If every harness owner, trainer, and driver were asked which race they would most want to win the majority would say the Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The 2022 Hambletonian Final will take place Saturday at the Meadowlands. East Rutherford has been the home of the Hambo since 1981.
This 97th Hambletonian is shaping up as a contentious affair and two of the morning line favorites are fillies. The gals have come out on top in 2 of the last 4 Finals. A talented group of 10 sophomore trotters will be battling for a share of a $1,000,000 purse and most of this field could take a picture with the right trip.
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Entries are listed in post-position order, with driver, trainer, and the morning line odds.
Race 15-Hambletonian Final-$1,000,000
1-Rebuff-Tim Tetrick-Lucas Wallin (9-5)-The morning line favorite has won 6 straight starting back in October and that string includes the Breeders Crown Championship for 2-year-old trotters. The son of Muscle Hill comes off a sharp win in last week's Elimination and will be driven by Tim Tetrick who has won the Hambo with Market Share in 2012. Lucas Wallin makes his first start as a trainer in this event but did pilot Cuatro De Julio who finished 7th in last year's Hambletonian.
2-Joviality S-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander (7-2)-This daughter of Chapter 7 is looking to become only the third filly to win two jewels of the trotting triple crown. The Melander pupil has already won the Yonkers Trot and on Saturday could make history in being only the third filly since Continental Victory in 1996 to capture two legs. The last jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown is the Kentucky Futurity which is scheduled for October 9. Joviality will be driven by Brian Sears who is seeking his fourth Hambo victory. This filly has won 6 of 7 this year and 15 of 19 lifetime. She comes off a strong Elimination race and was just nipped at the wire after starting from post 10.
3-Fast As The Wind-Yannick Gingras-Tony Alagna (8-1)-This Cantab Hall colt was a $95,000 purchase and has already banked over $721,000. Dexter Dunn worked a pocket ride and finished 2nd in the Elimination and Yannick Gingras will get the assignment this weekend for conditioner Tony Alagna. Might be overlooked at the windows but should be racing near the top of the stack and deserves respect. Does like the Big M hitting the board in 12 of 14 with 5 pictures.
4-Keg Stand-David Miller-Nancy Takter (10-1)-This son of Bar Hopping was parked the mile in its Elimination from post 8 but rallied with a 26.3 last panel to finish 5th. This Takter trainee is an interesting price shot. Drew well, makes only the 4th start of 2022 and David Miller could have this colt in striking range turning for the wire.
5-Jiggy Jog S-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt (4-1)-This is the "other" filly in the field, she won her Elimination and is a main player. The daughter of Walner is riding a 3-race win streak. She is trained by Ake Svanstedt who was the conditioner and driver of last year's Hambo winner Captain Corey. This post draw shouldn't hurt her chances, and neither will the talented Dexter Dunn doing the steering. This was Dunn's pick over the 3-Fast As The Wind.
6-Cool Papa Bell-Todd McCarthy-Jim Campbell (15-1)-This Chapter 7 gelding has done good work out East winning 3 of 7 this year and comes off a 3rd place finish in its Elimination. Todd McCarthy will take the lines for the first time on Saturday as Brian Sears will stick with the 2-Joviality S. Has hit the board in 3 of 4 at M1 but is still looking for its first victory.
7-Temporal Hanover-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander (8-1)-This Melander entry has the best chance of winning after Joviality but will need a good trip. Finished a game 2nd, a head better than Joviality last weekend but started from post 3. Does have a strong closing kick and could make some noise if in the hunt at the top of the lane. Likes the Big M, hitting the board in 10 of 12 with 4 wins.
8-King Of The North-Mark MacDonald-Ray Schnittker (15-1)-It is usually best to not discount these connections and has won 5 of 10 at M1 but this post draw seems like a problem. Left for the lead, got on the point last week but that plan didn't work starting from post 6, and usually races with Lasix. Maybe MacDonald can work a favorable journey but not sure coming off cover will work versus this field.
9-Periculum-Mattias Melander-Marcus Melander (15-1)-This son of Muscle Hill needed a better post draw to be a threat. Comes off an even effort to finish 4th in its Elimination. Has hit the board in 3 of 7 this year and has a single victory. The third Melander entry will be steered by the conditioners younger brother Mattias.
10-Looks Like Moni-Andrew McCarthy-Nancy Takter (15-1)-This Takter pupil was used off the gate last week, then sat inside and held on for a 5th place finish. Goes from the 2-post to the dreaded 10 slot and will race again without Lasix. Looks like an unlikely long shot.
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