Day At The Track

Svanstedt looks back at Six Pack's career

03:00 AM 30 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Six Pack, harness racing
Six Pack with trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt
Mark Hall/USTA photo

Hightstown, NJ - Harness racing trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has only one favorite memory of now retired world champion trotter Six Pack.

It covers roughly 950 days.

"His whole career," Svanstedt said, smiling, while sitting in his office several days prior to Six Pack's final race in the TVG Open Trot last weekend at The Meadowlands. "When he was 2, he was big and not so fast in the beginning. But in April (2017) he started to feel like a good horse. So, from that April until now, it's a big memory.

"I'm going to miss him. It's not so easy to find a horse like him."

Six Pack and trainer-driver Svanstedt went out a winner in the TVG Open Trot, giving the 4-year-old stallion 19 wins in 35 career races and $1.93 million in purses. He was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3, when he became the fastest sophomore trotter in history with a time of 1:49.1 in winning the Kentucky Futurity. This season, he became the fastest 4-year-old male trotter with a 1:49.2 victory in the Allerage Open Trot.

No other trotter in history has recorded sub-1:50 wins in multiple years. And his track-record 1:50 performance in the TVG gave Six Pack an unparalleled four lifetime wins of 1:50 or faster.

In addition to the TVG, Kentucky Futurity and Allerage Open, Six Pack's wins included the Yonkers Trot, a Matron, a division of the Stanley Dancer, a New York Sire Stakes championship, and Empire Breeders Classic.

"He's very good gaited," Svanstedt said. "He's a big horse and heavy but he has a very light gait. He handled the short tracks in New York very good. When he won the Yonkers Trot, I let him go the last quarter full speed. I think it was the fastest I ever drove in a turn on a half-mile track. He was always perfect gaited. Never took a wrong step.

"Of course, he had a good head. He was very nice to handle and drive."

This year, Six Pack won four of 12 races and hit the board a total of 11 times. He made seven starts from posts seven, eight, nine or 10 this season, and another from the second tier. He finished second to French star Bold Eagle from post 10 in the Breeders Crown and second by a neck to Atlanta from post nine in the Graduate Series championship, in 1:49.1.

"It's unbelievable how bad the posts have been," said co-owner Jeff Gural, the chairman and CEO of The Meadowlands Racetrack, during Six Pack's retirement ceremony in the Big M winner's circle following the TVG. "Honestly, I think had he gotten good posts, we'd be looking at the Trotter of the Year. I don't think he would have gotten beat."

He added, "It's been an amazing ride. I give Ake all the credit."

Svanstedt owns Six Pack with Little E-Knutssontrotting (a partnership of Gural and Tristan Sjoberg), Stall Kalmar Inc. (Tomas Olofsson), and L Berg Inc (Lars Berg). Six Pack, by Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady, was bred by Brittany Farms and will now stand at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey.

"Everything has an end," Svanstedt said. "I'm happy to have him all these years."

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

 

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