A race-by-race recap of Hambletonian Day

by Bob Heyden

A complete recap of anything worth noting from Saturday’s Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands.


Twenty-two years after harness racing’s first all sub-1:50 daily double in 2000, we had another and, once again, it was a male and a female.

In 2000, Life Source for Joe Holloway and Howard Parker went in 1:48.4, followed by pacing mare True Art getting it done for Anne Marie Parolari and Bruce Birch in 1:49.3.

On Saturday, Billy Clyde scorched the oval in 1:47.3 for Ray Schnittker and Mark MacDonald followed by 4-1 Majorca N and Corey Callahan for Dylan Davis in sub-1:50 once again.


Bella Bellini joined the sub-1:50 club with a career best 1:49.4 besting When Doves Cry and Atlanta in the Steele. There were total earnings of more than $6.5 million on the wire with those three. Sire Bar Hopping, the 2016 Hambletonian favorite (fourth) looks to double up later in the Oaks with Manon.


Sire Chapter Seven got a busy day going winning with Justice in the Muscle Hill. He dominated from post one for Ake Svanstedt, who did not defend his 2021 Hambletonian title as a driver. That is now 34 straight years of no back-to-backer winning driver in the Hambletonian.


Kilmister gave Chapter Seven an early double winning the Peter Haughton. Only a late break prevented the Marcus Melander team from going 1-2-3 here. Chapter Seven was fourth in the 2011 Hambletonian at 2-1 a non-threatening 4th. But, in 2012, he posted his career mark right here winning the Cashman in 1:50.1.


Misswalner Fashion, a Fashion Farms homebred, upset at 21-1 from post 10 for Tim Tetrick driving for Jim Campbell. Walner gets his first credit of the day. He was the busiest stallion on the card — trotter or pacer — with an amazing 16 in, this despite not having any older than 3. The last time that happened was 2014 with Muscle Hill.


With $92,300 on the line in the Shady Daisy, Andy and Julie Miller teamed with the talented Max Contract, who is now 6 for 7 lifetime with a break. The ladies were 1-2 as longshot Sweet Treasurer just missed for Nancy Takter. It has been now 30 years since Shady Daisy was second to eventual Horse of the Year Artsplace in 1:50 flat in the U S Pacing Championship.


The Cane Pace was the fifth straight week of racing for Beach Glass and he survived it just fine with four wins and a second (Adios). He will be the last son of Somebeachsomewhere to win the Cane, the 498th Triple Crown race in history. Geers winner Mad Max Hanover off his 1:47.4 romp was second best. Night Hawk isn’t winning but is more than paying his way. He was third.


For the second time in four seasons, a Nifty Norman trainee paid over $100 in this race, the Lady Liberty, and he defeated Test Of Faith on the wire in the process. Norman over Brett Pelling (The worked 17 years together (1988-2005). Kobes Gigi first time Todd McCarthy got it done in 1:48.3. She is owned and bred out of Indiana and made the bulk of her $217G in 2021 in the Indiana Sires Stakes. Amazing Dream N lit up the board for a ten cent super of well into four figures.


In the sixth Hambletonian Day without Sam McKee, Catch The Fire — who bred 85 mares in 2021 and 140 this year (full book) — has won the McKee both times and he now heads to a Bulldog Hanover matchup in the Dan Patch on Aug. 12 (where Catch The Fire is also the defending champ). $522,879 was bet on this race and 1:46.4 was a stakes and new track record for older stallions. Dexter Dunn drove for trainer Todd Luther.


In the Vincennes, Hillexotic took out of the pocket head-stretch and never looked back in this $60,000 test. Ron Burke trains the son of Muscle Hill — one of 15 on the card for him. It is the first time in nine years Muscle Hill did not have the highest trotting stallion representation (Walner with 16). Burke completed the exacta and was second with Storm Is Raging while favored Amigo Volo fell a buck short-third.


Fashion Schooner paid the same 6-1 her dam Broadway Schooner did winning this race in 2009 ($14.60). Fashion Schooner is a homebred for Hall Of Famer Jules Siegel, much like Bella Bellini. There were nine homebreds in the Hambletonian and Oaks combined. Tim Tetrick has now won the Oaks for the third time. None of the winners never favored (11-1 on Danae in 2007; 3-1 on Bar Slide in 2010). Second went to Pink Coco Chanel for Joe Bongiorno and Tony Alagna a nose over Dan Daley’s Yanaba.


Jim Campbell is the third trainer to win the Oaks and Hambletonian in the same year, following Jan Johnson in 1988 and Jimmy Takter in 2014 and 2015.

Especially poignant for Team Jim Campbell since Tagliabue passed away at age 30 this year on May 15, just 10 days after Hambletonian’s 173rd birthdate — May 5, 1949.

Cool Papa Bell paid $106.00 to win. The last 10 Hambletonian combined $105.80.

Remember Jim Campbell also owns the Breeders Crown record of $409.00 to win from 2020.

Todd McCarthy gives the McCarthy brothers a clean sweep of the 2022 world wide million-dollar events — Miracle Mile (Luke McCarthy), North America Cup and Hambletonian (Todd McCarthy) and 2020 Hambletonian (Andy McCarthy).

How proud is Linda Toscano? Her Chapter Seven dominated on the day and went 1-2 in the Hambletonian with Joviality S second. Then, Chapter Seven’s son Walner went 3-4 with Temporal Hanover and Jiggy Jog S.

Marcus Melander sent out three, got money with all three, but did not win. He has now done this twice. He did it in 2019, as well. No other trainer has gotten three checks in the Hambletonian without winning it — twice.

The three youngest drivers all got money.

Todd McCarthy, 29, was first.

Dexter Dunn, 32, was fourth with Jiggy Jog S.

Mattias Melander 26, was fifth with Periculum.

Yannick Gingras and David Miller still looking for that elusive first Hambletonian.

It’s been 27 years between Hambletonians for Jim Campbell. Sixteen years had previously been the most for trainers between 1930 with Hanovers Bertha and 1946 with Chestertown for trainer Tom Berry.

Jim Campbell trained Run The Table for the Farbers in 1987 1988. Run The Table was a $1.1 million winner for that team and was an effective Ontario stallion after his career ended.

This was the first Hambletonian final in 39 years where two fillies appeared and both got money. In 1983, Duenna and Winkys Gill were 1-2 (1-3 in summary).