Fillies have won two of the last four annual Hambletonian Stakes races, and females Joviality S at 7/2 in post two and Jiggy Jog S in post five at 4/1 are the second and third morning-line choices for the big horse race at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday.
Rebuff, a winner of one of last week’s two Hambletonian Stakes eliminations and unbeaten in three starts this season, drew post one for the $1 million final at approximately 6:35 p.m., and was made the 9/5 favorite in the race for 3-year-old trotters.
This is the second time in three years that two fillies advanced to the Hambletonian final. Ramona Hill won both her elimination and the final in 2020, while Sister Sledge finished eighth in the final. The fabled filly Atlanta won the Hambo in 2018, and 15 fillies have won overall in 96 runnings of the race.
The Hambletonian is known as “the middle jewel” in the Trotting Triple Crown, between the Yonkers Trot and the Kentucky Futurity, which will be held Oct. 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile.
Rebuff leads the charge for the boys
Rebuff won last year’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters and now can boast of seven victories in 14 lifetime starts and $573,670 in purse earnings. He brings a six-race win streak, dating back to last October’s Hambletonian final, and will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky, seeking to reprise his 2012 Hambletonian win with Market Share.
Lucas Wallin is making his Hambo training debut with Rebuff, a son of Muscle Hill and Meucci Madness. As a driver last year, Wallin claimed seventh place aboard Cuatro De Julio.
Rebuff won his Hambletonian elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Fast As The Wind, and Wallin told Meadowlands Racetrack officials, “I couldn’t be happier with him. He came out of the race super good. We’re looking forward to Saturday. It’s going to be a nice and easy week for him. He jogged a couple of times here and he’s going to train tomorrow. Then after that, just relax and enjoy. This is the race we all want to win. I’ve been following it since I was 12 or 13 years old. It’s a dream come true.”
Jiggy Jog S won her elimination by a head over Temporal Hanover, while Joviality S was third, beaten by a neck. In 2022, Jiggy Jog S has an impressive four wins and two seconds in six races and has six wins in 17 career starts — including her last three — and earnings of $460,556.
Trainer Ake Svanstedt won last year’s Hambo with Captain Corey and also won in 2017 with Perfect Spirit.
“The owner wanted to go in the Hambletonian,” Svanstedt told a track official. “He said he would never have a chance to have a horse in the Hambletonian anymore because he’s in Sweden, and he’s just buying fillies in the sales.”
Joviality S, winner of the Yonkers Trot on July 1, is attempting to become only the third filly to win two jewels of the Trotting Triple Crown, which began in 1955. The two to accomplish the feat were Continentalvictory in 1996 (Yonkers Trot and Hambletonian) and Emily’s Pride in 1958 (Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity).
All the Hambo Day details
“Harness racing’s greatest day” at the Big M will feature $5 admission, with the traditional Hambletonian baseball cap handed out to adults and children. First race post time is at noon, and there will be a total of 16 races on Hambo Day for more than $3 million in stakes purses.
“The Backyard” picnic area will feature free carnival rides, games, and pony rides, and a free live concert by the Craig Sailer Project beginning at 11 am.
Food trucks will include Clyde’s Homemade Italian Ices and Ice Cream, Delicious BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster, The Mozzarella God, Mi Sabor Boricua, Caribbean Soul, The Little Sicilian, Magic Mike’s Smoked Meats, The Empanada Truck, Uncle Bob’s Kettle Corn, F&A’s Burgers, Wings and More, My Delicious BBQ, Angry Archie’s, and DAW Concessions.
There also will be a “Trotter’s Gold” golden ale brewed by Ghost Hawk Brewing Co. that commemorates 2021 Hambo winner Captain Corey.
The Hambo field
$1 million Hambletonian final
Post, Driver, Trainer, Morning Line
1. Rebuff, Tim Tetrick, Lucas Wallin, 9/5
2. Joviality S, Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, 7/2
3. Fast As The Wind, Dexter Dunn, Tony Alagna, 8/1
4. Keg Stand, David Miller, Nancy Takter, 10/1
5. Jiggy Jog S, Dexter Dunn, Ake Svanstedt, 4/1
6. Cool Papa Bell, Brian Sears, Jim Campbell, 15/1
7. Temporal Hanover, Orjan Kihlstrom, Marcus Melander, 8/1
8. King Of The North, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker, 15/1
9. Periculum, Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander, 15/1
10. Looks Like Moni, Andrew McCarthy, Nancy Takter, 15/1
Photo courtesy of Meadowlands Racetrack