Saturday, October 14, 2017
New York, NY - by Ken Weingartner - Defending champion Resolve on Tuesday drew post six and was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway. The 6-year-old stallion will be driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt in the 1-1/4 mile invitational for older trotters.
The 39th International Trot features a field of 10, with horses representing the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The event’s press conference and draw was held at Manhattan’s 21 Club.
Resolve, owned by Hans Enggren and one of two U.S. representatives, has won four of 10 races this year and earned $485,149. Two of his wins this season have come at distances greater than one mile; the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial, both at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands.
He faced international competition in Sweden’s Elitloppet, where he finished third.
For his career, Resolve has won 18 of 62 races and earned $2.61 million.
“I would rather have seen him draw from (post) one through four, but you could have four other bad numbers too,” said Sarah Svanstedt, the wife of Ake Svanstedt, who missed the draw because of driving commitments elsewhere. “He’s in the middle. He’s a versatile horse, so it’s not too big of a problem.”
The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Resolve will attempt to join Roquepine (1967-68), Delmonica Hanover (1973-74), Ideal Du Gazeau (1981-83) and Lutin D’Isigny (1984-85) as horses to win the event in consecutive years.
Resolve enters the International Trot off a seventh-place finish in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 8 at Mohawk Racetrack. He was found to be sick, possibly from a tick bite.
“We trained him and everything looks normal,” Svanstedt said. “He looks happy and fresh. He will do his best to defend it. He’s a fighter. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
In Secret, the remaining U.S. representative, drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. George Brennan will drive the Ron Burke trainee, who has won six of his past seven starts, all at Yonkers. The 5-year-old gelding has won 21 of 75 career races and earned $358,385. He is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables, and Larry Karr.
“He gets around (Yonkers) really good,” Brennan said. “It’s unfortunate he’s got the eight hole. That puts us up against it. I think he fits in real good, if he drew good.
“But it’s still a horserace. It doesn’t matter where you draw, it matters where you finish.”
Canada’s Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner and Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, drew post one and is 5-1 for driver Scott Zeron and the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling.
“I looked over at Scott and he said anything but the one (post) was going to be a disappointment, so he’s happy,” Keeling said. “We’re pleased. Our nose is on the gate and that’s the most important part.”
Marion Marauder, owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won this year’s Hambletonian Maturity at the distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. The 4-year-old stallion has won 14 of 35 lifetime races and earned $2.22 million. Last year he won his elimination and final of the Yonkers Trot in his only career starts at Yonkers Raceway.
He heads to the International Trot off a 1:53.4 win in a qualifier Oct. 3 at Mohawk Racetrack. His most recent race was Sept. 8, when he was eighth in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot.
“He’s healthy now,” Keeling said. “He’s trained great and he qualified great. We’re just hoping for some good weather and a good day.”
Italy’s Twister Bi, who won this year’s Oslo Grand Prix and is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, drew post four and is 4-1. France’s Dreammoko, a son of 2015 International Trot runner-up and 2017 Elitloppet winner Timoko, will start from post three and is 6-1.
Oasis Bi, another representative of Italy, drew post two and is 5-1. Oasis Bi finished second in last year’s International Trot and is joined by Sweden’s On Track Piraten as a three-time participant in the event. On Track Piraten, who finished fourth last year, starts this year from post 10 in the second tier and is 8-1.
Midnight Hour, a Diesel Don-sired 6-year-old gelding with two Group 1 wins under his belt this year, drew post seven and is 10-1. He is one of two horses representing Finland in the race. The other, Shadow Woodland, will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky and starts from post five at 12-1 on the morning line.
Denmark’s Tripolini VP drew post nine in the second tier and is 15-1.
The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot.
Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds.
1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1
2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1
3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1
4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1
5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1
6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1
7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1
8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1
9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1
10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1
Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. and Oasis Bi start from the second tier.