Five Coaches Seek Double Hambo-Oaks – US Trotting News – US Trotting News | WHs Answers

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, New Jersey — Since the introduction of the Hambletonian Oaks in 1971 as a filly companion event to the Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, two trainers – Jan Johnson and Jimmy Takter – have won both races on the same day.

Johnson accomplished the feat in 1988 with Nan’s catch in the Oaks and Armbro Goal at the Hambletonian. Takter has done it twice, first in 2014 with Lifetime Pursuit and Trixton and again in 2015 with Wild Honey and Pinkman.

Five coaches will have a chance to make the list on Saturday at The Meadowlands. Tony Alagna, Jim Campbell, Ake Svanstedt, Nancy Takter and Lucas Wallin each have at least one runner in both the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and the $1 Million Hambletonian. It is the highest number of single-starter coaches in either race in this century, and perhaps in history.

Here’s a quick look at each coach’s hopes for the two classic races.

Tony Alagna – Hambletonian, swift as the wind; Oaks, pink Coco Chanel

Fast As The Wind, who won the Goodtimes Stakes in June and last year’s Valley Victory Stakes and Kindergarten Classic Series championships, is 8-1 on the morning line at the Hambletonian. He was second in his elimination behind Hambletonian favorite Rebuff after having just two off-the-board finishes in eight starts that year.

Fast As The Wind won the Goodtimes Stakes in June and the Valley Victory Stakes and Kindergarten Classic Series championships last year. New Image Media photo.

“We struggled with some blood work issues that we went through with him a bit last year but he was a lot better,” said Alagna, who won the 2020 Hambletonian with filly Ramona Hill. “I think he’s definitely on the mend.

“He’s grown up so much (from 2 to 3 years old). It’s really filled. He’s a beautiful animal. You can’t guess what he looks like, that’s for sure.”

Pink Coco Chanel was not raced at 2 and competed in conditioned classes prior to her Oaks elimination where she placed third behind Warrawee Xenia and Fashion Schooner. She’s hit the board in five of six starts and won one. She is 12-1.

“I couldn’t be prouder of her,” Alagna said. “She just needed some time (last year). She was just immature, mentally and physically. I think she will continue to get better the more we race her. She’s just playing catch up and trying to get the experience these other mares have.”

Jim Campbell – Hambletonian, Cool Papa Bell; Oaks, fashion saver

Cool Papa Bell has hit the board in 13 of 16 Lifetime starts. He has six wins, including five in the New York Sire Stakes. He’s 15-1 after finishing third in his elimination behind Rebuff and Fast As The Wind.

“I was very happy with his race,” said Campbell, a Hambletonian winner on Tagliabue in 1995 and Oaks winner on Broadway Schooner in 2009. “He faltered a little on the last corner, but then he came through the course and trotted home really well. Now all we have to do is hope for a good drive in the final.

“He’s just a really nice horse. I would take a barn full of him.”

Fashion schooner and rider Tim Tetrick won the New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands. Lisa’s photo.

Fashion Schooner, whose dam is Broadway Schooner, was limited to three starts at 2am after an illness. She is this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes winner and won a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial. She finished second in her elimination behind Warrawee Xenia, who finished late, and is 4-1 in the Oaks Finals after pulling post 10.

“I thought we finished the race and (Warrawee Xenia) came flying out of nowhere,” Campbell said. “I wasn’t disappointed in her. I thought she had a good race.

“You never know how good you’ll get but she showed us enough last year where we thought if everything was working right for her then she had the ability to do it. She has a high speed, she has good gaits, has good ground contact and she has a good attitude. She likes to race.”

Ake Svanstedt – Hambletonian, Jiggy Jog S; oaks, baptism

Jiggy Jog S, one of two fillies in the Hambletonian, won her elimination by a head over Temporal Hanover and a neck over the other filly, Joviality S. She has four victories including the Zweig Memorial Main Event for 3-year-old fillies and New York New York Mile and two seconds this season. She has six wins in 17 career starts. She is 4-1 in the final.

Jiggy Jog S has six wins in 17 career starts for coach Ake Svanstedt. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

“She rode well,” said Svanstedt, who won the Hambletonian last year with Captain Corey and in 2017 with Perfect Spirit. “(Driver Dexter Dunn) said she also won with a lot of power. He didn’t have to ask her anything. She just did it herself. That was good. That was her most impressive race.”

Baptism, who has multiple victories on the Pennsylvania Stakes Circuit and won a Reynolds Memorial Division in July, finished fifth in her Oaks elimination. She is 15-1 in the final.

“She needs a better trip to compete,” said Svanstedt. “She hasn’t raced in a long time so maybe she can be sharper (in the final). I’m happy that she made it to the final. She can perform better.”

Nancy Takter – Hambletonian, Keg Stand and Looks Like Moni; Oaks, Mon Cheval and Selfie Queen

Keg Stand and Looks Like Moni both reached the Hambletonian finals in fifth place. Keg Stand, who is 10-1, has two wins, both in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, in three starts this season, while Looks Like Moni, who is 15-1, has one win in eight starts.

Keg Stand has two wins, both in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, in three starts this season for trainer Nancy Takter. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

“I was super happy with (Keg Stand),” said Takter, who won Oaks 2020 with Sorella. “He has never raced in this type of competition so it was nice to see that he seemed to fit in. He was finishing full trot.

“He trained really well all winter and qualified really well. I checked him out just to see how he was doing and he had an (epiglottal) trap. So we had to do an incarceration operation, which was a bit complicated and took extra time. I didn’t think he would make it to the Hambletonian but he earned his way there.

“(Looks Like Moni) is quite versatile. He can walk, he can sit, so I think that’s his strength. It’s kind of practical, so that’s good.”

Selfie Queen and Mon Cheval both reached the Oaks Finals in fourth place. Selfie Queen, last year’s Kentucky Championship Series winner and second fastest 2-year-old trotter of the season, has won five of 15 races of her life and is 10-1. Mon Cheval, a five-time winner on the Pennsylvania Stakes Trail and a winner of the Tompkins-Geers division in July, is 15-1.

“I think (Selfie Queen) should definitely take a step forward with another launch under its belt. It’s just that she wants to do her job next week,” said Takter. “That’s what matters. She has the speed and the talent, she just has to pull it all together at once.

“(Mon Cheval) rode well. (Driver Andrew McCarthy) said she had a lot of trot in the finish but he went inside and she hesitated a bit. There was no room to go outside and sometimes horses aren’t really used to going inside and she just pulled herself up a bit. But I was very happy with her.”

Lucas Wallin – Hambletonian, Rejection; Eichen, Manon

Rebuff won his Hambletonian elimination and is the 9-5 favorite in the finals. Manon finished fifth in her Oaks elimination, her only finish worse than second in seven starts this season. She has five wins.

Rebuff drove to victory in his Hambletonian elimination. Lisa’s photo.

“I think without a helmet (Rebuff) is as fast as any trotter I’ve ridden,” said driver Tim Tetrick, who won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share and the 2010 Hambletonian with Bar Slide and 2007 with Danae. “On the front he’s looking around and fooling around waiting for someone to come up to him. It looks deceptively like it’s done, but it’s far from done.”

Wallin said of Manon, “We’re probably going to take off her shoes and put her first pop outs on her and also do some tack changes (for the finals). We have been waiting for the right race and now we believe this is the right race for it.”

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