East Rutherford, NJ — Millies Possesion looks to stay perfect in what will be her ninth lifetime start Saturday afternoon (Aug. 3) after being installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies at The Meadowlands.
The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena drew post position two for the $500,000 event at Tuesday afternoon’s post draw at the Big M.
“I think it’s a good spot,” said trainer Jim Campbell. “I’d sooner have the two than the one. I think it’s a good spot where (driver) Dexter (Dunn) can kind of see how the race shapes up and make whatever decision he sees fit.”
Millies Possesion upped her lifetime record to eight wins in as many starts after taking her Hambo Oaks elim last Saturday in 1:52.3, scoring by a nose over a fast-closing Evident Beauty.
“(Evident Beauty) is a good filly,” said Campbell. “She never gives up and keeps on going. I think it’s a real tough group. The trip is going to mean everything.”
Evident Beauty is listed at 7-2 from post four with David Miller driving.
Another big-time contender is When Dovescry (5-2, post five, Simon Allard), who crushed her foes by three lengths in 1:51.3 in the other Oaks elim.
“Me for one, I did not see that coming,” said Campbell of When Dovescry’s performance. “She really came on strong at the end of last year and she was up to the task last week. It’s going to be a tough race.”
The road for Millies Possesion was an atypical one, as the Fashion Farms-owned and bred filly was unraced at 2.
“She had some soundness issues,” said Campbell. “She had some issues with her hocks, so we just had to turn her out and let time heal her. We brought her back in January and the rest is history. She’s been nothing short of amazing.
“Anytime you have an unraced horse you don’t know what to expect. I would be surprised for any unraced 2-year-old to come back and be this good. She showed us a lot training down last year, but that’s all we had to go off. The way she went her first start this year (a 1:56 win in a non-winners of one at Harrah’s Philadelphia on May 1), she was impressive doing it. Every race since she has stepped up to the plate and done everything we’ve asked of her.”
So does Campbell, who won the Oaks with another fabulous Fashion Farms filly, Broadway Schooner in 2009, like the role of favorite?
“When you are the favorite, it means your horse has done well prior to that,” said Campbell. “I really don’t put a lot of thought into whether we’re the favorite or not. We are in the race and prepare the horse the best way we can to have the horse the best she can be that particular day, regardless of whether you are the favorite or not.”
The Hambletonian Oaks is race 11 on Saturday on a star-studded, stakes-laden 16-race program and has a post time of 4:30 p.m. The first race gets underway at noon.
Hambletonian Oaks final
1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1
2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5
3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1
4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2
5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2
6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1
7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1
8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1
9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1
10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1