Canadian-based Forbidden Trade, driven by Elora, Ont.'s Bob McClure, trained by Campbellville, Ont.'s Luc Blais and owned by Determination of Montreal, Que., upset favoured Greenshoe en route to victory in the 94th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian on Saturday, August 3 at The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.
Forbidden Trade bests stablemates Greenshoe (2) and Gimpanzee (6) in the $1 million 2019 Hambletonian Final at The Meadowlands. (Lisa Photo)
Driver Bob McClure left sharply off the gate with Forbidden Trade from post six, along side another strong speedster, Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) in post five. Marseille managed to clear all his rivals and find the front in a sharp :26.1.
Pilot Discretion (Andy McCarthy) looped to the front from the pocket and made the second call in :55 with Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) right-lined from third to commence an attck first over. McClure followed that cover to sit second over, with favoured Greenshoe (Brian Sears) on his helmet. The tempo increased significantly as the field approached the third quarter, with Green Manalishi S looking to hold the edge on Pilot Discretion through a 1:23.2 third panel. McClure started to tip off Forbidden Trade off Tetrick's helmet, and the stretch drive was on.
Forbidden Trade started to wear down Green Manalishi but faced a fresh threat in Greenshoe. It looked as though Greenshoe would fly by but Forbidden Trade would not be denied. McClure asked his colt for more, and Forbidden Trade responded with another gear to repel the deep-stretch challenge and win in a lifetime best 1:51. Gimpanzee (David Miller) rallied well for third. Completing the top five were Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) and Green Manalishi S.
"It was a little anxious in the first turn. I knew there was a horse outside of me so I didn't want to go to the rail," said McClure after the monumental win. "I was lucky enough that he ducked behind me so I could get a little bit of helmet time. I was following a real good horse in Green Manalishi and he got me where I needed to go. The only looming danger was Greenshoe, and when they hooked up...it was a good race.
"My horse just has a lot of class. They're two really incredible colts fighting it out, I don't think there's really a loser in that but I'm really glad we came out on top."
Forbidden Trade (Kadabra - Pure Ivory) now sports a record of 5-2-1 from eight sophomore starts. Lifetime, Forbidden Trade's sumary stands at 12-2-2 from 19 starts with $972,077 in earnings. He was a $110,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase in 2017.
This is the first Hambletonian win for driver McClure, trainer Blais and owner Determination Racing of Montreal, Quebec. The win also gives Hall of Fame stallion Kadabra his first Hambletonian winner, with Forbidden Trade joining Yankee Paco (2000) and Amigo Hall (2003) as Ontario-sired Hambletonian champions.
McClure, 28, also becomes the third youngest winning driver in Hambletonian history, winning the race many consider harness racing's holy grail in his first Hambletonian drive. He stated before the race that his colt couldn't be coming into the Hambletonian any better.
"We were confident he could be competitive...you never know just how much was left in Greenshoe's tank but I did figure he had the ability to go with these horses. Obviously he stayed healthy and stayed sound, and good on Luc to keep him that way. We're just going to enjoy it."
This will be the last Hambletonian with multiple heats in the same day as the Hambletonian Society has shifted the race back to an elimination format for 2020.
Check out all the happenings from 2019 Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands in the 2019 Hambletonian Day News Centre