07/20/2012 5:31PM

Hambletonian loses Check Me Out; filly champion will enter Hambletonian Oaks


World champion filly trotter Check Me Out will not take on the boys in the upcoming Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns Check Me Out with Charles Iannazzo, said Friday the filly would enter the Hambletonian Oaks instead.

Eliminations for the $1.5 million Hambletonian, for 3-year-old trotters, and the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks, for 3-year-old filly trotters, are July 28. The finals for both races are Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands.

Schnittker, who trained and drove Deweycheatumnhowe to victory in the 2008 Hambletonian, said it was in Check Me Out’s best interest to remain in action against the fillies.

“I think it’s the best thing for the horse,” Schnittker said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’d hate for her to get over her head or have to really kill herself to win.”

The last filly to win the Hambletonian was Continentalvictory in 1996. The most recent filly starter was Pampered Princess, who in 2007 won her elimination and finished sixth in the final.

“If I knew she would come out of it great, I’d say yeah, fine, but you never know,” Schnittker said. “I think nine out of 10 times she could beat most of the colts that I’ve seen, but [the Oaks] goes for $750,000 and that’s pretty good money.”

Good enough money that if Check Me Out wins the Oaks, she will become the richest filly trotter in history, based on combined earnings at ages 2 and 3. Check Me Out has won 19 of 22 career races, finishing second in all three setbacks, and earned $1.47 million. Passionate Glide holds the record for highest earnings by a filly trotter, having won a total of $1.72 million in her 2- and 3-year-old campaigns.

“[The Oaks] should be an easier race, but there are some very good fillies out there,” Schnittker said. “Hopefully it will be a good day. We’ll find out.”

Check Me Out is coming off a 1:51 3/5 win in the $245,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters on July 14 at the Meadowlands. The time set the world record for 3-year-old filly trotters on a mile track.

Entries for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks must be made by 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“I’ll probably train her a little bit Saturday and then just jog her,” Schnittker said. “She’s pretty fit. That mile in [1]:51 was a world record and it looked like she could’ve gone [1]:50 and a piece. That was the 12th race at night; the track wasn’t exactly lightning fast, which a lot of people forget. If you get that 7 o’clock post time and you get daylight, that’s a second difference probably.”

Earlier this year, Check Me Out edged Maven by a nose to win the $519,400 Elegantimage Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario in a Canadian-record 1:52 1/5.

Check Me Out also won this year’s $185,194 Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers Raceway and has posted victories on every sized oval -- half-mile, five-eighths, seven-eighths, and mile -- this season.

Last year, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Illusion Bi won the $600,000 Breeders Crown on her way to 14 wins in 16 starts and the Dan Patch Award as harness racing’s best 2-year-old filly trotter.