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Cool Papa Bell wins Hambletonian in biggest upset ever

Coming from baseball, Scott Farber had a perfect name for the yearling he brought in for $100,000 in 2020.

Hall of Fame and Negro League legend Cool Papa Bell was considered by many to be the fastest man to ever play, and Farber hoped his trotter would one day emulate James Thomas Bell as a runner.

The wish came true on Saturday as Cool Papa Bell scored the biggest upset in Hambletonian history, charging late to edge out filly Joviality S by three-quarter lengths in a wild finish at Meadowlands Racetrack in the run the most prestigious for 3-year-olds at the trot.

“It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world,” said Farber, who grew up in Palisades Park, New Jersey, and pitched a full game when neighboring William Paterson College beat California Lutheran 3-1 to win the title. NCAA Division III in 1992.

His father got him interested in racing and he later became the owner.

Cool Papa Bell, a 52-1 long shot, with driver Todd McCarthy wins the Hambletonian.

“Satchel Paige said, you know, (Bell) was so quick he’d flip a switch on and before it was off he’d be in bed under the covers,” Farber said.

“That was the whole point of the name and it proved me right today,” the owner said.

The stunning 52-1 shot win gave coach Jim Campbell a sweep of the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks on Saturday. It also gave promising driver Todd McCarthy his first win at the Hambletonian.

Cool Papa Bell paid $106, $25.40 and $10.20 after completing the mile at the Meadowlands in 1:51.3. The previous biggest upset was when Amigo Hall paid $57 after winning in 2003.

Campbell joins Jimmy Takter (2014 and 2015) and Jan Johnson (1988) as the only managers to win both Hambletonians in the same year.

“It’s amazing,” Campbell said. “It’s something that I never imagined could happen because it’s so difficult to get a horse into one of the races. To go out and win both, I’m just very lucky. I’ve been out of here several nights when things weren’t going well. I would get in my truck and I would be angry. A day like today erases all the bad days I’ve ever had in horse racing.

Cool Papa Bell wins Hambletonian in biggest upset ever
Cool Papa Bell owner Scott Farber, left, and trainer Jim Campbell are all smiles after their win at Hambletonian.

Campbell also won the Hambletonian in 1995 with Tagliabue, named after then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Joviality S, trying to become the third filly in five years to win the Hambletonian, brought in $4.40 and $3.20 as runner-up with Brian Sears on the bike. Temporal Hanover, piloted by Orjan Kihlstrom, paid $6.60 to show up in the peloton of 10.

Starting from the No. 6 post position, McCarthy and Cool Papa Bell raced to the back of the pack for the first half mile of the race. Going back inside, McCarthy had Cool Papa Bell in fourth place as the peloton reached the top of the stretch. He moved the colt to the outside and closed fastest of all to win the 97th running of the Hambletonian.

Highly favored Rebuff and rider Tim Tetrick finished sixth after leading the field entering the stretch. Third choice Jiggy Jog S, the other filly in the race, finished fourth.

In the Oaks, Tetrick quickly moved Fashion Schooner from the No. 10 outpost, took the lead early and took a 2 1/4 length win. The filly completed the mile in 1:51.2 winning for the fifth time in eight starts this year.

Warrawee Xenia and Venerable, the winners of last weekend’s eliminations and heavy favorites, both lost momentum and never made the cut.

New York Post

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