A Standardbred with Thoroughbred ties is among the favorites for the $1-million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters Aug. 7 at Meadowlands in New Jersey.
Eilean Donan races for Kentuckians Steve Stewart, Ben Taylor, and the estate of Joe Taylor. In December 2003, Joe Taylor, the longtime farm manager for Clarence Gaines and his son, John, died in an auto accident. While working for the Gaines family, Taylor raised Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. After Gainesway Farm was sold, the Taylor family developed Taylor Made Farms near Nicholasville, Ky.
Joe Taylor dedicated his one-third share of Eilean Donan's earnings to support the work of ConQuest, a national network of clubs and camps for Catholic boys age five to 15. The colt already has raised more than $95,000 for the program.
Eilean Donan, who drew post position three in the 10-horse Hambletonian field, is trained by Bob Stewart, who is based at The Red Mile in Lexington.
"Ben Taylor, Joe's son, got involved in harness racing through his dad," said Bob Stewart, Steve's brother. "He has been getting interested in it more and more, and follows what's happening in the sport. He likes the idea that the Standardbreds race a lot more often than the Thoroughbreds. Eilean Donon has been a lot of fun."
Eilean Donon, who won one of two Hambo eliminations July 31 at Meadowlands, is named for a castle in Scotland.