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Zeitgeist Looks For Super Bowl Touchdown

Published: January 25, 2011 4:26 pm ET

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Zeitgeist did not attract much attention at the horse sale, but he is racing under the spotlight now.

The four-year-old son of SJs Caviar will bid for a sweep in the $58,000 final of the Super Bowl Series for trotters on Thursday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Zeitgeist will start from Post 1 (program No. 2) as the 4-1 second choice in the field with Brian Sears at the lines. Carded as Race 5, the Super Bowl shares the marquee with the $43,500 final of the White Ruffles Series for four-year-old pacing mares that evening.

Henrik Lundell and co-owner Peter Barbato purchased Zeitgeist for $20,000 at the November 2010 Standardbred Mixed Sale in Harrisburg, PA. The trainer was surprised the trotter did not fetch more considering he had won two races at Pocono and hit the board in seven of 14 starts prior to the sale.

"Mr. Barbato was on vacation in California at the time and he just put his trust in me," Lundell said of his decision. "We had looked at a few horses, and then I bid $20,000 for Zeitgeist. I knew he sold for only $7,000 as a yearling, and I have no idea why he went so cheaply.

"He was definitely a bargain overlooked at the end of the sale," he continued. "He was among the last 10 or 15 horses, and I guess everybody already got what they wanted and went home. He only had two wins in 14 starts. He showed a few breaks, and didn't really stand out, but turned out to be a nice horse for me."

Zeitgeist has won four of his six starts for Lundell and Barbato. The gelding took a mark of 1:56.1 as he bested heavy favourite Ellens Isle in their division of the second leg of the Super Bowl on January 20.

"I like the SJs Caviars," Lundell noted. "I believe you get a lot of horse for your money. I only had him for two weeks before I won with him. I have to give a lot of credit to his previous trainer, Doug Miller. He deserves it. The horse was sound, healthy and looked great. There was nothing wrong with this horse.

"As long as I've had him, he hasn't let another horse pass him," he continued. "He broke once [in a conditioned race on December 3, 2010] when he got a little rough near the end. He's certainly caught the winning habit, yet he hasn't got too hot.

"He's really nice to drive. He can race from anywhere. He's very versatile and I like that. He's drawn the rail again, but he can leave anyway. He seems to be getting better every week. He's the star of my barn right now. It's great to win races at the Meadowlands because that's when people see you."

A Swedish expat, Lundell, 36, has been the assistant trainer for Joie de Vie Farm in Jobstown, NJ for the past six years. In addition to working with head trainer Oyvind Hegdal, Lundell conditions six horses of his own for Peter Barbato, a longtime partner at the farm. Lundell won with his first starter at the Meadowlands, My Intuition, in 2007. Recently, he has had success with Rapid Strategy, an older trotter who has averaged $100,000 in earnings each of the past three years.

"When I first came over, I worked in Florida for Tommy Andersson for six months," he explained. "He was sending horses to Canada, and that's when I got in touch with Joie De Vie Farm. They were also sending horses up there. I had a Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year in Ontario called Fan Favorite in 2005 for Joie De Vie. That's when Paul Buer was head trainer for them. I was his assistant before Oyvind Hegdal came on the scene, and I've worked with him for the past four years."

Gingras At The Meadowlands This Weekend

Yannick Gingras will be driving at the Meadowlands the next few weekends.

"Ron Burke wants me here the next couple of weekends, so I'll be here racing at the Meadowlands," Gingras said.

"The Meadowlands has always been good to me and helped me get my career going. Many of my greatest moments are right here. I'm looking forward to racing here."


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