FROM THE CLASSIC PHOTO TEAM

07:39 PM 04 Aug 2005 NZST
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When it comes to Saturday’s (August 6) Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, driver Ron Pierce and trainer Erv Miller are the men on the frontlines with 6-5 morning line favorite Classic Photo.

But it was WH “Bill” Wright of Morton, Illinois, and his partners, Dennis and Kevin Lakomy’s Mystical Marker Farms of Chicago Heights, Illinois, and Jack and Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana, who Invested $87,000 in the yearling at the Kentucky Standardbred Sale two years ago.

Wright, 67 and a retired executive with Caterpillar, has been down this road before. He and the Lakomys had the public’s choice in 2000 with Dreamaster, who came into the Hambletonian with five wins in five starts but finished fifth in the final.

Dennis Lakomy, 60, is chief financial officer for CFC International which designs, manufactures and markets holographic and specialty function coatings on credit cards. His son, 36-year-old Dennis, works for the stock market in Chicago. Jack Hood, 65, owns a transportation company that hauls newspapers to 33 states while his wife, Peggy, handles the bookkeeping for the couple’s racing operation.

The last time the favorite won the Hambletonian was Scarlet Knight in 2001.

"I'd rather not be the favorite going into the Hambletonian, but that is the way it is,” conceded Wright. “When did I first think that Classic Photo was a real Hambletonian candidate? It was when he closed with an unbelievable final quarter to get second to Diesel Don in the Valley Victory last year. It was awesome."

Wright and his family are making the most of their visit to the Meadowlands, sightseeing, attending concerts and generally enjoying their time in the New Jersey * New York area. But the one place they most want to revisit is a small patch of the Meadowlands, the winner’s circle for the 80th edition of the Hambletonian this Saturday.

Tom Crouch of Kentuckiana Farms will not share in the $1.5 million Hambletonian purse but he has a lot of interest in how Classic Photo performs. He bred the bay colt.

"When you raise a lot of horses, it's tough to say whether you remember one in particular,” Crouch noted. “It's hard to say now that he stood out. Classic Photo was like a lot of other SJs Photos, not real big. But this colt never had a bad day. He was always the first to the feed trough. He'd fight his way in with the big boys if he had to. He was a tough colt. He wasn't a kid’s horse. He would strike at you or bite if he had to."

Courtesy Of The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

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