08/08/2015 6:07PM

Bergman: Hambletonian Day review

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Jimmy Takter and Brian Sears embrace after teaming up to win the Hambletonian.

The year of the gelding continued at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day as Pinkman defeated Mission Brief in harness racing’s most prized event.

Trainer Jimmy Takter, who for the second straight year swept the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks, proved again that having horses ready for the big race is a trainer’s job and that more than one driver can handle a top horse. For Takter’s part, he came into the day with an arsenal of top-flight 3-year-old trotters and emerged from it with an Oaks victory and a 1, 3, 4 finish in the $1 million Hambo.

While Gingras jettisoned Takter for the Hambletonian final, he was true to his talent scoring with Wild Honey in the Oaks. It was the fifth win on the card for Gingras, who earlier had captured the Peter Haughton handily with Southwind Frank. Gingras also piloted Foiled Again to a solid third behind State Treasurer in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Despite being counted out this year, Foiled Again paced in 1:47 3/5 and out-gamed a handful of horses.

Anndrovette’s class was proven again in the Lady Liberty. It was her second win at the 1 1/8 mile distance during the Meadowlands meet, but she would have won had they gone around again. “They always look like they are going to go by her,” said Tetrick, who guided the mare to the 44th victory of her storied career.

Youth may have been a problem in the Cane Pace, raced for the first time at the Meadowlands. It looked like a virtual walkover for heavy favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit on paper, but in the race Montrell Teague probably pushed the panic button a bit prematurely forcing his way between horses and then locking horns with In The Arsenal through a 52 1/5 opening half. The duel proved the demise for the duo and paved the way for Dealt A Winner, a Cams Card Shark-sired gelding, to get the credit he’s been worthy of but has not been able to find all season long. Trainer Mark Silva had the horse sharp for the Meadowlands Pace final but had to settle for fourth. This time the trip couldn’t have worked out better and a 1:47 3/5 lifetime best clocking was well deserved.

The John Cashman Memorial gave Brian Sears his first of what would be two major scores on the afternoon (Pinkman the second) with Flanagan Memory. Sears followed the cover of Obrigado before blowing by second choice Market Share. The big surprise in this race was Magic Tonight, sent off as the favorite by virtue of his brilliant form in Europe, made two moves early in the added distance race and was empty in the stretch. Obrigado finished an incredible third after taking steps early and racing parked the added distance.

It was hard to believe that Bee A Magician got beat in the Fresh Yankee, but at the same time it was equally hard to fathom the 25 2/5 opening quarter. Trainer Roger Walmann may have laid an egg with Magic Tonight but he had D’One on her toes and ready for the major upset.

Broadway Donna was not as dominant as she’d been before the Jim Doherty Memorial final, but she got the job done nonetheless by the smallest margin. Trainer Jim Campbell was happy with the win but pondered whether sickness that has been around may have had an impact on the homebred by Donato Hanover.

Stacia Hanover completed a brilliant meet for trainer Steve Elliott with a 1:49 2/5 victory in the Shady Daisy for driver Scott Zeron. The Western Ideal-sired filly shaved two seconds off her previous career best.

Total attendance was announced at 21,968. The $231,403 Super Hi-5 carryover in race 16 attracted just over $343k of new money and sent those with winning tickets home with a whopping $4,808.48 for every winning .20 cent wager.

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Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
montrell teague gave one of the worst drives I have ever seen in my 40 years of following harness racing.......he should thank God for his DNA because his talent level puts him at Plainridge........he could have either sat behind the 1 and quarter moved or let The Arsenal go and retake.........terrible terrible terrible drive.......
Joel Weiner More than 1 year ago
Montrell Teague taking Wiggle It Giggleit to the half in ::52 and the 3 quarters in 1:19 and change was a case of nepotism and pure incompetence.. If he was not related to George Teague, there is no way possible that he would even be allowed to work out this horse let alone drive him in a race like the Cane. Having a green driver in a race like this is a slap in the face to the betting public. This kid totally lost his head breaking out of the 2 post and battling the 1 to a :25 quarter when all he had to do was take a tuck & quarter move. The worst of it was whipping and beating this tired horse who was clearly on fumes and exhausted coming down the stretch after this terrible drive. Great for the family but absolutely no concern for the bettors who keep this "sport" going. Once again it makes things very difficult to take harness racing seriously.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Nepotism is rampant throughout the sport of harness racing.
Joel Weiner More than 1 year ago
That's true. There are so many Millers who train & drive, I'm not sure who is related to whom? I know one thing, Marcus is related to Erv otherwise he wouldn't be driving ANY of those horses. Reminds me of the days when you would have Stanley, Vernon & Harold Dancer Jr or the many Filion's helping each other in the same race.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Only place I disagree with you Joel is that I am glad he whipped down the stretch for the tri and super players....horse in racing again in 6 days .... what are the odds on a driver change
Joel Weiner More than 1 year ago
These guys are pretty stubborn. Don't know if George will make a move or not. Blood is thicker than water and of course the victims will be this great horse and the betting public.
Tom Dubrick More than 1 year ago
Nice piece. Tpd