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THE HAMBLETONIAN MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 4, 2010
DAVE JOHNSON: History will be made this Saturday, August 7. This is the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Some great horses have raced here. Not all of them have won, but the ones whose named did make it on to this trophy will be remembered forever. There have been long shots and favorites who have taken this most prestigious event in trotting. Whose name will go up this year? We will find out this Saturday afternoon.
Welcome to the Pegasus level of the Meadowlands. Hi everybody, I'm Dave Johnson, and this is a very historic afternoon for us. You know, looking up the name, Hambletonian, I found out that that really wasn't his full name on the registration certificate. He was actually named Hambletonian 10, the number 10. So using that number and a bit of history, we'll start the program.
There are going to be 10 horses in our Hambletonian field this afternoon. We're going to have the post positions finalized shortly. The only trotter to win a million dollars race from post 10, it wasn't the Hambletonian, it was in the Canadian Trotting Classic, was Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, the winner of the Hambletonian two years ago. Ten years make a decade. And in the last decade, ten different drivers have won the ten Hambletonians.
The last Triple Crown winner, Hambletonian winner glide master was a 10 thousands yearling, which proves that you simply can't buy this event. And this event is part of a huge festival here at the Meadowlands. The 1.5 million dollars Hambletonian Saturday afternoon, having its 85th edition. It's the tenth race on the card. Most time is 3:43. It will be broadcast live on NBC Sports from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. with Tom Hammond and Gary Seibel as your hosts.
Of course, what's great is that they love the game.
We'll also broadcast it live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio at the races from 3:00 to 4:30 on Sirius 126 and XM 143. King Food's all week, a food drive. Free admission with a donation of canned or non-perishable food item.
On Friday, the day before the Hambletonian, advanced wagering begins at noon for the entire Hambletonian day card. On Saturday, August 7, the gates open at 9:30 in the morning. On track, Hambletonian parade begins at 10:00, and it is really a festival. The 1010 parade on track, right on the home stretch, features the Willow Grove Clydesdales , the Passaic High School marching band, Vivid Photo, New Jersey mounted police, Medieval Times knights and horses, and some past Hambletonian winners. It is quite a sight, so try to be here with the family at 10:10 on Saturday morning for the Hambletonian parade.
First race at 11:35, commemorative Hambletonian baseball caps to adults and a lunch bag to the kid was paid admission. It's a great giveaway.
Live music at Paddock Park with the Nerds at 4:00 p.m. face painters, carnival rides and inflatables and a terrific afternoon for the whole family. And WFAM and another guy who loves horse racing will be broadcasting live from 10:00 to 1:00.
The 15-race Hambletonian card has, of course, a 100 thousand dollars guaranteed pick 4 on races 7 through 10. Dime supers on all the races. The wagering information is on your screen now. Let me just kick off the wonderful series of stakes races for Saturday afternoon in addition to the Hambletonian.
Right now it's my pleasure to start the proceedings with our first guest here at the microphones. Then afterwards, as you enjoy lunch, we'll be able to have some conversation with old and meet some new friends. But first, here's our old friend, the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authorities, Carl Goldberg. Carl, come on up here.
CARL GOLDBERG: I've been the chairman of the Sports Authority for over eight years, and I've been here for each of the Hambletonian lunches, and each of the Hambletonian Saturdays, and a lot of the people in this room are friends. I would be remiss not to acknowledge this is a very challenging time for the Standardbred racing industry in New Jersey, and throughout the United States.
One thing I want to impress on everyone here today is the single most important thing we can do as we approach Saturday is maintain our optimism and maintain our enthusiasm for one of the most competitive Hambletonians in years. As well as one of the most special days of Standardbred racing ever here at the sports complex.
There are there are a lot of facts that back me up the people show their enthusiasm and love for the sport by being here. Nothing could be more demonstrative an the importance of Standardbred racing into the life blood and quality of life in the state of New Jersey, for the citizens of New Jersey to be here and be counted as part of the Hambletonian day festivities.
But there are a lot of facts to back up this level of enthusiasm. It is the biggest day in Standardbred racing. Nearly 5 million dollars in stake purses headlined by the 1.5 million dollars Hambletonian will take place here on Saturday.
More money is bet on the Hambletonian than any other day in racing. Last year's total was 8.3 million dollars, the third highest in history. The 1.6 million dollars spent on the race in 2007 when Donato Hanover won was the most money ever bet on a single harness race. The global impact of Hambletonian race, and Hambletonian Day here at the Meadowlands Sports Complex is undeniable.
European wagering was a record 1.9 million dollars in 2009. This year the Hambletonian Day simulcast package has been further expanded with the simulcasting of additional races to Scandinavia and to France.
The additional races could easily put us on course for a 9 million dollar day here at the Meadowlands Sports Complex on Saturday. All of that and the national television audience as well.
As David indicated, the broadcast will air on definition television on NBC for the fourth consecutive year following a 13-year run on CBS. Nothing is more important than putting our best foot forward on Saturday.
World championships, in the tenure of the Meadowlands, the Hambletonian has produced six horses of the year, 13 trotters of the year, and 19 divisional champions. It may not be a big race or a big name in this year's race, but I was talking to Hollywood Henderson before the event began today, and in a lot of ways the fact that this is such a clear open field this year makes the race that much more exciting than ever, and makes it that much more interesting to betting interests to drive handle.
Five of the eight trainers in the race have won the event at least once. And four of the drivers have hosted the trophy as well.
Leading the way are trainer Chuck Sylvester and driver John Campbell. The combo behind Lucky Chucky right here in front of us. Sylvester has won the Hambletonian four times, and driver John Campbell has won -- already holds the record for the most driving wins with six.
Sylvester and Campbell team to win the 1998 Hambletonian with Muscle Yankee, and the 1987 Hambletonian with Mach Lobell. All this makes for a great day on Saturday. It is my pleasure as part of the leadership here at the Sports Authority to welcome all of you here today as the kickoff for Hambletonian week. Thank you very much for your participation, and on to a great day on Saturday, thank you.
DAVE JOHNSON: It's racing and it's in New Jersey, and the world watches. As a New Jersey guy, I wonder if he was going to the races when he was at Monmouth College or Rutgers. We'll find out. The senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports Authority, Lennon Register. Didn't mean to throw you a curve there, but were you a fan back then?
LENNON REGISTER: Absolutely. Thank you, Dave. Hambletonian Day is harness racing's greatest event, but the $5 million dollars in purses just doesn't capture the real reason why it's such a great event. It's the people behind the event. The Hambletonian Society, you are why this is a great event. Your passion for harness racing and the time that you've invested in it is why it is a success today. And I am very happy to be working with you.
The Meadowlands staff, you are why this is a great event. Our race office gets mutual security, parking, marketing, media, our maintenance and cleaning crew, food service, finance and administrative, our TV talent and our TV production crew. You take a difficult job and you make it look easy, and I am very proud to be working with each and every one of you.
Our drivers, you are why it's a great event. John Campbell, George Brennan, Brian Sears, Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras, Andy Miller, Dave Miller, Daniel, Ron Silverman, I can say with all confidence there is no greater racing crew in the business. And you not only make the Hambletonian great, you have made the Meadowlands great.
Our trainers, you are why it's great. Your dedication and time to prepare these great athletes is truly remarkable. Our owners and breeders, you are why it is great. Your time investment and passion has put East Rutherford on the map. And lastly our fans, you are why it's great, for without your support, the Hambletonian is just another race.
I'm expecting great weather, record handle, and I'll see you Saturday.
DAVE JOHNSON: You're right, Lennon, it is the greatest team. I've been to the small tracks and the big tracks, and my friend Jim who is way back in the back, he and I were working harness racing in 1966. So we've been around the block. This is a great team, and it's really a wonderful afternoon in store for us. And we've, of course, had so many great years.
It's part of the community, too. To talk about that, I'd like to bring up the community relations manager from King's Supermarkets, a big part of Hambletonian festival, Cheryl Good. Cheryl, would you come up please? Cheryl is from community relations and King's Supermarkets and the Meadowlands, it really is a good mix. Cheryl.
CHERYL GOOD: Thank you so much. Good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of King's Supermarkets, I'm delighted to be here. King's is proud to be among the participating sponsors of Hambletonian 2010, and to promote this prestigious sporting event in all 24 of our stores around New Jersey and Long Island, New York.
In addition, as a community outreach effort, participating in the Hambletonian gives King's another opportunity to collaborate with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the food drive to help those in need.
The Community Food Bank distributes food to over 1400 nonprofit organizations where people in need turn for help. Last year, through the generous efforts of our customers and the Hambletonian enthusiasts, we collected over 1800 pounds of food, and we're hoping to top that this year.
So once again on behalf of King Supermarkets and our 2400 associates, we're pleased to be a part of this exciting event. Thank you.
DAVE JOHNSON: Thank you, Cheryl, and thank you to King's Supermarkets. Let's get to one of the post-position situations right now. It's a pleasure for me to bring up one of the really bright, I say young, but I remember talking with him when I was with ABC Sports when he was back at DRC, but Sam McKee is a great stall wart here at the Meadowlands. Sam, would you come up? And also, let's bring up our director of racing, Peter Koch, and Mike McCarthy, the presiding judge for the Hambletonian Oaks draw. Gentlemen?
