08/03/2013 3:29PM

Hambletonian: Hambo field set for final

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Derick Giwner

Royalty For Life was trotting perfection capturing the first $70,000 Hambletonian elimination virtually wire-to-wire. The son of R C Royalty left from the outside post eight and asserted his speed to take control in a :26 4/5 opening quarter. Driver Brian Sears kept the pace honest posting fractions of :54 3/5 and 1:23 1/5 en route to an imposing 1:52 victory.

Smilin Eli, second choice in the wagering, left as well and was very content sitting third around the track. Driver Tim Tetrick brought him to the outside to secure the place after pocket-sitter High Bridge, who finished third and also advanced to the final.

The victory was the third straight for the sophomore colt sent off as the 3-5 favorite. George Ducharme making his first Hambletonian appearance was the winning trainer.

Royalty For Life scored by a length and three-quarters with driver Brian Sears measuring the wire. “I look for him to be better in the second heat,” said Sears after the race.

The second Hambletonian elimination was a carbon-copy of the first with Creatine leaving from post eight, assuming command in short order and going wire-to-wire. With Mike Lachance in the bike, the 5-1 shot had control after a :27 opening panel. Creatine carved out well-rated fractions of :55 and 1:23 4/5 and finished strongly completing his mile in 1:52 4/5.

Winning driver Mike Lachance expressed confidence in the colt after the race. “He wasn’t perfect for a while but the last start (at Harrah’s Philadelphia) he was at his best and today he was even better,” said Lachance.

Wheeling N Dealin, the betting favorite, inherited the pocket when Celebrity Maserati broke past the quarter. He had a clear chance but was unable to gain on the winner, finishing second beaten two lengths. Aperfectyankee made a brief move on the final turn but was unable to gain yet qualified for the final finishing third. Dontyouforgetit finished fourth and made the final based on earnings.

Spider Blue Chip completed the wire-to-wire sweep of the three eliminations with Ron Pierce guiding the Chuck Sylvester-trained gelding through fractions of :27 1/5, :56 2/5 and 1:25 before easing through the wire in 1:53 4/5. Corky, second choice in the race, yielded readily to the winner and stalked him for most of the stretch narrowing in late after the outcome had already been determined. Lauderdale came from last in the early stages to rally for third and make the final at 44-1.

Spider Blue Chip’s win by a half-length was his fifth in eight starts this year.

“I was just sitting there. He just trained just now, I didn’t ask him to go much,” said winning driver Pierce.

“I asked Ron to bring something back for the second heat,” winning trainer Chuck Sylvester said. “And he did.”

Spider Blue Chip’s mile was nearly two seconds slower than Royalty For Life’s first elimination victory.