Day At The Track

Toscano sweeps Hambletonian & Nat Ray

01:11 AM 05 Aug 2012 NZST
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Chapter Seven & Tim Tetrick)
Chapter Seven & Tim Tetrick) - Winning circle celebrations
Lisa Photo

When Market Share captured the 2012 $1.5 million Hambletonian, it completed a spectacular trotting double for harness racing trainer Linda Toscano.

Two races earlier, she had won the $250,000 Nat Ray Invitational with Chapter Seven, her hopes to win the 2011 Hambletonian. Chapter Seven came up short, finishing fourth.

This year, neither of her New Jersey-sired trotters would be denied on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at the Meadowlands.

“Where am I celebrating?” she said, laughing. “I know I should say I’m going to Disneyworld but I’m going to Il Villagio [a nearby restaurant].”

“It’s unbelievable,” she said from the Hambletonian winner’s circle with Market Share. “I refused to let myself even dream this far. It’s just unbelievable. We took care of him for a lot [of the year], and I said this was the right time to race him.”

Market Share, a son of Revenue, had his work cut out for him as he took the lead into the stretch when Guccio [by Yankee Glide] and My MVP made their bids. A neck separated Market Share and Guccio at the wire. It was another nose to My MVP in third. The mile was timed in 1:52.1.

“Please wire hurry up,” Toscano said when asked what she thought as the horses neared the finish. “We wanted to get there, that’s all. It’s funny what goes through your head. I kept thinking, I wish my Dad were alive, because my Dad started this whole thing for me. It’s absolutely the ultimate goal. It’s a dream come true.”

It would be hard not to note that Linda Toscano is the first woman trainer to win the Hambletonian, although, she has always preferred to be acknowledged as a good trainer, not a good female trainer.

“This race is a dream come true,” said Tim Tetrick, who picked up his first Hambletonian driving victory in six tries. “I’m just happy to be a part of it. A part of me was trying to let the race come to me. He did a phenomenal job, the whole crew and I’m just happy to be a part of it.

“I felt really comfortable at that point, you know,” he said of the journey. “I’m following Ronnie [Pierce with the favorite, Uncle Peter] and Ronnie’s already working his colt a little bit and you know he got stung pretty good down the backside so I was right up to his wheel. And I was feeling pretty confident and when I called on him he went right by him and I think that made the race.

“I knew they were all going to come, stampede, but we got there, that’s all I can say,” Tetrick added. “This is a dream come true, you know all my people, my Mom & Dad in Illinois, I’m sure they’re watching and I’m happy to be here.”

“It’s a dream come true,” said Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, the colt’s owner. “I thought it was going to happen last year [with Chapter Seven]. Two months ago I thought it was a hundred to one shot that we were even going to enter him. Coming down to the wire I kept saying hold on, hold on. I didn’t even want to look.”

Gutnick had purchased Market Share for $16,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale as a yearling. He gained partners a few days ago when TLP [Tom and Lou Pontone] of Kearny, NJ and William J. Augistine of Hammonton, NJ joined the team.

“On the first of August, they (the Pontones) had called and we did a deal within a day,” Gutnick said. “I feel it was a little bit of insurance and figured that having 75 percent is fine.”

Market Share’s record improved to five wins, two seconds and two thirds in 11 starts this year and 10 wins, two seconds and two thirds from 16 starts lifetime. The colt has now banked $972,505.

Toscano, Tetrick and Gutnick had already celebrated a world record performance by Chapter Seven in the tenth race, the $250,000 Nat Ray. The mile was clocked in 1:50.1.

Chapter Seven [$3.60, 2.20, 2.10] by Windsong’s Legacy scored by two and a half lengths over Mister Herbie [$2.80, 2.20], a reversal of the Maple Leaf Trot Final. It was four and a half lengths to Daylon Magic [$3.00] in third.

“I’m not surprised,” Toscano said. “I really have so much confidence in this horse. It’s a hot day and the track is incredible fast. I just wanted him to race well. I knew we’d be fast, I just didn’t know we’d be first I think we controlled the race this time and also we’re on home turf. He’s got to just getting race tight at this point, I mean I didn’t expect him to be as good as he was at the get go, and he’s just been an exceptional horse.”

Chapter Seven picked up his third win with one second in four starts this year. Lifetime, he has 15 wins, three seconds and one third from 22 starts. The winner’s share of $125,000 improved his bankroll to $1,262,416. Gutnick owns Chapter Seven with Southwind Farm of Pennington, NJ and J&T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY.

The $250,000 Nat Ray Invitational with Chapter Seven

The 2012 $1.5 million Hambletonian

by Carol HODES

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