Owner Richard Keys of Chicago, IL bred the colt by Chocolatier- Shez Mine. Big Chocolate was driven by trainer Homer Hochstetler and paid $14.80 to win.

"I just kind of stayed in the back and wanted to see how thinks shook out," said Hochstetler. "It wasn't the greatest of trips but he's strong enough. If he gets led up he usually trots straight to the wire and he did tonight. He raced really well last week and that was only his second start. I thought he would be stronger tonight."

Lightning Storm and driver Yannick Gingras rallied in similar fashion, gunning down the leaders in the stretch, also winning their elimination in 1:57. The son of Donato Hanover-Lightning Flower was a $90,000 yearling purchase from the Lexington-Selected Sale for owner Tom Dillion of Anson, ME. Steve Elliot bred the Jonas Czernyson trainee. Lightening Storm returned $12.00.

The $400,000 Peter Haughton Memorial Final will be contested on Hambletonian day, August 6. Astarsborn Hanover, Blomkvist, No Frosting, Nothing But Class, Possess The Will, Power Play, Quit Smoking Now and Trojan Horse will join Big Chocolate and Lightning Storm in next week's final.

Friday's card also featured a pair of $20,000 eliminations for the $333,200 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies.

Action Broadway set a new lifetime mark of 1:52.3 in the $25,000 Miss Versatility Open for mares. Virgil Morgan Jr trains the 7-year-old daughter of Broadway Hall-Photo With Molly. She now has nine wins this season for owner Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, OH.