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August 1, 2006

Doug Acerman

Blair Burgess

Tom Charters

Sam McKee

Ron Pierce

Brian Sears

Trond Smedshammer

Jimmy Takter

DAVE JOHNSON: (Inaudible introductory presentation.)
Thanks very much for coming. Now that we've taken care of those things, let's go to the first order of business. It is the Hambletonian Oaks draw. It's my pleasure to introduce my friend Sam McKee.
SAM McKEE: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you all for coming today. Best of luck to all our competitors in the Hambletonian Oaks and the Hambletonian as well. We're about ready to draw the Oaks, $750,000 purse. We'll bring up our director of racing Tad Stockman and Cammie Haughton. We have a special guest Susan Shields of Fort Dodge Animal Health. Susan is the eastern regional manager of equine sales. Fort Dodge, a long-time sponsor of the Hambletonian festival.
Susan, I have a quick question for you. Exciting time of year at Fort Dodge Animal Health especially with the West Nile innovator vaccine, a forerunner in West Nile prevention.
SUSAN SHIELDS: Absolutely. We're very pleased and proud to be here and be associated with the Hambletonian. Fort Dodge Animal Health is a company ground in the United States, as the American standard bred. We're pleased to be part of that. The West Nile innovator vaccine, we have partnered with the American Association of Equine Practitioners to provide a wellness program to enhance the health of all horses.
SAM McKEE: We appreciate it greatly.
Here we go with the Hambletonian Oaks draw. Any races at the Meadowlands, over a half million dollars in purse, no entries, so everybody races as a separate betting interest. That is the case for the 36th edition of the Hambletonian Oaks.
We begin with Workout Doll, trained by Chuck Sylvester. Post 10 for Workout Doll. Chuck Sylvester has won four Hambletonians, looking for his second Oaks victory.
Next we have Velma K, Dave Miller driving for driver Paul Buer, along with Trond Smedshammer. Post 8 for Velma K.
Simple Task from the Jimmy Takter barn, Post 1. Driver name for Simple Task? TBA on the Takter-trained Simple Task starting from the rail. Probably plenty of volunteers.
Quick Credit, Paul Kelley, Tony Morgan. Post 4. Tony Morgan on Quick Credit.
Passionate Glide will be the overwhelming favorite, undefeated this year. Breeders Crown champ last year. Ron Pierce driving for Jimmy Takter, No. 6 for Passionate Glide.
Emantee, Trond Smedshammer. Post Position 3 for Emantee.
Celebrity Sweedie, Cat Manzi named to drive for Staffan Lind. No. 9, Celebrity Sweedie, Post Position 9.
Miss Wisconsin, Ron Gurfein, Mike Lachance named to drive. Post 7 for Miss Wisconsin.
Two to go here.
Mai Tai, Brett Bittle the trainer named to drive. George Brennan on Mai Tai. Post 5. Of course, Bittle won this race in 2002.
Last but certainly not least, KD Girl. Mark Gingrich named to drive. Jeff Gregory, make that the driver on KD Girl. Post Position 2.
Right now Holly is standing by with the trainer of who will be the overwhelming Hambletonian Oaks favorite, Passionate Glide. Here is Jimmy Takter.
BOB HEYDEN: Jimmy, first tell us how you're feeling. You took off last week for your back. How are you feeling right now?
JIMMY TAKTER: It's hurt quite a bit. I warmed up Global Glide Saturday, I worked out, really strained my back. I don't know really what's happened.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us about Passionate Glide? What has to be done in the next seven days to get her close to a hundred percent?
JIMMY TAKTER: I don't know. She's been fighting a hamstring muscle. Unfortunately, has been gone the right direction. She's actually gotten worse and worse into this race. We changed tactic a little bit, be a little easier on her this week, a lot of massage and a lot of things. You know, she's just such a tough horse. She try anything.
BOB HEYDEN: Simple Task, she's been right there, too.
JIMMY TAKTER: She's a lovely girl. She try every time. Fortunately she draw a very good post there. She's not really out of it. She can be very quick, I think.
BOB HEYDEN: Jimmy Takter set with two, Oaks and Hambletonian final.
SAM McKEE: We have the Morning Line for you. Top to bottom, No. 1 Simple Task will start at 5-1. Two, KD Girl, 30-1. Emantee is at 6-1 in the Morning Line. Quick Credit starts the betting in the Morning Line at 8-1. Mai Tai is at 30. The favorite, from Post 6, Passionate Glide, starts at 4-5. Miss Wisconsin at 12-1. Velma K 20. Celebrity Sweedie at 12-1. Workout Doll is at 20-1 on the Morning Line from Post 10.
One of the reasons that the Hambletonian has been so successful is because of the passion of the people involved in the sport, not just here at the Meadowlands, but the hands of the industry. The Hambletonian is in great hands. It's my pleasure now to bring up to the platform the president and the CEO of the Hambletonian Society, Tom Charters.
TOM CHARTERS: Thank you all for coming. On behalf of the Hambletonian Society, its staff, directors, we are pleased to welcome you. Very pleased to be part of this 81st Hambletonian. I believe it's like the 26th here at the Meadowlands. We look forward to many more.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to just thank a couple of our sponsors. In addition to what you've seen on the opening credits there, Hannover Shoe Farms, they've been a great supporter of both the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown as have Garden State Horse Sale. We'd also like to put a plug in for the Kings Supermarket, which we think is really an incredible promotion, gives us a chance to reach out and help the community. Hope all of you, even if you're wearing your Hambletonian pins, might bring some donation of non-perishable food to put in their baskets.
As always, I wish good luck to all the owners and trainers. I think it's a very special thing that we hope everybody points to each year. This year, should you get to the winner's circle, we have a very special guest, George Foreman, former heavyweight champion, is going to present the trophy for us.
That's all I have. Again, good luck to everybody. Our thanks to the Meadowlands, its staff, management, George Zoffinger, who do such a terrific job, great partners with us. Thank you.
DAVE JOHNSON: Thank you, Tom.
We want to make mention that the media relations department will certainly be on-call all this week. Updates on our website, thebigM.com. Racing from the Meadowlands should be a nightly part of your schedule. The recap is Wednesday through Saturday night at midnight on FOX Sports New York. Racing from the Meadowlands, midnight, FOX Sports New York, all this week.
You know, you can't turn on the television without getting some entertainment news, some of it good, some of it bad. This summer, the movies are big business and big bucks. We thought we'd give a little bit of a Hollywood tinseltown spin to the coming attractions which will be Saturday afternoon, the feature presentation here at the Meadowlands. We all know what it is. Maybe the best way to look forward in this heat is to look back at some other heats. Take a look at the TV monitors.

(Video Shown.)
DAVE JOHNSON: How about a hand for the television department who put together that terrific Pirates of the Hambletonian. Nobody steals the race or that trophy, you have to work for it on the track. That's why it's so important.
Of course, the track is the host, not only of the Hambletonian but also us today here. It's my pleasure to now bring up the CEO of the New Jersey sports and exhibition authority, George Zoffinger.
GEORGE ZOFFINGER: Thanks very much, Dave. Pirates? What is that all about?
Welcome. Obviously we're very, very proud to host this event every year. This the 26th year the Hambletonian will be here at the Meadowlands. We look forward to a bright future and certainly wish everybody in the race the best of luck on Saturday.
Let me take a serious issue just for one second. One of the things we need to do in this industry is to make sure that our future remains bright. One of the ways that we can do that is ask the people in this room who have influence to do what they can to impress upon people that we need slots at the Meadowlands to keep this industry healthy.
I look around the last couple years that I've been here and I see all the dedication of our staff. I know Dennis, Chris, all the other people that are here, work so hard to do what they have to do. But we need to really do things that are going to rejuvenate this industry. I think slots, whatever you want to call them, VLTs, would do a tremendous things for that.
Thanks very much. I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday. Best of luck in the draw. As everybody knows, I usually bet the 4 horse, so I'm anxious to see what happens.
DAVE JOHNSON: Thanks, George.
Well, okay, it's time to turn the proceedings on to the big race and the post position draw. Here is Ken Warkentin to handle that.
KEN WARKENTIN: Good afternoon, everybody. Again, welcome. Our 26th Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. 81st overall. We'd like to invite our director of racing, Mr. Tad Stockman, up to handle this draw, along with Mr. Lawrence Flack, the senior vice president of business development for Valley National Bank. Also Cammie Haughton, our presiding judge for the Hambletonian draw.
