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Donato to make 2007 debut Friday

June 26, 2007

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Donato Hanover\'s much-anticipated 2007 debut and an exciting match-up between Mr Muscleman and Vivid Photo headline the Historic Week stakes action June 27-30 at the Meadowlands.  

Donato Hanover, the 2006 Two-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, makes his first pari-mutuel start of the year in the $85,000 Historic Dickerson on Friday night. The frontrunner for this year\'s $1.5 million Hambletonian will start from post seven in the third race on Friday, with Ron Pierce listed to drive. Trained by Steve Elliott, Donato Hanover won eight of nine starts at two, including the Peter Haughton Memorial and Breeders Crown. He enters the Dickerson Cup with three sharp morning qualifier miles under his belt.

\"He\'s getting full of himself, and, touch wood, he seems pretty good,\" said trainer Steve Elliott.

Seven other sophomore trotters will join Donato Hanover in the Dickerson Cup, which was first raced in 1910. 

Mr. Muscleman and Vivid Photo top the field for the $240,000 Titan Cup, race eight, on Saturday night. In his first race back on U.S. soil after finishing second in Sweden\'s famed Elitlopp, Mr. Muscleman scored a 1:55 win over Vivid Photo in last week\'s $40,000 prep race for the Titan Cup. The 7-year-old gelding has won 37 of 67 career starts and is four-for-six in 2007. He is the sport\'s richest Standardbred in training with a bankroll of $3.5 million in earnings. 

Vivid Photo, the 2005 Hambletonian champion, has won two of his four starts this season, including the $250,000 Classic Series final at Mohawk. Lifetime, the 5-year-old gelding has a record of 29 wins in 56 career starts and $2.2 million in earnings. Vivid Photo will start from post three in the Titan Cup, while Mr. Muscleman drew to his outside and will start from post seven. The field for the Titan Cup, from the rail out: Ripped, Bacardi Lindy, Vivid Photo, Sand Vic, Hez Striking, Corleone Kosmos, Mr Muscleman, Man About Town and Swan Image.

The Dickerson and Titan cups are two of nine Historic stakes events to be contested this week. Originally raced at the Goshen Historic Track in New York, the Historic Week stakes moved to the Meadowlands in 1979. 

Historic Week begins Wednesday with three $38,000 divisions of the Debutante for freshman pacing fillies, carded as races two, three and five. Two $45,450 divisions of the Acorn for 2-year-old trotting fillies will be raced prior to the start of the card. 

Two-year-old colt trotters embark on their first major stakes outing in a pair of $53,500 E.H. Harriman Cup divisions, races two and three, on Thursday night. Donato Hanover captured last year\'s Harriman Cup en route to divisional honors. Two $50,000 divisions of the Goshen Cup for freshman pacing colts are also featured as the first and fourth races on the Thursday card. 

In addition to the Dickerson Cup, the Friday night card also features two $44,000 divisions of the Coaching Club Oaks, the companion event for fillies. The $56,000 Ladyship for sophomore pacing fillies will also be contested that evening, prior to the start of the racing card.

Historic Week concludes on Saturday night with the Titan Cup and the $62,800 Jersey Cup for 3-year-old pacers, which will be raced prior to the start of the card. Sharing the spotlight are two $50,000 eliminations for the $600,000 estimated William R. Haughton Memorial for free-for-all pacers. (Meadowlands)
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