07/30/2015 5:04PM

Meadowlands: Alagna high on Haughton starter Winter Harbor

Derick Giwner
Winter Harbor starts from post 9 in the second Peter Haughton elimination.

Winter Harbor will hope to make the most of the summertime stakes – and beyond – for trainer Tony Alagna and his ownership group. A $240,000 yearling purchase, the son of Muscle Hill will make his second career start in Friday’s eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack.

A total of 19 horses entered the Haughton, so two eliminations will be contested Friday with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the $349,850 final on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 8, at the Meadowlands. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six for the final in an order determined by lot. The remainder of the finalists will be part of an open draw.

Friday’s card also includes three eliminations for the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters.

Winter Harbor won his debut on July 24 at the Meadowlands, capturing a division of the Kindergarten Series by 2-1/2 lengths over Dog Gone Lucky in 1:56 1/5. His time was the fastest of three divisions. He will compete in the second of the two Haughton eliminations, starting from post nine with driver Scott Zeron. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, behind Jimmy Takter-trained Bar Hopping at 3-1.

“We like him a lot,” said Alagna, who trains Winter Harbor for owners Brittany Farms, John Cancelliere, Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC, and Winter Harbor Partners. “He trained down good all winter. He qualified really good and he was very good in his first start. We’ve been really happy with him. He’s been solid.”

Winter Harbor is the first foal out of the stakes-placed mare Spectacular Bay. The colt’s family includes Dan Patch Award winner Casual Breeze as well as stakes-winner Epangeline.

“We bought a horse looking for a stallion, like always with the group that bought the colt,” Alagna said. “They’re looking for future stallions, so we know we’re going to have to spend some money to try to get one. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

“He was the whole package. He is by the right stallion, Muscle Hill, and the first foal out of a mare with a good maternal pedigree. He was a great individual. He was fantastic in the paddock, great video. He just had a lot of presence about him. We were happy to get him.

“I think great horses put off a little bit of an aura. I think this horse had that kind of presence about him when we looked at him.”

Southwind Frank, from the stable of Ron Burke, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the first Haughton elimination. Southwind Frank has won two of three races and enters his elim off a 1-1/2 length victory over Bar Hopping in 1:53 4/5 in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. That time is the fastest of the season so far for a 2-year-old trotter.

Following are the elimination fields for the Peter Haughton Memorial in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

Elimination 1

1. Southwind Frank, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 2-1

2. Explosive Yankee, David Miller, D.R. Ackerman, 20-1

3. Brownie Hanover, Marcus Melander, Marcus Melander, 20-1

4. Sliding Home, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1

5. Earn And Burn, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 6-1

6. Alexander Hanover, John Campbell, William Popfinger, 7-2

7. Promise Delivered, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind, 12-1

8. Taco Tuesday, Tim Tetrick, Frank Antonacci, 8-1

9. Dominion Beach, Andy Miller, Nancy Johansson, 15-1

10. Dominus Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 12-1

Elimination 2

1. Southwind Flash, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 15-1

2. Celebrity Pilatus, John Campbell, Thomas Haughton, 20-1

3. Dupree, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 8-1

4. Lagerfeld, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1

5. Milligan’s School, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 6-1

6. Bar Hopping, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1

7. Waitlifter K, Tim Tetrick, Chuck Sylvester, 6-1

8. Brooklyn Hill, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1

9. Winter Harbor, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 7-2

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com