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Tristan Sjoberg remembers listening to the International Trot on the radio while growing up as a teenager in Sweden.   He would be rooting for his favorites Callit and Legolas during the early 80s when the International Trot was held at the now defunct Roosevelt Raceway.   Now, Sjoberg is proud to be part of the return of the International Trot Preview to Yonkers when it returns to Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25.   "To have a horse in this race means the world to my brother and I," said Sjoberg, who is part owner of Sebastian K., the world record holder for trotting a mile. "Our father would be proud."   The International Trot, with all its pageantry and worldwide participation will return in 2015 to Yonkers after last being run in 1995.   "As for the sport, I think the reinstatement of the race is very good for harness racing in the United States," Sjoberg said. "When the race was cancelled (in 1988) I think the sport in North America lost a bit of its soul and became more isolated. It is important to have overseas horses compete in the United States as it is brings fresh ideas and keeps the interest up when international marauders come to race in North America.   "One of the main problems in the last 10 years or so has been the focus on retiring successful horses too quickly and the lack of international races on American soil," Sjoberg said. "I hope with the reinstatement of the International Trot, or the World Championship as we call the race in Sweden, and the implementation of the "Gural rule" (keeping horses racing into their 4-year-old season) should revitalize the sport."   Sebastian K or "Sebbe" as he's known around the barn, has won eight of 10 starts since coming to the United States from Sweden and appears to be one of the top choices in the estimated $250,000 International Trot Preview.   On June 28 at Pocono Downs, Sebastian K, an 8-year-old trotter, set the world record for trotting the fastest mile in harness racing, when he stopped the clock in 1:49 in the $100,000 Sun Invitational. "He's an amazing horse," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. "He's a phenomenal animal."   In 2012, Sebastian K was named Sweden's Horse of the Year and having started his career in Sweden, Sebastian K, races barefoot, with no shoes unlike many of his American counterparts.   "Most horses over there race without shoes," Noren said. "I think it makes them go a little faster. You must have a good surface to race barefoot on or it could sting the horse's foot. Yonkers has a very good surface. We try to race him every time without shoes because he doesn't like to wear them."   In Sebastian K's last start, the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on Sept. 20, the 8-year-old faded to seventh, finishing off the board for the first time since coming to North America.   "We put down his lackluster performance to dehydration and the thunderstorm that rolled in," said Sjoberg, who noted that Sebastian K scoped clean after the race. "He does not like high humidity." The International Trot Preview is also expected to attract Market Share, Bee a Magician and Archangel and is part of a strong evening of racing from the Old Hilltop featuring the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot.   Yonkers Raceway will keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all-trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe beginning at 11 a.m.   The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer.   By Jerry Bossert

It's been almost 20 years since the International Trot was last run at Yonkers Raceway, but it's back and may be better than ever before.   With a probable field including world record holder Sebastian K, along with the 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share, the 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, the 37th running of the $250,000 International Trot will be a must race to see at Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25.   "The timing seems right to bring it back," said Bob Galterio, the vice president and chief operating officer of Yonkers. "This year, with so many good American trotters and a couple from overseas the time just seems to be right."   When last run in 1995, it was Sweden's His Majesty who took the International Trot over S.J.'s Photo and Panifesto, both American trotters, and this year Sweden looks well represented by Sebastian K. "Of course it means a lot," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer Ake Svanstedt for Sweden's Sebastian K. "It's a big event for Europeans and it should be a big race getting all the good trotters together from overseas."   His Majesty - 1995 International Trot   Linda Toscano, trainer of Market Share, grew up at Roosevelt Raceway, where the International Trot was conducted from its inception in 1959 until 1988.   "I come from Roosevelt and one of the highlights I looked forward to was seeing the other horses coming from the other countries to compete in the International," Toscano said. "I think it's a real cool thing that they revived it."   The International Trot will be run along with the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot that evening, making for a super night of racing at the Old Hilltop.   "We're very excited about that evening," Galterio said. "It should be a great night of racing and we're looking forward to it."   · Yonkers Raceway hopes to keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe starting with an 11 a.m. first post.   The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer.   By Jerry Bossert

ELORA, ON - Guelph residents Bjorn "Bernie" Noren and Garth Gordon are readying trotting colts Hope For Justice and Aggressive for an early season showdown at Grand River Raceway on Monday, July 22. Both colts were victorious in their divisions of the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on July 4 and would like to maintain their standing atop the two-year-old trotting colt leaderboard. Hope For Justice will start with a moderate advantage after landing Post 3 in the draw. The Windsong Espoir gelding and regular reinsman Luc Ouellette are heading into the event with a perfect record stretching back to a June 8 qualifier where they circled the Mohawk oval in 2:04.4. In a second qualifier at the Campbellville oval on June 22 the duo posted a 1:59.1 win, and they improved that mark to 1:57.2 in the first leg of the Gold Series. Noren shares ownership of Hope For Justice with breeder Mary Katz of Lexington, KY. Aggressive will start from Hope For Justice's right at Post 6 and Mike Saftic will steer the Kadabra gelding for Gordon and his partners Robert Lee and James Walker of Port Perry. Saftic engineered a 1:59.4 win for the gelding in the season opener and will be looking to replicate that effort in Monday's eighth race. Like Hope For Justice, Aggressive qualified twice at Mohawk before making his Ontario Sires Stakes debut, posting a fourth on June 14 and a second on June 22. Gordon and his partners acquired Aggressive at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale, offering up $24,000 for the half-brother to $181,424 winner Imageofasweetday. In addition to Hope For Justice, Noren will harness three other Gold Series hopefuls in Monday's test, British Steel, Blue Mitchell and Brixton. British Steel will try and improve on his fourth-place result in the season opener from Post 4 in the third $35,000 division, one race later Blue Mitchell will make his debut from Post 4, and Brixton helps wraps up the Gold Series action in the tenth race, making his bid for a top finish from Post 3. Post time for Grand River Raceway's Monday, July 22 program is 7:05 pm and the two-year-old trotting colts will light up the Elora oval in Races 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 10. For complete entries For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder  

Guelph resident Bjorn "Bernie" Noren will send four starters out in Monday's (July 16) Gold Eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack and is hoping that at least one of his two-year-old trotting colts can earn a berth in next week's harness racing Gold Final.

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