by Ken Weingartner
Oasis Bi came home in strong fashion in last year’s Yonkers International Trot, overcoming a back-of-the-pack trip to finish fourth. Trainer Stefan Pettersson hopes the 8-year-old stallion can put forth a similar effort in this year’s $1 million event on Saturday, but this time resulting in a win.
“He raced a very good last quarter,” Pettersson said, referring to Oasis Bi’s :27.4 time that was the fastest among the 10 horses in last year’s race. “He took very well to the track. I hope he can show the same way this year. He’s the same horse; I think that’s a good thing.”
Oasis Bi, representing Italy, is among three horses from last year returning to the International Trot, along with Norway’s BBS Sugarlight and Sweden’s On Track Piraten. Oasis Bi drew post No. 5 and was made 5-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind U.S. representatives Resolve (3-1) and Hannelore Hanover (4-1).
Resolve will start the International Trot from post No. 2 while Hannelore Hanover, the lone mare in the race, will leave from post one. Another of the event’s top contenders, Canada’s Flanagan Memory, also drew inside of Oasis Bi. He will start from post four and is 6-1 on the morning line.
“It’s up to the driver, but I think the American and Canadian horses inside are very fast, so I hope he can get down with the field and then go as fast as he can at the end,” said Pettersson, who will give the lines to driver Erik Adielsson, who piloted On Track Piraten last year, on Saturday.
Owned by Sweden’s Frackstad Lantbruks AB, the Italian-born Oasis Bi is a son of stallion Toss Out, a stakes-winner in the States, out of the Self Possessed mare Up Front JM. His family includes millionaire Million Dollar Bye and Dan Patch Award winner Firm Tribute.
Oasis Bi has won 17 of 67 career races and earned the U.S. equivalent of $1.66 million. His wins this year include the Group 1 Gran Premio Lotteria and he heads to the International Trot off a second-place finish to Nuncio in the UET Trotting Masters championship on Sept. 18. In January, he finished third in the Prix d’Amerique.
“We hope we have the horse in the same shape like last year,” Pettersson said. “He’s feeling good in the training so I hope we can do a good race on Saturday.”
The two remaining International Trot returnees, BBS Sugarlight and On Track Piraten, didn’t fare as well as Oasis Bi in Tuesday’s post draw, getting starting spots seven and eight, respectively.
BBS Sugarlight, who finished fifth in last year’s race, has won 22 of 81 career races and earned $962,553. The 7-year-old gelding is owned by Stall Sugarlight and Gunnar Karlson. Among BBS Sugarlight’s victories are the 2015 Olympic Trot and 2015 Oslo Grand Prix.
“I have tested my horse on the course and I think he’s much better this year than he was last year,” trainer Fredrik Solberg said about BBS Sugarlight, a son of stallion Super Light out of the Sugarcane Hanover mare Sugarsweet Sid. “He has raced very well. Everything seems to be really good with him.”
Vidar Hop will drive BBS Sugarlight.
On Track Piraten finished seventh in last year’s International Trot after a three-wide move early in the race put the gelding in front, but unable to get to the inside. He then raced first-over heading to the final turn before dropping back.
A son of stallion Kool Du Caux out of the Rite On Line sired Monrovia, On Track Piraten has won 27 of 94 career races and earned the U.S.-equivalent of $1.63 million. This year, he has won six of 17 starts and hit the board a total of 12 times. He had back-to-back second-place finishes in Group 1 events before making an uncharacteristic break at the start of the Group 1 UET Masters Championship on Sept. 18.
The gelding is owned by Sweden’s Stall Morkermasse and Stall CK HB. Orjan Kihlstrom will drive the 8-year-old.
“We were hoping for a better position behind the gate, but it is what it is,” Stall Morkermasse representative John Backlund said about On Track Piraten starting from post eight. “I think (the horse) is better this year than last year. He’s just getting better every year. He’s an amazing horse.”
The International Trot was first contested in 1959 and held through 1995. The event was resurrected last year by Yonkers Raceway President and CEO Tim Rooney. It will be race six on a 13-race card Saturday at Yonkers. First race post time is 1:10 p.m. (EDT), with the International Trot expected to go at 3:20 p.m.
Following is the Yonkers International Trot field in post order.
1–Hannelore Hanover–Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke–4/1
2–Resolve–Ake Svanstedt–Ake Svanstedt–3/1
3–Jonesy–Tuomas Korvenoja–Tuomas Korvenoja–15/1
4–Flanagan Memory–Brian Sears–Rene Dion–6/1
5–Oasis Bi– Erik Adielsson–Stefan Pettersson–5/1
6–Obrigado–Mark MacDonald–Paul Kelley–6/1
7–BBS Sugarlight–Vidar Hop–Fredrik Solberg–6/1
8–On Track Piraten–Orjan Kihlstrom–Hans Stromberg–10/1
9–Tano Bork–John Campbell–Christian Lindhardt–20/1
10–Explosive De Vie–Kevin Oscarsson–Jim Oscarsson–12/1
Tano Bork and Explosive De Vie start in the second tier.
For more about this year’s competitors, visit the Yonkers International Trot website by clicking here.