Filly Atlanta takes on colts in $1.2 million Hambletonian
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Atlanta will try to become the first filly to win the Hambletonian in 22 years when she takes on 17 rivals in trotting's most prestigious event at the Meadowlands.
Undefeated in five starts, the Rick Zeron-trained filly is the 3-1 second choice in the first of two $100,000 heats for 3-year-old trotters.
Wolfgang, trained by four-time Hambletonian winner Jimmy Takter, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first elimination. Six Pack, who has won eight of his past nine races, is the 2-1 favorite in the second elimination.
The top five finishers in each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final, which has a scheduled 5:14 p.m. EDT post time. CBS Sports Network is scheduled to televise the race.
"I'm taking my shot because I think she's good enough," said Zeron, who is among Atlanta's owners. "I wouldn't put a filly in with the colts if I didn't think she could trot with them or beat them. I would never put my filly in that position to make her do something that I know she couldn't do."
Atlanta's wins include the Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs, where her 1:50.3 mile was the fastest in the track's history. She will be driven by Zeron's son Scott, who won the 2016 Hambletonian with Marion Marauder. Rick Zeron is making his Hambletonian debut.
Continentalvictory was the last filly to win the Hambletonian and only two fillies have won the race in the past 35 years. The most recent to try was Mission Brief, who finished second to Pinkman in 2015.
Takter, who sends out four trotters in the event, would tie the record for training wins with a victory in the final. Yannick Gingras, seeking his first Hambletonian trophy, drives Wolfgang, who is unbeaten in three races this year.
Six Pack is trained by Ake Svanstedt, who also drives and co-owns the colt. Svanstedt won last year's Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit when What The Hill was disqualified for interference in the stretch. It was the first disqualification of a Hambletonian winner in history.
Here's the elimination fields in post position order with horse, driver and odds, starting with the first heat:
Shoshie Deo, George Brennan, 10-1; Evaluate, Orjan Kihlstrom, 15-1; Met's Hall, Andy Miller, 10-1; Lawmaker, David Miller, 8-1; Wolfgang, Gingras, 5-2; Crystal Fashion, Tim Tetrick, 70-2; Atlanta, Scott Zeron, 3-1; Hat Trick Habit, Brian Sears, 12-1; Zephyr Kronos, Takter, 10/1.
Fashionwoodchopper, David Miller, 10-1; Patent Leather, Tetrick, 15-1; Classichap, Trond Smedshammer, 6-1; Alarm Detector, Trevor Henry, 10-1; Fourth Dimension, Sears, 10-1; Southwind Chrome, Scott Zeron, 5-1; Tactical Landing, Takter, 4-1; You Know You Do, Gingras, 8-1; Six Pack, Svanstedt, 2-1.
Updated August 3, 2018