The field for the $387,250 Peter Haughton Memorial, the Meadowlands' marquee event for 2-year-old colt trotters, was decided by a pair of elimination races on Friday night.
Major Athens took the first of the two $20,000 splits in a well-rated 1:56.2. Driven by Brian Sears, Major Athens brushed to command before the half, easily withstood the challenge of My Man Can and kicked away to a half-length tally. Corky was a locked-in second, while My Man Can held third. Respective third and fourth-place finishers Aperfectyankee and Hall Of Muscles also advanced to the Peter Haughton Memorial final on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands.
Richie Gillock trains Major Athens, a homebred son of Andover Hall-Miss Athens, for Thomas Brice of Plumville, Pa., and Charles Receski of Indiana, Pa.
Dewycolorintheline came on late to win the second elimination in 1:56 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker. The son of Schnittker's 2008 Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe tracked cover into the final turn and brushed past the faltering leader Show Ticket for a length victory. Fashion Blizzard capitalized on Show Ticket's mistake to finished second. Caveat Emptor and Max Andover advanced as the fourth and fifth-place finishers.
Schnittker and the Dewycolorintheline Stable purchased the colt for $110,000 at the Lexington-Selected sale. The victory was his first in four career starts. Dewycolorintheline and Major Athens earned their pick of post positions for the Peter Haughton final with their elimination wins.
To Dream On coasted to a 1:54.2 victory in the first of two $20,000 eliminations for the Merrie Annabelle for fillies. David Miller steered the Credit Winner lass to her third straight win for trainer Takter and Ontario owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. To Dream On was a $200,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg.
Raring To Go S sat a pocket trip en route to a 1:55.4 score in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination with Yannick Gingras in tow. Jonas Czerynson trains the daughter of From Above for owner-breeder Menhammar Stuteri (Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg) of New Canaan, Conn.
The field for the $354,450 Merrie Annabelle to be raced on Aug. 4: Bethel Hanover, Dewey Lane, Find The Magic, Lady Riviera, Miss Steele, Morningstar, Raring To Go S, Royal Assets, Time To Kill, To Dream On. (Meadowlands)