2009-06-09   22:42
Warkentin's Road To The Hambletonian
STOCKHOLM
Each week, Meadowlands Racetrack announcer Ken Warkentin ranks the top 10 contenders for the $1.5 million Hambletonian.

Muscle Hill


Explosive Matter


Tom Cango


Encore Encore


Federal Flex
 
 

The Hambletonian will take place August 8 at the Meadowlands.

Warkentin's assessments are below.

Rank, Horse
• Driver, Trainer
• Owner
• Ken Warkentin’s Comments

1, MUSCLE HILL
• Brian Sears, Greg Peck
• Jerry Silva, T L P Stables, Southwind Farm, Muscle Hill Racing LLC
• Greg Peck’s 'Operation Hambletonian' has taken flight with Muscle Hill’s smashing debut in round two of NJSS on June 4 at the Big M in a lifetime best of 1:53.1. “Physically, he’s grown up and filled out,” said driver Brian Sears. “I couldn’t ask for anything more, he pretty much went on his own.”

2, EXPLOSIVE MATTER
• Ron Pierce, Noel Daley
• Adam Victor and Son Stable
• The Cantab Hall colt won his latest qualifier on May 28 in 1:55.2 and Ron Pierce declared him “perfect.” Last year, Jimmy Takter said when he saw him win the Matron final in a world record of 1:55 he was the best colt he’d ever seen on a five-eighths.

3, TOM CANGO
• David Miller, Jim Campbell
• Arlene and Jules Siegel
• Trainer Jim Campbell and owners Arlene and Jules Siegel have a primed player from the first crop of Tom Ridge. After winning two qualifiers in 1:56.2 and 1:55, John Campbell guided him to an easy 1:54.4 career best in his 2009 debut at the Big M on June 5.

4, ENCORE ENCORE
• Dave Palone, Richard Gillock
• Robert Key
• The steady Broadway Hall colt served notice with a sparkling 2009 debut in a track record 1:53.3 at the Meadows May 19 in PASS. At two, he won a Peter Haughton Memorial elimination.

5, FEDERAL FLEX
• Jody Jamieson, Jeff Gillis
• Federal Flex Stable, Ken Henwood, Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz
• The Muscles Yankee colt won his first qualifier in 1:58 at Mohawk on May 29, then reeled off a 1:55 trial with a :27.2 final quarter on June 5 with Jody Jamieson in the bike. Canada’s top two-year-old trotting colt from last season is being pointed for the Goodtimes (eliminations on June 20).

6, MY BACK PAGES
• George Brennan, Greg Peck
• Irving Bork, T L P Stable, Jerry Silva
• Stablemate to Muscle Hill is a Florida-bred by Revenue S. He has reeled off two straight impressive wins both from outside posts in NJSS, a lifetime best of 1:54, then 1:54.2. “He doesn’t make any mistakes and he’s well gaited,” said driver George Brennan.

7, MR CANTAB
• Andy Miller, Erv Miller
• Brittany Farms, John Carver, Ronald Michelon, Riverview Farms
• One of three Cantab Hall colts in the top 10. A $350,000 yearling brother to Passionate Glide and Maritas Victory. Two for three as a freshmen, won both Big M qualifiers in 1:56.2 and 1:55.

8, JUDGE JOE
• Doug R. Ackerman, Doug J. Ackerman
• Doug Ackerman Stables
• The Ackermans were second in 2006 with Chocolatier, and they are back with another son of Credit Winner. Romped in his 2009 debut at Hazel Park in 1:57.2 on May 22 and then won a NYSS event at Monticello on June 2 in 2:001.

9, KEYSTONE ACTIVATOR
• George Brennan, Jim Raymer
• Trillium Racing Stable, Tammie Raymer
• SJs Caviar colt has already won five of eight starts this season, broke in two other starts and lost by a nose to Encore Encore in that 1:53.3 track record at the Meadows.

10, CITATION LINDY
• Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker
• Citation Lindy Stables
• Son of Cantab Hall for last year’s Hambletonian winning stable has won three of five in 2009, including a lifetime best of 1:54.4 in PASS at Chester Downs on May 27.

(With files from the Meadowlands)

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