08/05/2004 12:00AM

Tom Ridge heads Hambletonian


Tom Ridge, the horse named for the director of Homeland Security, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite among the 10 trotters entered for Saturday's $1 million Hambletonian final at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

Tom Ridge posted a victory in 1:52.60 in his elimination heat last weekend, the fastest ever in a Hambletonian elimination. He will be driven by Ron Pierce, who has already wrapped up his first Meadowlands title.

Eilean Donon took the other elimination. He is 9-2 on the morning line and will be driven by David Miller. He recently underwent surgery to correct a life-threatening hernia.

Cantab Hall, the 2003 Trotter of the Year, is the 7-2 second choice for one of most successful teams in Hambletonian history. Driver Mike Lachance and trainer Ron Gurfein have won the trotting classic three times.

The race will be broadcast on CBS from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., with post time set for 2:42 p.m.

The Hambletonian, the world's richest trotting race, is the first part of a cross-breed daily double with the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday.