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Millstone Twp, NJ - The celebrated Elitlopp, in Solvalla Stockholm (Sweden), is one of harness racing's most exciting events in world. Offered through a raffle to benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), this fabulous trip includes a 5 day - 4 night stay for two at a 4-star hotel in the heart of the Stockholm, a welcoming dinner and get together Thursday night, sightseeing on Friday and Saturday morning, entrance to the Solvalla Racetrack Saturday and Sunday, and an English speaking tour guide during your entire stay.   Past winners rave about it being a once in a lifetime trip.   Raffle tickets are $25 each and the drawing is April 20th at noon; the winner does not need to be present.   Tickets may be purchased by contacting admin@srfmail.com, or by phone at 732-446-4422.   In its 28th year, SRF is different. Dedicated to Standardbreds only whether young, aged, or injured; SRF has more than 200 hundred under its full care, follows up more than 3,000 adoptions, and is the permanent home for more than 140 undoptables.   SRF's Elitlopp Trip Drawing In a Few Days   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535

Millstone Twp., NJ - The celebrated Elitlopp in Solvalla Stockholm (Sweden) is one of harness racing's largest events for those who love the sport of racing. This fabulous trip is a fundraiser for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) through its annual raffle, tickets are now available.   The trip begins with an airfare voucher valued to $1500 and includes a 5 day - 4 night stay for two at a 4-star hotel in the heart of Stockholm, and includes a welcoming dinner and get together Thursday night; sightseeing on Friday and Saturday morning including a trip to Menhammer Stud Farm where many famous stallions have stood, and to the Elite Yearling Sale; entrance to the Solvalla Racetrack on Saturday and Sunday for the big race, and an English speaking tour guide during your entire stay. The dates are Thursday-Sunday, May 25, 2017-May 28, 2017   Raffle tickets are $25 each and funds raised will be used to provide hay and grain, medical, farrier care, rehabilitation, vaccinations, and other related needs for more than 200 trotters and pacers currently in SRF's care, all in need of homes.   Tickets should have arrived by mail to all SRF's supporters and are also available for purchase. The winning ticket will be drawn on April 20th, 2017 at noon; the winner does not need to be present. Help with selling tickets is also much appreciated. Please use the contact information noted.   SRF, now in its 28th year is different, as the mission is dedicated to Standardbreds exclusively; young, aged, injured, neglected or abused; is the permanent home for 140 unwanted trotters and pacers; and provides lifetime follow-up so no horse is ever at risk again.   SRF asks for the support of all whose lives have been touched by these horses and racing, whether through the Elitlopp raffle, Win*Win program, horse sponsorship, planned giving, or through an endowment. For more information please contact Tammy at admin@srfmail.com, or by phone at 732-446-4422, or see SRF's website at www.Adoptahorse.org     Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535  

Floyd, not Pegasus, and his North Belle Vernon outrider made a once in a lifetime trek to Sweden. Even someone whose Swedish language ability barely extends beyond “smorgasbord” can recognize the word “elite” in Stockholm’s Elitloppet, one of the top harness racing races in the world. A Mon Valley equestrian who participated in the event made history in May when she became the first American outrider at Elitloppet. Racing animals can make unpredictable moves and an outrider is to be ready to intervene, if necessary, to rescue horses and humans. “In Sweden they don’t have them,” says outrider Wendy Ross, 32, of North Belle Vernon, after she returned from her first-ever trip to Scandinavia. Swedes may be unfamiliar with outriders, but Ross has long been aware of the Elitloppet’s series of eliminations that has been held annually at Stockholm’s Solvalla Racecourse since 1952. “I’d known about it my whole life,” Ross says, referring to it as Elitlopp, a nickname common in harness racing circles. Dave Palone, a regular at The Meadows Racetrack in Meadow Lands who was inducted into the