Day At The Track

Who is Swedish born Jonas Czernyson?

03:16 PM 21 Nov 2011 NZDT
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Jonas and Christine Czernyson Jonas Czernyson, Linn Risedal Jonas Czernyson Jonas Czernyson and Jedi Hanover Jonas Czernyson trained Banbury Cross Jonas Czernyson Jonas Czernyson ready for action Jonas Czernyson taking a forced plunge
Jonas and Christine Czernyson - on their wedding day in September 2009
Jonas Czernyson, Linn Risedal - and David Miller with Temple Of Doom's world record cake
Jonas Czernyson - and Christine Cone Czernyson
Jonas Czernyson and Jedi Hanover
Jonas Czernyson trained Banbury Cross
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Jonas Czernyson is no ordinary harness racing trainer. The Swedish born 38-year-old might not have large training numbers but he has quickly become recognized by his peers as one of North America's outstanding young horsemen.

The Ystad native was actually meant to be a welder. He studied for two years at College and ended up with a degree in that trade, but his love of the outdoors changed both his mind and career path. “Even though I’m not from a harness racing family I drove pony trotters from the age of seven. I discovered a love of horses early on and it was that early association that got me hooked,” Czernyson told Harnesslink.

Then in 1992 Czernyson made a life-changing decision.

“I loved the outdoors so much and thought to myself, ‘do I really want to work indoors for the rest of my life?’ That's when a friend of mine - Katrina Anderson – who was working in America, told me the stable she was at were looking for grooms.

“My training career all started from there,” Czernyson said.

He learnt his trade initially from American trainer Don Swick, and then went and worked for fellow Swedish trainer, New Jersey based Per Eriksson - one of the most successful trotting trainers in harness history.

"I originally planned on staying in North America for just six months," Czernyson joked. "That turned into a year, and then into 15. I haven’t left except to visit my family on a couple of occasions." During his nine years with Eriksson, Czernyson developed some brilliant horseflesh. These included:

Credit Winner 3, 1:54 ($1,495,295); Bullville Victory 3, 1:53.1 ($759,285); Dream Of Joy 2, 1:57 ($826,601); and Tejano 3, 1:53.2 ($322,723).

That stable was a major force in rich trotting events, winning the Breeders Crown, Merrie Annabelle, World Trotting Derby, and Kentucky Futurity among other races.

But Czernyson himself is no stranger to big stakes wins. In the fall of 2001 he went out on his own and then less than four years later he campaigned both the 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy 3, 1:53.4 ($433,777) and well as the brilliant early-season sensation Klipspringer 2, 1:57 ($146,952).

In 2007, he trained Resortful 3, who was second in the Hambletonian Oaks. That was also the year he trained freshman superstar Surtees Hanover 2, 1:55 ($362,928), who was second in the Peter Haughton among other accomplishments. No Pain No Gain 2, 1:55 ($408.513) was also campaigned in 2007 and 2008 to successful 2 year old and 3 year old seasons. 2008 brought Symphonic Hanover 2, 1:56 ($137,500) and Seaside 2, 1:54.4 ($161,541) to everyone’s attention.

In October 2009 Czernyson won the $181,000 Kentucky Futurity Final with Yankee Glide mare, Seaside at The Red Mile.

“Jalopy and Seaside have provided me with the biggest wins of my career so far. I’ve been associated with some nice horses over the years, and I’m grateful to everyone who gave me a chance,” Czernyson said.

He added that Donerail 9-year-old mare Jalopy was now a broodmare in Sweden.

Czernyson, and his wife of two years Christine, based themselves at Sunshine Meadows in Delray Beach, Florida in the winter – and Winners International in New Jersey in the summer.

His horses compete at tracks across the continent and Czernyson is always careful to select the right catch-driver for each horse, always mindful of the long-term good of each horse.

“We currently have about 15 horses at the moment but ask me in January and that number will be more like 30. We just bought 16 from the Harrisburg Sales and I’m very excited about all 16. I love working with young horses. That is where the money is,” he said.

Czernyson said he didn’t like singling out his purchases, especially at this early stage of their careers, but he did say his owners dug deep to pay $130,000 for a Chocolatier yearling filly named Shared Past.

“She looks impressive and is a sister to Dejarmbro (1:52.2 – 17 wins and $1.1m) who is out of the same Donerail mare – Armbro Déjà Vu. I am very grateful to the owners who continue to support me. Without loyal owners you have nothing,” he said.

He said he loved taking a young horse and developing him or her into a racehorse.

“I love working with the babies and seeing them improve day to day. It’s a very satisfying feeling."

When it comes to selecting yearlings, Czernyson said he prefers to see a horse in the flesh before he studies its lineage. He also utilizes a measuring cane on yearlings he’s interested in, a technique he acquired from Eriksson.

"The measuring cane is a tool, it’s something I use to see that the yearlings are longer than they are tall," Czernyson explained. "Usually, you can tell this from the naked eye, but you get a more accurate reading with it from the cane. Per did it and I thought it was a sound way to consider yearlings. It came naturally then that I had to do it.

"With yearlings, it’s kind of a 50-50 thing," he said. "I enjoy picking out yearlings. Size, length, confirmation—those are the most important things for me. Bloodlines—well, they’re not the main thing for me, but if I had to choose, I’d say that babies out of Muscles Yankee and Malabar Man broodmares are my favorites," Czernyson said.

Asked what he did with his spare time outside of harness racing, Czernyson replied:

“What spare time. This is a shaky business we work in and you have to give it 100 per cent or you won’t succeed.

“Racing takes up all of my time and I don’t get time to do much else – and when I do get spare time I like to spend it with my wife.

Czernyson also trains for ‘Down Under’ clients Aldebaran Park.

Who is Jonas Czernyson? 

Birthplace? Ystad, Sweden, which is eight hours south of Stockholm. His hometown is located at Sweden’s southernmost tip and has a population of just over 17,000.

Birthdate? April 18, 1973.

Studied at? Ystad Univeristy.

Married? To Christine Cone Czernyson in September 2009.

Enjoys? Cooking on his barbecue.

Best horse seen? Moni Maker.

Best horse driven? Credit Winner.

Favorite food? Barbecue.

Favorite horse? Three Little Words.

Favorite drink? Amber bock.

Favorite music? Country especially Shania Twain.

Favorite track? The Red Mile.

Career training wins/purses? 269 and $11.2 million.

2011 training wins/purses? 38 and $1.59 million.

Best season? Last year - 41 wins and $1.69 million.

Driving wins? Three.

Ambition: To win a Hambletonian.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

(1) In The Sulky with Jonas Czernyson:

(2) USTA Jonas Czernyson interview:

(3) Hambletonian preview interview with Jonas Czernyson:

(4) The Jonas Czernyson trained Seaside winning the 2009 Kentucky Filly Futurity:

(5) The Jonas Czernyson trained Seducedbychocolate winning the $134,000 Kindergarten Classic Final at Vernon Downs in a track-record time of 1:56.4:

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