Posted by Ken Warkentin on Monday, February 26, 2018 9:41 PM

2018 Hambletonian Winterbook Top 10

Youth could be served in the 2018 Hambletonian by young gun trainer Marcus Melander, a 26-year-old from Sweden, whose uncle Stefan Melander won the 2001 edition with Scarlet Knight.  Marcus enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017 with NJSS champion and Stanley Dancer Memorial winner Long Tom, and Hambo elimination winner Enterprise, who was placed third in the final.  Melander certainly has reason to have high hopes for another son of 2012 champion Chapter Seven, headlining the 2018 Hambletonian Winterbook Top Ten, that also includes a strong contingent from Team Takter, who could have another filly prospect take on the boys in the undefeated Manchego.


Fourth Dimension is a deserving number one prospect.  From the second crop of Chapter Seven, this $200,000 yearling, whose star status on the NYSS circuit propelled him to Grand Circuit winner at The Red Mile in 1:52.4.  With Muscle Hill Man & newly minted Hall of Famer Brian Sears in the bike, Fourth Dimension capped his freshman campaign by dominating the Valley Victory in 1:53.3.


Andy and Julie Miller have been knocking on the Hambletonian door, with a close third in 2015 with Sutton and had 2016 runner up Devious Man.  Team Orange Crush hope to finally hit a home run with Met’s Hall at number two, a son of Cantab Hall who took a mark of 1:52.4 in Lexington and was a runner up in the Breeders Crown.


Chapter Seven has another fine prospect in Alarm Detector at number three, an Ontario-based colt developed by Benoit Baillargeon, who not only proved himself against the sport’s top freshmen, he destroyed them in an impressive wire-to-wire William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk in a Canadian record 1:52.4 in rein the Trevor Henry.


Jim Campbell made history in the 1995 Hambletonian with his recently retired brother, John and Tagliabue.  Jim may be back with Fashionwoodchopper at number four.  The $100,000 New Jersey-bred son of Donato Hanover stormed home to a big upset in the PASS championship, scored back-to-back Grand Circuit wins at The Red Mile and took a mark of 1:53 for 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Jules Siegel, whose dream team also includes Crystal Fashion.


In the 2018 swan song for Jimmy Takter, the Hall of Famer will once again have strength in numbers in a bid for his fifth trophy.  At number five is You Know You Do, a $350,000 yearling by Muscle Hill, who stamped himself a major contender with a decisive romp in the Peter Haughton Memorial in 1:54.2 over stablemate Samo Different Day.  You Know You Do was also second in the William Wellwood Memorial and won a Bluegrass division in 1:54.4.


My MVP was third by a neck in the 2012 Hambletonian, and Wolfgang leads his first crop for Team Takter at number six.  With Yannick Gingras driving, Wolfgang upset stablemate Samo Different Day to win the Matron Stake in 1:55.3 and followed up with a strong second in the Valley Victory Final.


Consistency sums up Peter Haughton Memorial elimination winner Samo Different Day, a runner up in that final, this steady Cantab Hall colt hit the board in 11 of 13 starts for Jimmy Takter.  At number seven, Samo Different Day was also third in the Breeders Crown and Valley Victory, and just missed by a head to Wolfgang in the Matron.  Takter can add Bluegrass winner Maxus to his 2018 Hambletonian battalion.


Trainer Erv Miller has sent out two favorites in Hambletonian Finals, and Miller looks for a return visit with the late-blooming Tito at number eight, who capitalized on a perfect trip and rallied to win the Kindergarten Classic Final in 1:55 with rising star Andrew McCarthy.


Trainer Frank Antonacci finished second with Crazed in 2008 and won a 2017 elimination with International Moni.  Antonacci and the storied Lindy Farms cling their 2018 hopes to Kinda Lucky Lindy at number nine, a son of Lucky Chucky, and stablemate Hat Trick Habit.


If Lawmaker were to maximize his potential, Anthony MacDonald’s initiative and ownership conglomerate could set a Hambletonian Winner’s Circle attendance record!  The son of 2010 champion Muscle Massive was a back-to-back PASS winner and finished second in the final under trainer Andrew Harris, who finished fourth in his Hambo debut with Waitlifter K in 2016.  That’s our Winterbook Top Ten, and undoubtedly, there are no standouts on the road to the 2018 Hambletonian, on the greatest day in harness racing, Saturday, August 4th.




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