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The Hambletonian trophies
One of the most prestigious races on the harness racing calendar is the $1.5 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. A crowd of 26,115 was on hand at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday afternoon for the 82nd renewal of this classic. A full field of ten lined up behind the starter, with Donato Hanover sent off as the even-money favorite over 3-1 second choice Pampered Princess. 9-2 Flirtin Man rounded out the top three on the toteboard.
Donato Hanover leads over Adrian Chip in the stretch.
5-1 fourth choice Adrian Chip took the lead soon after the start and led the field around the clubhouse turn through an initial quarter in a slow 28 2/5 with favorite Donato Hanover close behind in second. Entering the backstretch, driver Ron Pierce sent Donato Hanover to the lead, getting the half in 58 2/5, as Adrian Chip settled in second and Pampered Princess in stalking position third most of the way. Entering the homestretch, Donato Hanover continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:26. Donato Hanover cruised to an easy 1 1/4 length victory over Adrian Chip in 1:53 2/5. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to 30-1 shot Laddie in third, while Pampered Princess attempted to close late but broke stride at the 1/8 pole to finish seventh. Four horses finished the race off stride, and because sixth place finisher Too Salty violated the breaking rule, he was disqualified and placed behind Pampered Princess.
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 2 Donato Hanover Pierce 4.00 3.00 3.00 3 Adrian Chip Bergh 5.00 4.40 7 Laddie MacDonell 8.80 $2 Exacta (2-3) paid 22.00 $1 Trifecta (2-3-7) paid 124.60 $0.10 Superfecta (2-3-7-9) paid 191.28 Winning Time: 1:53.4Photo Finish Strip
Winning trainer Steve Elliott said, "Donato's a bigger version of Valley Victory and a whole lot smarter than Valley Victory was. That horse was so full of himself. Valley Victory was like a precocious kid. This horse is very professional about everything. It makes you feel pretty good when you get to the half like that. I said early this week that the trip would win the race and, being we got so slow to the half, we made it our trip. I was kind of hoping we'd be following somebody else, but it worked out for us today."
Winning driver Ron Pierce said, "The speed hasn't been holding out here all day, and everybody knew it, so everybody wanted to take a shot from the back. As slow as we were going, I even wanted to come from the back today. As slow as we were going, I had no choice but to go the front. I backed into everybody and I was surprised no one came sooner. I knew what I had. I did have to ask him, twice. Not that I had to, because he was going to win anyway, but I wanted to make sure he kept trotting to the wire."
Winning driver Tim Tetrick said, “George (trainer Teague) said to drive her like a two-year-old trotter, to protect her. I was back three fourth-over and thank god they did. He jumped off three or four on me. All the way to the wire." Tetrick and Teague teamed up to win the Meadowlands Pace last month as well.
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 6 Danae Tetrick 24.40 10.40 7.60 8 Restortful Gregory 45.00 19.00 1 Sing Me To Sleepe Doherty 12.20 $2 Exacta (6-8) paid 1084.60 $1 Trifecta (6-8-1) paid 3335.50 $0.10 Superfecta (6-8-1-9) paid 6826.35 Winning Time: 1:54.4Results Chart
More Hambletonian info:
Photos ©2007 Walter Pitcher
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