Saturday is what the Meadowlands Racetrack refers to “Harness racing’s greatest day,” with the biggie being the the $1 million Hambletonian. Aug. 6 will mark the 97th edition of the what is considered the richest trotting event in the world for 3 -year-old trotters. The East Rutherford complex also is hosting the the $500,000 filly companion, the Hambletonian Oaks.
These two races will cap a loaded card as the nation’s top harness-racing’s venue presents its premier showcase
NJ horse betting fans must assess the impact of some upsets from last weekend’s qualifying heats. Those developments bring more horses into consideration for the Hambo and the Oaks.
Garden State bettors can witness the events live or wager on any of them via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG. Hambo Day carries a special noon first post. Here is a closer look at both big races, including post positions.
Hambletonian post positions
- Joviality S
- Fast as the Wind
- Keg Stand
- Jiggy Jog S
- Cool Papa Bell
- Temporal Hanover
- King of the North
- Looks Like Moni
Hambletonian Oaks post postions
- Bare My Soul
- Warawee Xenia
- Selfie Queen
- Pink Coco Chanel
- Mon Cheval
- Fashion Schooner
Closer look at the Hambo field
So for those wondering why the Hambo is such a big deal, it’s part of the trotters triple crown. The others are the Kentucky Futurity and the $1 million MGM International Trot.
For now, the focus is on the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Rebuff, who won one of last week’s two Hambletonian Stakes eliminations and is unbeaten in three starts this season, drew post one and was made the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Jiggy Jog S, who won the other elimination and is one of two fillies in the race, drew post five and was made the 4-1 third choice. Yonkers Trot champion Joviality S, the remaining female starter, got post two and was made the 7-2 second choice.
Elimination winners drew for posts one through five. The remaining horses followed in an open draw.
Rebuff won the first elimination handily, taking control during the second quarter and romping home practically unopposed at 1-5. Fast as the Wind made a spirited move and finished second. Cool Papa Bell and Periculum rounded out the top four.
Joviality S, who won the first leg of the trotting Triple Crown by taking the Yonkers Trot in July, got an early indication that the Hambo would be tough to add to her collection. At 4-5, she took the field into the final turn but Jiggy Jog S and Temporal Hanover nipped her just before the wire in a thrilling stretch finish. King of the North was fourth.
So it will be interesting to see how Joviality S fares here.
At Yonkers, she became the first filly since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win Yonkers Raceway’s MGM Yonkers Trot. Should Joviality S prevail here, she would try to complete the trotting Triple Crown at the Oct. 9 Kentucky Futurity.
Marauder was the last Triple Crown winner in 2016.
The road to the Hambletonian Oaks
Warrawee Xenia is 5-1 to complete this Hambletonian Oaks fairy tale with a victory. She came from nowhere to pass most of the horses and win one of the eliminations.
Venerable, who won the other elimination in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:52.4, will depart from post five. She is listed at 9-5 for trainer Nifty Norman and driver Dave Miller. Fashion Schooner will start out at 4-1 from post 10 for Tim Tetrick and Jim Campbell.
Here’s a look at how they got here.
Venerable toyed with the field at 4-5 in the opening elimination heat, grabbing the lead early and winning by as much as she wanted.
Warawee Xenia stunned Fashion Schooner, who was eased down the lane with the event apparently in hand. She was stuck behind a wall of horses entering the final turn
The burst would have been satisfying enough had it put Warawee Xenia in the top five, presumably enough to qualify for the final. But this rally went past the whole field.
What to know before enjoying Hambo day at Meadowlands Racetrack
Being the home to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks since 1981, the Meadowlands Racetrack makes the day a family-friendly affair that will include:
- Carnival rides and game
- Pony rides
- Hat contest
- Food trucks
- Live music
The grandstand doors will open at 10 a.m. with $5 admission. Giveaways begin immediately, including 2022 Hambletonian baseball cap with paid admission. The backyard will be filled with free carnival rides, games and pony rides plus a free live concert by the popular Craig Sailer Project beginning at 11 am.
For those looking to partake in the hat contest, prizes range from $100 to $500.
And for those who are hungry, food will be available for purchase from several food trucks:
- Cousins Maine Lobster
- Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ
- The Empanada Truck
- Clyde’s Homemade Italian Ice and Ice Cream
- The Mozzarella God