Down Under horsemen headline one of the biggest days of the year for American Harness Racing, Hambletonian Day.
Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands on Saturday consisted of some of the best harness racing horses in the world racing, extremely fast times and a lot of success.
Down Under driver Andrew McCarthy was the star of the show winning 5 races on the day and taking out the $1 million Hambletonian with filly Ramona Hill, for trainer Tony Alanga. McCarthy and Ramona Hill headed out favourite and backed up her huge elimination win the week prior when running her last quarter in 25.4 seconds. On Saturday night the 3yo daughter of Muscle Hill had race rivals covered by a length to win in 1:50.1. McCarthys other wins were with Angers Bayama in 1:48.3, Reflect With Me in the $90,525 Shady Daisy in 1:48.3, Caviart Eva in 1:53.3, and Darlene Hanover in the $350,300 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2yo trotters in 1:55.1.
Dexter Dunn also had a successful day winning two races. Firstly he teamed up with Down Under trainer Chris Ryder who had Bettors Wish back to career best form when beating a quality field of Free For All ers. Dunn sent the Bettors Delight colt forward and worked overtime early to find the lead just after the first quarter that was run in 25.3. Race favourite Dancing Lou went up to eyeball past the half in a blistering 52.1. But Bettors Wish proved so tough to kick away and hold off late challenges from Backstreet Shadow to win in 1:47.3.
Down Under Trainers Brett Pelling and Mark Harder also picked up wins on the big day.
Pelling won the $166,550 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial Mares Open trot with When Dovescry in 1:50.0, with David Miller in the bike.
Mark Harder won the $319,000 Peter Houghton Memorial Final for 2yo trotting Colts and Geldings, with Zenith Stride in 1:55.1 and Brian Sears doing the driving. For owners Emilio and Mary Rosati of Stride Corporation, who have their own harness racing stable Down Under in Sydney, Australia with successful trainer/driver Anthony Butt.
Champion Down Under mare Shartin N was also in the winner’s circle on the day after she won the $177,100 Lady Liberty Mares Open. Trainer Jim King Jr had her in fine form for driver Tim Tetrick who had her on the top end of the field for the trip and fought off all challenges to win in 1:48.2. Making it back to back wins in the Lady Liberty for her. Down Under trio of Major Occasion A, trainer Nifty Norman and driver Dexter Dunn came in 2nd.
On the day Down Under harness people and horses won 10 of the 18 races. An amazing day for Down Under Harness racing and puts in perspective the impact of Down Under harness on American Harness Racing
By Carter Dalgety