SAM McKEE: , thank you, Dave. I appreciate it greatly. I remember the first time I had to call up Dave Johnson when I worked at DRC, I dialed once and hung up because I was too nervous to talk to you. But thank you for all the work you did way back then.
Folks, thank you for joining us for the Hambletonian festival. We have the post-draw for the Hambletonian Oaks which is for 3-year-old trotting Fillies, post of 750 thousands. It's the ninth race on Saturday. Post time at 3:09. It is part of NBC's live coverage as well, so certainly some great exposure for the 3-year-old trotting Fillies. And if the finish is like last year when there were five of them within a neck of each other, it will be fantastic.
We have some celebrities and special guests to help us with the draw for the oaks. First of all, I'd like to call up Kathy Miranowic, who is the Product Manager for Pfizer Animal Health. Pfizer has been a big supporter for of the Hambletonian festival for a number of years. Come on up Kathy. We'll put you to work. How about a nice hand for Kathy Miranowic of Pfizer.
Step back by these two gentlemen and follow their instructions. We have one other special guest that everybody in the industry knows, and that is the publicist for Hanover Shoe Farms, brand-new Hall of Famer too, Murray Brown. Nobody has more passion for the sport. How about a great hand for one of the great guys in the business, Murray Brown, if you're here, come on up and join us. I should have known you'd be at head table there Murray. Congratulations on such a great honor.
So folks, the elimination winners will pick their post positions. Peter Koch has gotten the selections. Post position 1 goes to Boinga. And Ron Pierce will drive Boinga, she won her elimination in 151, over 75 dollars to win. I did not have her that day, unfortunately. But she starts from post 1. And just like Lucky Chucky, she's by the late great Triple Crown winner, Windsong's, legacy. Post position 2, Poof She's Gone, the champion for Dave Miller, she's earned over 1.2 million. And Springtime Volo post position three. And he's won six additions in '04 with Silver Springs. So post 1 for Boinga, post 2 for Poof She's Gone, and post 3 for Springtime Volo. We have seven more post positions to pick, and Mike McCarthy we'll grab one of the slips there. Yeah, let's put it right in the trophy. Kathy, we'll have you come forward and reach down into the bucket to grab one of the post position pills. Let's get started with our Hambletonian Oaks draw with our battle for the field.
We are ready. We start where Behindclosedoors, one of two Chuck Sylvester, Dan Dube driving, post 4, post 4 for Behindclosedoors. Not bad, Chucky. Post 4. Dan Dube will drive Behindclosedoors. Next up we have Bramalea Hanover, for trainer Robert McIntosh. Ron Pierce also named are there, post position 7 for Bramalea Hanover, post 7. We'll try to get you Ron Pierce's driver's choice if not before the conference is over, but by tomorrow morning.
Bar Slide, Tim Tetrick driving for Joe Holloway. Bar Slide has won this year 152 and 4, she was second in her elimination.
Next up we have Ultimate Cameron for the Diamond Creek Farms. Adams over there. Trevor Ritchie is driving Ultimate Cameron, post position 9. Post 9 for Ultimate Cameron. Of course, Cameron Hall, the winner, and Bob Stewart.
Fashion Feline the fourth place finisher who got in on earnings, Brian Sears driving for Jim Campbell. Post 10 for Fashion Feline as they look for back-to-back Oak victories. Post 10 for Fashion Feline.
Next up we have Southwind Samurai, trainer Bjorn Noren, , and John Campbell will drive her. She broke in the deep stretch, and winds up with post 8, post 8 for Southwind Samurai.
Last, but certainly not least, we have, In The Mean Time, Yannick Gingras drive will drive for Chuck Sylvester.
So let's recap the field, post 1 is Boinga with Ron Pierce named to drive. Number 2, Poof She's Gone with Dave Miller. Springtime Volo, number 3 with George Brennan. Behindclosedoors, number 4 with Dan Dube. Bar Slide number 5 with Tim Tetrick. In The Mean Time, Yannick Gingras driving, number 6. Number 7, Bramalea Hanover with Ron Pierce named there as well. Southwind Samurai is number 8 with John Campbell. Ultimate Cameron with number 9 with Trevor Ritchie, and Fashion Feline and Brian Sears from post position 10. Kathy, thank you so much for your excellent work. Murray Brown, appreciate it greatly. We'll turn things back over to your host Dave Johnson. Thank you, and best of luck to everyone in the Oaks.
Here's your morning line for the Hambletonian Oaks 2010. Boinga from the rail, starts at 6-1, 6-1, Poof She's Gone, 5-2, that is the favorite in the morning line. Springtime Volo is 4-1. Number 4 horse Behindclosedoors at 10-1. Second choice is the 5 horse, Bar Slide at 3 and a half, that is 7-2. Then we have number 6, In The Mean Time, 15-1. Bramelea Hanover is 15-1. Southwind Samurai, 12-1. Ultimate Cameron is an 8-1 shot in the morning line, and Fashion Feline is 10. Running them down again.
