International Moni Takes First Hambletonian Elimination
Aug 5

It was a tight finish at the wire, but Goodtimes champion International Moni got the nod over Bills Man in Saturday's first $100,000 Hambletonian elimination for 3-year-old trotting colts at the Meadowlands. The final time was 1:52.3.

Guardian Angel As (Jason Bartlett) led early, but Giveitgasandgo (David Miller) overtook him for the top spot before the :27.4 opening quarter. Long Tom (Tim Tetrick) then came first-over out of third, and he would grab command well before the :56.1 half.

Bills Man (Corey Callahan) came first-over out of third past the half, giving cover to International Moni (Scott Zeron). They were still trailing Long Tom, though, as three-quarters went on the board in 1:24.2.

Turning for home the complexion of the race totally changed as Long Tom made a break and was taken into the safety lane. That left Bills Man in the lead and International Moni chasing, and Bills Man just got caught at the wire, falling a nose short to International Moni. Victor Gio It (Yannick Gingras) was up for third, followed by Guardian Angel As and Giveitgasandgo.

"I was so focused going into that race on preservation, just making sure I have a horse for final," said Zeron. "I know he's a good enough horse to get a top five, but I was so focused on that I think I may have had him a little too relaxed sitting second-over. He got the job done, though, and that's going to guarantee us one through five (post draw)."

International Moni (Lisa Photo)

Frank Antonacci trains International Moni, a colt by Love You, for owner/breeder Moni Maker Stable. Out of the late, great Moni Maker, International Moni is now four-for-four this year and has five career victories. He has earned $198,000 in 2017 and $389,763 lifetime.

International Moni suffered a bout of colic before a scheduled start on July 8 at the Meadowlands, but has bounced back from that, winning two straight races.

"I said to somebody earlier this week that the good ones to the great ones overcome things like (colic)," said Antonacci. "For what he's done over the last month, overcoming that, I think it speaks to the ability and to the grit that this horse has. A true blessing to have Moni Maker and now to have him.

"One of the attributes about him is that he's such a relaxed, easy-going horse. Just watching him follow those horses out there today even, he just goes about his business and nothing bothers him. I think he'll cool out well, and I like being in the first elimination - that helps. He's not going to hurt himself, that's for sure. Hopefully a relaxing 90 minutes and go at it again."


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