ILLINOIS LOCALS HAVE REASON TO BE PROUD

10:58 PM 02 Aug 2005 NZST
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The Hambletonian is the biggest race of the year for harness racing in North America and this year the favourite, Classic Photo, has owners that hail from Illinois and northeast Indiana.

Bill Wright, with his wife Maddy, are from Morton, Illinois in the Peoria area, Mystical Marker Farms based in Chicago Heights is owned by Dennis Lakomy and son Kevin Lakomy and Jack and Peggy Hood are from Valparaiso, Indiana.

Additionally, the horse is trained by one of the Chicago area's leading harness trainers, Erv Miller who lives in Sherman Illinois and uses the State Fairgrounds in Springfield to operate his horse training operation.

The race will be televised nationally by CBS Sports affiliates from 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm Central Standard Time (WBBM, Channel 2 in the Chicago area).

All of the owners have been involved in harness racing for many years.

For Bill Wright & Mystical Marker Farm this is a second shot at Hambletonian. Five years ago they had the favourite in Dreamaster but he wound up in fifth place.

All of Classic Photo's owners, along with all harness racing fans throughout Illinois are obviously hoping that this year the favourite stays on course for a first place finish.

Bill Wright has been chronicling his experience of owning a Hambletonian hopeful for the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) website.

To read his diary of the emotional, rollercoaster ride this horse has given

im, click on to the USTA website at www.ustrotting.com.

Courtesy Of Jack Kelly, Executive Director, The Illinois Harness Horseman's Association

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