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Engblom Discusses Pinkman’s Return

Published: April 4, 2019 1:16 pm ET

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Pinkman, who won the 2015 Hambletonian on his way to being named Trotter of the Year in the United States, is ready for a new season, and trainer Per Engblom is optimistic that “the old man” is poised for a solid campaign.

The seven-year-old gelding will make his seasonal debut this Friday (April 5) in the preferred handicap trot at the Meadowlands Racetrack, which could be the first of two preps for Pinkman ahead of May’s Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the ‘Big M.’

For the past several years, Pinkman has been troubled by chronic throat and breathing issues; he made a total of only 14 starts at ages four and five. Last year, he enjoyed his healthiest campaign since age three and equalled his career high for starts with 17.

Pinkman will head to Friday’s race off of a 1:54.2 win in a qualifier at the Meadowlands on March 30. He will start from Post 6 in an eight-horse field and is 5-1 on the morning line with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Sutton, who will have Andy Miller driving for trainer Julie Miller, is the 5-2 favourite.

“The old man is doing [well],” Engblom said about Pinkman. “He had a good winter, actually a little bit better winter than he’s had the last couple years. We didn’t miss any training with him. He’s been staying healthy, he’s been breathing well, and he qualified great.

“You have to take him for what he is. He’s an older horse and you can’t really push him. But if he’s feeling well, he will give you what he’s got.”

Engblom is well acquainted with Pinkman. A native of Sweden, Engblom is in his first year running his own stable in the U.S. following six seasons as the top assistant in Jimmy Takter’s stable, where Pinkman has spent his career.

Pinkman, a son of Explosive Matter out of Margie Seelster, has won 19 of 56 career races and earned $2.73 million for owners Christina Takter, brothers John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. He was a Dan Patch Award winner at ages two and three and counts the Canadian Trotting Classic, Kentucky Futurity, and Beal and Zweig memorials among his victories in addition to the Hambletonian.

Despite his health woes in recent years, Pinkman has earned $270,212 since turning four. He won a Group 2 race in Sweden in 2016 and was stakes-placed last year. He trotted in 1:49.2 in Homicide Hunter’s 1:48.4 world record mile in the Allerage Open Trot at Lexington’s Red Mile, where he finished third.

“He had a little bad luck last year,” Engblom said, referring to eight starts from posts eight, nine, 10 or the second tier. “At the end of last year, he was doing pretty well. He trotted (1:) 49 and a piece in Lexington. He’s still got it, we just need to manage him. That’s the key.

“He’s been so solid (preparing for this season). I really think he’s going to do OK. I’m really confident he can have a pretty good year. He’s a sound horse. His legs are as tough as they come. It’s fun to work with classy old horses like him. It’s a thrill every time you train him.”

Friday’s card at the Meadowlands also includes the start of the Walner Series for trotters and the Wiggle It Jiggleit Series for pacers. Each series features three preliminary rounds followed by an April 27 final.

Racing will begin at 7:15 p.m. (EDT).


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