Dave Brower's morning line, Boinga from the rail is 6, Poof She's Gone, 5-2, Springtime Volo 4, Behindclosedoors 10, Bar Slide is 3 and a half, In The Mean Time 15, and Bramelea Hanover 15, Southwind Samurai at 12-1, Ultimate Cameron at 8, and Fashion Feline is 10-1.
That's the Hambletonian Oaks. Now the Hambletonian Society is a non-profit organization which was formed in 1924 to basically sponsor many races, keep the books and to promote the sport. And they now service many of the harness racing's richest and most prestigious events including the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. Of course these races are in good and caring hands. It is my pleasure to bring up the president and chief executive officer of the Hambletonian Society. Welcome Tom Charters. Tom?
TOM CHARTERS: Thank you for those very kind words, Dave. For 30 years the Meadowlands has been the home to the Hambletonian, trotting's most prestigious and richest event. And in those three decades the New Jersey sports and exposition authority has been an extraordinary partner for the Hambletonian Society. You've heard me say this if you've been to these luncheons many times before, in fact, every time.
It's a partnership that we want to see continue in the coming years. Like many of you, we urge Governor Christie and the New Jersey legislature to work with the horsemen to develop a viable, long-term, and substantive plan for the New Jersey Standardbred industry, the horse industry, we won't forget our thoroughbred cousins.
It's actually, I've been told, the fifth largest business in New Jersey.
And this plan, such a plan would retain the Meadowlands position of leadership in North American racing. Such a vision reaction could keep the Hambletonian in New Jersey for the next five years, ten years, or another 30 or more years. Nothing would please us more. We encourage all of you to take an action, take the responsibility to contact the governor and the assembly here and your legislators.
Even if you're out of state, it's important we communicate how important racing is to the New Jersey economy, the big picture. I think you can start by coming to Atlantic City on Friday. Let them know you're present. Come back here at the Meadowlands. I understand in September there are going to be another round of hearings. Don't leave it to the next guy and gal. We urge you to come down.
On behalf of the society, its directors and its staff, we'd like to thank Chairman Goldberg for his kind words, president Dennis Robinson, Vice President of racing Lennon Register, Pete Koch, the Director of racing, and especially all the staff for the superb job they do in supporting the Hambletonian. We take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to all of the participants. We hope we see you in the Winner's Circle. Thank you very much.
DAVE JOHNSON: I might add you want to go to the Hambletonian website. It's a terrific place that you can get the great history of the game. All you have to do is Google Hambletonian and that will get you right to the link, and of course the museum, and it's a wonderful museum there too.
So check that out. Also, www.meadowlandsracetrack, for updates on our website here. The media relations department is on call for all of the journal lifts here and joining us on the internet and by phone.
Reminder racing from the Meadowlands nightly recap is on Saturday nights on Sportsnet New York, SNY, and reairing the following morning on TVG.
Now I want to direct your attention to the screens. Because maybe the best way to look forward to Saturday is to look back. Once again our TV department has just knocked themselves out with a tremendous video. So if you would, control room, please roll it, and we direct your attention to the screens.
Tremendous video there. Thank you to the Meadowlands video department. We have our field of ten. We have ten addresses behind the starting gate. Let's match them up. Here's Ken Warkentin. Ken, come on up here. Let's bring up Peter Koch and Mike McCarthy to handle the draw.
KEN WARKENTIN: Good afternoon, everybody. We're set to set the stage for the 85th Hambletonian. A great field, competitive field. We have Peter Koch, our director of racing, racing secretary Mike McCarthy again. At this time we'd like to invite up a couple of our fine Hambletonian sponsors to assist us. First, Joe Ferraro, Joe of Equine Product Manager Intervet-Schering Plough Animal Health, Joe, come on up and help us out here. Along with Dr. Ron Fuller. Dr. Ron Fuller is conceived and involved in the annual Hambletonian Veterinary Wet Labs in Buckeye, St. Pat. Welcome aboard. Joe Ferraro, Dr. Ron Fuller will join us here.
The first order of business is establishing the order which the three elimination winners will select their post position. The draw will be between Pilgrims Taj, who we just saw, Lucky Chucky, and Cassis with the connection standing by with Sam McKee and Bob Heyden.
So you've got, Mike, have you got the three elimination winners all set in there? Okay, the pills are in there. Okay, Joe, would you like to draw the numbers? We'll pull, first of all, the names will go into the Hambletonian trophy of the three elimination winners. Okay, go ahead. Draw one.
