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Hegdal Pumped For Goshen

Published: July 2, 2008 1:40 pm ET

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Trainer/driver Oyvind Hegdal and Income De Vie, the three-year-old trotting filly he'll send out in the $16,773 Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track on July 4, started their U.S. racing careers around the same time.

Income De Vie was purchased from the New Jersey Classic Sale for $10,000 in September 2006 and Hedgal arrived in the U.S. soon after, November 2006.

The native of Norway is new to the United States, but not to harness racing.

"The last three-four years I was a catch driver in Norway," says Hegdal. "But before that, I was a trainer since 1994. I was fascinated with [racing in the U.S.]; I always went to Lexington [Kentucky] to the sales. My second trainer in Norway was Paul Buer and I visited a lot of times when he was the trainer for Joie DeVie Farm [based in Jobstown, N.J. and owner of Income De Vie]. I thought I would like to come here. I have a wife [Camille] and two kids [Victoria, 7 and Alexandra, 4], they like it, they seemed to handle it well with no protest at all, they wanted to try something new."

Hegdal has had more and more starts, both as a trainer and driver, in the states since his arrival, and more young stock than in the past. In his only full year, 2007, his stable had 181 starts, with 27 wins, 25 seconds and 20 thirds, and purse earnings of $294,566.

"So far so good," he says. "It's kind of different compared to Norway. I am positive, very positive, I like it a lot. The big difference is that I used to be a catch driver in Norway and I used to drive all the races by myself, but it's different here. We use more catch drivers here. The race is different, too. In Norway, we used to go two or three wide all the time and we go a lot slower in the races. Here it's more speed all the time and only a mile race."

He says he's using largely the same training methods as he used in Norway, but notes there are differences.

"We don't push the two-year-olds so much at home; you go faster with the two-year-olds here," he says. "I try to do the same as I did in Norway, use the pressure cart [a jog cart with wheels that give resistance to the pulling horse] and go on the straight track a lot, but mostly it is the same."

Income De Vie comes in to her race at Goshen with just one win in eight lifetime starts. The victory, in 2:01, came in a maiden race at Pocono Downs in May.

"We bought her in the sale when she was a yearling," Hegdal says. "She is a decent filly; she trots good, she never made breaks and things like that, so we'll see if she can handle the small track. She needs a couple of good starts, but I think she can do OK racing there."

Hegdal thinks he's geared up for a good year and expanded competition.

"Most of the horses I train are for the Nigito family's Joie De Vie Farm. I think I'll have a better record this year with the babies [two-year-olds]. I have 12."

The trip to Goshen on America's birthday will be a first for the Norwegian transplant.

"I'm very excited to get there because I heard a lot of good things about Goshen," says Hegdal. "I'm going to bring the kids and the wife and try to have a good time up there."


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