Linda Toscano first woman trainer to win Hambletonian
When Linda Toscano got involved in harness racing, she never dreamed she would get a chance to make history.
One year after her colt Chapter Seven ran fourth in the $1.5-million Hambletonian, Toscano got her shot at redemption -- and Market Share came through, holding off two late closers and winning trotting's premier race at the New Meadowlands Racetrack Saturday.
The win made the 57-year-old Brooklyn-born Toscano the first female trainer to walk off with the Hambletonian trophy for the race that has been run since 1926.
"It's kind of like winning an Oscar or pitching a perfect game. It's really surreal," Toscano said.
It was also the first Hambletonian victory for driver Tim Tetrick, who has won more than 7,000 races.
Market Share, a New Jersey-bred who was a $16,000 purchase as a yearling, went off as the second choice at 4-1 and returned $10.80 to win. The winning time was 1 minute, 52.1 seconds.
Toscano said that she was holding her breath as she watched Market Share try to hold off Guccio and My MVP.
"I kept saying, 'Please, wire, hurry up,' " Toscano said. "I just wish my dad was here. He was the one who brought me into the sport. He had been dragging me to tracks since 1975. I tried thoroughbreds, but I found it a little impersonal. I found my home with harness racing."
Earlier on the card, Toscano's Chapter Seven won the $250,000 Nat Ray Invitational in a world record of 1:50.1.