Check Me Out to race in Hambo Oaks
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Ray Schnittker told harnessracing.com Friday afternoon that he has decided to race his 3-year-old filly trotter Check Me Out in the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks and not enter her against the colts in the $1.5 million Hambletonian. Eliminations for both races are scheduled for Saturday, July 28, at the Meadowlands, with the finals on Saturday, Aug. 4.
"I have to do what's best for the horse so we're going to go in the Oaks,” said Schnittker. "I think going into the Hambletonian would have been more about pumping my chest and hoping I had a horse who could beat them, and I don't know if it's all that great for the horse.
"If she was in against the colts and she got extended and whether she won or got beat, I'd be kicking my ass if she never raced good again. And this is a one-year deal for her since it's not like she's a stud. So that's my reasoning.”
Check Me Out has won five races in a row after finishing second in her season debut. Her last victory came in the $245,500 Del Miller Memorial 3-Year-Old Filly Trot July 14 at the Meadowlands when she scored a world-record 1:51.3 victory. Schnittker said after that win that he was leaning heavily toward racing Check Me Out in the Hambletonian, but after talking to some other horsemen and sleeping one final night on it on Thursday, he decided to keep the filly against her own division.
"I was thinking about it and I kept thinking that it was because I'd be doing it for myself, and not the horse,” said Schnittker, who shares ownership of Check Me Out with Charles Iannazzo. "I asked a bunch of people and it was kind of 50-50, probably more said that I should take a shot (in the Hambletonian). I know the Hambo is a lot of money, but $750,000 is a lot of money too. After all is said and done, my thinking is that it is best for the horse.”