Hambo DQ hearing set for late January
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Trainer Ron Burke told harnessracing.com that the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law will hold its first hearing regarding the disqualification of What The Hill in this year's Hambletonian at the end of January.
"We had to sue to get the right to have a hearing in front of the (New Jersey) Commission and that will be before a hearing officer on Jan. 23," said Burke. "What it has cost us to get to where we are, if we weren't fighting for first it would be hard to absorb the cost."
What The Hill crossed the wire first in the $1 million Hambletonian final on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands, but the track judges ruled interference had occurred when Guardian Angel As went offstride in midstretch. What The Hill was disqualified to ninth and runner-up Perfect Spirit was moved up to first.
What The Hill went on to later win the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Trot and the TVG Open Trot against older horses, finishing the year with $948,178 in earnings.
"In a way (the disqualification) makes it worse," said Burke. "If you add the Hambletonian to his resume he'd become a special horse. There is nobody that would have won all those races. There isn't the appreciation for how good a horse he really is. But it is what it is. Some of the wins after were very satisfying but (the Hambletonian) is a race we haven't won yet."