The gallant 11-year-old Commander Crowe took the prestigious Gr. I International Aby Stora Prix today in Sweden in a raceoff with the other heat winner Quid Pro Quo.
The gelded son of-Somark- recorded his 60th career victory in 102 starts, now for earnings of 32,010,516SEK, that is over US$4,669,000 at today's conversion rate.
The race-off began with the Commander from post one (determined by coin flip),up, and Quid Pro Quo electively started from post five to gain advantage from the banked track. hustled Quid Pro Quo (5m -Hostage- ) to the front and set a reasonable pace.
Then in front of the stands, and abundant cheering fans,took a hard shot at the youthful leader but could not clear. Commander dropped behind his rival around the second turn and then again made a harder challenge for the lead on the backstretch.
Despite heavy urging by Adielsson, Quid Pro Quo's desire was broken and the Commander surged past with 400 meters to go and opened a quick five lengths that he extended to ten bythe top of stretch. Kihlstrom put the whip away and jogged to the line eased up in 1.12.1kr (1:56.01 mile rate) to pocket another 400,000SEK for Snopgarps Gard AB and trainer, in what was a strategically superb match-race. Quid Pro Quo earned 100,000SEK for his raceoff effort and for the day he earned 700,000SEK.
The Aby Stora Pris commenced in 1936 and has been raced each year since. Sebastian K won the 2012 and 2013 editions and that horse was lauded today with videos of his successes and free t-shirts for the fans.
Rapide Lebel, Lisa America and Torvald Palema won this race in 2011, 2010 and 2009. Race record before today's heats was 1.11.3kr set by Red Chili Pirat in 2006. Double winners of the Aby Stora Pris include some greats - Sebastian K. (2012, 2013), Gidde Palema (2003, 2005), Victory Tilly (2000, 2002), Zoogin (1995, 1996), IdÃ©al du Gazeau (1981, 1982), Lyon (1970, 1972), Gelinotte (1956, 1957) and Iran Scott (1951, 1952).
has won the race six times as driver and is a five-time winner. North American-bred winners have included Sea Cove and . Roosevelt International competitors also won this classic, including 1960 Roosevelt winner Hairos II (Willem Geersen), Oscar RL (Henri Levesque), Roosevelt winner in 1981-1983 Ideal du Gazeau (Eugene Lefevre), 1990 Roosevelt victor Reve d'Udon, and Pluvier III (Gunnar Nordin), the Roosevelt winner in 1965.
Quid Pro Quo (5m Yankee Glide-Hostage-Express Ride) took heat one from post six with a decisive victory in 1.10.3kr. Owned by Stall Gladiator the winner recorded his first 2014 win in eight starts, now for career earnings for 5,040,760SEK.
Erik Adielsson handled the winner that defeated Norway’s Juliano Rags reined by Noralf Braekken with Reven d’Amour third for Bjorn Goop. Commander Crowe left from post five but was unable to clear the front and raced without cover throughout for Orjan Kihlstrom. The Crowe faded to seventh. Joke Face made a miscue at the start.
The second heat was a surprise as Commander Crowe left hard again for Orjan Kihlstrom from post four, but this time he made the front with Quid Pro Quo in the pocket. Joke Face was first to move but was unable to get alongside the Commander as Kihlstrom rated the pace and accelerated enough to win by a length from Quid Pro Quo with Juliano Rags third ahead of Solvato.
Time for the 1640 meter autostart test was 1.10kr (1:52.63 mile rate). The victory for Commander Crowe was number 59 in 101 starts, now for earnings of 31,610,516. Snopgarps Gard AB owns the winner. The heat winners earned 400,000SEK for their victories.
The undercard so far has produced interesting winners. Sylvester America scored in 1.15.2kr over 2140 meters autostart for trainer Jerry Riordan and reinsman Johan Untersteiner. The Italian bred three year-old son of Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell recorded his fourth win in 10 starts for owner Lisa Riordan, and earned 50,000SEK first money.
The Klass II Final for 200,000SEK to the winner went to Poker Kronos (5g Viking Kronos-Frances Lavec-Tenor de Baune) for trainer/driver Robert Bergh. He scored in 1.12.6kr for his fifth win in seven 2014 appearances, and his fifth straight.
My Gliding Angel (4f Yankee Glide-My Shooting Star-Malabar Man) also won on the card in 1.13.6kr for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop in a narrow three-way photo over the Varenne mare Rare Wise As (Linda Allercrantz up for trainer Jerry Riordan) and favorite Backfire was home third with Johnny Takter up. Another US import, Single Sock, finished fourth.
by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com