Lawrence, a couple words with you. Valley National Bank, the largest -- currently one of the largest commercial banks headquartered in New Jersey. You've had a great run as a sponsor. We thank you for that. Do you have any special Hambletonian memories or moments that come to mind right off the bat?
LAWRENCE FLACK: Geez, it's five years we're here. We're happy to be here. I've been personally following harness racing since I've been small, growing up in Monticello. I'm happy to be here and part of this group.
KEN WARKENTIN: Thanks a lot. Good luck. I know you're experienced at the draw there with Mr. Stockman and Mr. Haughton. Best of luck to our participants. Best of luck with the draw.
Right now we'll get Lawrence to pull out a name of a horse, a participant in our Hambletonian on Saturday.
Berto Primo with Cat Manzi, Post Position 7, driving for Kevin Thomas, making his second start in the Hambletonian.
Race Fan for Stephen Smith and Karen Garland, No. 9. 9 for Race Fan.
Blue Mac Lad, George Brennan, No. 2, Post Position 2 for Blue Mac Lad. Third place finisher in his elimination.
Brian Sears and Mr Pine Chip, the elimination winner, Post Position 6. A bit of a challenge for Mr Pine Chip. Post 6, leading driver Brian Sears, leading trainer Trond Smedshammer. One of three in the final.
Trond Smedshammer will drive Here Comes Herbie, the fastest in elimination, Post Position 4. A good inside post for Here Comes Herbie, Trond Smedshammer.
Global Glide, one of two in for -- with Ron Pierce driving, No. 5, Post 5. Ron Pierce, one of two for Jimmy Takter. Post 5, Global Glide.
Algiers Hall, John Stark, Jr., trainer and driver, Post 1, the rail for Algiers Hall. Fifth place finisher in his elimination.
Cape Town Hall is the other Jimmy Takter trainee. Dave Miller will drive. Post 3. A nice inside, cozy post for Cape Town Hall. Dave Miller will drive.
Glidemaster, John Campbell, Post 8. Blair Burgess, John Campbell. Looking for his sixth Hambletonian. Second place finisher in his elimination.
Chocolatier, No. 10, Post 10. Runner-up in his elimination.
Following the question and answer session, Dave Johnson will have the Morning Line. Right now we'll go to Bob Heyden and the first of our interviews.
BOB HEYDEN: Doug Ackerman. Your reaction to Post 10?
DOUG ACKERMAN: We could have done better.
BOB HEYDEN: I'm going to give you some numbers now. 1974 you debuted in the Hambletonian, didn't win. '94 your son debuted, didn't win, but Lachance won the first of four that year. Is the year you and your son make some noise of your own?
DOUG ACKERMAN: Well, I hope so.
BOB HEYDEN: The way he stormed home in his elimination, do you think racing from off the pace might be the best case even before the draw?
DOUG ACKERMAN: No, I really don't. But we'll have to do that way anyway.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us how Chocolatier is coming into the race. Had a couple problems earlier in the season.
DOUG ACKERMAN: No, he's fine.
BOB HEYDEN: Fine right now?
BOB HEYDEN: Length, length and a half, fastest time of his career. Safe to say he's peaking at the right time?
DOUG ACKERMAN: I think so.
BOB HEYDEN: You've seen more Hambletonians than most anybody in the room. Of all the horses, Noble Gesture, Self Confident, Crowning Point, Wall Street Banker, who was the best chance you had?
DOUG ACKERMAN: Crowning Point.
BOB HEYDEN: Would Chocolatier now be your best chance?
DOUG ACKERMAN: Way the best, yes.
BOB HEYDEN: You and your son team up here. You won your first Breeders Crown in November. What would this mean to win your first Hambletonian with Chocolatier?
DOUG ACKERMAN: Quit a bit. $750,000 to start with (laughter).
BOB HEYDEN: Doug Ackerman Post 10, they've been there before.
SAM McKEE: We're standing by with the man of the hour, Trond Smedshammer. Trond, speaking of money, Doug can only get 50% of the purse. You could end up about 85 or 90% of the purse with your top three. You were one, two, three finishing in the Dancer. When you have multiple horses in a big race, they never hurt each other, quite often help each other. Can you devise some strategy from the post draw that might work for all three?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: No, I don't know about the strategy. Like you said, they're not going to hurt each other. Different ownerships, all three horses are capable of getting it done. They got to race individually.
