Resolve and trainer/driver Åke Svanstadt, representing the US, staked out their spot on the lead early on and went a 1-1/4 miles with no serious challengers to win the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15) at Yonkers Raceway. The time of 2:23.4 was a stakes and world record for the distance on a half-mile track.
The field of ten trotted off the gate with Oasis Bi (Italy) briefly in the lead before Resolve took over that spot and held it to the :28.1 quarter-mile, on to the :57.1 half-mile, 1:26 three-quarters and 1:54.4 at the mile marker. Oasis Bi and driver Erik Adielsson gave futile chase throughout those fractions with Explosive De Vie (Sweden, Kevin Oscarsson) and Obrigado (US, Mark MacDonald) behind him in pursuit.
The win, by about a length, was the 14th time the race has been won by the American representative since it was first contested in 1959. Oasis Bi was second and Flanagan Memory (Canada, Brian Sears) was third.
“It felt good to be second. I was happy with the horse’s performance,” Adielsson said. “In a strange way, I was a little disappointed because we had such a good trip (second behind winner Resolve) the whole race, and thought we had a chance.”
“We made the best of the situation,” Sears said. “There was a horse blocking us early, and that made it tough to get out. We ended up three horses deep, but my horse is a closer. So we were able to make up a lot a ground to finish third. I’m happy we got third. The winner was fantastic, a world record for the 1-1/4 miles. Thank you to Tim Rooney (Yonkers president and CEO) for putting this race on. It was a really great week, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The public’s second selection, Hannelore Hanover, (US, Yannick Gingras) saw her hopes for victory dashed at the beginning of the contest, as she uncharacteristically broke stride moving towards the starting gate and when she regained her footing, went inside the pylons.
The complete order of finish was On Track Piraten fourth, Explosive De Vie fifth, Obrigado sixth, Hannelore Hanover seventh, Jonesy eighth, BBS Sugarlight ninth and Tano Bork tenth.
“I tried to go to the lead because I know he’s very fast, said Svanstadt. “No race is easy; he worked hard, he did a good job. I was hoping to control the race, and was able to do so. I wanted to be aggressive. He did everything himself, I was just a passenger. Once he got the lead, he was very comfortable. He could have gone even faster.”
“I’m on my second pacemaker,” laughed Enggren, who has owned trotters for nearly 70 years and is 87. He holds dual citizenship in the US and Sweden, while residing in Abbottstown, Pa. “It is amazing how he (Svanstadt) trains a horse and how he knows. They work together so fantastically. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pair like that. You can put another driver on and this and that, but it’s Åke and Resolve, they’re marvelous. Åke, if he sees something that doesn’t make Resolve happy, he checks it out until he’s happy again. It’s just wonderful.”
Enggren, who won the Hambletonian with Prakas in 1985, says next up for Resolve is the Breeders Crown and then the TVG event.
“Then rest in Florida and we have been invited to Sweden again next year, but this time I am sending my son,” he said. “I am too old for that stuff. My son will go next. My wife, we own a breeding farm, Meadowbranch which Enggren describes as a “half goofy translation of my last name,” and she likes all the babies – a lot. But when Resolve came to do such marvelous things, now she’s interested in this too.
“I bought the horse at (age two) and I should mention one name – Roman Lopez. He broke Resolve originally and raced him. I got to see him when I went to visit Roman and his wife and as soon as I saw him (I wanted to buy him), but it took a long time, from Nov. until Aug. (of 2014). The owners (brothers Michael and William Pozefsky) said yes and then I ran like a son of a gun to the bank. I wore them down and I wore myself down.
“He’s not for sale. If I’m that lucky at my age, you can’t sell something like that. I’ve had too many offers, but I start to recognize the phone numbers and I say right away, ‘If you’re calling about Resolve, we can talk, but he’s not for sale.’”
Enggren says the Elitlipp is a possibility for 2017.
“He (Svanstadt) might want to go over but he does so many good things for me, so I cannot very well say no,” he said.
The Prix d’Amerique, however, is not under consideration.
“I am extremely grateful for the trotting horses I have been associated with since 1939, in one way or another,” Enggren said. “I sold tip sheets and programs and I traveled between racetracks (in his native Sweden) by bicycle, pretty far. That’s probably why I’m getting so old. This has to be something that I hope this form of racing – bringing horses from Europe and Canada – the name for this race can be built up and compare perhaps with the Elitlopp and other races. It’s a great feeling. I’ve had I think a wonderful life with the horses, as a breeder for 40 or 50 years and an owner for about 70 years.”