Big Chocolate captured one of two $20,000 eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial Friday
night, July 29 at The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ.
Steering that 2-year-old trotting colt to victory was local driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler, who guided his charge to his first career victory in 1:57 over a sloppy racetrack.
Hochstetler, 58, is a mainstay on the Windy City harness racing scene and to date has driven 1,376 winners to $11.3 million in earnings during his career. As well, he’s harnessed 1,520 winner to $16.8 million as a conditioner of Standardbreds.
Owner Richard Keys of Chicago, IL bred the colt by Chocolatier-Shez Mine, who now has $56,270 in career earnings.
“I just kind of stayed in the back and wanted to see how thinks shook out,” said Hochstetler, who is based at Balmoral Park, in suburban Crete, IL. ”If he gets led up he usually trots straight to the wire and he did tonight. He raced really well last week and that was only his second start. I thought he would be stronger tonight.”
Lightning Storm and driver Yannick Gingras captured their elimination in 1:57.
The $400,000 Peter Haughton Memorial Final will be contested on Hambletonian day, August 6 at The Meadowlands.
Astarsborn Hanover, Blomkvist, No Frosting, Nothing But Class, Possess The Will, Power Play, Quit Smoking Now and Trojan Horse will join Big Chocolate and Lightning Storm in next week’s final.