East Rutherford, NJ — Elimination winners Captain Corey and Delayed Hanover will start Saturday’s $1 million Hambletonian Stakes final for 3-year-old trotters from posts four and one, respectively, at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Captain Corey was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite. Delayed Hanover is the 7-2 second choice.
The elimination winners were guaranteed posts within positions one through five. The remaining eight horses in the field received their post in an open draw following the draw for the elimination winners.
The Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters will air live from 5:30-6:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. First-race post time on Hambletonian Day’s stakes-filled card is noon.
Ake Svanstedt trains both Captain Corey and Delayed Hanover, as well as Hambletonian finalist Ambassador Hanover, who will start from post nine. Svanstedt won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit.
Captain Corey won his July 31 elimination by 1-1/2 lengths over Really Fast in 1:51.2. Svanstedt drove the colt, a son of Googoo Gaagaa-Luv U All bred by Carter Duer. He has won two of four races this year and seven of 11 in his career, with earnings of $415,333. He is owned by S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting Inc., Midnight Sun Partners Inc., and Ake Svanstedt Inc.
“He was good,” Svanstedt said. “We had a little problem with him this spring, but I think he was still growing a lot. I think that was his problem. He didn’t have the same gait. He has a long stride, but he didn’t have that. (Last Saturday) it was the old Corey again. Now, he has his long stride again. I think he can be even more sharp this week.”
Delayed Hanover won his elimination by two lengths over Cuatro De Julio in 1:51.1. The son of Southwind Frank-Don’t Wait Up has won three of five races this year and four of 12 lifetime, earning $259,318. He is owned by Mellby Gard Inc. and Ake Svanstedt Inc. He was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms.
In his start prior to the Hambletonian eliminations, Delayed Hanover finished second in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He was timed in 1:50.3.
“He was good (in the Dancer), and he was maybe even better in his elimination,” Svanstedt said. “He is a very nice racehorse. He is good gaited and has a very good head. He is very serious when he gets behind the gate.”
Really Fast is one of three Hambletonian finalists for trainer Nancy Takter. He will start from post seven and is 5-1 on the morning line. Really Fast, a son of Muscle Hill-Stubborn Belle, was unraced at age 2 and has won four of eight starts this year. He is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, who bred the colt.
The most recent unraced 2-year-old to win the Hambletonian was Tagliabue in 1995.
“(Really Fast) didn’t race at 2, so you’re trying to teach how to be a racehorse while you’re competing at the absolute highest level,” Takter said. “That’s not your ideal situation. He’s obviously a very nice horse, just to be able to make up all the ground that he’s made up from not racing last year. He seems to put it together when it counts. Maybe his pedigree shines through and he knows it’s a big deal that day.”
Dexter Dunn drove Delayed Hanover and Really Fast in their eliminations. Driver changes will be finalized by 11 a.m. Wednesday.
“Obviously, it’s a tough decision for Dexter,” Takter said. “He doesn’t have much history with either one of the horses. The seven hole is a good spot, you know you’re going to get involved in the flow. I like my chances. I think I have a really good horse going in, and he’s getting better and better. So, it’s going to be up to Dex to make the right choice.”
Takter said Yannick Gingras would drive Really Fast if Dunn picked Delayed Hanover.
Her remaining finalists are Locatelli (post five, 15-1) and Spy Booth (post three, 15-1).
Venerate, the 2020 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, will start the Hambletonian from post eight for trainer Julie Miller and is 8-1. Sonofamistery, the field’s fastest trotter with a mark of 1:50.2, will leave from post six for trainer Marcus Melander and is 4-1.
Following is the field for the $1 million Hambletonian final, with listed drivers and trainers.
1-Delayed Hanover-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-7/2
2-Take All Comers-David Miller-Jim Campbell-12/1
3-Spy Booth-Tim Tetrick-Nancy Takter-15/1
4-Captain Corey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1
5-Locatelli-Andy McCarthy-Nancy Takter-15/1
6-Sonofamistery-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/1
7-Really Fast-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-5/1
8-Venerate-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8/1
9-Ambassador Hanover-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-15/1
10-Cuatro De Julio-Lucas Wallin-Marie Ortolan Bar-10/1