EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J _ Father Patrick puts a 15-race winning streak on the line as the 4-5 favorite in the $1 million Hambletonian on Saturday at The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.
The Hambletonian, the world’s most famous trotting race, headlines a stellar 15-race program on closing day of the meet. Gates open at 10 a.m. for the card that starts at noon.
The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares.
The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.
As usual, all eyes will focus on the Hambletonian where Father Patrick, a winner of 16 of 17 races, drew post 10. He is 6 for 6 on the season heading into the contest for 3-year-olds.
Father Patrick is one of three entrants for trainer Jimmy Takter who is well positioned to capture his third Hambletonian. Takter also sends out 7-2 second choice Trixton from post 7, and 9-2 third choice Nuncio from post 5.
They are all training really good," Takter said. "All three are coming into this race the best I can have them."
Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick. Hall of Famer John Campbell, the record holder with six Hambletonian victories, handles Nuncio while Takter will drive Trixton.
Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick. That victory came here last summer in an elimination for the Peter Haughton Memorial.
Father Patrick drew the widest post behind the mobile starting gate that accomodates 10 horses.
"Father Patrick is my strongest horse," Takter said. "But it's not an ideal post, but this horse is extremely good."
The strength of the Takter trio discouraged the competition. The 11 entrants are the fewest since the filly Continentalvictory beat 10 rivals in 1996.
This will be first time in the 89-year history of the Hambletonian that the field advances directly to the final without heats or elimination races. It will also be the first Hambletonian raced before the spectacular Meadowlands grandstand that debuted last November.
$1,006,125 Hambletonian, Race 13, Post time 5:11 p.m.
1-Resolve-Corey Callahan-Nancy Johansson-20-1
2-JJ Alex-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-50-1
3-Doncango-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-20-1
4-Datsyuk-Charlie Norris-Charlie Norris-12-1
5-Nuncio-John Campbell-Jimmy Takter-9-2
6-Royal Ice-Ron Pierce-Trond Smedshammer-20-1
7-Trixton-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-7-2
8-Il Sogno Dream-Aaron Merriman-Chris Beaver-50-1
9-Harper Blue Chip-Sylvain Filion-Mark Steacy-12-1
10-Father Patrick-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-4-5
11-Don Dorado-Tim Tetrick-Robert Baggitt Jr.-20-1
*Don Dorado will start from second tier
$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, Race 12, 4:41 p.m.
It’s Julie Miller who has the strong hand in the Oaks, with three entrants including Designed To Be, the 2-1 favorite from the rail.
Miller's other fillies are Cee Bee Yes, 20-1 from post 2 and Take The Money, 12-1 from post 5.
Takter trains the 5-2 second choice, Shake It Cerry, who starts from the second tier in post 11.
1-Designed To Be-Brian Sears-Julie Miller-2-1
2-Cee Bee Yes-Marcus Miller-Julie Miller-20-1
3-Vanity Matters-Scott Zeron-Jonas Czernyson-30-1
4-Harley Momma-Corey Callahan-Jim Raymer-15-1
5-Take The Money-Dave Palone-Julie Miller-12-1
6-Tweet Me-Brett Miller-Don Swick-30-1
7-Lifetime Pursuit-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5-1
8-Heaven’s Door-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt- 9-2
9-Cooler Schooner-David Miller-Jim Campbell-12-1
10-Nitro Nittany-Howard Parker-Jim Raymer-30-1
11-Shake It Cerry-Ron Pierce-Jimmy Takter-5-2
*Shake It Cerry starts in second tier
$300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Race 11, Post time 4:14 p.m.
The Cashman, formerly the Nat Ray, is one of the glamour events of the day, featuring the Swedish sensation Sebastian K S who has taken the U.S. by storm.
The 8-year-old trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt set the world trotting record with his 1:49 victory at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the Sun Invitational. He was the handy winner of his Cashman elimination in 1:51 as the 1-10 favorite.
Archangel took the other elim in 1:50 for a mild 5-1 upset.
The field also includes Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, and Arch Madness, a career winner of over $4.2 million.
1-Sebastian K-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3-5
2-Your So Vain-Mike Lachance-Ake Svanstedt-20-1
3-Arch Madness-Brian Sears-Trond Smedshammer-20-1
4-Archangel-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4-1
5-Uncle Peter-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-15-1
6-Appomattox-Brett Miller-Liisa Vatanen-50-1
7-Mister Herbie-John Campbell-Mark Ford-20-1
8-Intimidate-Ron Pierce-Luc Blais-8-1
9-Market Share-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano-9-2