SAM McKEE: Mr Pine Chip, arguably the best of your three on paper, undefeated this year, Hambletonian elimination winner. Looks like he doesn't even work at it. Are you happy with his elimination? All set for the final or changes in store?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: Still trying to get him a little bit better always. He doesn't work hard at what he's doing. Got to make a few changes to see if we can get him a little more comfortable.
SAM McKEE: Here Comes Herbie showed brilliant speed at two. Showed brilliant speed in his elim. You are driving him yourself. What's the reason for that?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: He's a little tricky. He raced at trotting harness last year. Certainly a reason for it. The day he set the world record at Pocono, he broke four times warming up. He's just a horse that you need to know him. You know, he's got a few tricks to him.
SAM McKEE: Blue Mac Lad, blazed away on the front end of the Dancer. Perhaps the dark horse of your trio.
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: I wouldn't say 'dark'. He surprised some people in the Dancer. We raced him for off the pace on purpose last week. He should be ready for a big effort again.
SAM McKEE: Let's see. Saturday you won a Breeders Crown, two Hambletonian elims, an Oaks elim. Do you have to pinch yourself and say, Is this happening for me?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: You just got to enjoy it while it last because it doesn't always last.
SAM McKEE: Best of luck to you in the Hambletonian with three entries this Saturday.
KEN WARKENTIN: Bob Heyden, you have a fellow who pulled off the biggest upset in Hambletonian history.
BOB HEYDEN: Looking for some deja' vu. 2003, Blair Burgess only Hambletonian starter, he had a longshot, and Trond had an entry odds-on. You won it with Amigo Hall. What are the chances of that repeating itself?
BLAIR BURGESS: Hope it will happen again. We'll have to see.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us about the elimination.
BLAIR BURGESS: He raced really well. Grinded it out first over. Got headed at the end. I was happy with the effort.
BOB HEYDEN: You have a long history of success with John Campbell. Tell us about that partnership.
BLAIR BURGESS: That started with Amity Chef way back, 1986. He's driven some very good horses for me. I told him the other day, I only call you when I've got a really good horse.
BOB HEYDEN: You seem to have an incredible record, five-for-five on the Meadowlands Pace, six-for-six in our marquee events. Is that good fortune, the way it worked out? Do you send horses ready and know which ones to send?
BLAIR BURGESS: I think a lot of it's good luck. When we come down, bring a horse here, I guess we try to bring very good ones. Don't want to bring one that doesn't belong. I think a lot of it's just luck.
BOB HEYDEN: Your father was excited after the elimination two years ago of Amigo Hall, thought he could win the final. Same type of anticipation going into this year?
BLAIR BURGESS: He's always the optimist. I wasn't as optimistic as he was. Yeah, I think this horse has a good chance. He's a very good horse. Probably greater expectations for this horse than Amigo Hall.
BOB HEYDEN: Post 8 mean anything? Is he the type of horse that can fly out of the gate?
BLAIR BURGESS: Haven't been leading with him. Careful racing him off the pace. He has gate speed. I hope he remembers how to use it. He may have to on Saturday. That's up to John.
BOB HEYDEN: Fewest starts in the field with 11. Is that by design, too?
BLAIR BURGESS: Well, no, not really. I think he's got more number of starts this year to the other three-year-olds in the race. Last year we cut it short because he had a fiasco at Lexington.
BOB HEYDEN: Good luck at your second Hambletonian try.
KEN WARKENTIN: He is the sports driving supernova, rolled a seven on Breeders Crown night. Appeared he had a lot left in the tank with Mr Pine Chip, Sam McKee.
SAM McKEE: People are still buzzing about the gray day Brian Sears had on Saturday with two Breeders Crows, seven wins on the card, Mr Pine Chip winning a Hambletonian elimination. Brian, he's the favorite in the Hambletonian. What are your impressions?
BRIAN SEARS: Seems like a nice little horse, does everything you ask. I haven't really got him tired at all both starts I raced him.
SAM McKEE: We talked to Trond about strategy earlier. Trond with three trainees there. In the race, will you be watching to see where they are and where that could possibly work to your advantage?
