the Hambletonian 2012
million Hambletonian is Saturday, August 4, and eliminations are five weeks
from Saturday, June 23. We are tracking the
top contenders and rating their performances on the major stakes trail on the
road to harness racing’s greatest day.
From our Winterbook Top 10, the list of prospects grew to about 30 as many
have served up some strong performances already. The primary focus this Saturday will be on
the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial Final at Pocono Downs. The horse to beat is the world champion
Googoo Gaagaa (1:51.3), who is not eligible to the Hambletonian. Future Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter qualified
three colts for the final.
Out – In the $530,000 Elegantimage Stakes at Mohawk, the outstanding filly by
Donato Hanover did it the hard way, first over, and held off arch rival Maven
in a track record of 1:52.1. Tim Tetrick
drove the Ray Schnittker trainee to her third straight win. “I knew it was really tight,” said Tetrick. “My filly kept fighting all the way to the
wire. I give Maven tons of credit, she
fought tooth and nail, and it was a great horse race all the way down the
Peter – Was forced wide off dull cover and roared home to finish second (timed
in 1:51.4) to Stormin Normand in the second Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial
elimination. The Breeders Crown upsetter
had previously beaten last year’s PASS champion Stormin Normand with a career
best of 1:53.4 at The Meadows. Ron
Pierce drove for Jimmy Takter, who declared this Cantab Hall colt the best he’s
ever had. Takter also qualified Nothing
But Class for the Beal as the fastest fifth-place finisher at 1:52.2.
Tonight – Finished fourth (timed in 1:53.3) and left in the wake of Googoo
Gaagaa’s world record of 1:51.3 in the first Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial
elimination. He had previously shattered
The Meadows track record and romped in his second straight PASS with an
impressive eight-length score in 1:52.4 (two fifths off a world record) with
Ron Pierce driving for trainer Noel Daley.
Brown Fox – Finished second (timed in 1:53), beaten seven lengths in Googoo
Gaagaa’s world record mile of 1:51.3 in the first Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial
elimination with trainer Jimmy Takter in the bike. The Muscles Yankee colt was coming off a
decisive win in the NJSS Final at the Big M in a career best 1:53.3 after winning
a division in 1:54.1.
Summit – Capitalized on a perfect second over trip to score an upset ($19.20)
in the $343,980 Goodtimes Final with Ron Pierce in the bike for trainer Noel
Daley. The Cantab Hall colt equaled the
Mohawk track record of 1:52.2. He had
finished second to Market Share in his elimination, and last month won two
straight PASS events.
6-Guccio – In
the $343,980 Goodtimes Final, he had no chance from post eight, yet closed widest
from tenth to within a length and a quarter in :26.2 (timed in 1:52.3) with
Jimmy Takter driving. He had previously rallied
for second behind stablemate Little Brown Fox in the NJSS Final, also romped in
a division in 1:55.1.
Share – The beaten favorite in the Goodtimes Final was forced wide from an
impossible spot and finished a hard-charging fifth, beaten only a length (timed
in 1:52.3). He had won his elimination
in 1:53.2. He was also the beaten favorite
in the NJSS Final, finishing third after setting a rated pace, and had
previously won a NJSS division by nine lengths in 1:53.1 for trainer Linda
Normand – Won the second Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial elimination in 1:51.4, only a
fifth off Googoo Gaagaa’s world record set two races prior. Dave Palone drove the son of Broadway Hall,
and it was only his second start of the season with Lasix added. Palone won last year’s inaugural Beal with
Dejarmbro. The stablemate to Dan Patch
Award winner Possess the Will (Jim Campbell) won the PASS Championship at two
in 1:54.3 at Pocono Downs.
The Will – The 2011 Dan Patch Award winner and stablemate to Stormin Normand is
entered in a qualifier this Thursday at the Big M after sickness set back his
schedule a few weeks according to trainer Jim Campbell, who has a pair in the
Top 10 now. The top earner among last
year’s freshmen trotters won the Valley Victory, and went two-for-two in Grand
Circuit action at the Red Mile.
Above – Makes his sophomore debut from post nine in race four on June 22 at the
Big M. Finished second to Open class
trotter Likeabatoutahell in his third qualifier (timed in 1:56, last quarter in
:26.4). He won his second qualifier at
the Big M in 1:54.2, last quarter in :27.1 with Tim Tetrick after finishing
second in his first qualifier of the season.
The son of Donato Hanover won back-to-back Grand Circuit stakes at The
Red Mile at two for trainer Greg Peck (Muscle Hill).
Vic Smith –
Entered in an overnight on June 22 at the Big M with post six in race
four. The freshman NJSS champion broke
and finished ninth in the NJSS Final.
The son of Yankee Glide had 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 Miller.
My MVP –
Finished third (timed in 1:52) to Stormin Normand in the second Earl Beal, Jr.
Memorial elimination. He won a division
of PASS at The Meadows in 1:55.1 over Beer Summit & Solvato. Mike Lachance drives the son of Cantab Hall
for trainer Tony Alagna.
Laundry – Set a strong pace from post nine and finished a surprising third in
the Goodtimes Final at 99-1, beaten only half a length. He had finished fourth in his elimination,
and was a well beaten sixth in the NJSS Final for trainer Noel Daley.
Storm – After going two-for-two in 2012 with back-to-back miles of 1:53.3 and
1:53.4 at the Big M, the Peter Haughton elimination winner finished fourth
(timed in 1:52.2) in his Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial elimination behind Stormin
Normand. Jonas Czernyson has sent out
six Hambletonian finalists in the last four editions.
Won a division of NYSS in Buffalo Raceway track record of 1:57 for Ray
Schnittker. He bounced back from making
a break and finishing eighth in the Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon
Downs. The son of Credit Winner started
2012 going wire-to-wire in NYSS in 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs.
Won his a division of NYSS at Buffalo Raceway in 1:57.3 with a flat tire. Broke his own Vernon Downs track record
winning the Empire Breeders Classic in 1:53.1 at Vernon Downs with Jim Morrill,
Jr. driving for trainer Peter Arrigena, and had won his elimination in 1:53.4.
– Cruised to a lifetime best of 1:54.3 in the $63,489 Historic at Tioga
Downs. 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 Downs
Solvato – Finished
a well beaten fifth behind Googoo Gaagaa in the first Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial
elimination. Owns a win in a PASS
division in 1:53.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia for Trond Smedshammer.
Nothing – Offered a decent rally and finished fourth in the Goodtimes Final
after going undefeated in five starts, and winning his Goodtimes elimination in
1:53.4 for Jody Jamieson & Jeff Gillis.
Unraced at two, his sire Kadabra will enter the Canadian Hall of Fame in
One In A
Million – Won his 2012 debut with a mighty sweep from post 10 in 1:55.2 on June
15 for Brian Sears and Chuck Sylvester, who has four Hambletonians. He’s right back in to go with post eight in
race four at the Big M on June 22.
Jester – Finished a well beaten fifth in the Empire Breeders Classic after setting
the pace and finishing second in his elimination as the beaten favorite. Previously had a second to Archangel in NYSS
at Tioga Downs for trainer Tyler Raymer.
Chocolate – Made another break & finished fourth in a qualifier at Vernon
Downs on June 8. Had made a break for
the second straight start and finished seventh in the NJSS Final at the Big M, and
had previously won a division in 1:54.3.
– 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 with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer
Money On My
Mind – Has post seven in race four on June 22 at the Big M as part of an entry
with Vic Smith. Finished a well beaten
sixth (timed in 1:52.3) in the second Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial elimination for
Andy Miller. Also finished a distant
second Magic Tonight’s 1:52.4 track record in PASS at The Meadows (timed in 1:54.2). He was second by a head in last year’s William
Shyster – Finished sixth in his Empire Breeders Classic elimination. NYSS champion switched to trainer Noel Daley
this season, and was second to Googoo Gaagaa in the Simpson at the Big M. Entered in a qualifier on Thursday.
– Recovered from an early break and finished fourth in a PASS division at The
Meadows. The Spring Survivor winner at
the Big M finished a close second to Solvato in a previous division at Harrah’s
Philadelphia for Andy & Julie Miller.
Gangster – Made an early break and finished seventh as the beaten favorite in
his seasonal debut at Pocono Downs on June 15.
He had won a qualifier at the Big M in 1:55.4, final quarter in :27.4. As a freshman, he set a Mohawk track record
of 1:54.4 in his William Wellwood elimination for trainer Chris Oakes.
– Romped in his second qualifier at Mohawk in 1:56, last quarter in :27.1 with
Sylvain Filion driving on June 11.
Capped his freshman season winning the OSS Super Final for trainer
Fashion – Matron Stakes winner at two was entered in a qualifier at Harrah’s
Philadelphia on June 19. The stablemate
to Possess the Will and Stormin Normand for Jim Campbell finished seventh
against older stock on April 20 at the Big M after winning both qualifiers.
– Lit up the board in the Peter Haughton Memorial last year for Jimmy Takter,
but hasn’t started yet 2012.
– Broke and finished sixth on June 1 at the Big M after he romped in his 2012
debut in 1:55.3 for trainer Steve Elliott.
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