Day At The Track

Lorentzon working to improve on big season

06:34 AM 06 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Anette Lorentzon, harness racing Guardian Angel AS, harness racing
Anette Lorentzon
USTA photo
Guardian Angel AS
Tom Melanson photo

When trainer Anette Lorentzon enters a new year, her hope is to better her harness racing stable's previous season's results. She's accomplished that goal each of the past five years, but acknowledges it gets more difficult as the successes pile up.

"You never know," the 36-year-old Lorentzon said. "It's tough. You've got to be lucky in the big races and the horses have to stay sound and not get sick. But I won't be happy if it's not a year like last year. I won't be happy. That's what you work for. You get more horses, people believe in you, you should do better and better. It's tough the better you do every year, but that's what I'm hoping for."

Lorentzon established career highs for starts (843), wins (160), and purses ($2.98 million) in 2019. She began her career in 2005 and entered Wednesday with 1,022 lifetime victories. Her stable begins this year with nearly 70 horses, including her largest-ever group of 2-year-olds, a total of 29.

Of course, the most recognizable name is a 6-year-old. Homebred male trotter Guardian Angel As has won 23 of 56 career races and $1.31 million. In 2019, the stallion won the Maple Leaf Trot (equaling a Canadian record for the mile), Spirit of Massachusetts (a track record at Plainridge), Cleveland Trotting Classic (world record at Northfield), and Maxie Lee Memorial. He was second in the John Cashman Memorial and third in the TVG Series championship and Caesars Trotting Classic.

"I think he raced great," Lorentzon said. "He was in all the big races and he raced tough. He showed he is one of the best ones out there. We always had high hopes for him, and we brought him along slowly. I was very happy with him.

"I'm hoping he's going to be as good as he was last year. I trained him for the first time (Tuesday), and he trained as good as always, so that was great."

In addition to Guardian Angel As, Lorentzon plans to send male trotter Shake N Bake, a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Maven, out on the Grand Circuit in stakes for 4-year-olds in 2020. He has hit the board in 15 of 20 career races, winning three times, and earned $175,707.

The horse joined Lorentzon's stable last summer and won a conditioned race and division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes before being sidelined by an injury.

"I hope he can have a good year," Lorentzon said. "He's training back right now. He looks good, but you never know between 3 and 4 years old how they're going to turn out."

Lorentzon also is hopeful 4-year-old female trotter Strip It Down As can put her best foot forward this season. Last year, she went off stride in three starts but posted three wins and a second in her remaining five races.

"She's very fast," Lorentzon said. "I'm hoping that she will do some good this year. She will be staked lightly. We're still trying to figure her out. We never really found where anything was wrong, but she had issues with the turns. That's what we're still working on. If we can get her through the turns and get her going, I think she can be a nice one. If we can't figure her out, then we have no chance. They have to be perfect if they're going to go the speeds they have to go."

Also back for another campaign is 6-year-old male trotter Eye Ofa Tiger As, who makes his seasonal debut in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The gelding was limited to two starts (the first a win in Sweden) in 2018 because of throat surgery but banked $260,710 in 2019 and $268,746 in 2017.

"He's a good horse, but he's not a big-track horse," Lorentzon said. "He's so handy, so that works out great for him at Yonkers."

The majority of Lorentzon's younger horses will compete primarily in sire stakes programs.

"I never had so many 2-year-olds, so I'm hoping I can have some good ones," Lorentzon said. "I'm very happy for it and I really thank my owners that I have now. I really like (the 2-year-olds). They have a lot to learn yet, but so far so good."

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

 

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