BRIAN SEARS: You know, you keep an eye on everybody and see where the speed is, just try and get him in the best position.
SAM McKEE: Before the elimination, you looked at the draw and said, I might get a second over trip here behind Glidemaster, Chocolatier outside. They have to get involved somehow. What do you think is going to happen?
BRIAN SEARS: I think they are going to try to get involved. I think I got to try and get involved also. Just see how it goes.
SAM McKEE: You've won numerous big races. The last three years, mediocre rise to the top of the sport. What would winning the Hambletonian mean to Brian Sears?
BRIAN SEARS: You know, it would definitely cap off a couple good years, that's for sure. But, you know, good race. I'd love to win it.
SAM McKEE: One last question. Hambletonian golf tournament, there was a bid to have you complete the foursome. I think it was $1500 to benefit the Standard Bred Retirement Foundation. Did you give them their money's worth?
BRIAN SEARS: I don't know if we gave them their money's worth, but we had a good time.
SAM McKEE: Hope you have a good time Saturday. Good luck.
KEN WARKENTIN: I look at this horse's form. This horse is just getting better all the time, Bob. He raced extremely well, third place finish in his elimination. Trainer is back.
BOB HEYDEN: That's Kevin Thomas, Berto Primo. You're back with a $14,000 yearling. How are you doing that?
KEVIN THOMAS: I don't know. Just lucky I guess, morning anything.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us about coming into the race. Looks like he is peaking at the right time.
KEVIN THOMAS: About three or four weeks ago, he was a maiden. Pretty good maiden. The night he run in the Dancer elimination, I thought that was my shot at being in the Hambo. I thought it went out the window. We found out he'd been tying up on is a little bit, had a little trouble. Got that straightened out. He's been good since.
BOB HEYDEN: You have a winless two-year-old who is a $14,000 yearling. How difficult was it to keep up those Hambletonian payments?
KEVIN THOMAS: Easiest thing I ever did in my life. I'd much rather have to make them than not. When you don't have to make them, you don't have anything. It was a very easy position.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us about Post Position 7, possible strategy here.
KEVIN THOMAS: Typically he likes to step out there a little bit. The post position, seems like every start he's at 8, 9 or 10, so it's nothing new for him. It's almost better to kind of be out there where the flow is going to be, I hope. We'll see.
BOB HEYDEN: And the driver, Cat Manzi?
KEVIN THOMAS: I'm going to hope that Ron will talk to Cat with us. Berto Primo is not a picnic to drive. I hope he can kind of let him know how he has been. I think I can give him a little insight, but not as much as Ron.
BOB HEYDEN: Your feeling going into your second Hambletonian in three years is?
KEVIN THOMAS: If I keep doing a little better each year, get here every year, maybe I'll win one.
BOB HEYDEN: Post 7 with Berto Primo.
KEN WARKENTIN: He's a trotting master, great resume as far as trotters go, championship races go. Earlier this year he told me he wanted to change his strategy around this year and start them as late as possible. The draw was good for him, Sam.
SAM McKEE: Certainly is. Jimmy Takter, Hambletonian fixture. As you said, Ken, a trotting master. Not quite the power you you're used to starting in the Hambletonian this year. A couple of good colts in Cape Town Hall and Global Glide. How do they stack up against the competition?
JIMMY TAKTER: They're two different kind of horses. Global Glide is a more quick horse. Cape Town is more a stronger horse. They've been racing okay this year. I was hoping they was a little better in the elimination. They fought their heart out, tried hard.
SAM McKEE: Global Glide ended up in kind of a paceless race early on, had to move to the lead. You got beat by three pretty good horses. Certainly you can build on that there.
JIMMY TAKTER: You know, if he would have been a quality horse to win the race, I should have won that race because that race was the race he should have won because he got -- from the half home, he got a slow third quarter. Should be able to win that race.
But, you know, these are how the horses are. A couple, three, four horses are probably good in the race. We depend on a little crazy racing in this race.
SAM McKEE: Cape Town Hall off Lasix for the Hambletonian as per the rules. Is that an issue at all?
JIMMY TAKTER: Not really. He was clean. He handled the race well. He's been fighting some other issues. Looks like it's under control. I think he should step up a little bit this race.
