Day Wagering Format Announced
With no eliminations required for The Hambletonian, the wagering format for Hambletonian Day becomes more enhanced since the field for the Hambletonian Final will be known all week as opposed to last year when the field was not known until mid-card on Hambletonian Day.
Hambletonian Day will offer and unprecedented five guaranteed pools of $50,000 or more, including three pick four wagers.
A $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 will kick off the program in the first race, followed by a $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 4 in Race 3. From there, the guarantees ramp up to a $.50 cent Pick 4 in Race 7, guaranteed at $75,000. Next is a $75,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 beginning in Race 9 that is anchored by The Hambletonian Final itself.
Last, but certainly not least is a $100,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 4 beginning with The Hambletonian Oaks which includes The Hambletonian Final and covers the last four races on the program. There will be Win, Place, Show, Exacta and Trifecta Wagering on all races. There will also be $.10 Cent Superfectas offered on all races.
The Wagering Format in detail is as follows.
Race 1: $.50 Cent Pick 5 ($50,000 Guaranteed) – Daily Double - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 2: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 3: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($50,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 4: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 5: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 6: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 7: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($75,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 8: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 9: $.50 Cent Pick 5 ($75,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 10: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 11: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 12: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($100,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 13: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 14: Daily Double - $.10 Cent Superfecta
Race 15: $.10 Cent Superfecta
Written by Darin Zoccali
of Harness Racing Update
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Archangel - Fastest Trotter in Meadowlands History
By Darin Zoccali
East Rutherford - 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 eared 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.
Written by John Pricci
of Harness Racing Update
Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Ken Weingartner
After watching Bee A Magician put together an 18-race win streak that began at age 2 and covered her entire 3-year-old season, harness racing fans wanted to know what was wrong with the 2013 Horse of the Year as she went winless in her first four starts this season.
Not much, says trainer Nifty Norman, other than the fact that winning is difficult.
“Lots of people have said to me that she’s been no good, but only once really,” Norman said. “Her first start was a great run, [second in 1:51.3] right off the bat and she had trot finishing. We kind of raced her easy in her second start and she was second; she was a little bit flat. Then she was sick, but she’s been good again ever since.
“People just expect her to win,” he added with a chuckle. “It’s not that easy; I wish it was. But I think she’s been pretty solid.”
Bee A Magician, owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, returned to her winning ways with a world-record 1:51.1 triumph July 12 in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. She now holds the records for fastest 3-year-old (1:51) and 4-year-old female trotters in history.
She will try to make it two victories in a row when she meets six rivals in Friday’s second leg of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Bee A Magician and regular driver Brian Sears will start from post one. The rest of the field in post order is Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, NF Happenstance, Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, and Classic Martine.
Handover Belle won the Ima Lula’s first round on July 18 by a half-length over Ma Chere Hall in 1:51.4. The $55,000 estimated final is Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day.
Bee A Magician -- who has won 28 of 35 career races, finished second on four occasions, and earned $2.45 million -- was eligible to the John Cashman Jr. Memorial, but the mare’s connections decided against facing the boys. She raced against her male counterparts in the Hambletonian Maturity on July 5, finishing second to Your So Vain.
“I want to race her as easy as I can,” Norman said. “I’ll consider racing those horses again later in the year maybe, but not right now. You can’t be too tough on them. You see some of the other 4-year-olds that have come back and are not what they were. It’s a tough thing to do because most of them have laid it all on the line last year.”
As it is, racing against the mares is difficult enough.
“It’s a tough division; very solid,” Norman said, adding about her 1:51.1 win in the most recent Miss Versatility round, “It was a good race. She didn’t jog, it was a good race.”
GIFTED WAY IS THE RIGHT PRESENT FOR ALAGNA HEADING INTO HAUGHTON MEMORIAL
Trainer Tony Alagna hopes Rare Gift delivered a special present in the form of 2-year-old colt trotter Gifted Way.
Gifted Way, a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Rare Gift, was purchased for $170,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. Gifted Way makes his third start Friday in the single elimination for the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack.
The colt is owned by Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco, Little E LLC, and Deo Volente Farms. Gifted Way is part of a four-horse entry in the Haughton elim, along with Jimmy Takter-trained Special Action, The Bank, and Uncle Lasse. The group is 3-5 on the morning line.
Rounding out the horses in the elim, from which the top seven finishers advance to the $280,000 estimated final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, are Ake Svanstedt’s Centurion ATM and Amicus, Ray Schnittker’s Broken Record, Erv Miller’s SS Poseidon, Nancy Johansson’s Cruzado Dela Noche, and Mark Harder’s True Blue Stride.
Three horses received byes to the final: Takter’s Canepa Hanover, Nik Drennan’s Guess Whos Back, and Jim Campbell’s Honor And Serve.
Gifted Way won his debut, a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars, on July 4 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He went off stride at the start in his second race, which was won by Canepa Hanover, on July 18 at the Meadowlands.
“He’s a nice colt,” Alagna said. “When the gate left the other night, he just got off on the wrong foot and made a break, which he hadn’t done before. He trotted good after making the break, came out of the race fine, and trained back good [Tuesday]. I think we’re set for the elimination on Friday night.”
Gifted Way is Rare Gift’s fourth foal, and first by Cantab Hall, who was the sport’s leading trotting sire in 2012 and 2013. Rare Gift is a full sister to stakes-winner Stand Strong and a three-quarter-sister to 1996 Horse of the Year Continentalvictory and stakes-winner Victory Abroad.
“The family has been a little stagnant, but this was by far the best colt the mare had thrown,” Alagna said. “He’s very correct. He was very athletic in the paddock. He just had everything going for him.
“Cantab Hall has just been red hot the last couple years, so we thought we would take a shot. We’re glad we did. I think he was the right horse.”
Gifted Way is not the only horse in the Haughton elim with well-known relatives.
Uncle Lasse is a full brother to Shake It Cerry, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly trotter and a top contender in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks, and Broken Record is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. Special Action’s family includes 2006 Hambletonian winner Glidemaster and The Bank’s dam is millionaire Lantern Kronos.
Friday’s card also features two eliminations for the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters and the second round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters.
Written by John Pricci
of Harness Racing Update