The Meadowlands - Saturday, August 5 is Hambletonian Day, the Greatest Day in Harness Racing with the marquee event featured on a stakes laden card with total purses in excess of $3.5 million on the day.
The 92nd Hambletonian, first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, drew nineteen entrants, split into a pair of $100,000 first heats with the top five from each returning later that afternoon for a $1 million purse and the most important trophy in the sport.
What The Hill and Devious Man are the logical favorites in the first division of heat number one, both have impressive accomplishments at ages two and three.
1-What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke-3/1
2-Seven And Seven-David Miller-Tom Durand-8/1
3-Sortie-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-10/1
4-Shake It Off Lindy-Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-20/1
5-Dover Dan-Brian Sears-John Butenschoen-8/1
6-Enterprise-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-9/2
7-Southwind Cobra-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1
8-Achille Duharas-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-20/1
9-Devious Man-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2
10-Perfect Spirit-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-12/1
Division two of the first heat will test International Moni to win Trotting's Greatest Race to honor his legendary dam Moni Maker. By the French sire Love You, International Moni is the most successful foal to date from the great mare and also carries the long Hambletonian legacy of the Antonacci family who bred and own the colt in partnership with David Reid as Moni Maker Stable. He'll start from post position five for driver Scott Zeron who looks to remain Hambo perfect in his young career.
1-Southwind Woody-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1
2-Bill’s Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-5/1
3-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1
4-Giveitgasandgo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1
5-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-5/2
6-Stealth Hanover-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-30/1
7-Victor Gio IT-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1
8-Long Tom-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-3/1
9-Jake-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-8/1
There was some consideration of top filly Ariana G being entered in the main event against colts but her connections chose to stay with the girls and she will be a prohibitive favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Her full sister All The Time won this race last year for the very same connections, owner/breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, trainer Jimmy Takter looking for four in a row and seven wins overall in the Oaks and driver Yannick Gingras.
$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks
1-Southwind Avanti-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1
2-Dream Together-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-8/1
3-Caviart Wonder-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-20/1
4-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/5
5-Magic Presto-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-5/1
6-Fine Tuned Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1
7-Feed Your Head-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-6/1
8-Sunshine Delight-Brett Miller-Staffan Lind-20/1
9-Overdraft Volo-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1
10-Dream Baby Dream-Rod Allen-Rod Allen-15/1
The rest of the day's stakes were being assembled as this is written. Entries will be posted on the web when available.
The $295,000e Cane Pace, first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown, is also raced on the Hambo Day card and drew a dozen entrants. The Cane pits Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville against rival Downbytheseaside who was a supplemental entry into the race at a cost of $35,000. It's a war when these two throw down and they'll be going the route distance of a mile and an eighth on Saturday.
The $100,000e Shady Daisy drew just six sophomore pacing fillies with both winners of last week's Adioo Volo supplementing to this race. Blazin Britches was a short priced winner in an impressive 1:50.1 while Ella Christina won as a longshot in her first start for trainer Nick Surick.
The older pacers are represented in the $225,000e Sam McKee Memorial and $200,000e Lady Liberty.
The McKee has drawn the top older horses and geldings like WR Haughton winner Mach It So and speed merchant Mel Mara set to battle over a mile and an eighth while the red-hot Nike Franco N comes on the heels of a 1:48 follow up to her Golden Girls score last month.
Twelve trotters will square off in the $303,000 John Cashman Memorial, again at the extra distance due to the bulk of the field. They're all here, Flanagan Memory is set to defend his title, Marion Marauder takes on older foes for the first time, JL Cruze won the inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts last week, Obrigado and Resolve are always in the hunt and Crazy Wow is the best he's ever been.
The $200,000e Dr. John Steel Memorial features Hannelore Hanover who holds the title as the best mare in trotting until somebody take's it from her. Eight accomplished female opponents will endeavor to do just that.
Finally the freshman trotters will have their first major test of the season with ten colts going for $360,000 in the Peter Haughton Memorial and ten fillies to race for $330,800 in the Jim Doherty Memorial.
The day is filled with a hat giveaway, fun activities for the kids, live entertainment good food and good times.
Hambletonian Day is the culmination of The Meadowlands "Championship Meet" and the 16 race card starts at noon.
Admission is $5 and the gates open at 10 a.m.