A pair of "Photos" won two $100,000 elims on Saturday afternoon and will headline the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Saturday, August 6 at the Meadowlands.
Two pre-race favorites faltered and a Pennsylvania-based gelding named Vivid Photo emerged the winner in the third race, the first of the two eliminations whileextended his winning streak to five in the fifth race, the second division.
Vivid Photo [$19.80, $7.60, $7.00] scored his eighth straight victory with a neck tally. He trotted the mile in 1:53.2, a career milestone., second across the wire, was placed eighth for switching to the pace.
, the 2-5 favorite, broke stride with an eighth of a mile to go and will not advance to the final
It was left to Self Professed [$19.60, $11.60] to pick up the pieces for second money and Strong Yankee [$6.00] was placed third.
Rounding out the top five were My Dream OM and Gettingdownanddirty.
"Racing in the first turn, he was looking for a little shorter turn to come out of and after that he was all right," said Roger Hammer, the trainer, driver and co-owner of Vivid Photo. "I was planning more to maybe get away third and make a move at the quarter since he was up there. But then I couldn't get him back up enough to get behind John [Campbell with Mr Dream On] without taking too much hold of him. He was still strong. Getting down toward the end, near the wire, I just looked over, I just wanted to get home. I'm in the Hambletonian now; I didn't worry about where we finished, as long as we got home. At least it don't cost me nothing to enter now. He's paid his way."
Vivid Photo now has nine wins in 11 starts this year for Hammer and co-owner Todd Schadel of Gratz, Pennsylvania.
, driven by David Miller, was making a move to challenge Vivid Photo in the stretch when he broke stride.
"I really don't know what happened," said Jimmy Takter, the trainer of. "They said he was going by the horse and then might have taken a misstep at this point. I really just don't know."
"His whole life he's been flawless," Miller noted. "He's never, ever done anything wrong and today for some reason he takes a bad step.
I really believe he was going to go right by that horse. I didn't do anything different than I've ever done with him, and he just took a bad step. I want to puke. I'm very, very disappointed."
[$3.60, $2.60, $2.60] stamped himself as the favorite for next week's Hambletonian with a three-length victory over Northern Ensign [$11.00, $6.00] in 1:53.3. Muscle Bound [$5.80] was third by three and a half lengths. Muscle Memory, fourth, and Racino, fifth, will round out the field of 10 in the final.
, driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Ervin Miller, was first to challenge the pacesetter Vino Camielle on the turn for home. claimed the lead by the eighth pole and coasted to his fifth straight victory. Like 2004 Hambletonian winner , comes into the Hambletonian with victories in the Goodtimes and Stanley Dancer Trot on his sophomore resume.
races for the ownership of HW Wright of Morton, Illinois; Mystical Marker Farms of Chicago Heights, Illinois, and Jack and Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana.
"We just floated out of the gate to the four-hole," said Pierce. "They were moving right along up front, so we just camped out and relaxed. He was trotting really squarely, no problems at all. As soon as Jack [Moiseyev with Vino Camielle] started putting the brakes on a wee bit, I just tipped him out and floated him on up to the lead, and he did the rest. This little fellow has shown to everybody he can race any way he wants. He can take all the air. He kind of likes to have a
arget, but it doesn't matter if he does or not. I feel I have just as
ood a horse as anybody else if not better. I think I'm the one to beat."
"I've had to keep him going, but that's what it's been from the start," said trainer Erv Miller. "I have a good feeling going into the Hambletonian because I really don't have much trouble with him. As Ron said, he was very good today, so that gives me a little easier feeling about coming next week. He started from the outside this week and floated him and came first up to him and handled it okay. So I think we're okay. I think they're good, solid trotters. They really put forth a pretty good effort."
ourtesy Of The Meadowlands Media Relations Department