MISSION BRIEF, PINKMAN FAVORED IN HAMBLETONIAN ELIMINATIONS


Fifteen colts, three geldings including last season’s champion and one very talented filly were entered Monday afternoon for the $1 million Hambletonian at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.

 
The world’s most famous trotting race headlines a stakes-laden card on Saturday afternoon, closing day of the standardbred meet. There will be 10 stakes finals, and host of family activities including pony rides, face painters and live music. Paid admissions can take home a baseball cap for adults or a Foiled Again Breyer Stablemate for kids, while supplies last.

 
First post is noon for the exceptional afternoon of championship racing.

 
The Hambletonian field will be split into a pair of $100,000 elimination heats, races 8 and 9 on the card.

 
The first five finishers in each elimination return for the final - race 13 - that anchors the 90-minute live coverage on CBS SportsNet that begins at 4 p.m.

 
The standout field attracted Pinkman and Mission Brief, the 2014 Dan Patch winners as divisional champions.

 
Pinkman, a gelding trained by three-time Hambletonian winner Jimmy Takter, got the worst of it in the draw for the first eliminations. He landed post 10 as the 8/5 favorite.

 
Stablemate Canepa Hanover fared only slightly better, getting post 9 as the 3-1 second choice in the draw hosted by sportscaster Bruce Beck and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

 
“It is what it is,” Takter said. “If they are both good, and Canepa and Pinkman are both very, very good horses, they will have to overcome the post.”

 
Pinkman has won six of seven races this year and 12 of 15 in his career. He will try to become the first Dan Patch honoree since Muscle Hill in 2009 to capture the Hambletonian.

 
Pinkman won the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in a career-best 1:51 3/5 on July 4 and followed that triumph with victories in the Stanley Dancer Memorial here on July 18 and the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Open on July 26 at Vernon Downs.

 
Canepa Hanover, second to Pinkman in the Zweig, is 2-3-2 in eight starts this season, including a victory at The Meadowlands in the New Jersey Sires Stakes final.

 
“They will have to do it the hard way,” Takter said.

 
Takter, who sends out five horses in the Hambletonian, finally caught a post position break in the first elimination when The Bank, 8-1, landed post 2.

 
“I think he’s a sleeper,” Takter said. “He’s raced really good the last three or four starts. He’s the one that has blossomed the most of the five in the last month.”

 
Mission Brief landed post 2 in the second elimination as the 6/5 favorite.

 
Mission Brief, who last year trotted in 1:50 3/5 to become the fastest 2-year-old in harness racing history, is trying to become the first filly since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win the Hambletonian.

 
Mission Brief, trained by Ron Burke, has won three of four starts this year and 12 of 17 lifetime.

 
“It’s a perfect draw for her,” Burke said. “She doesn’t have to leave. She can get away where ever she wants to get away. That seems to be her favorite way anymore, to fall in where she has to and then move from there.”

 
The 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, Mission Brief enters the Hambletonian off a 1:51 4/5 win in the Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters.

 
That victory was the clincher in making the decision to pass the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for fillies to take on the boys.

 
“It was 100 percent,” Burke said. “Without that race, I wasn’t going to get all the owners on board to go. For her to show up and look like her own self, it was a pretty easy sell. Her best is as good as anybody’s best. That’s all we were looking for.”

 

 The full field for the first elimination with drivers, trainers and odds:
1. Donatomite, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 15-1
2. The Bank, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1
3. Workout Wonder, Daniel Dube, Ake Svanstedt, 12-1
4. Habitat, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 6-1
5. Total Darkness, Tim Tetrick, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
6. Fashion Creditor, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 20-1
7. Jacksons Minion, Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson, 30-1
8. Centurion ATM, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 9-2
9. Canepa Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1
10. Pinkman, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5.

 
The second elimination:
1. Billy Flynn, Tim Tetrick, Staffan Lind, 15-1
2. Mission Brief, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-5
3. Cruzado Dela Noche, David Miller, Nancy Johansson, 20-1
4. Aldebaran Eagle, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
5. Wings Of Royalty, Tim Tetrick, George Ducharme, 12-1
6. French Laundry, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1
7. Uncle Lasse, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
8. Southwind Mozart, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1
9. Muscle Diamond, Tim Tetrick, Brett Bittle, 8-1
The finals for three other stakes were also drawn Monday in a press conference in the Victory Sport Bar.

 
Wild Honey, trained by Takter, got post 2 as the 5/2 favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

 
The race turned into a wide-open affair with Mission Brief headed to the Hambletonian.

 
The elimination heats were held last weekend with one of those winners, Lock Down Lindy, getting the rail as the 3-1 second choice.

 
Tragically, Spirit To Win, the other elim winner, suffered a fatal training injury Monday morning.

 
The Oaks field:
1. Lock Down Lindy, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1
2. Wild Honey, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
3. Bright Baby Blues, David Miller, Bob Stewart, 8-1
4. Lady Winona, Brian Sears, Julie Miller, 20-1
5. Rules Of The Road, Corey Callahan, Janice Connor, 8-1
6. Classical Annie, Aaron Merriman, Jim Arledge Jr., 30-1
7. Livininthefastlane, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2
8. Sarcy, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 10-1
9. Smokinmombo, Aaron Merriman, Chris Beaver, 12-1
10. Speak To Me, Scott Zeron, Jimmy Takter, 20-1

 
$319,400 CANE PACE
The Meadowlands will host the first jewel of the pacing Triple Crown for the first time.

 
It will feature one of the shortest prices of the afternoon as $35,000 supplemental entrant Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 2/5 favorite from post 2.

 
The colt owned by George Teague, Jr. and driven by his son Montrell, is 14 for 15 this season, including a 1:47 4/5 win in The Meadowlands Pace.

 
$301,500 John Cashman Jr. Memorial

 
Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is the 3-1 favorite from post 6 in the race for older trotters. The 6-year-old, trained by Linda Toscano has earned over $3.7 million.

 
Swedish trotting star Magic Tonight is the 4-1 second