Yes, the three year olds raced for more money, $1 million compared to a 'paltry' $300,000 for the FFAllers who decided to do battle in the Cashman, and the Hambletonian is an important feather in the hat for owners looking to cash in on their horses looking for lucrative stallion careers once their four year old season has concluded, so being money makes the world go round, the Hambletonian and the Oaks gets all the press but the real story of Hambletonian Day 2014 was Sebastian K.
We know from his European record that Sebastian K can be beat but on this side of the pond it seems so far the only thing which can defeat this son of Korean and Gabriella K are the weather gods, as he is somewhat vulnerable over an off track. After hearing all week how they were going to take it to the Swedish import (which Archangel did), the results were once again all to familiar to those who have been watching this horse since he made his first North American start. Sit and when ready to make a move, go and if the leader resists, grind him out and then leave them in your dust. Yesterday, Archangel attempted to defeat the stallion and while he had the upper hand for the first three quarter of the mile but once again he turned out to be no match for the winner, yet his connections could take solace in the fact he was able to finish a respectable third with Market Share securing the place spot.
This is the year of Sebastian K and as I predicted soon after his first victory in North America, the race for Horse of the Year is all but wrapped up at this time. This horse is going to make American breeders think twice about the strength of the American trotter in the global stage. In the meanwhile, the only advice I can offer his opponents is to pray for rain on race day.
We would be remiss not to discuss the Hambletonian, No, it didn't turn into a Takter trifecta, but all the talk about Father Patrick quickly went up in smoke (along with money) thanks to drawing the outside post resulted in an effort to get to the lead early by Father Patrick which resulted in the stallion jumping off heading into the first turn, turning the race for Hambo glory turning into a workout session. As a result of Father Patrick's miscue, the talented though less heralded stablemate Trixon won the 89th Hambletonian in 1:50.3, finishing a head in front of fellow stablemate Nuncio, giving team Takter the Hambletonian exacta.
While Trixton reigned supreme yesterday in the Hambo, rest assured we will be seeing a lot more of Father Patrick this year in the winner's circle. While we may not have had to deal with any eliminations this year, those who were hoping to drraw posts were left to deal with fate; the way racing ought to be. Regardless, it does seem the three year old trotting picture does belong to team Takter (who also took the Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit).
No doubt the weather impacted on attendance at the Hambletonian as it seemed most of the day was under a threat of rain. Despite the rain, a robust 20,764 people attended the event live while a total of $8.5 million was bet in the North America, France, and Sweden. Additional wagering was conducted elsewhere but even without those figures included, this Hambletonian Day card had the third highest handle ever, a minimum of a 11% increase over last year's event..