Deweycheatumnhowe was the toast of Orange County after winning last year's Hambletonian.

Deweycheatumnhowe was the toast of Orange County after winning last year's Hambletonian.

While this year's Hambletonian favorite, Muscle Hill, is not a local product, there are plenty of contenders with local connections who could pull off the upset at harness racing's biggest event on Aug. 8.

Blue Chip Farm in Wallkill has bred or raised several of the 3-year-old trotting colts that will be running in the three elimination races on Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Cesar A Blue Chip, which was a $170,000 yearling bred and raised at Blue Chip for 18 months, has won four of 14 career starts and earned $108,058. He won the Dickerson in career best 1:54.1 and was third in the Stanley Dancer behind Federal Flex and Mr Cantab.

Federal Flex, who is stabled at Mark Ford's farm in Middletown, should compete with Muscle Hill, who was the 2-year-old Trotter of the Year.

"I think the favorite, Muscle Hill, will be hard to beat," said Mike Kimelman, president of Blue Chip Farm. "He's on Dewey's level. That's how good he is. But hopefully one of ours can compete with him."

Blue Chip, which owns a part of Cesar A Blue Chip, also owns his mother, Glad You Asked, who made $187,381 in her career. Cesar A Blue Chip will be in the second division elimination race with Judge Joe and Calchips Brute.

Judge Joe, who had a five-race winning streak snapped on July 19 at Tioga Downs, and Calchips Brute were both sired by Credit Winner, the top stallion at Blue Chip.

Credit Winner was also the sire of Crazed, who was runner-up to Dewey in last year's Hambletonian.

In the first elimination race, Explosive Matter, Citation Lindy and Hot Shot Blue Chip also have local connections. Explosive Matter was raised at Blue Chip for 18 months and Hot Shot Blue Chip was a $110,000 yearling bred and raised at Blue Chip. Citation Lindy, who has three wins in 10 starts this year, is trained and driven by Ray Schnittker of Middletown.

"I think Cesar A Blue Chip and Explosive Matter have the best chance of challenging Muscle Hill," Kimelman said. "Hot Shot is the one I'm most surprised by. He does enough to get you tempted, but not enough to give you confidence. Hot Shot is crazy fast and has the ability, but he's erratic and makes breaks. If he can stay trotting, he could be a surprise."

Explosive Matter was second in the Breeder's Cup last year and has won seven of 10 career starts. He was second to Muscle Hill in the Stanley Dancer and has earned $434,910.

In the third race, Big Bikkies was also raised at Blue Chip. Big Bikkies didn't race as a 2-year-old and has one win in four career starts.

In the Hambletonian Oaks, which is the big race for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Honorable Daughter, Celebrity Athena and Celebrity Juliet are the local favorites. Honorable Daughter is owned by John Siena and Paolo Rosanelli of Middletown and has 11 wins in 14 career starts, as well as nearly $1 million in her career.

Celebrity Athena and Celebrity Juliet are both owned by Sam Stathis of Celebrity Farms in Middletown. Celebrity Athena has two wins this year and has earned $153,615, and Celebrity Juliet has two wins in five starts this season and has earned more than $214,000.

"We'll be watching on Hambo day and see what happens," Kimelman said. "That's why they race them."