07/30/2016 9:06PM

Meadowlands: Side Bet Hanover, Celebrity Eventsy post upset wins in Hambletonian Oaks eliminations

Lisa Photo
Side Bet Hanover rallied in the stretch to pull a 38-1 upset in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination

Weather had a major impact on Saturday night as a sloppy track led the way to some interesting results at the Meadowlands. Side Bet Hanover surprised odds-on favorite Caprice Hill near the wire to capture the first of two $50,000 Hambletonian Oaks eliminations. With Corey Callahan in tow, the Donato Hanover filly returned $78.20 as a 38-1 offering.

"She's peaking at the right time," said her trainer Jonas Czernyson after making a sprint from the paddock to the winner's circle.

Side Bet Hanover started from the pole position, and Callahan pushed out hard, releasing Unica Steed on the first turn. The move would eventually put the longshot in a three-hole as Caprice Hill rolled to the front past the 27 opening quarter.  Driver Tim Tetrick had Caprice Hill well in control with minimal outside activity. The pair set fractions of 55 3/5 and 1:25 as Womans Will slowly worked up without cover but never got close to the favorite.

In the homestretch horses fanned extremely wide while Caprice Hill opened a solid lead, but around midstretch Callahan was able to angle for room, and his filly exploded late to soar past the favorite and score in 1:53 2/5, a career-best on the off surface.  Caprice Hill held easily for second with Black Broadway, another longshot, rallying inside for third. Dream Child and Windowshopper rounded out the five that will return for the August 6 Hambletonian Oaks final.

Celebrity Eventsy provided the upset in the second elimination as Hall of Famer John Campbell pushed the Ontario-sired filly to the front in the early stages and led through the 27 4/5 opening quarter before yielding to 8-5 shot Broadway Donna down the backstretch. Broadway Donna set comfortable fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:25 1/5, with All The Time and driver Yannick Gingras making a long grind without cover.

In the homestretch Broadway Donna and driver Dave Miller held position well but towards midstretch bore out enough to allow pocket-sitting Celebrity Eventsy to squeak through along the pylons and move to even terms. As the pair approached the wire Broadway Donna made a break and ran to the line, yet it appeared she was already passed at that point.

Sent off as a 5-1 offering, Celebrity Eventsy scored in a career-best 1:53 1/5 for trainer Staffan Lind. The daughter of Manofmanymissions won for the third time in six starts in 2016. All The Time was placed second ahead of Broadway Donna after a lapped-on break. Double Exposure and Wildflower also advanced to the final.

"We've been aiming for this one," said trainer Staffan Lind. "It worked this time."