08/05/2010 3:27PM

Lucky Chucky favored in Hambletonian

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Lucky Chucky, last season’s champion 2-year-old trotter, is the 5-2 favorite in the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday.

The Hambo will be carried live on NBC from 3 to 4 p.m. Scheduled post time for the race is 3:43 p.m.

A winner in 10 of 15 races, Lucky Chucky will leave from post 2 for a pair of harness Hall of Famers, driver John Campbell and trainer Chuck Sylvester.

Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times, while Sylvester has four wins – one victory shy of the mark shared by Bill Haughton, Stanley Dancer, and Ben White.

”He’s come back very well,” Campbell said. “Chuck Sylvester had a plan from when he put him away last fall to how he wanted to prep him. He’s got him going into the race as good as he possibly can.”

Lucky Chucky faces a nine rivals in the one-mile trotting classic for 3-year-olds.

Cassis is the 7-2 second choice from the rail with Tim Tetrick set to drive for trainer Ray Schnittker. Tetrick is looking for his first Hambletonian victory. Schnittker won with Deweycheatumnhowe in 2008.

Pilgrims Taj is the 9-2 third choice from post 3. Mike Lachance, a four-time Hambletonian winner, drives for trainer Trond Smedshammer.

On The Tab, the only horse with a shot at the trotting Triple Crown, has post 7 at 15-1. He captured the first leg, the Yonkers Trot, last month. The Hambletonian is the middle jewel in the series that concludes with the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile in Lexington, Ky. on Oct. 16.