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JACKSON'S FANNING HOPES FOR HAMBLETONIAN LUCK

Asbury Park Press

By Ken Weingartner, Correspondent
5:02 p.m. EDT August 6, 2015
Asbury Park Press

FREEHOLD, NJ -- August 6, 2015 -- Fashion Creditor is heading to Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands off the fastest winning mile of his life and trainer Tom Fanning of Jackson, NJ believes the colt could take another step forward on harness racing’s biggest stage.


Tom Fanning [Mark Hall Photo/USTA]


The Hambletonian is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown and attracted a field of 18 male trotters and one female – world champion Mission Brief. She is the 6-5 favorite in the second of two $100,000 elimination races on Saturday, with Pinkman being the 8-5 favorite in the first division. The top five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final.

Coverage of the Hambletonian will air from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Fashion Creditor won on July 31 at the Meadowlands in 1:52.3. He is 20-1 on the morning line in the first elimination and will start from post six with David Miller as his driver. Pinkman, the favorite, starts from post No. 10 on the extreme outside of the gate.

“We felt if he was sharp going into the race we would put him in there,” said Fanning, who trains Fashion Creditor for owner Joe Smith. “We tried to get him sharp for this time of year. He’s good right now, that’s for sure.

“He likes the Meadowlands. When he won last week it wasn’t really his trip being on the front like that. I think if he gets his trip, which is to follow along and sprint at the end, I think he’ll trot significantly faster this week. Whether it’s fast enough, I don’t know.”

In addition to Pinkman starting on the outside, Canepa Hanover, who is 3-1, is in post nine while Centurion ATM, who is 9-2, leaves from post eight. Pinkman has won six of seven races this year and 12 of 15 in his career while earning $1.18 million. He was voted harness racing’s best 2-year-old male trotter last year.

“I think there will be a lot of horses flat-out leaving or floating out of there, especially with the two horses in the nine and 10 holes,” Fanning said. “They’re not going to get away ninth or 10th. We can leave also a little bit. (Fashion Creditor) can find an early spot and hopefully they mix it up a lot. With those horses on the outside, I think they will mix it up.”

Mission Brief is bypassing Saturday’s $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is solely for 3-year-old filly trotters, to attempt to become the first female to beat the boys and win the Hambletonian since Continental victory in 1996. Mission Brief was voted the sport’s best 2-year-old female trotter last year and has won 12 of 17 career races.

She also holds the world record for the fastest time for any 2-year-old trotter in history, 1:50.3. This year, she has won three of four races while dealing with back woes, which have improved in recent weeks thanks to chiropractic work.

Fashion Creditor has won three of 18 lifetime races and earned $96,497. He has not finished worse than third in any of his four most recent starts. He will try to become the 56-year-old Fanning’s first Hambletonian finalist. Fanning and Smith sent Possessed Fashion into the 2013 Hambletonian eliminations, but the horse failed to advance to the final.

“We want to do good but we know we’re a little bit on the outside looking in,” Fanning said. “(Fashion Creditor) has to get a little bit lucky and he has to be at his very best.”
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