by Frank Carulli
August 6, 2019
Forbidden Trade, a champion 2-year-old in Canada last year, scaled new heights last Saturday at the Meadowlands. He trotted to a 1:51 victory in the world’s most prestigious race – the $1 million Hambletonian – and defeated a rival that his driver, Bob McClure, deemed “probably invincible” after the elimination heats earlier in the day.
Greenshoe got the jump and defeated Forbidden Trade by 2 lengths while geared down in the Hambletonian eliminations, earning 1-to-5 favoritism in the finals. But Forbidden Trade turned the tables at 15-1 odds in the 94th running of the trotting classic. He followed a first-over bid by elimination winner Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) into the stretch while Greenshoe played catch-up after racing erratically at the start for Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears.
In mid-stretch, Forbidden Trade forged to the lead in the 4-path but appeared in deep trouble as Greenshoe found his best footing and drew even with a full head of steam. But Forbidden Trade dug in and prevailed by a neck for his 12th win in 19 starts for owner Serge Godin’s Determination stable and trainer Luc Blais.
Forbidden Trade paid $33.80 to win and triggered a $105 exacta with Greenshoe and a $733 trifecta with Gimpanzee (David Miller), the previously unbeaten New York sire stakes champion who rallied from far back to finish third, giving trainer Marcus Melander two in-the-money finishers.
“It was two incredible colts fighting it out,” McClure said. “I don’t think there was a loser in that, but we’re really happy to get out on top.”
More than $6.5 million was wagered on the 16-race card that featured several stakes records and played out this way:
$500k HAMBLETONIAN OAKS (3yoF trotters): When Dovescry ($6.60, Simon Allard) took the lead at the quarter pole and handed favorite Millies Possession (Dexter Dunn) her first loss, holding off a first-over challenge to win by 2 lengths in 1:50.2. The win meant “everything” to Simon Allard, who was granted one-time use of the whip used by his idol, the late Hall of Famer Herve Filion, for the race. In addition, Allard’s brother, Rene, trains When Dovescry for co-owners Bruce Soulsby, Yves Sarrazin, Kaplideo Singh and Lawrence Dumain.
$230k SAM McKEE MEMORIAL (FFA pacers): Lather Up ($3.80) shrugged off a first-over challenge from reigning Horse of the Year McWicked (Sears) and spurted away from pocket-sitting runner-up This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) in the stretch for a 3-3/4-length score in a record 1:59.2 for 1-1/8 miles. “He couldn’t have done it easier,” said driver Montrell Teague.
$280k JOHN CASHMAN MEMORIAL (FFA trotters): Crystal Fashion ($18.80, David Miller) sat the pocket trip and surged past favorites Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) and Guardian Angel AS (Tetrick) in the closing yards to win in a stakes-record equaling 1:50. Jim Campbell prepared Crystal Fashion for his first start against older rivals for owner Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farms.
$183k LADY LIBERTY (FFA mare pacers): The incomparable Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) drew closer to multi-millionaire status with her 38th lifetime victory in a world record 1:46.4. Jim King Jr. trains last year’s Older Female Pacer of the Year for owners Richard Pollucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC.
$186k DR. JOHN STEELE MEMORIAL (FFA mare trotters): Manchego ($3.80, Dunn) repeated as champion in a stakes-record 1:50 trot for trainer Nancy Johansson and owner Black Horse Racing.
$324k PETER HAUGHTON MEMORIAL (2yo trotters): Real Cool Sam ($3, David Miller) picked up live cover off 40-1 Expectations (Sears), tipped 3-wide for the stretch drive and won by 2-1/4 lengths in 1;53.1. Longshot Rome Pays Off (Orjan Kihlstrom) rallied for second after he was shuffled on the turn.
$310k JIM DOHERTY MEMORIAL (2yoF trotters): Hypnotic AM ($3, Sears) bid first-over on the final turn, headed second favorite Crucial (Gingras) at the top of the stretch and won geared down by 2 lengths over late-running Sherry Lyns Lady (Tetrick).
$285k CANE PACE (3yo pacers): There won’t be a Pacing Triple Crown winner this year because Captain Crunch, the 4-to-5 favorite, won the first jewel but isn’t eligible for the upcoming Messenger Stakes. With Scott Zeron in the bike, Captain Crunch followed Bettor’s Wish (Dunn) around the track before catching up in the closing yards to win by a neck in 1:48. It was trainer Nancy Johansson’s second stakes winner of the day, this one for owners Christina Takter, 3 Brothers Stable, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.
$100k SHADY DAISY (3yoF pacers): Tall Drink Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) set all the pace and held safe for her 11th victory in 19 starts. Trillions Hanover (David Miller) split rivals with a late burst to finish a neck behind in second. Tony Alagna trains and co-owns the track record-setter with Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing.