Updated on 07/27/2012 9:06AM

Hambletonian: Eliminations draw 25 hopefuls; Oaks led by Check Me Out

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Twenty-five trotters dropped in the box for the 87th Hambletonian, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Three eliminations will be contested on Saturday to weed out an elite field of 10 hopefuls looking to capture the lion’s share of the $1.5 million purse of the final on August 4 at The Meadowlands.

The top three finishers from each elimination, along with the fourth-place finisher with the highest lifetime earnings, will have the opportunity to win the most coveted trophy in harness racing.

The 2012 edition of the Hambletonian features a unique group of 3-year-old trotters with no standout contender for the top prize. More than 50 percent of the prospective finalists could easily put on a show in their elimination race and be the post time favorite for the rich final.

[MEADOWLANDS: Watch LIVE on DRF.com, get PPs, and read analysis]

Perhaps the leader of the pack in the first division (race 5) is Uncle Peter. Fresh off a rated win in the Stanley Dancer at the Meadowlands, the highly regarded colt starts from post 4 for the powerful Jimmy Takter barn, which won the Hambletonian in 2010 with Muscle Massive. Uncle Peter has won 3 of 5 starts in 2012 and sports career earnings just shy of $500,000.

Arguably in the toughest of the three eliminations, Uncle Peter will face Banker Volo (post 1), a foe he narrowly defeated in the Dancer by keeping him locked in the pocket throughout the stretch. Possess The Will, who won the Valley Victory at Harrah’s Philadelphia last year and has earned over $580k in his career starts just to the outside of Banker Volo.

The second elimination could be the most contentious of the trio. Stormin Normand, who has never finished worse than second in five 2012 starts could be the favorite from post 2, but Guccio (post 3), a green but talented Takter stable entrant and Beer Summit (post 4), who captured the Goodtimes at Mohawk Racetrack last month will also garner a lot of attention.

Perhaps the most intriguing sophomore in the field is Riccolo. The recent purchase by Randi Alendal is undefeated in nine starts this year and performed well in his Trond Smedshammer barn debut at the Meadowlands last Saturday. The gelded son of Northern Kid drew post 7.

Another Takter trainee, Little Brown Fox, is sure to head to the gate as the favorite in the third elimination despite drawing post 9. The Muscle Yankee-sired colt opened plenty of eyes with a sizzling 1:51 2/5 mile in his split of the Dancer. He will look to up his $334,472 bankroll with Yannick Gingras in the bike.

The richest colt trotter of the year ($428,657) gets his chance at the spotlight in the same division. Archangel has visited the winner’s circle in 7 of his 8 starts this season, including the Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the Triple Crown. He will start from post 7 with Jim Morrill Jr. at the controls.

The complete fields for the eliminations appear below.

Check Me Out heads Hambo Oaks

Eliminations for the $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks were limited to just 14 fillies as superstar second-year performer Check Me Out scared off the competition.

The Ray Schnittker-trained Check Me Out was originally scheduled to start in the first of two 7-horse splits from post 6, but due to a possible ownership conflict, both Oaks elims needed to be re-drawn. In the second attempt, Check Me Out moved inside a few slots to the three-hole. She will once again team with semi-regular driver Tim Tetrick. The talented daughter of Donato Hanover has accumulated over $1.4 million in earnings and is fresh off a spectacular 1:51 3/5 clocking in the $245,500 Del Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands on July 14.

Check Me Out’s main competition was expected to come from Maven, but after the second draw was completed, the filly wound up in elimination two. Maven, the only horse to defeat Check me Out in 2012, will start from post 3 as well.. The Jonas Czernyson trainee has earned just over $400k in her 11 career victories.

The top five in each Oaks elimination will advance to the final on August 4.

Both Hambletonian Oaks fields are listed below.

Post time for the 11-race card on Saturday at the Meadowlands is 7:00 PM. 

 

Race 5 - $70,000 Hambletonian - First Elimination

Post Position Horse Listed Driver DRF Harness Eye M/L
1 BANKER VOLO D.Miller 7-2
2 POSSESS THE WILL T.Tetrick 4-1
3 MONEY ON MY MIND A.Miller 8-1
4 UNCLE PETER R.Pierce 5-2
5 MAGIC TONIGHT R.Pierce 6-1
6 LINDYS JERSEY BOY B.Sears 8-1
7 FROM ABOVE C.Callahan 12-1
8 PRESTIDIGITATOR S.Filion 10-1

 

Race 6 - $70,000 Hambletonian - Second Elimination

Post Position Horse Listed Driver DRF Harness Eye M/L
1 LIGHTNING STORM J.Campbell 10-1
2 STORMIN NORMAND D.Palone 3-1
3 GUCCIO J.Takter 4-1
4 BEER SUMMIT G.Brennan 7-2
5 MY MVP M.Lachance 8-1
6 KNOWS NOTHING J.Jamieson 6-1
7 RICCOLO T.Smedshammer 6-1
8 ONE IN A MILLION B.Sears 10-1

 

Race 8 - $70,000 Hambletonian - Third Elimination

Post Position Horse Listed Driver DRF Harness Eye M/L
1 BIG CHOCOLATE H.Hochstetler 12-1
2 TOP BILLING A.Miller 8-1
3 DELANO R.Schnittker 12-1
4 GYM TAN LAUNDRY G.Brennan 5-1
5 SOLVATO T.Smedshammer 10-1
6 MARKET SHARE T.Tetrick 6-1
7 ARCHANGEL J.Morrill Jr. 4-1
8 APPOMATTOX T.Tetrick 8-1
9 LITTLE BROWN FOX Y.Gingras 5-2

 

Race 3 - $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks - First Elimination

Post Position Horse Listed Driver
1 SASSY SYRINX G.Brennan
2 HOLIER THAN THOU Y.Gingras
3 CHECK ME OUT T.Tetrick
4 SUPERSTAR HANOVER J.Takter
5 UNCOMMON NIGHT G.Brennan
6 VALDONNA R.Pierce
7 FOR A DANCER J.Gregory

 

Race 4 - $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks - Second Elimination

Post Position Horse Listed Driver
1 PERSONAL STYLE D.Miller
2 D'ORSAY M.Johansson
3 MAVEN Y.Gingras
4 WIN MISSY B B.Sears
5 CANT HAVE MY MONI T.Tetrick
6 DREAM ON HANOVER G.Brennan
7 REAL BABE R.Schnittker