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New Territory For Flanagan Memory

Published: October 14, 2016 7:32 pm ET

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He's been making sweet memories for his connections for five years, and Saturday will bring another, when Flanagan Memory represents Canada in the $1-million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway.

It will be the first start ever in a million-dollar race for co-owner Liette Flanagan and trainer Rene Dion.

"I was very honoured when they called," said Dion, 46. "It's wonderful for the horse. He deserves to be in that company. The competition will be tough but with racing luck, anything can happen. He`s pretty fit right now, looks good and seems happy and sharp."

Flanagan Memory had been a little short of luck in 2016, just missing in several U.S. stakes, but put it all together last Sunday in the $101,000 Allerage Trot at The Red Mile, drawing off to an authoritative victory for driver Brian Sears in a lifetime best 1:51.2. It was the first stakes win of the season for the six-year-old son of Kadabra, after four stakes placings, and brought his earnings this year to $293,723.

Overall, he's now collected $1.2 million.

"He`s had a great year, been steady in every race. He even raced good in the Maple Leaf Trot (finishing fifth behind International Trot favourite Resolve), and we only found out after he wasn't 100 per cent," said Dion.

Flanagan Memory has never raced before on a half-mile track, but Dion said he trains on one every winter at Les Cedres, Québec, so there is some familiarity.

The distance of a mile and a quarter also is new, but "he won`t mind that," even coming off a break of only six days.

"The strategy will have to come from Brian (Sears). When I give him the lines, he calls the shots," said Dion. "In a race like that, where they're all good horses, you can never predict how it will go."

Following is the Yonkers International Trot field in post order.

1. Hannelore Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 4/1
2. Resolve – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 3/1
3. Jonesy –Tuomas Korvenoja – Tuomas Korvenoja – 15/1
4. Flanagan Memory – Brian Sears – Rene Dion – 6/1
5. Oasis Bi – Erik Adielsson – Stefan Pettersson – 5/1
6. Obrigado – Mark MacDonald – Paul Kelley – 6/1
7. BBS Sugarlight – Vidar Hop – Fredrik Solberg – 6/1
8. On Track Piraten – Orjan Kihlstrom – Hans Stromberg – 10/1
9. Tano Bork – John Campbell – Christian Lindhardt – 20/1
10. Explosive De Vie – Kevin Oscarsson – Jim Oscarsson – 12/1

Tano Bork and Explosive De Vie start in the second tier.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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