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Perfect Spirit Wins 2017 Hambletonian

Published: August 5, 2017 5:25 pm ET

Last Comment: August 6, 2017 12:51 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

As the result of a placing, Perfect Spirit was victorious in the 92nd edition of the Hambletonian on Saturday (August 5) at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.

Driver Ake Svanstedt left strongly with Perfect Spirit, as What The Hill (David Miller) was also forwardly placed. Longshot Guardian Angel AS (Jason Bartlett) pressed Perfect Spirit through a :27.1 opening quarter, with favoured Devious Man (Andy Miller) advancing into the second over position and Enterprise (Tim Tetrick) choosing to stay in third along the rail as the half flashed up in :56. That group advanced with little change as the third quarter was reached in 1:25.1.

Turning for home, Guardian Angel AS started to back through after that ambitious first-over bid. The gap in the outer flow gave Miller a chance to pop pocket with What The Hill. After navigating to the outside, What The Hill powered past Perfect Spirit and hit the wire first in a time of 1:52.3. As soon as the race concluded, the judges lit the inquiry sign on What The Hill for possible stretch interference on Guardian Angel AS. After an inquiry, the judges determined that Miller's sulky wheel caught Guardian Angel during that pocket-pulling move, causing him to go offstride in the stretch. The interference placed What The Hill down to ninth and bumped up runner-up Perfect Spirit from second to first.

It was the first time a horse first under the wire had his number taken down in the 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic.

Favoured Devious Man was third placed second with elmination winner Enterprise fourth placed third. International Moni, the winner of the other elimination, went offstride in the first turn (after appearing to suffer interference) and was never a factor.

A $75,000 Harrisburg yearling sold as Grill Hanover, Perfect Spirit (Andover Hall - Good Common Cents) is owned by Lennart Agren's SRF Stable of Delray Beach, Florida.

The Hambletonian win is the first for Svanstedt, a longtime successful trainer and driver in his native Sweden. He's most known for his campaigning of older trotting stars Sebastian K and Resolve since moving to North America four years ago.

“It’s very big,” the Swedish horseman said. “I’m very happy.”

“Your horse raced great both heats,” said Hall of Famer John Campbell, presiding for the first time as president of the Hambletonian Society as he handed the connections the cherished trophy. “It’s unfortunate circumstances, but you can’t take anything away from his performance today.”

Winning owner Agren chalked the victory up to the breaks of the game.

“I know you have to be very lucky like we were today,” he said. “It can end very quickly, so you have to live in the moment right now.”

Stay tuned with all the happenings on Hambletonian Day with updates posted in the 2017 Hambletonian Day News Centre.

August 6, 2017 - 12:51 amCongratulations to Perfect

Congratulations to Perfect Spirit on winning the Hambeltonian and to his connections. Good race and its a shame What The Hill was disqualified but it happens to the best.
Great night of racing with spectacular horses.

August 5, 2017 - 7:12 pmLosing a big race due to a

Ted Decker SAID...

Losing a big race due to a placing has to be the worst. Looks like Miller moved just a second early and the foot caught his wheel. The horse that went off stride had a tough trip and was stopping quickly. Feel bad for Miller. How about Takter. He put on a training clinic. By far the best conditioner in the sport.

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