Down Under dominance on Hambletonian Day

Down Under dominance on Hambletonian Day

August 9, 2022

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by Bob Heyden

Down Under drivers earned 19 checks on Hambletonian Day — six wins, three seconds and a third.

Todd McCarthy won the Hambletonian with Cool Papa Bell and the Lady Liberty with Kobes Gigi.

Dexter Dunn won the Steele Memorial with Bella Bellini, the Sam McKee Memorial with Catch The Fire and the John Cashman Memorial With Alrajah One.

Andy McCarthy won the Jim Doherty Memorial with Instagram Model

Todd McCarthy’s two stakes wins were each with horses that paid $100.


Had Joviality hung on to win the Hambletonian, this stat would have been fabulous instead of just interesting:

In 1968, Joviality’s driver Brian Sears was born.

The same year, Stanley Dancer won his first Hambletonian at age 41 with a generational horse named Nevele Pride. He would go on to be the Horse of the Year and later sired Hambletonian winner Bonefish.

In 2009, s Sears won his first Hambletonian, also at age 41, with a generational horse named Muscle Hill. He was the HOY and later sired three Hambletonian winners.

In 1972, Dancer was 45 when won his second Hambletonian with the favorite, Super Bowl.

In 2013, Sears was 45 when he won his second Hambletonian with the favorite Royalty For Life.

In 1975, Dancer was 48 when he won his third Hambletonian with Bonefish.

In 2015, Sears was 47 when he won his third Hambletonian with Pinkman.

In 1983, Dancer was 56 when he won his fourth and final Hambletonian as a driver with the filly Duenna.

In 2022, Sears is 54 when he attempted to win his fourth and most recent Hambletonian with a filly — Joviality.


For trainer Marcus Melander that is.

In 2019, with Greenshoe and Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi, he became the first trainer in Hambletonian history to get three checks in one Hambletonian without winning it. They finished second, third and fifth, respectively.

In 2022, with Joviality, Temporal Hanover and Periculum, Melander did it again. He was second, third and fifth, but this time not with the favorites. Melander’s Hambletonian horses were 5-2, 10-1 and 102-1.


Two straight Hambletonian Oaks winners now have been winless as 2-year-olds:

In 2021, Bella Bellini was 0-for-7.

In 2022, Fashion Schooner was 0-for-3.


Congrats again to Anne Forsberg-Mosner. She does quite a job. We saw her win the Oaks with Fashion Schooner for the Jim Campbell stable. She also did great work with 1997 Peter Haughton winner and Yankee Glide.


Hats off to Jim Campbell and Ernie Gaskin. They both were training in 1981 at the first Hambletonian Day in New Jersey. Gaskin, working then for the Haughton stable, had Charter Party, who was third and then third again in the Hambletonian and Cheek To Cheek, who was second and fifth in the Hambletonian Oaks. Jim Campbell, then just 19, had a pair in — Jefs Eclipse was ninth in the 6th race and then Campbell got money with Mostest Yankee in the 10th race, finishing third. Campbell has now become the only Hambletonian Day participant in his teens, 20s, 30s, 40s 50s and now he is 60. Gaskin was in New Jersey as a member of the Hambletonian Society.


Catch The Fire defended his McKee title and now will likely go to Hoosier Park for the Dan Patch?

He was a $15,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale grad. Multiply that by 100 and you get $1.5 million. Add $274 and that is Catch The Fire’s new total — $1,500,274 after his 1:46.4 lifetime best easy score in the McKee.


Hambletonian Day winners Bella Bellini, Misswalner Fashion, Fashion Schooner, Billy Clyde, Kobes Gigi and Beach Glass are all homebreds.

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