LUCKY CHUCKY LEADS $1.5M HAMBLETONIAN
Lucky Chucky will start from post two as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $1.5 million Hambletonian, the most prestigious race of the year for 3-year-old trotters, at Meadowlands Racetrack.
John Campbell will drive Lucky Chucky for trainer Chuck Sylvester. While Lucky Chucky’s Hambo elimination win was his first in three starts this year, he was named the sport’s leading juvenile trotter last season after winning nine of 12. He will also be a sentimental favorite here, as Sylvester’s son, Troy, died on Hambletonian Day last year from injuries received in an ATV accident. Lucky Chucky won his elimination in 1:53.1 last week over Mystery Photo and Holiday Road.
Cassis, the fastest elimination winner in 1:52.4, will start from the rail for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker, who won the Hambo with Deweycheatumnhowe two years ago. Schnittker will try to become the first trainer to win the Hambletonian and Meadowlands Pace in the same year. He took the Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh three weeks ago.
Pilgrims Taj, the third elimination winner in 1:53.3, has post three for trainer Trond Smedshammer and driver Mike Lachance. Last year’s Breeders Crown champion, Pilgrims Taj has won two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes events this season.
Holiday Road, who beat Lucky Chucky in a Stanley Dancer Memorial division, has the challenge of starting from post 10. Trainer Greg Peck won last year’s Hambletonian with Muscle Hill.
The field from the rail out: Cassis, Lucky Chucky, Pilgrims Taj, Mystery Photo, Wishing Stone, Muscle Massive, On The Tab, Hard Livin, Temple Of Doom and Holiday Road.
The supporting feature is the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Poof She’s Gone, winner of 10 of 12 and over $1 million as a juvenile, is the 5-2 morning line choice after winning her elimination in 1:53.1, more than a second faster than the other two elimination winners, Springtime Volo and Boinga.
Also on tap for a tremendous day of racing are the Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies, the Peter Haughton for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the U.S. Pacing Championship for free-for-all pacers, the Nat Ray open trot, the Lady Liberty free-for-all mare pace, the Oliver Wendell Holmes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and the Perretti Matchmaker free-for-all mare trot.