We've got, that appears to be Pilgrims Taj, the first elimination winner, no, actually, he goes three. So he'll be third in selecting post position. So Pilgrims Taj will select three. Got ahead of myself there.
And Cassis will go first, so Ray Schnittker and company will go first, and of course, Lucky Chucky will go second. So, Sam McKee, we've got Bob Heyden with Ray Schnittker going first.
BOB HEYDEN: Okay, Ray, the best of three elimination winners, which post are we taking?
RAY SCHNITTKER: We're going to take number one.
BOB HEYDEN: Shortest route? We'll try again with Cassis with Ray Schnittker.
We'll go to John Campbell and Lucky Chucky. John? Post position 2. We took care of one and two over here. Lucky Chucky, how about that?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Every race is different, obviously, but we want to be as close to the inside as we can. With Ray taking the rail, it's obvious for us to take two.
BOB HEYDEN: Okay, the connection of Cassis and Lucky Chucky have taken one and two.
KEN WARKENTIN: Okay, Sam, we've got Trond Smedshammer with Pilgrims Taj to win his elimination. Go ahead.
SAM McKEE: Well, one and two are gone. The drama is not that big here. What post are you going with and why?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: Ray picked the rail, and it's going to be three.
SAM McKEE: Post position 3 for Pilgrims Taj.
KEN WARKENTIN: We'll take out 1, 2 and 3. They're here in the bucket. We'll put the other names in the Hambletonian trophy. Dr. Fuller, why don't you come around here. I'll direct traffic here with Sam McKee, and you can assist and pull every second one out here. Okay? We'll alternate. Pull out a ball there, what have we got?
This is going to be Wishing Stone. Post 5 for Wishing Stone. George Brennan will drive. Our leading driver polishing off his first place title. Third place finisher closed 27-4 in his elimination.
On The Tab the Yonkers Trot winner. Post 7 for On The Tab. Daniel Dube who is recently back from a serious injury. Great to see him in the Hambletonian. Post 7 On The Tab with Daniel Dube.
Temple Of Doom, okay, Temple Of Doom. Post position 9 for Temple Of Doom. Runner up in the Stanley Dancer Memorial division, and his Hambletonian elimination to Cassis, very consistent trotter for Jonas Czernyson, and Dave Miller. Post nine, Temple Of Doom.
Muscle Massive, the New Jersey Stakes champion. Yellow 6, post 6 for Muscle Massive. Ron Pierce one of a trio in the Hambletonian. What a job by Jimmy Takter.
Mystery Photo, post 4. Good post here for the lucky Jim connections, Andy and Julie Miller. Of course Mystery Photo was a solid runner up to Lucky Chucky post 4.
Holiday Road, post 10. Post 10 for Holiday Road. Holiday Road who was rated number 1 on the road, all the way through after finishing -- what was that? Post 10 for Holiday Road, Brian Sears.
Hard Livin will be 8. Hard Livin, Yannick Gingras, post 8. Post 8 for hard living, Jimmy Takter his third in that final.
So let's recap here. The 1, Cassis, Tim Tetrick. 2, Lucky Chucky, John Campbell. 3, Pilgrims Taj, and Mike LaChance will drive. 4, Mystery Photo, of Andy Miller, the Orange Crush. 5, Wishing Stone, George Brennan, 6, Muscle Massive with Hall of Famer Ron Pierce. 7 On The Tab, Daniel Dube picks up the drive 8 Hard Livin with Yannick Gingras, and finally 10, Holiday Road with Brian Sears. Thanks, gentlemen for your help today.
We'll start with Bob Heyden and operation Hambletonian two or operation Hambletonian repeat is turning into operation Hambletonian rebound.
BOB HEYDEN: 18 years since the trainers won a back-to-back. Greg Peck, Holiday Road, last year he dominated in time. Holiday Road post 10, what is your impression and what are you feeling right now?
GREG PECK: To tell you the truth, I thought that might happen. That is the chance that you take. But I think the last time that I can remember the 10 hole is I drew it with Fly Like an Eagle in the series final, and John Campbell drove him. He said it would be a starting point, and sure enough it was. He was on the lead in those days the Dunkin' Donuts sign and he won easily.
I look at it the same way. It's a starting point, there isn't anything you can do with it. I feel he's the best horse. I couldn't say that last year by the way. You had to downplay everything. He is the best horse and he'll show it on Saturday.
BOB HEYDEN: You also had the most inexperienced horse, is that by design?
GREG PECK: Well, you pointed that out. I noticed that the other day in your Blog where you said that. But no, we started them up later this year. Stopped with them earlier last year.
So I think he's coming into the race very well, and I'm happy with it. There isn't anything we can do with post 10. It's just we've gone from one rail to the outside rail and we'll be okay.
BOB HEYDEN: What kind of training week does Holiday Road have coming up?
GREG PECK: Just an ordinary week. I trained him this morning. Trained him lightly, he feels good, looks good, we're ready to go.
BOB HEYDEN: All right, good luck. Holiday Road post 10 at the Hambletonian.
KEN WARKENTIN: Sam McKee with Trond with Pilgrims Taj was all right, a perfect drive was able to turn this Breeders Crown champion around. Watched a video on the U.S. trotting website, Mike LaChance said that there were like 7 or 8 changes made. That is a lot of changes.
SAM McKEE: Might be more than that. Ron mentioned he changed just about everything. He only had Pilgrims Taj for a couple of weeks. He's done a lot with shoeing and rigging. Do you have him where you want him to be right now?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: As far as trotting and rigging, yeah. He's probably where I want him to be. But I still think it's more room for more improvement down the road. There is a lot of conditioning I can probably improve on a little bit later on. But two weeks is not a lot of time. But the horse is definitely heading in the right direction.
BOB HEYDEN: Both you and Mike LaChance mentioned the biggest change in him is attitude. What were you referring to there.
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: Well, a horse of this caliber is an extremely smart horse, and when they're not going straight, not going right, they know and they get pissed off. You know, it kind of I think he feels like I said after last week, you could tell watching both Mike and the horse that they didn't have the confidence. They were waiting for something bad to happen. The changes that you're going to see, they're both going to be better.
BOB HEYDEN: Are you confident about your chances Saturday?
TROND SMEDSHAMMER: Yeah, we definitely have a strong contender. It's a tough race to win. Like I said, if we didn't have a lot of time to work with her, but I feel better with this horse's chances later in the year, so, you know, if he's good enough to win Saturday, I don't know.
BOB HEYDEN: Best of luck with Pilgrims Taj in the Hambletonian Saturday. Ken?
KEN WARKENTIN: Bob Heyden has the Meadowlands pace winner. He added aluminum shoes for speed last week. The horse has that great winning attitude. And the trainer thinks he's as good as anybody out there.
BOB HEYDEN: Yeah, nobody's won the pace at Hambletonian in the same year. Are you surprised how easily he won?
RAY SCHNITTKER: Not really. I mean, I thought we were in a cheaper division, so that helped. The only time he's lost this year was when he got parked 26 seconds, so he didn't have that happen to him. He got down there a little softer, so he's good.
BOB HEYDEN: Post 1, he went sub 27, went all the way holding off Crazed. Who are a couple horses you have to beat here?
RAY SCHNITTKER: Obviously the ones that won their eliminations. And Andy Miller's horse I thought raced okay.
BOB HEYDEN: What is the feeling like for you? Two years ago, one more left in the pace, and now you're going into the Hambletonian. You're becoming a major million-dollar-race player here.
RAY SCHNITTKER: Hopefully it keeps going. It's a great honor and hard to get one here that has a shot, so it's super.
BOB HEYDEN: Is this a one dimensional horse, Cassis?
RAY SCHNITTKER: No, he can go either way. He tends to be really quick out of the gate, so he can use that in the race.
BOB HEYDEN: Okay, good luck to Ray Schnittker, he's going for the pace Ham Bo unique double this year.
KEN WARKENTIN: Well, it was an awesome performance, an eye catching rally last week from a small colt with a big heart, Sam.
SAM McKEE: That's for sure. DeWayne Minor has post position 5. Not a very big hole, but he doesn't know it, does he?
DeWAYNE MINOR: No, he thinks it's just as big as anything else in the field.
SAM McKEE: Now he made up a lot of the ground in his elimination, what were your thoughts in that race?
DeWAYNE MINOR: I thought the colt raced well. As I said, he's got a big heart, and he gives it all every time he goes. So this race is going to be a very interesting race, I think, for everybody, being that everybody's so close. We're going to have a very good race, I think.
SAM McKEE: Your colt has had some sickness issues. A month ago you had to scratch him. Is he 100% healthy and will he move forward this weekend compared to last weekend?
DeWAYNE MINOR: Yeah, I do. He's back to himself now. He's playing and every time you go jog. So I look for a good race out of him.
SAM McKEE: You have turned to the minister of speed, George Brennan to handle the driving assignment with John Campbell committed to Lucky Chucky. You've got your first ever big title wrapped up. What has been the difference for you this year?
GEORGE BRENNAN: No idea. No idea. Same thing every year, show up and try to win races, I don't know.
SAM McKEE: Well, you've been winning races with efficiency. Do you think you can win another one with Wishing Stone? He's obviously got some punch to him.
GEORGE BRENNAN: Yeah, I just watched the replay today. He was wide on the turn. Still making up ground at the wire. That's always a good sign. It's wide open. Some good horses in there, five or six can win it. And I think we're one of them.
