Friday night at the Meadowlands featured the eliminations for the top freshman trotting stakes of the 2014 Championship Meet, the Peter Haughton Memorial colt stake and the Merrie Annabelle for the fairer sex.
The Peter Haughton required a single elimination of ten colts after three of the top seasonal earners accepted a bye into next week's $355,500 final. The first seven in the official order of finish would move on.
Centurion ATM was the 1:54.2 winner here for trainer driver. The SJ's Caviar colt settled in fourth early as his stable-mate Amicus and The Bank took turns on the lead through early splits of 28.2 and 57.2. Ake steered Centurion ATM over into the passing lane as the field trotted 'round the final bend and as he headed The Bank, that one went offstride, leaving the winner to an open length lead.
At the wire it was Centurion ATM trotting home in :28 flat to be clear by three and a half lengths over Uncle Lasse with Cruzado Dela Noche third. The winner is co-owned by European interests Courant AB and Knutsson Trotting.
Trainer / driver Svanstedt has had a clear impact on the scene this summer, his first in the US after moving his entire operation from Sweden. With his experience in Europe primarily training older horses, Ake has adjusted quickly to the American emphasis on early speed and clearly will be a player throughout the stakes season.
The eliminated horses were The Bank, Broken Record and True Blue Stride. Joining the qualifiers for next Saturday's Hambletonian Day final will be Canepa Hanover, Guess Who's Back and Honor And Serve.
The night began with the well-bred three-year-old trotting colt Royal Ice taking advantage of an absolutely delightful evening to break his maiden in a dazzling 1:51.3.
The meet's leading driverwas aboard for the first time on the son of from the mare The Ice Queen and he just went to the front and improved his position to an eventual eight length victory. trains the colt (who may have just become an instant Hambletonian contender for next weeks classic), He is owned by Marc Goldberg.
by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands