Day At The Track

'Side Bet', 'Celebrity' score in Oaks at Big M

04:12 PM 31 Jul 2016 NZST
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Side Bet Hanover
Side Bet Hanover and driver Corey Callahan pull off an upset at 38-1 in the first of two Hambletonian Oaks Eliminations at the Meadowlands Saturday night.
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Side Bet Hanover and Celebrity Eventsy registered upset victories in their respective Hambletonian Oaks Eliminations Saturday night at the Meadowlands, and as a result, may select posts one through five for next week's $500,000 final for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies.

Side Bet Hanover lit up the board as a 38-1 chance in the first elim. After leaving quickly from post one, the Jonas Czernyson trainee settled into a three-hole trip down the backstretch.

All eyes were on 2-5 favorite Caprice Hill, who trotted past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:25 and was clear of the field by 3 lengths at the eighth pole.

Driver Corey Callahan then moved Side Bet Hanover ($78.20 to win) off the rail, found a seam late, and sprinted the final 50 yards to catch the odds-on choice and win by a head in a lifetime-best 1:53.2. Earning the final three berths in next week's final were Dream Child, Black Broadway and Windowshopper.

"I guess they have no respect for me," said Czernyson of his horse's odds. "It looks like we have her peaking at the right time."

Also peaking at the right time is the Staffan Lind-trained Celebrity Eventsy ($12.60), who scored for driver John Campbell after taking the early lead before working out a pocket trip behind 8-5 second choice Broadway Donna. In deep stretch, she charged up the rail to register a neck win in a lifetime-best 1:53.1 over the sloppy going.

All The Time, the 3-2 favorite, got within a length of the leader racing first-over at the head of the stretch, but went evenly from there. Broadway Donna finished a neck in back of the winner, but was off stride at the wire, was disqualified and placed third, behind All The Time. Double Exposure and Wildflower earned the final two tickets to the final.

"We've been aiming for this all along," said Lind.


Southwind Frank overcame a track bias that played to closers all night long and took the Reynolds Memorial in a lifetime-best equaling 1:52.1 after brushing with authority to the lead at the half for his 16th win in 18 lifetime starts, setting him up perfectly for next week's $1M Hambletonian.


The 91st Hambletonian will be televised live Saturday (August 6) on the CBS Sports Network. The 90-minute program, hosted by Gary Seibel, co-hosted by Dave Brower with interviews by Justin Horowitz, begins at 4 p.m. with the Hambletonian post time scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,487,230. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 7:15 p.m. ... Remember! Post time on Hambletonian Day is noon.

by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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