Svanstedt Student Shines In Jersey

On a night that saw four $25,000 divisions of New Jersey Sire Stakes action for three-year-olds on the trot, an Ake Svanstedt trainee was the most impressive winner for a second consecutive week on Friday at The Meadowlands.

Just seven days after his Lindysmusclemania scored in 1:51.4 to mark himself as a Hambletonian player, Svanstedt’s Mon Amour made himself a part of the Hambo conversation by taking down 3-5 favourite Cuatro De Julio in powerhouse fashion in 1:52 in one of two splits for colts and geldings.

“I got lucky,” said winning driver Yannick Gingras of how he got behind the son of Muscle Hill-Mind Meld. “Ake had another horse in the race [Red Redemption]. What a nice horse Mon Amour is.”

Red Redemption led at the quarter but Mon Amour took over soon thereafter as Cuatro De Julio – so impressive a week ago winning on the front end – raced in fifth. Mon Amour reached the half in :56.2 as ‘Cuatro’ made his way toward the leader from first-over.

Cuatro De Julio got within a length of the eventual winner at three-quarters (1:24.3) before taking a bad step in mid-stretch to lose any chance of winning. Mon Amour then drew clear to win by 2-3/4 lengths. Cuatro De Julio righted the ship late to get second and had to survive a brief inquiry from the judges. Kildare King was third.

“I was able to control the race,” said Gingras, “and late in the mile I stepped on the gas and there was plenty left. I didn’t really go all-in on him and he [still] had some more.”

As the 8-5 second choice, Mon Amour returned $5.20 to win.

Gingras’ sweep of the colt and gelding events started earlier on the card when the 41-year-old pilot guided 7-5 favourite Locatelli (Muscle Hill-Girlie Tough) to victory lane in 1:52.4 for trainer Nancy Takter.

Tim Tetrick gave Material Girl a superb steer to pull off an upset at 12-1 for trainer Lucas Wallin in the first of two divisions for fillies in 1:53.1.

The Muscle Hill-Lilu Hanover product was kept close to the action by Tetrick from the start and gunned down 2-1 second choice Hot As Hill nearing the wire to win by a neck.

“I just wanted to try and get her up close,” said Tetrick. “She put in a great effort. I had plenty of trot. The two favourites got worked up and I got a dream trip.”

Even-money public choice Eazy Pass did not have an easy time of it, wilting after working hard to make the top at the half to finish seventh.

The other division for fillies was taken by 5-2 second choice Beltassima (Trixton-Beltane Hanover) in 1:53.2 for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Andrew McCarthy by a head over 2-1 favourite Awesome Trix.

The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacers were conducted as non-betting events during the evening with a pair of two-horse races that went for $20,000.

In the dash for fillies that took place before the betting card, the Eric Foster-trained Neverendingproject (Great Vintage-Project Terror) made a move to the lead on the far turn and kept Anna Jeans at bay by a half-length in 2:02 for driver Russell Foster.

In a race conducted after the fourth wagering event, Fika Time won the colts and geldings split in 1:54.2 for trainer Chase Vandervort and Tetrick. The son of Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite made a big move to grab the top turning for home and hit the wire 5-1/2 lengths in front of Neyreit.

Driver Doug McNair must have been feeling good after hearing his home track, Woodbine Mohawk Park, will be back racing soon, as he registered three winners on the card. Gingras matched McNair by also scoring a driving triple.

All-source wagering totalled $3,073,035, the 15th consecutive program to surpass the $3-million mark. Harness racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.