Muscle Hill

Race Summary

Trainer Greg Peck’s Operation: Hambletonian was complete as Muscle Hill etched his name in the record books with a stunning 1:50.1 victory.

 

Starting from rail position, Muscle Hill and driver Brian Sears coasted untested through splits of :27.1, :55 and 1:23 and drew off to a six-length victory. The colt equaled the all-age record on a mile track and eclipsed the stakes record by one full second.

 

Sears, who also steered Broadway Schooner to a narrow win in the Hambletonian Oaks, became the first driver in history to capture both the Hambletonian and its companion event in the same year.  Sears and Peck also captured the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts with Holiday Road that afternoon.

 

"It's very humbling to win such prestigious races on a day like today," Sears said. "I knew I had the horse this year to get it done and I never had any doubts."

 

"Midway around the last turn, I could see Ronny [Pierce] tapping Explosive Matter and I knew what that meant," Peck said. "I know what Muscle Hill is like and when Brian [Sears] steps on the gas he's like a sports car that just goes into overdrive and does it easily."

 

Muscle Hill became the third freshman Dan Patch champion in as many years to win the Hambletonian.  He would go on to be named Horse of the Year for a flawless, 12-race campaign and single-season earningsrecord of $2.45 million. 

The eyes of the world were on harness racing at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day as total wagering surpassed $8.3 million.  The $8,343,405 total was the third highest handle in harness racing history, trailing only the $8.8 million wagered on the 2002 Hambletonian and $9 million wagered in 2005.  European wagering was up 72 percent over the previous year, with a record total of $1,968,994 bet on races simulcast to Scandinavia and France.  For the first time, the Hambletonian Day card featured the top 2-year-old trotting stakes, the Merrie Annabelle and  Peter Haughton, in addition to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-olds.

 

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