Captain Corey Captures The 2021 Hambletonian

Captain Corey crushed his competition in the 96th Hambletonian on Saturday (August 7) at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., cutting the mile under intense pressure and prevailing to win in a lifetime best 1:51.

Trainer Ake Svanstedt engineered the victory, guiding the son of Googoo Gaagaa - Luv U All to the win in the million-dollar event, the second leg of trotting's Triple Crown, over hard-closing longshots Spy Booth (Tim Tetrick) and Ambassador Hanover (Scott Zeron) and Delayed Hanover (Yannick Gingras). Svanstedt entered three horses in the 2021 Hambletonian and his horses captured three of the top four spots.

Leaving from post four in the field of 10 sophomore trotters, Captain Corey was hustled away for command by trainer-driver Svanstedt, clearing to the top over stablemate and fellow elimination winner Delayed Hanover (Yannick Gingras) while being pressured by Cuatro De Julio (Lucas Wallin) through a :26 opening quarter. Gingras guarded the pocket position, forcing Wallin for forge on. The half was reached in a sharp :54, with the advantage at that point looking to fall into the lap of second over Sonofamistery (Brian Sears).

As the field reached the three-quarter mark in 1:22.3, Captain Corey was still strongly maintaining his lead but that first over grind took its toll on Cuatro De Julio. Turning for home, Captain Corey opened up a two-length lead on his rivals with Svanstedt keeping him to task. Delayed Hanover took his shot from the pocket, allowing Spy Booth to angle to the inside while Ambassador Hanover set sail from the back of the pack. Captain Corey would not be denied, winning by more than a length over pylon-skimming Spy Booth with Ambassador Hanover and Delayed Hanover just back of second.

"He was strong today," said a cheerful Svanstedt after the Hambletonian win. "He had good heart and fight, but he was strong also...I was worried that they were going to come from behind, but he fought good."

A $150,000 yearling purchase, Captain Corey is owned by SRF Stable of Lighthouse Point, Florida, Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Del Ray Beach, Florida, Midnight Sun Partners Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida and Ake Svanstedt Inc. of Wrightstown, N.J. The win is Svanstedt's second in the race many consider the holy grail of harness racing, first winning in 2017 with second-placed-first Perfect Spirit.

"It was a very very special moment," said Midnight Sun's Robert Lindstrom, the man who selected the horse for the connections as a yearling in 2019. "I’m so happy for all of us, all the connections around the horse. The Svanstedt team has done a marvelous job and we have friends in parts of Sweden watching the TV now that couldn’t come...I just want to greet them."

Bred by Carter Duer of Kentucky, Captain Corey has now won eight of his 12 races to date and has amassed $915,333 in career earnings.

The Hambletonian is part of a stakes-packed card of harness racing on Hambletonian Day. Be sure to check out the 2021 Hambletonian Day News Centre for recaps and replays of all the action.

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