Side Bet Hanover and Celebrity Eventsy both posted upsets in the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
by Dave Little, Meadowlands media relations
Side Bet Hanover and Celebrity Eventsy registered upset victories in their respective Hambletonian Oaks eliminations Saturday night (July 30) at the Meadowlands, and as a result, may select posts one through five for next week’s $500,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies.
Side Bet Hanover lit up the board as a 38-1 chance in the first elim. After leaving quickly from post one, the Jonas Czernyson trainee settled into a three-hole trip down the backstretch.
All eyes were on 2-5 favorite Caprice Hill, who trotted past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:25 and was clear of the field by three lengths at the eighth pole.
Driver Corey Callahan then moved Side Bet Hanover ($78.20 to win) off the rail, found a seam late, and sprinted the final 50 yards to catch the odds-on choice and win by a head in a lifetime-best 1:53.2. Earning the final three berths in next week’s final were Dream Child, Black Broadway and Windowshopper.
“I guess they have no respect for me,” said Czernyson of the odds. “It looks like we have her peaking at the right time.”
Also peaking at the right time is the Staffan Lind-trained Celebrity Eventsy ($12.60), who scored for driver John Campbell after taking the early lead before working out a pocket trip behind 8-5 second choice Broadway Donna. In deep stretch, she charged up the rail to register a neck win in a lifetime-best 1:53.1 over the sloppy going.
All The Time, the 3-2 favorite, got within a length of the leader racing first-over at the head of the stretch, but went evenly from there. Broadway Donna finished a neck in back of the winner, but was off stride at the wire, was disqualified and placed third, behind All The Time. Double Exposure and Wildflower earned the final two tickets to the final.
“We’ve been aiming for this all along,” said Lind.
FRANK READY FOR HAMBO: Southwind Frank overcame a track bias that played to closers all night long and took the Reynolds Memorial in a lifetime-best equaling 1:52.1 after brushing with authority to the lead at the half for his 16th win in 18 lifetime starts, setting him up perfectly for next week’s $1 million Hambletonian.
SEVEN FOR GINGRAS: Driver Yannick Gingras had the hot hand at the Meadowlands Friday night (July 29), winning seven times on the 13-race program, including the $25,000 featured open handicap with the top trotter in training, Hannelore Hanover.
Taking full advantage of being first call for two of the top stables in the game, Gingras won four races for Jimmy Takter and three for Ron Burke.
Gingras kept the Burke-trained Hannelore Hanover ($3.20 to win) last in the field of six until picking up live cover at the five-eighths. JL Cruze, who had led from the start, was still going well in the stretch but was bearing out some as Hannelore Hanover charged up on the outside to score by a half-length in 1:51.1, equaling the Big M’s track record for four-year-old trotting mares.
IT’S TAKTER’S WORLD: Trainer Jimmy Takter once again dominated the two-year-old trotting stakes events at the Meadowlands, winning both of the Peter Haughton Memorial Eliminations for colts and geldings and one of two Jim Doherty Eliminations for fillies.
Takter actually found a way to win three times in the Haughton, scoring twice in the opening elimination as his King On The Hill (Tim Tetrick, $5.20) got up on the wire to dead heat with stablemate Rubio (Gingras, $2.10) in 1:54.2 before Victor Gio It (Gingras, $6.20) took the other elim in 1:54.4.
Ariana G (Gingras, $2.10 to win) remained unbeaten in three starts for Takter with an easy win in the first of two Doherty dashes in 1:54.1. Trainer Trond Smedshammer’s Chezatter (David Miller, $9.00) prevented a Takter sweep by taking the other Doherty elim in 1:54.3.
AND THE REST: Gingras’ other winners came with Sassa Hanover (Burke, $4.00), Classical Annie (Burke, $3.60) and Reigning Moni (Takter, $2.80).
HAMBO TV: The 91st Hambletonian will be televised live Saturday (Aug. 6) on the CBS Sports Network. The 90-minute program, hosted by Gary Seibel, co-hosted by Dave Brower with interviews by Justin Horowitz, begins at 4 p.m. with the Hambletonian post time scheduled for 5:15 p.m