Day At The Track

Sebastian K does it again in $175,000 Cutler Final

04:12 PM 18 May 2014 NZST
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Sebastian K, harness racing Harness racing
Sebastian K and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt win the Cutler Final
Lisa Photo
Sebastian K is swamped with media taking photos in the winner's circle

It almost seems too easy for Sebastian K as the world champion trotter once again was able to grind his way to the lead and hold off all competitors as he captured the $175,000 final of the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands Saturday.

Trained and driven to victory by Sweden’s Ake Svanstedt, it was nearly a complete repeat of his world record tying performance last week. The only difference was the time of the 1:50.2, one-fifth of a second slower than last week’s triumph.

The seventh race feature got underway on a sour note as the 7/5 second choice in the race, Market Share, made a rare and very costly break at the start of the race for driver Tim Tetrick and was out of the event. The race had been built up as the “Clash of the Titans” between Sebastian K and Market Share but that match-up never emerged and will now be put off for a while until they meet up again.

Sebastian K left from his rail position but it was a very quick Modern Family and driver David Miller at 14-1 odds that left from outside post nine and took command by the opening turn. They led the field to the first quarter in :27.1 and then to the half mile in :55.2 before the action began to heat up.

It was at the half mile marker that Svanstedt pulled the ear plugs on Sebastian K and then moved his horse to the outside and started to grind their way first-over to challenge Modern Family. But Miller had his horse in high gear and he still led the field past the three-quarters in 1:22.4.

Then as they started down the home stretch, Sebastian K proved to be too much for Modern Family and without using his whip, Ake Svanstedt just line drove his trotter to victory by one and one-half lengths. Modern Family held for second with Sevruga (Ron Pierce) third.

It was a stakes record for Sebastian K who remains undefeated in 2014 with two straight wins. The Swedish born eight-year-old stallion by Korean had not raced prior to the past two weeks for eight months. A career winner of $2.4 million was bred and is owned by Knutsson Trotting of Vero Beach, FL. And once again, Sebastian K raced without any horse shoes. He likes to race barefoot and no one can argue with this performance.

“He was fine racing barefoot again,” said second trainer Bijorn “Bernie” Noren. “He (Ake) has plenty of horse left at the end of the race. He just showed him the whip and he wanted to take off. He (Sabastian K) has a lot more races this year so we will give him a couple of weeks off and then come back to the Meadowlands. Then we may go to Canada with him and then come back to the Meadowlands.”

Owner/breeder Michael Knutsson also commented on owning Sebastian K.

“He is just awesome,” Knutsson said. “It is just fantastic to own a horse like this. Being our first time at the Meadowlands it is amazing. I think that he (Sebastian K) had more in him. He had a shot at the world record today but it didn’t work. But the time today is fantastic. I don’t think he has been better in his career then he is right now. He is in perfect form.

Yannick Gingras was the driving star of the night, winning 7 of the 14 races contested, including the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace with Allstar Legend in a lifetime best effort of 1:48 for Ron Burke and owners Brittany Farms and John Cherveny.

Total Handle on the 14-race program was $3,399,248, a 10-percent increase over the previous year. Additionally, on-track handle yielded a 26-percent increase.

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

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