08/04/2012 6:50PM

Hambletonian: Market Share enables Toscano to become first woman to win trotting's top event

Groom Shelly Grieco gives a kiss to Market Share after his victory in the Hambletonian.

It took a year of waiting but trainer Linda Toscano finally got her Hambletonian trophy. Toscano, 57, whose horse Chapter Seven finished fourth at 2-1 in the 2011 edition, found redemption in 2012 when her Market Share braved it uncovered and held through the wire to win the 87th Hambletonian on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands in front of a crowd of 24,521.

Gym Tan Laundry was quickest off the gate, with the favored Uncle Peter coming out in the pocket. Archangel then rushed to the front past the opening quarter of 27 2/5 seconds.

At that point it was time for Uncle Peter to shine. Driver Ron Pierce brushed Uncle Peter to the lead well before the 54 3/5 half, leaving Archangel in the pocket and setting up the expected scenario of the favorite on the engine.

It was just past the second call when Market Share was guided to the rim by Tim Tetrick. Market Share grinded up steadily with Knows Nothing on his back. Market Share engaged Uncle Peter at three-quarters in 1:22 3/5 and began to pull clear in the stretch.

Market Share appeared home free with an eighth of a mile to go, but the natives were coming. Guccio, the uncoupled stablemate of Uncle Peter who was three wide from the five-eighth pole, and My MVP, who found room to squeeze off the pylons, were coming fast late.

Market Share needed the wire and he got it, holding on by a neck over Guccio and My MVP in 1:52 1/5.

“I knew that we would pull up and challenge [Uncle Peter] but I didn’t know if we would be able to pull clear or not,” said Toscano. “We had talked about it and we decided that we are not going to let the race come to us, we are going to come to the race today. We are not going to lose the finals by sitting back and waiting for a trip.”

Toscano, who earlier won the $250,000 Nat Ray with Chapter Seven, became the first woman to win the Hambletonian.

 Tetrick, a perennial national leading driver, also scored his first Hambletonian victory.

“This is a dream come true.  You know all my people, my mom and dad in Illinois, I’m sure they’re watching and I’m happy to be here,” said Tetrick.

The $750,000 winner’s share of the purse vaulted Market Share’s career earnings to $972,505 for owners Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable, and William Augustine.

Market Share, who paid $10.80 to win, may head next to the Colonial Trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 19, but Toscano was still unsure about the future.

“I have no idea. I guess the Colonial.  I don’t know,” said Toscano, who admitted she was expecting Market Share to return for a 4-year-old season but didn’t know how the Hambletonian win would affect that plan. “We did [plan to return], but I don’t know how it will go now.”

 Hambletonian Oaks: Personal Style benefits from break by two favorites

While everything went right for Tetrick in the Hambletonian, the $714,050 Oaks was another story.

Driving the heavily favored Check Me Out and on the lead for most of the mile through fractions of 28, 55, and 1:23 2/5, everything seemed to be coming up roses around the final turn when the talented filly made only the second break of her 24-race career. The miscue caused a similar fate for second choice Maven, who was just to her outside.

With the favorites out of the way, Personal Style and driver Dave Miller took advantage, winning by a neck over Win Missy B in 1:53 1/5.

Personal Style, a 3-year-old Yankee Glide filly, lit up the board at 57-1 and surprised Miller as much as the crowd.

“Maven and Check Me Out, they are much the best,” said Miller about the favorites. “We were high on our filly and we thought one day down the road we would be able to beat them, but we got lucky.”

Maven, who is owned by Brittany Farms and Melvin Hartman, scored her fifth victory in 18 starts. She has now earned $558,638.

Total handle on the 15-race card was $7,602,616, a decrease of $688,056 from 2011.