New York, NY - by USTA - Twister Bi assumed control from fellow world champion Resolve, then put on a trotting showcase in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. The 5-year-old stallion stopped the clock in a world record 2:22.1 at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Oct. 14), 5-1/2 lengths in front of the field.
Trainer Jerry Riordan said, "I just wanted everyone to see how good he really is."
They most certainly did.
Defending champion Resolve (Åke Svanstedt) assumed the lead as the field of 10 very established rivals left the gate with Italian representatives Oasis Bi (Kim Eriksson) and Twister Bi (Christoffer Eriksson) following his lead.
Oasis Bi made a menacing move to take command, but it truly was all Twister Bi. Once the stallion was provided his cue, the other nine horses were only trotting for minor awards.
As Twister Bi continued to roll home unopposed in any way, 2016 Triple Crown victor Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) advanced to head off Oasis Bi as they crossed the wire.
There was clearly no doubt who the best horse was in this contest today, despite Jerry Riordan's comment relating to Twister Bi as only the second Italian-bred equine to capture this event.
“The guy that won (driving Delfo in 1977) was Sergio Breghenti and he’s a legend in Italy. When the Italians look at the results of this race and they see Breghenti and they see Gougeon (Jean-Rene of France) and they see my name, they’re going to ask what the heck happened that day?"
A son of the incomparable Varenne, Twister Bi is owned by Pasquale Ciccarelli and now possesses 21 triumphs in 50 career trips to the post after competing with the best Europe has to offer. He is also the latest millionaire on American soil.
“He’s my horse, so I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but of the elite horses in Europe, Timoko came over and he’s certainly one of the all-time elites of this generation. To build this race, you have to have one of them at least," said Riordan, a Rhode Island native who conditioned for Chuck Sylvester. "If there had been Bold Eagle out here or Nuncio on his best day he wouldn’t have been all alone at the wire; there would have been a fight to the end.
"That’s what gets people excited, that’s what makes the huge handles we have in Europe. I just think it’s going to take a little time (to grow the race). The racetrack was really good; they had it perfect, we love racing out horses without shoes.; it’s very important that the surface was good. But it’s still a half-mile track, there are half-mile tracks in Europe, but nowhere where they have important races. Half-mile tracks, unfortunately, they were created back when the average winning time was 2:05 or something. These horses are at a whole new level nowadays. That’s the difficult part -- getting the horses to race on the half-mile track, but $500,000 will convince people of a lot of things.
"He’s a lefty, it doesn’t bother him at all to handle these turns. He’s one of the toughest horses I’ve ever been around, the way he can live there on the outside."
Eriksson, understandably, was elated his charge displayed his talent while initially echoing Riordan's thoughts on Twister Bi's ability to transfer his form to this continent and distance. He also expressed his joy in relation to what is now a highlight of his career.
“He was feeling unbelievable," he said. "He was a little bit aggressive in the stretch the last time, he was fighting a little but he was ready to race. He has really good technique in the turns and he had never done it before (raced on a half-mile track). I didn’t want to push him too much in the beginning, in the first turn, to see a little bit how he’s working the first time. I wanted to stay close to the front so I can see how he was feeling. It’s one of the biggest races in all the world, so of course, it’s the biggest race I have won."
Twister Bi will return to familiar surroundings to prepare for a 2018 European campaign, but another journey to this nation is not out of the question.
"He’s going to go home, he’s going to get a nice rest and prep him for the winter meet in Paris, yes, Prix D’Amerique," Riordan said. "Italians are a little superstitious, we don’t like to think too far ahead of ourselves."
Twister Bi paid $2.90 to win while Marion Marauder provided $3.40 to place and Oasis Bi was $5.60 to show.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
FIRST POST: 1pm INTERNATIONAL TROT: 3:40pm