Hat Trick Habit on track for new connections
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The 3-year-old male trotter debuted for new owners John McGill and Brian Carsey and trainer Scott DiDomenico last weekend with a career-best 1:52.3 win at the Meadowlands Racetrack and could further stamp himself as a Hambletonian Stakes contender with another solid effort in Saturday’s Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Big M.
"He was very impressive," DiDomenico said. "We were really happy with him. He trotted good, he looked good, and we’re hoping for good things out of him."
A total of 16 horses entered the Dancer, which is for 3-year-old male trotters, and were divided into two $181,000 divisions. Hat Trick Habit and driver Tim Tetrick are in the first division, which also includes Goodtimes Stakes winner Wolfgang, who is the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands analyst/announcer Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian. The group also includes No. 5 Evaluate and No. 8 Classichap.
Division two features Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension, O’Brien Award-winner Alarm Detector, once-beaten Six Pack, and last year’s Peter Haughton Memorial champ You Know You Do. Six Pack is No. 2 in the Road to the Hambletonian, with Fourth Dimension third, Alarm Detector sixth and You Know You Do seventh. The race also includes No. 10 Samo Different Day.
Hat Trick Habit was acquired by McGill and Carsey at the end of June. The horse was owned previously by Fred Monteleone, who passed away in October.
For his career, Hat Trick Habit has won six of 14 races and earned $191,594. Of the five times he has failed to hit the board, three were in races that he went off stride. He finished fourth in the remaining two. The colt is a son of Donato Hanover out of Habit’s Best. He is a half-brother to O’Brien Award-winning millionaire Habitat and his family also includes millionaire Civil Action.
"He has a lot of ability and he’s very fast," DiDomenico said. "The biggest thing right now is to keep him in a routine where he’s jogging happy and we’re happy with the way he’s going and to keep him manageable in the race. Watching the replays of him, it looks like he could get revved up and if you wrestled with him he would make breaks. We’re trying to do our best to avoid that.
"He drove well (last weekend) and there was never really a tense moment, fortunately. We’ll try to keep it going that way. If we can harness some of that ability there are big things in his future."
A winner of the Dancer has gone on to capture the Hambletonian three of the past five years: Marion Marauder, Pinkman, and Royalty For Life. The $1.2 million Hambletonian is Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands.
"If told you I didn’t think about that I would be lying to you," DiDomenico said. "I think I’ve thought about it about 152 times. But we’re going to take one week at a time. The Dancer is next and hopefully things just keep going the way they are."
The Dancer is part of a card with the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, the William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and two divisions of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters.
Seven of the top nine horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will be in action: No. 1 Hannelore Hanover (Miss Versatility), No. 2 Shartin N (Golden Girls), No. 5 McWicked (Haughton), No. 6 Manchego (Miller), No. 7 Ariana G (Maturity), No. 8 Kissin In The Sand (Mistletoe Shalee), and No. 9 Wolfgang.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA