by Garnet Barnsdale
If you’re wondering if social media was buzzing yesterday during the afternoon’s races at The Meadowlands, well of course it was! It was Hambletonian Day, after all.
The fun started early when Gabe Prewitt ‑ who seems to be part of every broadcast crew in America and was working at the New Jersey Mecca of harness racing yesterday ‑ got the Send It In Army stirring.
You could say Gabe liked a filly a bit in the final of the Jim Doherty Memorial and he tweeted this: I absolutely love Darlene Hanover in Race 6 at The Meadowlands this afternoon… as in, even if you don’t typically bet horses, open up a new account and fire away.
There was plenty of reason for Prewitt’s unabashed optimism as it turned out because Darlene Hanover trotted a huge mile mostly on the rim to win going away in an impressive effort. But Prewitt’s large social media following — which has been a boon to both Pompano Park and Scioto Downs — may have hurt him here as the 2-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven out of the Cantab Hall mare Danielle Hanover was pounded down to even money from a 7 to 2 morning line quote.
That prompted this tweet from Prewitt post-race: Time to fess up, who pounded this filly down to even money?? That was some serious action… but she was giant in another win.
The answer was simple to Century Downs announcer Murray Slough. Gabe you put out the word far and wide, your army pounds the filly down to even money. Easy to figure out! Parked all the way, too, Slough tweeted, and sometimes it’s just that simple.
Of course, there were deserved plaudits for Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill, who was exceptional in tying her sire Muscle Hill’s stakes record of 1:50.1.
Regular racing tweeter Chris Cuzzo’s simple tweet told the story in just a few words. The Filly, Ramona Hill crushes them in #Hambo20, and crush them she did, Cuzzo tweeted. Horseman Jay Hochstetler agreed. Ramona is just insanely fast. Great choices by McCarthy there too, he tweeted.
Robert Reid Jr., who writes the handicapping Journal for the Woodbine Mohawk Park official program marvelled at driver Dexter Dunn’s steer with Bettor’s Wish as he blazed around the track on the engine, taking no prisoners in the Sam McKee Memorial. Reid tweeted: Dexter Dunn is incredible. He literally just pitched a perfect game on Bettor’s Wish. #Hambo20 #HarnessRacing
When Sorella led from the 1/4 pole to the finish and bottomed out the field in the Hambletonian Oaks, harness writer Darin Zoccali noted driver Yannick Gingras’ recent dominance in this race. Seriously, it’s death, taxes and @Gingras3 winning the Hambletonian Oaks, Gingras has won the Oaks 6 of the last 7 years.
Zoccali also noted the turning point in the Cashman that may have been the difference between winning and losing for harness racing’s #1 ranked horse, Gimpanzee. Brian Sears should send a thank you to Dexter Dunn, who inexplicably didn’t move into a third over position with Soul Strong, but instead elected to stay on the pylons. This allowed Gimpanzee to take the spot third over and that was the difference in the race.
On a day where closers weren’t closing much, it was another stellar performance by Gimpanzee to reach up late from third-over. Could he have got there if he had to navigate a fourth-over trip? We’ll never know.
My favorite tweet of the day came from owner and better Pedro Baez who liked 85 to 1 shot Zenith Stride enough to bet $100 win on him. Big race Brian Sears taking it home with a $177 winner today on #Hambo20 day. Really love betting @TheMeadowlands and the Standardbreds. It brought me back up for the year,” tweeted a happy Baez.
As usual, Hambletonian Day didn’t disappoint and we’ll give the final tweet to Zoccali who summed it up perfectly. Congratulations to @TheMeadowlands and @Hambletonian_ Society for putting on a great show under extremely difficult circumstances. To be able to hold this event with a couple thousand people present is tremendous. A national leader in moving forward through #COVID19, #Hambo20