Day At The Track

World record holder headed for Spirit trot

02:09 AM 25 Jul 2019 NZST
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Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel has won four straight stake events against some of the best older trotters in North America
Mark Hall Photo

Plainville, MA --- Guardian Angel As has been on a roll of late and will come into the harness racing $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park razor sharp. He has won four straight stake events against some of the best older trotters in North America before finishing fourth in a trip that saw him parked-out the entire mile from post nine at the Meadowlands.

In the $30,000 Great Northeast at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Guardian Angel As dropped in second from post five and then took the lead by the half. From there he trotted away to a four length win in 1:53.1 over a sloppy track.

Two weeks later it was the $100,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Philly where he once again led most of the way and drew off to an easy seasonal best 1:51 victory defeating Pinkman and Fiftydallarbill in the process.

Then in a $40,000 leg of the Mr. Muscleman at the Meadowlands, he was cruising on the lead before digging in to hold off a very gritty stretch drive by Cruzado Dela Noche, eventually hanging on to win by a half length in 1:52.1, with a swift :26.3 final quarter.

His next start would make history.

On June 29 at Northfield Park in the $175,000 Cleveland Classic, Guardian Angel As turned a trip that left him parked out for 7/8th's of the mile into a wrapped up win, stopping the timer in 1:52 and setting a new world record for 5-year-old and older trotting horses on a half-mile track. That rewrote Crazy Wow's 1:52.3 standard set in 2017.

Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel As and after five years of racing him is well aware of his speed and versatility.

"We always knew he was a really good horse but what surprised us most at Northfield is the way he did it. He never pulled the plugs after being parked three-quarters of a mile. I wasn't really sure how he would be there because he has such a big gait. But I also knew It's a very good half-mile track at Northfield and he got around it fine," said Lorentzon.

The 1:52 clocking on the half was amazing let alone the trip he went to get it, but this horse has always had a lot of speed and he showed it in the 2018 Allerage Trot at Lexington.

Guardian Angel As finished second to Homicide Hunter in 1:48.4, which was the fastest trotting mile in the history of the sport. Guardian Angel As came first over at the half and had taken the lead in the stretch before Homicide Hunter blistered home in :26 flat outside of him. Although he finished second, Guardian Angel As still trotted in an unbelievable 1:49.2.

The other asset that makes this 5-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As special is his ability to strike from anywhere in the mile.

"He's the kind of horse that can race from any position. He likes to be up close but he's good if you also sit behind horses. He'll do what you want but he doesn't really have much patience. He is a stud and he knows it and he wants it his way," Lorentzon explained.

There will be over two weeks between his last start and the Spirit Trot but Lorentzon said Guardian Angel As will come in on his regular schedule.

"He raced really hard at Northfield and at the Meadowlands he had the nine hole and got away way back so we took it easy with him after that. Now he's been back to training normal this week; he'll go two trips on Thursday to get ready for Sunday. We don't really train him too hard between races."

And as far as the outcome of the race on Sunday, a lot depends on where the horses start from according to his trainer.

"It's always tough when you go for this kind of money; there are always going to be good horses in the race. What I'm hoping is he gets a good post position so he has a good chance and he races well. A lot of how the race goes will depend on post position."

Tim Tetrick, who will be in town to drive Shartin N in the Clara Barton Pace, will be at the lines behind Guardian Angel As.

It's interesting to note that coming into the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, Guardian Angel As seems to do his best work on a three-turn oval. He has won 20 out of 46 starts lifetime, but nine of those wins came in 12 starts on 5/8th's mile tracks giving him a 75% win percentage for those outings.

Guardian Angel As also trotted the two fastest winning miles of his life on the 5/8th's surface at Harrah's Philly, going 1:50.4 in 2018 and 1:51 this past May.

The current all-time track trotting record at Plainridge Park is a 1:51.2 mile set by JL Cruze when he beat Hannelore Hanover and Crazy Wow in the innaugural edition of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot in 2017.

The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Both stakes are sponsored by Plainridge Park and the Harness Horseman's Association of New England (HHANE).

By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

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