Hambletonian draws 19 starters

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, NJ — Pinkman will start from the outside post 10 in the first of two eliminations in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack while the filly Mission Brief will leave from post two in the second elimination.

The draws for the Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks were conducted Monday afternoon at the Meadowlands. The top five finishers from each $100,000 Hambletonian elimination advance to Saturday’s same-day $1 million final. The eliminations are slated as races eight and nine, with the final going as race 13. The two elimination winners will draw for posts one through five in the final, with the other eight going in an open draw. Eliminations for the Oaks were held this past Saturday at the Meadowlands.

Post time for the first race is 12 noon. Cable channel CBS Sports Network will air coverage of the Cane Pace, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian from 4 to 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

USTA/Mark Hall photo

Mission Brief is trying to become the first female since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win the Hambletonian.

Mission Brief, who last year trotted in 1:50.3 to become the fastest 2-year-old in harness racing history, is trying to become the first female since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win the Hambletonian. She is the first filly to try to knock off the boys in the race since Pampered Princess in 2007. Pampered Princess, trained by Pinkman’s trainer Jimmy Takter, won her elimination and finished seventh-placed-sixth in the final.

Mission Brief, trained by Ron Burke, and Pinkman both will be driven by Yannick Gingras in their respective Hambletonian eliminations. Mission Brief, who has won three of four starts this year and 12 of 17 lifetime, is the 6-5 morning line favorite in her elimination.

The 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, Mission Brief enters the Hambletonian off a 1:51.4 win in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters on July 26 at Vernon Downs. A daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, she has earned $791,417 in her career for owners Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi.

“It’s a perfect draw for her,” Burke said. “She doesn’t have to leave. She can get away wherever she wants to get away. That seems to be her favorite way anymore, to fall in where she has to and then move from there.”

Lisa photo

Pinkman enters the Hambletonian with $1.18 million in career earnings.

Pinkman, who has won six of seven races this year and 12 of 15 in his career, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in his elimination. He was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and will try to become the first honoree since Muscle Hill in 2009 to capture the Hambletonian.

A son of Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster, Pinkman won the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in a career-best 1:51.3 on July 4 and followed that triumph with victories in the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 18 at the Meadowlands and Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial on July 26 at Vernon Downs.

Pinkman has earned $1.18 million lifetime for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman.

Takter is a three-time winner of the Hambletonian, with Trixton last year, Muscle Massive in 2010 and Malabar Man in 1997. He is sending five horses to Saturday’s event, with Canepa Hanover, French Laundry, The Bank and Uncle Lasse joining Pinkman in the field of 19 horses.

“It is what it is,” Takter said of the draw. “If they are both good, and Canepa and Pinkman are both very, very good horses, they will have to overcome the post.”

Wild Honey, trained by Takter, got post two as the 5-2 favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

The race turned into a wide-open affair with Mission Brief headed to the Hambletonian.

The elimination heats were held last weekend with one of those winners, Lock Down Lindy, getting the rail as the 3-1 second choice.

Tragically, Spirit To Win, the other elim winner, suffered a fatal training injury Monday morning.

Following are the fields for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

$1.2 million Hambletonian-$100,000 1st elim.-Race 8
1. Donatomite, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 15-1
2. The Bank, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1
3. Workout Wonder, Daniel Dube, Ake Svanstedt, 12-1
4. Habitat, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 6-1
5. Total Darkness, Tim Tetrick, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
6. Fashion Creditor, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 20-1
7. Jacksons Minion, Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson, 30-1
8. Centurion ATM, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 9-2
9. Canepa Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1
10. Pinkman, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5

$1.2 million Hambletonian-$100,000 2nd elim.-Race 9
1. Billy Flynn, Tim Tetrick, Staffan Lind, 15-1
2. Mission Brief, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-5
3. Cruzado Dela Noche, David Miller, Nancy Johansson, 20-1
4. Aldebaran Eagle, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
5. Wings Of Royalty, Tim Tetrick, George Ducharme, 12-1
6. French Laundry, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1
7. Uncle Lasse, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
8. Southwind Mozart, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1
9. Muscle Diamond, Tim Tetrick, Brett Bittle, 8-1

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks-Race 12
1. Lock Down Lindy, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1
2. Wild Honey, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
3. Bright Baby Blues, David Miller, Bob Stewart, 8-1
4. Lady Winona, Brian Sears, Julie Miller, 20-1
5. Rules Of The Road, Corey Callahan, Janice Connor, 8-1
6. Classical Annie, Aaron Merriman, Jim Arledge Jr., 30-1
7. Livininthefastlane, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2
8. Sarcy, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 10-1
9. Smokinmombo, Aaron Merriman, Chris Beaver, 12-1
10. Speak To Me, Scott Zeron, Jimmy Takter, 20-1

The Meadowlands will also host the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the $319,400 Cane Pace, for the first time on Saturday. It will feature one of the shortest prices of the afternoon as $35,000 supplemental entrant Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 2-5 favorite from post two.

The colt, owned by George Teague Jr. and driven by his son Montrell, is 14 for 15 this season, including a 1:47.4 win in the Meadowlands Pace.

Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is the 3-1 favorite from post six in the $301,500 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. The 6-year-old, trained by Linda Toscano, has earned more than $3.7 million lifetime.

Swedish trotting star and Elitloppet winner Magic Tonight is the 4-1 second choice from post four.

— Meadowlands Media Relations contributed to this story

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