07/24/2016 10:12PM

Vernon: Bar Hopping finishes first in Zweig Memorial

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Bar Hopping proved best in the Zweig

Bar Hopping, the only horse to beat Southwind Frank this year, readied himself for the Hambletonian with a 1:53 1/5 triumph in the $300,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts on Sunday night at Vernon Downs.

With Tim Tetrick handling the driving, Bar Hopping settled in fifth early.  Hollywood Highway (John Campbell) left out quickest from post six and led at the 27 3/5 opening quarter while being challenged on the outside by second choice Trolley (Marcus Miller).  However, Trolley broke past the opening quarter and was taken out of contention.

Andy Miller would send Milligan's School out of the pocket to get the lead from Hollywood Highway between calls, but Tetrick had Bar Hopping out and on the move, and he would make his way back to the cones just past the 57 second half.  Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan) then attacked first-over out of the fourth position, and he got to within half a length of Bar Hopping at the 1:25 1/5 three-quarters.

Bar Hopping would put away Hititoutofthepark's bid as the field raced through the lane, and nobody else could mount a rally, as Bar Hopping sealed the 1 1/2 length victory with a 28 second final kicker.  Milligan's School stayed on to finish second, while Love Matters (Brett Miller) and Hititoutofthepark finished in a dead-heat for third.

"My horse, I thought he was the best in the race, and I put him where I thought he could win," explained Tetrick.  "The Hambletonian has been the big picture, and that's what we've been waiting for.  Hopefully he has a great day, some of the other ones have bad ones, and we get a lot of luck going towards us."

Jimmy Takter trains Bar Hopping, a colt by Muscle Hill, for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Al Libfeld, and Marvin Katz.  This was Bar Hopping's third victory from 17 career starts, and he has now earned $541,728.  Racing as part of a 1-4 favored entry, Bar Hopping paid $2.60.

Sutton (Andy Miller) and Waitlifter K (Matt Kakaley), a pair of Hambletonian eligibles, won the two Zweig consolations on the undercard.  Thanks to a 27 1/5 final quarter, Sutton (Donato Hanover) rallied from third to first in the stretch to win the $75,000 consolation #1 for trainer Julie Miller in 1:52 4/5, while Waitlifter K moved to the lead before the 55 3/5 half, and then held off Lima Cadillac (Corey Callahan) late to take the $30,000 consolation #2 in 1:52 3/5.  Andrew Harris trains Waitlifter K, a son of Muscles Yankee.