Eight weeks ago, Classic Photo was a relative unknown in the trotting world.
Since then, victories in two major stakes and his Hambletonian elimination have catapulted him to the role of 6-5 morning line favorite in the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands.
Trained by Erv Miller and driven by Ron Pierce,drew post five in the Hambletonian, harness racing’s most coveted prize.
“I like the post position,” said Erv Miller. “Mid-pack is a good spot to start for him. Now we’ll just have to see how things fall. You can tell he’s full of confidence just being around him.”
Carded as race eight, with a post time of 2:42 p.m., the Hambletonian headlines closing day of the 2005 Championship Meet at the Meadowlands. The race will be broadcast live on CBS-TV from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Hambletonian is part of a 15-race card that also includes the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $357,000 Mistletoe Shalee, $350,000 US Pacing Championship, $300,000 Nat Ray Invitational, $250,000 Oliver Wendell Holmes and $200,000 Golden Girls.
Gates open at 9:30 a.m. on Hambletonian Day. First race post time is 11:30 a.m. Giveaways include a Hambletonian baseball cap for adults and a lunch box for children. In addition, there is a $75,000 Pick 4 guarantee on races 7-10, as well as superfecta wagering on every race.
stamped himself as the one to beat with a decisive 1:53.3 victory in his Hambletonian elimination. It was the colt’s fifth straight win. Like 2004 Hambletonian winner Windsong’s Legacy, comes into the Hambletonian with victories in the Goodtimes and Stanley Dancer Trot on his sophomore resume.
races for the ownership of H.W. “Bill” Wright of Morton, Illinois; Mystical Marker Farms [Dennis and Kevin Lakomy] of Chicago Heights, Illinois, and Jack and Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana.
Although he carries an eight-race wining streak into Saturday’s Hambletonian, Vivid Photo was a dark horse until his 1:53.2 victory in last week’s eliminations. He is listed as the 7-2 second choice from post six for driver-trainer Roger Hammer. Hammer took the road less traveled to the Hambletonian by racing his gelding primarily in Pennsylvania this summer. The first time Vivid Photo raced on the Meadowlands’ mile surface was in last Saturday’s eliminations and he easily adapted to his new surroundings with a 1:53.2 career best victory
Vivid Photo has won nine of 11 starts this year for Hammer and co-owner Todd Schadel of Gratz, Pennsylvania. While most trainers prefer to prep their Hambletonian candidates at the Meadowlands, it is not unprecedented for the winner to go another route. Three recent winners *in 2000, in 2001 and in 2003 * all made their Meadowlands debut in the Hambletonian eliminations.
1.5 million Hambletonian * Race 8 - Post Time: 2:42 p.m.
PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Odds
1, Muscle Memory, Brian Sears, Jimmy Takter, 10-1
2, Racino, George Brennan, Don Swick, 20-1
3, Strong Yankee, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 8-1
4, Northern Ensign, John Campbell, Mark Harder, 8-1
5,, Ron Pierce, Ervin Miller, 6-5
6, Vivid Photo, Roger Hammer, Roger Hammer, 7-2
7, Self Professed, Eric Ledford, Don Swick, 10-1
8, Muscle Bound, Mike Lachance, Ron Gurfein, 5-1
9, Gettindownanddirty, Paul MacDonell, Paula Wellwood, 30-1
10, Mr Dream OM, David Miller, Jim Campbell, 20-1
$750,000 Hambletonian Oaks * Race 7 * Post Time: 2:02 p.m.
PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Odds
1, Jersey Gal, Brian Sears, Kevin Lare, 7-2
2, Flawless Bluestone, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 3-1
3, Margarita Nights, Jack Moiseyev, Karen Garland, 10-1
4, Jalopy, Jeff Gregory, Jonas Czernyson, 9-2
5, Twin B Senorita, Jim Morrill Jr., Ray Schnittker, 15-1
6, Vyingforthecrown, John Campbell, Jimmy Cruise Jr., 10-1
7, Pink Ribbons, Ron Pierce, Jim Arledge Jr., 8-1
8, Blur, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 6-1
9, Magenta Hall, Mike Lachance, Robert Bencal, 10-1
10, Dodger Blues, George Brennan, Brett Bittle, 15-1
edia Relations Manager - Meadowlands Racetrack