SAM McKEE: Right in the mix with Holiday Road on the outside. That could change the whole complexion of the race.
GEORGE BRENNAN: Yeah, it could. And good speed on the inside with Cassis, and two and three horse are good too. It's going to be a great race.
SAM McKEE: We know the NBC cameras have been following you around for a feature on the show Saturday. Is being a celebrity all it's cracked up to be?
GEORGE BRENNAN: Oh, it's cool.
SAM McKEE: All right, George Brennan, best of luck to you and DeWayne Minor with Wishing Stone at the Hambletonian.
KEN WARKENTIN: The lucky Jim connections finished fourth at post 8 with the Chancellor. They've got a colt this year that's pointing in the right direction, he's cycling forward.
BOB HEYDEN: Same connection right here. Julie Miller, what was that feeling like being in the Hambletonian for the first time?
JULIE MILLER: I was so happy to be there. It was an awesome feeling, and I'm happy to be here again.
BOB HEYDEN: Mystery Photo was a solid second in his elimination.
JULIE MILLER: Yeah, obviously if we can hit the board or get a piece of it, we'll be thankful.
BOB HEYDEN: Tell us what kind of horses you've had? You seem to have had a lot of success with the update photos.
JULIE MILLER: I'm just really lucky. I'm lucky in the confidence, and Andy and I have to train on this horse, and we just hope for a good race.
BOB HEYDEN: Post 4, will he be searching for the front end early too?
JULIE MILLER: That's what's good about my horse, no matter how Andy wants to drive him, he can come from behind or on the on the lead. We'll see how it goes.
BOB HEYDEN: Good luck in the Hambletonian for all the connections of Mystery Photo.
KEN WARKENTIN: It's Jimmy Takter's world, we're just living in it. 6, 7, and 8 the Trio, the Sire Stakes champion, Muscle Massive, Takter continues to work on a pulled muscle. Apparently a tiny injury that's getting better.
SAM McKEE: Yeah, what is the scoop with Muscle Massive? You thought he tied up in one of the races earlier. Now it's the pulled muscle that's caused the issue?
JIMMY TAKTER: He won the race, and he didn't look as good as he had in the past. But I think I have that under control here.
SAM McKEE: Are you happy with his elimination race? He had to take some air first off? I thought he raced well.
JIMMY TAKTER: He raced very good. The horse start to pull a muscle, and everybody knows I have a bad back, you cannot do much. When you get that, you lose a little timing here. I trained him this morning, and I think he's ready.
SAM McKEE: Is that a veterinary issue, chiropractic issue or combination of both?
JIMMY TAKTER: You know, the whole team got into it and we worked on him, and we've got him worked out with chiropractic work. And they did a good job.
SAM McKEE: Pretty solid field. You're in the mix with all of them. What do you think of your chances?
JIMMY TAKTER: Well, going into here and in the three spots already taken, of course you're very worried about getting 9 and 10, and we have three horses in and we didn't get so bad. I think 6, 7, and even 8. Ray won from 8. So post position is -- I think it's good.
Actually, I don't want Muscle Massive to have too much action in the beginning anyway. So I think I like my chances.
SAM McKEE: Quick comment on your other two starters. Hard Livin, I thought he was going to win the elimination when he got inside.
JIMMY TAKTER: He also trained this morning, and he was extremely sharp, and I expect him to do well. He's a horse that doesn't have any clue what's going on. He doesn't get intimidated so much too.
SAM McKEE: On The Tab, he's the only horse that could win the Triple Crown. He won based on earnings.
JIMMY TAKTER: Yeah, he's a nice horse. We raced in Yonkers and he did well there. And he's going to have to do the hard work. He'll have to get checked even. But he deserves to be there, and hopefully he'll do it.
SAM McKEE: Well, you can't win or get money if you're not in. Three in for Jimmy on Saturday.
KEN WARKENTIN: Bob, last year's champion, 2-year-old peaking perfectly for a combo that's got ten Hambletonian's. Campbell said last week Lucky Chucky had his racing shoes on. And Sylvester noted he needed the race.
BOB HEYDEN: John, Lucky Chucky, 2-year-old success does not necessarily translate to a 3-year-old star. What about Lucky Chucky?
JOHN CAMPBELL: He's come back very well. Chucky had a plan from the time we put him away last fall to how we wanted to prep him for this race. He's going into the race as good as he possibly can. I look for him to be as good as he was last week and hopefully better because it was the first time he's been stretched out hard. Usually they'll rebound with a stronger race the next week.
BOB HEYDEN: The July 2nd start, any concern for you?
JOHN CAMPBELL: No, it's in Chuck's hands. He made the decision for the schedule. I didn't interfere. I wasn't worried about it at all. When he came up to qualify, he was on his toes qualifying both times.
