07/30/2013 10:59AM

Meadowlands: Market Share will make history with Hambo Day start

Derick Giwner
Tim Tetrick (driver) and Linda Toscano (trainer) have guided Market Share to a perfect season in 2013.

Hambletonian Day always produces memories. This year fans of the sport are in for a special rare treat that could leave a lasting impression for years to come.

On Saturday, Market Share will do what no Hambletonian-winning colt has done in 25 years – compete in the Nat Ray Invitational (now named the John Cashman Jr. Memorial). Mostly due to the early retirement of the top trotters for breeding purposes, less than a handful of Hambletonian winners have even attempted to race as a 4-year-old.

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It was the great Mack Lobell, a 41-time winner in 58 career starts, who was the last colt to take a shot (and win) in the Nat Ray (1988). In the more recent future, the gelded 2005 Hambletonian champion Vivid Photo stepped on the Meadowlands surface to face older foes in the 2006 Nat Ray and finished fourth. But those two stars of the trotting game stand alone in the last quarter century. Until now.

Market Share is a history-making colt in his own right. Following a perfect rookie campaign in five starts, he stepped up against Open Company as a 3-year-old and was voted Trotter of the Year for his class by the United States Harness Writers Association. His gaudy stats of 10 wins and $2,001,405 earned were going to be hard to top. Yet, somehow, in only three 2013 starts, Market Share has been visually spectacular and presents the impression of having matured into an even more powerful specimen in his third year of racing.

“Last year I never dreamed he would be this good of a horse,” said regular driver Tim Tetrick on the 2013 version of Market Share. “He has come back and surprised me. Right now he is as good a trotter as any horse I’ve ever sat behind.”

That is high praise coming from a perennial leading driver and the same man who piloted 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven to some memorable victories.

“I hate to say it, but right now [Market Share] is actually better than Chapter Seven ever was,” said Tetrick. “He is better gaited than Chapter Seven and can fly home. Last year Chapter Seven was always in races where he had to do all the work. He was way better at following horses, but we always had to make the race with him. They are two great horses. I wish I had them both right now.”

Chapter Seven posted a World Record-tying mile in his Nat Ray win last year. His 1:50 1/5 mile equaled the mark shared by Donato Hanover (2007, Red Mile), Muscle Hill (2009, Meadowlands), Giant Diablo (2007, Red Mile) and Lucky Jim (2009, Meadowlands). That final clocking was only the fourth time in the history of the Nat Ray where a sub 1:51 mile was recorded.

Market Share may not currently hold any world speed records, but he came surprisingly close when he qualified in 1:50 3/5 at the Meadowlands on July 13.

“I could have done it in the qualifier,” said Tetrick on breaking the elusive 1:50 barrier for trotters. “If I would’ve just poked him once, he would have went (1):49 easy. I know he could have done it that day.”

To date, only Enough Talk (1:49 3/5) has trotted in 1:50 or faster. Most harness historians deny the talented gelding his due because the record was set around the one-turn mile track at Colonial Downs where horses start their mile journey out of a chute on the backstretch.

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What Market Share has accomplished in just three starts is the seemingly impossible. In his debut mile on the final day of May, he unleashed a furious 26 3/5 final quarter burst of speed to win impressively. Three weeks later he was in a tough spot, third on the rim with a long way to come. Somehow the Linda Toscano trainee kicked home with long powerful strides to nail Uncle Peter just before the wire. His most recent effort was a relative walk-in-the-park two-plus length score in the Maple Leaf at Mohawk despite an uncovered trip. All three winning miles were timed in 1:51 1/5.

With a large Hambletonian Day crowd as the backdrop and fans from multiple continents glued to the trotting action, Market Share will get his chance to make history against nine other fast and talented sidesteppers in the $318,350 Cashman.

“It’s a big stage,” said Tetrick. “It is going to be on live television, which we don’t get on very often. If we can break the record on national television, maybe we’ll get some new fans involved.”

The star-studded Hambletonian lineup of equine athletes begins at 11:50 a.m., with Market Share competing in race 10 (3:45 p.m.) on the 15-race program.


$318,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial - Race 10

1 Luckycharm Hanover S.Allard 30-1
2 Arch Madness B.Sears 15-1
3 Southwind Pepino J.Campbell 30-1
4 Guccio J.Takter 20-1
5 Uncle Peter D.Miller 7-2
6 Mister Herbie J.Jamieson 4-1
7 Sevruga A.Miller 8-1
8 Hot Shot Blue Chip C.Callahan 15-1
9 Market Share T.Tetrick 8-5
10 Wishing Stone Y.Gingras 10-1