EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., AUG. 4 -- Harmonious took the lead midway through the stretch and held Embassy Lobell at bay to capture the $1,346,000 Hambeltonian at the Meadowlands in straight heats today.
The Hambletonian victory was the third in four years for driver John Campbell and it also gave owner Frank Antonacci and his Lindy Racing Stable a record fourth triumph in the trotting classic.
More important for Antonacci, the success was against his archrival in the horse-owner ranks, Lou Guida; last year's Hambletonian final ended in a bitter dead heat between Park Avenue Joe and Probe.
Park Avenue Joe, owned by Guida, and Probe, owned by Antonacci, were eventually declared co-winners of the race, but only after Antonacci went to court to challenge a track ruling giving the race to Park Avenue Joe based on better overall performance in the heats.
The winners' purses from last year's race are still being disputed in a New Jersey appeals court.
There will be no dispute this year. Harmonious and Guida's Embassy Lobell were both impressive in winning their divisions of the opening heat. Harmonious was by far the better horse in the second heat, trotting the mile in 1:54 1/5, third fastest in the 65-year history of the Hambletonian.
Only Mack Lobell had trotted faster, winning in 1:54 and 1:53 3/5 in 1987. Campbell also drove him and Armbro Goal to Hambletonian wins.
"I was very confident making the turn," Campbell said.