SAM McKEE: Your quick thoughts on the favorite, Trond's trio, Doug Ackerman's horse and, of course, Glidemaster?
JIMMY TAKTER: It's those five horses, you know, apparently are the horses to beat. I mean, Trond drove a good post position with his horses, huge advantage. Chocolatier had a 10 hole. It's a tough break for Ackerman to come out of there.
SAM McKEE: Enjoy the day on Saturday. Best of luck.
JIMMY TAKTER: Thank you very much.
KEN WARKENTIN: He has shrugged off turning 50 this year with another bang-up season, over $6 million. There's less pressure on him this year.
BOB HEYDEN: Ron Pierce, with Global Glide, can you pull another rabbit out of your the hat here?
RON PIERCE: (Indiscernible.)
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us about Global Glide. You had your choice Berto Primo.
RON PIERCE: Kevin has Berto Primo peaking just right at the right time. I believe he's up for a big mile. I felt that I better go with Global Glide.
BOB HEYDEN: Last two years you had Tom Ridge, Classic Photo. Under the radar now. Is he being overlooked with all the marquee horses we have?
RON PIERCE: I think he might be overlooked a little bit. He's a nice trotter. But you never can tell. It's a horse race. If things go his way, he might be able to get the job done.
BOB HEYDEN: On the filly side, does Passionate Glide have to be a hundred percent to beat these fillies?
RON PIERCE: No, she doesn't. She only has to be 50%. The way I feel about her, she's a very special filly. Hopefully Jimmy can get the kink out of here, I can keep her flat. We'll get her ahead of the stretch and she'll get by them.
BOB HEYDEN: Ron Pierce turned 50 a month and a half ago. Are you driving better now than ever before.
RON PIERCE: I'd like to think so. I'm driving better horses now than I ever have before. I'd like to think I'm driving better now.
BOB HEYDEN: American Winner 1993. What was the feeling like when you hit the wire first there?
RON PIERCE: Took me a while to come down out of the clouds. Two weeks I guess I stayed up there. I just kind of floated around. It was a great feeling winning the Hambletonian. It's going to happen again, it's just a matter of time. The bad part is, once you win the Hambletonian once, you want to win it again. You want to win it again worse. If you don't, you go home disappointed.
That's what's been happening here the last couple years. I had the favorite. They both had excuses. Classic Photo, he just couldn't go fast enough. Tom Ridge, I thought he should have jogged. He lost his air behind the gate, couldn't breathe. That was a longshot. Maybe we'll get lucky.
BOB HEYDEN: Ron Pierce, good luck in the Hambletonian and the Oaks.
KEN WARKENTIN: I love Ron Pierce, Mr. Intensity. Fantastic interview.
He won an elimination back in 1998 with Silver Pine. He's had a couple of starts to get familiar with his mount. He drove him to perfection, a nice easy prep there in the elimination.
SAM McKEE: That's right. George Brennan, the driver of Blue Mac Lad. You have to be better than 50% to win the Hambletonian on Saturday. Your colt shows a lot of versatility. He left like a scalded rabbit in the Dancer, set a fast pace.
GEORGE BRENNAN: That's what I really like about him. In the Dancer, probably got away from me a little bit too much. He held on good. Trotted a mile in 52, which is magnificent. Then the other day, backed him off. Trotted home real good. I'm in a starting spot where I can do whatever I want.
SAM McKEE: You haven't driven all that many horses for Trond Smedshammer. How did you get the drive on Blue Mac Lad?
GEORGE BRENNAN: Maybe I was like the last one picked. We get along pretty good. Brian was taken. Trond himself was taken. He asked me to drive him. I quickly obliged.
SAM McKEE: Looking at the post draw, Post 2 for Blue Mac Lad, you have your stablemates in Post 4 and 6. Comfortable feeling when you line up behind the gate.
GEORGE BRENNAN: Yeah, you know, I got a really good post, a really good horse, great trainer. As far as the stablemates go, I have my Blue Mac Lad pin on. That's who I'm pulling for. Good luck to those guys, but I'm pulling for this pin right here.
SAM McKEE: Good luck in the Hambletonian.
GEORGE BRENNAN: Thanks a lot.
KEN WARKENTIN: He needs no introduction, but we certainly deserve to give him one anyway. Mr. Hambletonian. You're with him right now.
BOB HEYDEN: Five Hambos. John Campbell from '87 to '98. Tell us about Glidemaster in the elimination.
JOHN CAMPBELL: He raced well. He hit a tough week. I think everybody knows he had some problems with the foot during the week, wasn't that confident with him going in. Having said that, I was very pleased with his elimination, that he came through, was able to stay trotting and still trotted a very credible race.
I look for him to be stronger this week.
BOB HEYDEN: You went first up there, pretty solid. This horse hasn't had a clear path. He seems to be peaking at the right time.
JOHN CAMPBELL: He's always had a tremendous amount of ability. It's a question of harnessing some of that power, getting his energy in the right direction, which Blair has done a tremendous job with this year. He's very, very relaxed, manageable, maneuverable. I wish we had a better post, but we don't. Having said that, he's a much more maneuverable horse even than when I raced him in Toronto.
BOB HEYDEN: Who is the horse you're looking at, the one or two to beat?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Certainly the elimination winners were very strong. Chocolatier, even though he drew 10, is a very good horse. He's also in fine form. Blue Mac Lad. I think those five, you can make a case for any one of them winning. That doesn't mean they will because there's upsets all the time in a race like this. But those are the five that I think everybody will be watching and we would be surprised if one of them didn't win.
BOB HEYDEN: Yourself, Brittany, Blair Burgess go back with a successful partnership.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Blair and I have had a lot of success over the years. Certainly with George Segal, as well. I hope that trend continues.
BOB HEYDEN: On the Oaks side, Quick Credit was off the gate. You got her back trotting pretty quick. Good effort there.
JOHN CAMPBELL: I got her back pacing. Any time that happens, it's more good luck than good management. I'm not taking a lot of credit for it. I'm surprised she (indiscernible). She raced okay after that. I thought she might be a little stronger than what she was finishing. She's got back class. I think she's the type of filly that could jump up and win that race at any time.
BOB HEYDEN: Good luck. Looking for your sixth Hambletonian.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Thanks a lot, Bob.
DAVE JOHNSON: Thanks very much, Ken, Sam, Bob. Great questions and answers. Thanks very much to the trainers and owners that helped us.
Here is the Morning Line from Dave Brower for the Hambletonian. Algiers Hall from the rail starts at 20-1. Blue Mac Lad at 8. Cape Town Hall, 15-1. Here Comes Herbie is 9-2, the second choice in the Hambletonian from Post 4. Global Glide, 30-1. The favorite, Mr Pine Chip, will start from Post 6, and is 7-5. Berto Primo is 15. Glidemaster, 5-1 as the third choice -- fourth choice. Race Fan 20-1. Chocolatier starts at 4-1 on the outside.
A few of the highlights this week during the Hambletonian festival, the Hambletonian wine celebration in Pegasus tomorrow, that's Wednesday evening. That's sampling fine wine from Stags' Leap Winery of Napa Valley. A five-course dinner. Be sure to tune in Thursday for the Outdoor Living Network, OLN, one hour Hambletonian preview which features Ken Warkentin and Dave Brower, 6 to 7 on Thursday. You can recap all the action from the big night of Saturday, the Breeders Crown, set the stage for Hambletonian day on Saturday.
Kings Supermarkets, as George said, thanks very much for being part of Hambletonian festival. The Hambletonian food drive runs all week long to benefit the community Food Bank of New Jersey. Admission to the Meadowlands is free each racing night with a donation of a canned good or non-perishable item.
Gates open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Hambletonian day. First race on Hambletonian day is 11:30. Live music at noon with the Party Dolls performing. Guests also have the opportunity to win $500 in betting vouchers on the Hambletonian. There's a Hambletonian hat give away with paid admissions and a backpack give away for the kids. SportsNetAmerica.com live all day on the Internet, Hambletonian day. The CBS broadcast from 2 to 3 eastern time, the Hambletonian live on CBS.
All part of New Jersey's greatest weekend. Advanced wagering on the Hambletonian starts Friday. Thanks to Dave for making the Morning Line, all the guys to the crew who participated in this press conference. Enjoy the Hambletonian, the No. 1 harness race at the world's greatest harness racetrack on Saturday. Good luck, everybody.

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