Race Summary

Glidemaster's Hambletonian victory sparked a sweep of trotting's Triple Crown, a single season earnings record of $1.9 million and the title Horse of the Year.

But it was not all smooth sailing for Glidemaster in the Hambletonian. Just days before the eliminations, the colt injured the soft tissue of his foot when he stepped on a nail Trainer Blair Burgess and his wife, Karin Olsson-Burgess, the colt's caretaker and co-owner, feared their Hambletonian hopes had been crushed by a tiny piece of wayward metal All they could do was patiently wait for the injury to heal.

By the morning of the eliminations, Blair saw enough of an improvement in Glidemaster's foot to send him onto the racetrack. In his elimination, John Campbell sent Glidemaster first up and he took control of the lead around the final turn, but was out trotted in the stretch by the undefeated Mr. Pine Chip.

"He didn't have the kind of week you want to have going into the eliminations for the Hambletonian, but that's horse racing and things don't always go one-two-three-four," Blair said after the elim. "We took it as it came and we were said about it."

Minutes after his second-place finish, Glidemaster stood in the Meadowlands paddock, his foot resting in a bucket full of water as Karin and Blair tended to him. They had leaped over the first hurdle.

Recognizing the tough week the colt had, Campbell was pleased with his effort, but acknowledged that the colt was not 100 percent and that his trainer was going to be under pressure to have him better for the final. Trainer Blair Burgess ws in familiar territory as the underdog in the Hambletonian. He won his Hambletonian debut in 2003 with 27-1 shot Amigo hall, the longest priced winner in the race's history. Glidemaster's foot continued to heal during the week and by race day, Blair knew he was sending out a horse on the top of his game.

Campbell worked out a third-over trip in the final, following 4-5 favorite Mr Pine Chip into the final turn. He tipped Glidemaster three-wide for the stretch drive and the colt soared to a 1:51.1 stakes record, supplanting the mark of 1:51/3 set by Self Possessed in 1999.

"I was third over," Campbell said after the race. "Ideally, you'd like to be second over, but he was close enough and when they bunched up around the last turn, he was full of trot and I knew he was going to pass somebody when I asked him because he was really full of himself at the head of the stretch. When I saw the half at 54.3, I thought that that was a good enough clip that if my horse delivered what I thought he could do, that he'd be tough to beat It's just amazing what he went through," he added. "They weren't sure if he was going to be able to race last week. They h ad him at the top of his game. That's really difficult to do. Besides the soreness and the stress factor, to get a horse back at this level and set a track record, all the credit goes to Karin and Blair."

Hall of Famer Campbell picked up an unprecedented sixth victory in the Hambletonian. No other driver had won more than four. Ironically, Campbell had qualified Amigo Hall for the 2003 Hambletonian for Burgess, but opted to drive the favorite Power To Charm instead. One champion recognized another when boxing legend George Foreman presented the trophy for the Hambletonian. "John's a Hall of Famer; everybody is talking about him," Foreman said. "His future is certain as far as being one of those guys you're going to talk about after his racing days are over. I told him before the race, "Go do it, Hall of Famer!"
  • Bookmark and Share