HAMBO REMATCH COULD PROVIDE A “PHOTO”

06:46 PM 27 Aug 2005 NZST
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Vivid Photo Classic Photo
Vivid Photo - Hambletonian winner 2005
Classic Photo - Winning the Stanley Dancer Trot at the Meadowlands.

Saturday’s (Tonight August 27) $150,000 American National Stake for three-year-old trotting colts figures to provide a “Kodak Moment” as Hambletonian champion Vivid Photo and hometown favorite Classic Photo square off again.

Owner-trainer-driver Roger Hammer brings Vivid Photo to town with an impressive record of 11 wins and one second in 13 starts this year.

The 2005 Hambletonian champion became only the fourth gelding in history to win this prestigious race, establishing a new World Record in the process, as he tripped the timer in 1:52.3 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in New Jersey.

Electing to follow the heavily favored Classic Photo’s every move in the Hambo, Vivid Photo surged past his main rival in midstretch as he rolled to a historic 2 ¾ length triumph in the $1.5 million affair.

Purchased by Hammer with longtime friend and fellow horsemen Todd Schadel for $30,000 as a yearling back in 2003, Hammer initially did not have high hopes for Vivid Photo. “We bought him for something to play with,” he said. “We figured with the price we paid for him we could probably get that back racing at the county fairs in Pennsylvania.”

Known as the “King of the County Fairs” for his domination of the Pennsylvania fair circuit the 59-year-old Hammer has been in the business for more than 40 years now. He has won numerous driving titles and has also captured the North American percentage championship five times while racking up more than 3,100 victories in the bike.

Heading into Saturday’s match-up with a career record of 15-2-0 in 19 starts, that $30,000 investment in Vivid Photo has netted Hammer and Schadel $883,391. Vivid Photo has drawn post position six in the seven-horse field.

Local hope Classic Photo came up a little short in the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown and he will be looking to gain a bit of a revenge for that defeat.

Bet down to 1-2 by the crowd of more than 31,000 on hand at the Meadowlands on Hambo Day the Ervin Miller trained colt never seemed to get comfortable that day but he showed his grit and determination while battling gamely to wind up a clear cut second in the field of 10. “He raced well that day but he didn’t quite seem to be as good as he had been prior to that race,” said Miller. “They added a little more water to the track and in the final turn he simply was not finding his stride like he had in his previous races over the surface.”

While disappointed with the runner-up role Miller was still proud of his charge and was quick to hand out accolades to the victor. “I really thought we were going to win that race,” he explained. “My horse gave it his all and wound up second to a very, very good horse.”

The pride of owners Bill Wright, Jack & Peggy Hood and Mystical Farms rebounded nicely from that defeat capturing the $50,000 Alexander Stake in Springfield in his most recent outing.

The son of SJ’S Photo was on cruise control in that win as he scored in front stepping fashion for driver Andy Miller. “I never even pulled the earplugs on him in that race,” said this year’s U.S. representative in the World Driving Championships. “He trotted right to front after the quarter and then he just held those others off all on his own.” The final time of 1:56.4 seemed like a stroll in the park for this good looking bay who will headed to stud duty after completing his 2005 campaign.

Classic Photo comes into Saturday’s tilt with a career record of 8-5-1 in 19 starts banking $881,976 for his proud owners. Classic Photo starts from post position in this battle.

Completing the field for the $150,000 American National are Self Possesion, Keaton Zet, Worship, Muscle Bound, and Garth Vader.

ourtesy Of Tom Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park

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