harness racing Hall of Fame in 2010 and holds the record for the most wins of any driver worldwide, has raced at Elitloppet, a three-day event. “I never realized how big it was over there until I was there myself,” he says. “There were 50,000 to 60,000 fans at the Elitloppet, and it reminds me a lot of our Little Brown Jug (an annual race in Delaware, Ohio). They cheer you when you come out in the post parade and each horse has his own fan base, with flags and signs everywhere. It’s almost like a Super Bowl atmosphere. We could learn a lot from the way they promote the races over there.” Heats during the modern Elitloppet take place over three days, and for the invitational “it is really not the driver that is invited, it is the horse,” according to Palone. “The trainer chooses the driver. There are so many great European drivers that it is a real honor to be able to go over there and represent the United States. They invite one horse from the United States that is at the top of his game at the time of the Elitloppet.” Ross calls Elitloppet “the biggest race in the whole world as far as trotters go. I’m not really good with words, but it was a pretty big deal. There were 30,000 people there. It was epic. We were introduced at every race. All I could understand was when they said, ‘Wendy Ross and her horse, Floyd.’ They were very welcoming to us.” The welcome began in a big way. Floyd was one of six horses booked on a Boeing 747 for the trip. Ross did not see him board on the East Coast because her flight was on a Sunday night and Floyd’s plane departed Monday morning during the last full week of May. Ross and 4,000 other people turned out to watch the equines’ plane land in Sweden, and she walked him from a portable stall to a barn on the airport grounds. Because this year’s Elitloppet may have been the first time Swedes saw an outrider in action, Ross wanted to make sure she and Floyd made a good impression. Ross and horse were decked out in American patriotic colors. She paired bright blue trousers and a shirt with stars and stripes. Floyd’s hand-tailored back pad was trimmed in red and blue. “I make them different for every event I do or every track I’ve worked,” Ross says. A horse faces no language barrier, and once on the track, Floyd “took to it like he’s been there a million times,” Ross says. “He’s a pro. We’re basically just out there for safety. We had to grab a horse who was running away a little bit.” “It takes a really special ability,” Ross says of Floyd’s skills. “Only one in 40 horses could do this. It was very rare. An outrider’s horse has to be very athletic and be able to handle situations. He did it for 19 years.” According to the Standardbred Canada website, the winner of the Elitloppet final was, by a quarter-length, Nuncio, bred by Pennsylvania’s Russell Williams and owned by Stefan Melander’s Stall TZ. Nuncio “was a $7,000 purchase (who) has gone on to a tremendous international career.” The purse was $892,000. The return trip from Stockholm was bittersweet for Ross because, once back in the United States, she and Floyd, 23, parted ways. “He’s retiring to a really nice farm in New York with an 8-year-old girl who absolutely adores him,” Ross says. “I cried. When we said goodbye, it was pretty sad. I talked to him. I was there a half hour with him in the field. It was really hard. I’m going to go see him. We’ve been together for 10 years and we got to do some really cool things. It was the end, but it was fine. There aren’t too many words for the friendship and the partnership we had. There is no comparison.” Their trip abroad together was a once-in-a-lifetime event now that Floyd is officially retired. “He’s been with me the longest and he’s definitely my favorite horse that I’ll ever have, for sure,” Ross says. By Barbara Miller Reprinted with permission of the observer-reporter.com site

Watch final heat at https://youtu.be/nsVzLdYrA1o Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) prevailed gamely after a parked out journey for Orjan Kihlstrom and owner/trainer Stefan Melander to capture the Gr. I International 2016 Benders Elitloppet (3SEK million to the final winner (€323,100), 1609 meters autostart) narrowly holding off Resolve (5m Muscle Hill-Anikawiesahalee-Credit Winner) by half-length, that one driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt for owner Hans Enggren. Pacesetter Un Mec d’Heripre (8m Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling-Buvetier d’Aunou) was a gutsy third, a length back, for Jos Verbeeck and trainer Fabrice Souloy. Elim winner Timoko rallied from between horses to be fourth for Bjorn Goop but he never threatened the top three. Propulson ended fifth and Oasis Bi sixth. Royal Fighter left quickly from post six, reached the pocket, and could not close, ending seventh with Billie de Montfort at the end. Nuncio was the wagering favorite, off at 0.5/1 on the ATG system and 2.1/1 on Fintoto. Resolve was 1.96/1 on ATG and 4.56/1 on Fintoto. Fractions again were quick early and late (1.07.6kr at 500 meters, 1.09.6kr at the 1000) with the finish timed in 1.09.2kr (mile rate 1:51.34). All starters were timed in 1.09.9kr or better. Nuncio completes the fabulous day with a career slate of 31-13-2 in 46 starts, good for 21,597,726SEK earned. Pinkman wins for Takter/Gingras Pinkman (4g Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster-Angus Hall) with Yannick Gingras up for trainer Jimmy Takter reached the front before the first quarter, rated the pace albeit parking out Twister Bi (4m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra), and put that one away at top stretch to win the Gr. II Tommy Hannes for four year-olds (500,000SELK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters).   Uncle Lasse (4m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) rallied for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer/owner Stefan Melander to fall short by a head. The race was timed in 1.09.9kr (1:52.47 mile rate). Divisionist (4m Andover Hall-Only Lonely-Yankee Paco) rallied to be third for Jorma Kontio and trainer Melander. Fractions were quick early and late with Pinkman getting some soft time mid-race (1.07.8kr at 500 meters, 1.10kr at the 1000 mark).   Pinkman was off as even-money favorite with Uncle Lasse at 2.3/1 and Divisionist at 14/1. Pinkman now has a career slate of 18-5-2 in 28 starts for earnings of 21,382,178SEK.   A race earlier the Gudrans Lopp (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to 1.13.4kr timed New Muscle As (4g Muscle Mass-New Circle As-Malabar Man) for Bjorn Goop and trainer Ulf Stenstromer. The roan colt Antonio Tabac (4m Crazed-Grace Tabac-Tap In) pulled pegs pocket late to be second beaten half-length with Erik Adielsson up for trainer Stig H. Johansson.   Timoko takes first elimination division   Timoko (9m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant)  took the first elim of the 2016 Benders Elitloppet gate to wire for Bjorn Goop and trainer Richard Westerink, his third straight victory and 30th lifetime in 85 starts for earnings of 37,756,090SEK.   Away from post four Timoko quickly took the front and held off parked out Volstead until top of stretch when Resolve (5m Muscle Hill-Anikawiesahalee-Credit Winner) rallied three wide from fifth for Ake Svanstedt with Propulsion (5m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) following that one. Both closed stoutly with Resolve a half-length from the leader at the wire and Propulsion another half-length behind. Oasis Bi enjoyed a pocket position and did not threaten,   Fractions were sharp (1.07.8kr at the first 500 meters, 1.09.2kr at the 1000) and finished at 1.09.1kr for the 1609 meter one-mile test with 250,000SEK to the winner, Oasis Bi and Volstead rounded out the top five and Your Highness was scratched. The winner was off at 1.9/1 on Fintoto and 4/5 on the PMU network.   Early Solvalla action on this 2016 Benders Elitloppet day saw Wild Honey (4f Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy-SJ’s Photo) take the Rune Stolts for mares (250,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart) timed in 1.10.9kr for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Daniel Reden. The mare was parked without cover and eased to the line ahead of Tunika (4f Zola Boko-Verona de Ling-Super Arnie) and driver Bjorn Goop.   