Dexter Cup To Khaosan Road

Khaosan Road wins the Dexter Cup

Canadian-bred Khaosan Road went to the front from post one at the start of Saturday’s $137,775 Dexter Cup and never relinquished the lead on his way to a one-length win over favourite Espresso in 1:57.4 at Freehold Raceway. Candy Bomber finished third.

Khaosan Road, driven by Scott Zeron, was making his seasonal debut for trainer Ake Svanstedt after a limited two-year-old campaign. The gelding’s victory in the Dexter, the year’s first Grand Circuit event for three-year-old male trotters, was his second in five career starts and increased his earnings to $81,697.

“Post one makes it easier for everyone on the half-mile track,” said assistant trainer Sarah Svanstedt. “He was fast and he behaved. I was surprised he was so good-gaited on this small track because he’s a big horse. He fought from the start to the finish, so I’m very happy and pleased with him.”

After taking the lead, Khaosan Road set fractions of :29, :59.1 and 1:28.1. He fended off a first-over challenge from Designer Drink and kept pocket-sitting Espresso at bay down the stretch.

“The trip was good,” said Zeron, who also won a division of the Lady Suffolk Stakes on Saturday at Freehold. “Once we got through the first turn, it looked like we were going to take command of the race. I just stayed with the first-up horse and when it came time down the lane, I asked him and he responded. He was great.”

Khaosan Road is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Little E LLC. The son of International Moni-Jewels In The Sand was bred by Quebec's Kelly Duval Lacaille. He is not eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes at The Meadowlands in August.

“He had some soreness issues last year, so he had fewer starts,” said Svanstedt. “But he’s trained back great. I think he’s grown into his big body and is ready for 2023.”

Sadie Hanover won the fastest of the day’s two divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for three-year-old female trotters, breezing from gate-to-wire to defeat On The House by 10-1/4 lengths in 1:56.3. Rhiannon Hanover finished third.

Sadie Hanover for trainer Linda Toscano and owners The Bay’s Stable, Blue Ridge Stable, Carmen Iannacone and Gary Cocco. The daughter of Chapter Seven-Southwind Percy, who was making her seasonal debut, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. She has won two of six lifetime races and earned $31,762 after adding her share of the division’s $28,725 purse.

Sent off as the 8-5 co-favourite, the Hambletonian Oaks-eligible Sadie Hanover paid $5.40 to win. The remaining co-favourite, Canterbury Hanover, was among three fillies to go off stride in the race.

The first division of the Lady Suffolk went to Italian-bred Emira Mil IT, who rallied in the stretch after dropping back from second in the last turn to win by three-quarters of a length over Ruth Honig in 1:57.3. Pembroke Moni was third in the $27,725 event.

Trainer Ake Svanstedt drove Emira Mil, a Hambletonian Oaks-eligible filly making her seasonal debut, for owner Pimpicks Inc. The daughter of Face Time Bourbon-Sunshine Bi was bred by Pimpicks SRL. She has won two of eight career starts and earned $48,397.

Emira Mil paid $4.60 to win as the 6-5 favourite.

Calabrese, Verruso win in American Harness Drivers Club

Both John Calabrese and Anthony Verruso planted themselves on the point and claimed victory in their respective $9,000 divisions of the American Harness Drivers Club (AHDC) Trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday.

In the first division, Calabrese settled in second with Blogmaster to a :29 first quarter before circling his charge to the fore before the :59.4 half. Call Me Thefireman (driven by Anthony Verruso) yielded for the pocket while Vendor Bill (Maria De Bruijn) blitzed first over and pressed the tempo-setter through to three-quarters in 1:29.2. Blogmaster’s inside advantage stretched his lead a tad upon spinning for home and he needed every inch of that cushion to keep Vendor Bill at bay and win by a nose in 1:59.3. King Cast (Yogi Sheridan) followed cover to finish third and Call Me Thefireman took fourth.

Bill MacKenzie trains Blogmaster, a five-year-old gelding by Glidemaster, and co-owns with Donald Witkowski and Vincent Ali Jr. He paid $3.20 to win.

Anthony Verruso fired Winneress from the pylons in the second division and never looked back. Verruso soared through a clip of :29.1, :59 and 1:29.1 while enduring first-over pressure from Brownie (Jacob Stillwell), who eventually caved from the fatigue of a wide trip and broke stride to the final turn. Parody (Joe Lee), the 2-1 favourite, charged off his pylon trip to take late aim for the lead but settled for second, beaten a half length, with Shoemaker Hanover (John Calabrese) storming wide for third and pocket-sitter Trump This (Kubi Erzene) settling for fourth.

Symon Spicer trains Winneress, a nine-year-old gelding by Credit Winner, for owner Anthony Verruso. The gelding paid $12 to win.

AHDC action continues at Freehold Raceway on Friday, May 12 with a division for the AHDC Pace. First-race post time at Freehold is 12:30 p.m. (EDT).


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