August 2, 2008
The richest harness race in North America is the $1.5 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters, one full lap of the 1 mile oval at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. 25,006 were on hand on Saturday for the special afternoon card of racing, with rains early in the card downgrading the track to "good". Deweycheatumnhowe, a perfect 14-for-14 lifetime, was bet down to 2-5 favoritism over Crazed at 7-2, who won his elimination heat in a career best time of 1:52 2/5. Canadian invader Clerk Magistrate was the 11-1 third choice, exiting a win in the Goodtimes at Mohawk and then a runner-up placing in the Hambletonian elimination.
Driver-trainer and co-owner Ray Schnittker took advantage of the inside post, getting the jump on the field to lead around the clubhouse turn saving ground on the pylons through slow fractions of 26 4/5, 55 seconds, and 1:23 2/5, while being stalked by longshot Velocity Hall and second choice Crazed down the backstretch. Turning for home, Velocity Hall tired but Crazed had something left, as driver Tim Tetrick moved him out to the two path for the stretch. Crazed gained steadily on the favorite, but under a right-handed whip Deweycheatumnhowe dug in late to hold on for the 1/2 length victory in 1:52. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to longshot Make It Happen third.
Ray Schnittker said, "I don't think the front end was that great today, 26 4/5. I actually thought he might be getting beat halfway down the lane. He dug deep. He just dug in and refused to let (Crazed) get by. I guess an old dog has a hard time learning new tricks. I said, OK, if we get beat we get beat, but I'm going to do what's worked best for me. I was trying to back into Dave (Miller and Velocity Hall) as much as I could. I knew he didn't have much stock and was just trying to keep Crazed from having a fresh shot at me, keep him as long as I could. About a quarter of the way down the lane, we were trying for all we could go. (Crazed) was coming; it was a dogfight. I would have rather won by eight. I have a lot of great partners and a lot of great owners. I had a lot of people pulling for me and wishing me luck - drivers, race secretaries, judges - it was really surprising.
Asked where the colt would go next, he said, "We'll go to the World Trotting Derby (in Du Quoin, IL), and then up to Canada (for the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk) and Kentucky (for the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile), and if he's still sound he's going to go to the Breeders Crown (back at the Meadowlands)."
Deweycheatumnhowe is named after a Three Stooges skit about a trio of shiester lawyers. They have this poster hanging in his barn.
Tim Tetrick behind second place finisher Crazed said, "He is the real dream; he is fast and can go with the big boys. We get to be in the dance. (Deweycheatumnhowe) is a great animal and even if you race second, that's not bad compared to Dewey. This is lots of fun, especially at our ages. He's (trainer Frank Antonacci) 24 and I'm 26; the young guns are here."