So I had a lot of confidence in the horse being ready for this day.
BOB HEYDEN: Thought last year when he was second in the Breeders Crown, fighting back he showed a new dimension.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Well, it's not a new dimension for him. He had that right when he left behind the gate. He has a tremendous will to trot and win, his attitude is tremendous. When you give him the word, he wants to do his work.
BOB HEYDEN: Chuck, I looked at your Hambletonian gift bag, and yours was different than mine. I saw a bottle Gatorade, a Hershey bar, and a medic alert bracelet.
CHUCK SYLVESTER: Yeah, I'm ready this week. I'm trying to stay light off anyhow.
BOB HEYDEN: Well, Lucky Chucky, last year you were 9 for 12, you had the 2-year-old come back of the year. You've had some of the greatest trotters of all time. Lucky Chucky, is he in the same breath as those horses?
CHUCK SYLVESTER: I'll let you know more in two months. Pine Chip lost the Hambletonian, but turned out to be a tremendous horse. This horse gets better every week. I would have liked to have gotten one more start in him, but he was sick one week.
John stretched him out last week, he came out of it good. I think he'll be better this week.
BOB HEYDEN: Chuck, four, five years ago I thought you retired. Now you're the only trainer who is in the Oaks and the Hambletonian this year. What is the story with that?
CHUCK SYLVESTER: Well, we tried to retire. My wife wanted to go to Vegas. We spent four years out there, so now I'm back working.
BOB HEYDEN: Well, Chuck Sylvester, good luck this weekend in the Hambletonian, hopefully you'll get number 5.
CHUCK SYLVESTER: Thank you. I hope so.
KEN WARKENTIN: Good luck to Chucky. Don't go to Vegas. All right. Jonas Czernyson has been called consistent, determined, always tries hard, gives 100%. He said last week he has some things to work on still.
SAM McKEE: I tell you one thing they have to work on, his wife will have to buy Chucky's medic alert bracelet.
But Temple Of Doom has been a project, very consistent colt. What were you alluding to when you said you have things to work on?
JONAS CZERNYSON: He puts in steps here and there, so we have to work on that. And he trained really good this morning, so I think he's peaking at the right time, and playing very well. And pleased with the way we are. We got the nine, so we'll go from there.
SAM McKEE: Well, your mentor is in town from Sweden for the Hambletonian. Has he been able to help you with those shoeing adjustments?
JONAS CZERNYSON: Yeah, he's been there this morning to watch him train. We came to the same conclusion that things are looking good this morning. We'll give it a try and see how we go.
SAM McKEE: Well, Temple Of Doom doesn't win much, but he's been consistently close. He doesn't get as much respect for as well as he raced.
JONAS CZERNYSON: No, everybody thinks he's the big underdog. He's been racing well with the 2 and 3-year-olds so far. So I'm hoping Saturday may be the day to break loose.
SAM McKEE: You've had two horses in the Hambletonian final each of the last two years. Anything you've learned that's helped you with Temple Of Doom this year?
JONAS CZERNYSON: Yeah, I like to keep him as happy as possible. He's at the top of his game as he can be, so things are looking pretty good.
SAM McKEE: Jonas Czernyson, best of luck in the Hambletonian and going forward with Temple Of Doom.
KEN WARKENTIN: We're looking forward to a great day of racing here in New Jersey. It continues to be a privilege for me to announce the action here at the home of the world's greatest action. I look forward to seeing everybody on Saturday. Dave Brower will have the morning line.
So Dave Johnson has it. So take it away Dave.
DAVE JOHNSON: Field of 10 in post position order, and Dave Brower's morning line for the Hambletonian.
At the rail, Cassis starts at 3 and a half to 1. The second chance Cassis at 7-2. Number 2, Lucky Chucky is the starting morning line favorite at 5-2. Pilgrims Taj from the 3 hole at 4 and a half to one third choice. Number 4, Mystery Photo at 10-1. Number 5, Wishing Stone 12-1. Muscle Massive from the 6 hole at 8-1. On The Tab, number 7 is 15-1. The 8 horse, Hard Livin, 15-1. Temple Of Doom, 15-1. And from the outside, number 10, Holiday Road starts at 6-1. So here's your run down.
Cassis is 3 and a half, Lucky Chucky 5-2, Pilgrims Taj 9-2, Mystery Photo 10-1, Wishing Stone 12, Muscle Massive at 8, On The Tab 15, Hard Livin 15, Temple Of Doom 15, Holiday Road 6.
Well, that's it. We hope that you enjoy your lunch and have time to enjoy some old friends and meet some new friends and have a wonderful time on this 2010 Hambletonian Festival. Thank you for being with us, good luck, everyone.
End of FastScripts