Royalty For Life lead 10 into Hambletonian final
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Stanley Dancer Memorial winner Royalty For Life established himself as the favorite for the $1.2 million Hambletonian with an impressive victory in the first heat of trotting's most prestigious race.
Creatine won the second heat and trainer Chuck Sylvester's Spider Blue chip also won a heat to advance to the final later Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
This marks the first time since 1996 that the Hambletonian has been contested in heats on the same day.
Royalty For Life trotted the fastest mile, clocking 1:52 for driver Brian Seats. Creatine was time in 1:52 4/5 for driver Mike Lachance, while Spider Blue Chip covered the mile in 1:53 4/5 in giving Sylvester a chance at a record-tying fifth win.
Also advancing to the final were Smilin Eli and High Bridge in the first heat; Wheeling N Dealin and Aperfectyankee in the second heat; and Corky and Lauderdale in the third.
Dontyouforgetit was the 10th 3-year-old to make the final as the fourth-place finisher with the highest career earnings.