A race later the 2016 undefeated (five of five now) Makethemark (3m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) took the Hakan Wallner Memorial (300,000SEK to the winner) for driver Ulf Ohlsson clocked in 1.11.8kr. Parked without cover the dimunitive colt closed steadily to capture the win from Mindyourvalue WF (3m Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners-Dahir de Prelong) with Ake Svanstedt driving for trainer Robert Bergh. The winner now has 11 wins in 13 starts lifetime. Un Mec d'Heripre wins second elimination division  Respected FR speedster Un Mec d’Heripre (8m Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling-Buvetier d’Aunou) sat outside leading Royal Fighter (8m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) with Jennifer Tillman up for Per Eriksson, avoided traffic when Call Me Keeper went offstride on the backstretch, and moved alongside and then eased past Royal Fighter to the lead at top stretch.   Favorite Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane), with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Stefan Melander, surged into contention from fifth but could not overtake the Jos Verbeeck reined, Fabrice Souloy trained Un Mec d’Heripre that held by a length timed in 1.09.3 kr (fractions 1.08.8kr at the 500 meter mark and 1.09.6kr atg the 1000). Billie de Montfort (5f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort-And Arifant) was fourth for David Thomain and trainer Sebastien Guarato.   The winner was off at 8/1 on the PMU network while Nuncio was the favorite at 0.5/1 on PMU and 9/10 on Fintoto. Driver Verbeeck has enjoyed a successful weekend so far after winner yesterday with Bird Parker.   Post positions for the final with 3SEK million to the winner follow: 1. Un Mec d’Heripre 2. Timoko 3. Resolve 4. Nuncio 5. Propulsion 6. Royal Fighter 7. Billie de Montfort 8. Oasis Bi by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Four ASVT Trottex events showcased Solvalla’s Wednesday harness racing program with the quality starting of the weekend’s Elitloppet festivities. Two harness racing three year-old filly contests each were worth 120,000SEK to the winners and each was raced over 2140 meters autostart.  The first went to even-money favorite Rhyme Broline (3f Celebrity Secret-Candelia-Armbro Goal) for driver Erik Adielsson and trainer Svante Bath. Timed in 1.15.3kr this one recorded her first 201y6 win in this her second appearance. SDghe now has a 5-1-0 slate in eight starts. 1.6/1 Ultra Bright (3f Zola Boko-Patina-Viking Kronos) took second for Fredrik Persson with 12/1 Gloria Boko (3f Zola Boko-Song Glider-Windsong’s Legacy) third for Per Lennartsson. The second filly batch went to 1.14.3kr timed and 9/10 odds Flo Jo Keeper (3f Broad Bahn-Elizalleeper-Credit Winner) with trainer Bjorn Goop driving, her second win in three 2016 and career starts with one second place finish. 40/1 Looks Likeaqueen (3f Varenne-Make Approach-Viking Kronos) finished second for trainer/driver Ake Lindblom with 105/1 Bear Abiba (3f Muscles Wiking BR-Martini Bar-Malabar Man) home third for trainer/driver Stefan Olsson. The colts battled also over 2140 meters autostart for first money of 120,000SEK. Even-money choice Han Herred (3m Infinitif -Donna GT-Dungeness) opened colt action with a 1.14.5kr victory with Erik Adielsson up for trainer Stig H. Jonhansson and Stall Inox. This one now shows a 3-1-0 slate in four 2016 and career appearances. 1.9/1 Gareth Boko (3m Make It Happen-Vanilla Boko-Pine Chip) took second for Per Lennartsson, also trainer. 4.9/1 Man At Work (3g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) was third for Bjorn Goop. The second colt set went to 7/10 choice Diamanten (3m Adrian Chip-Jata Kall-Ata Star L) with Ulf Eriksson up for trainer Robert Bergh. This winner is a perfect two for two in 2016 and undefeated in five career outings. 4.1/ MT Le Bron (3g Quite Easy-Rydenc Denise-Dahir de Prelong) was next for Ake Lindbloom and 25/1 Havbergs Knight (3m Scarlet Knight-Havbergs Fifi-Jobie Tempest) was third for trainer and reinsman Fredrik B. Larsson. At Aby DD’s Hitman (5m Donato Hanover-Deedee’s Destiny-Muscles Yankee) scored timed in 1.13.3kr to earn 70,000SEK first money in a 2140 meter autostart Femarlingslopp. British Steel was second for Johnny Takter (this one a 5g Kadabra-Come Home ET-Yankee Glide) and 22/1 Wishing Boy (5g ENS Snapshot-Valg Cowboyland-Cooperfield) was third for Steen Juul and trainer Gordon Dahl. Thomas H. Hicks

Stefan Melander has trained some great trotters during his harness racing career, including 2006 Prix d’Amerique winner Gigant Neo and 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight, but he has never enjoyed a relationship with a horse in quite the same way as with Elitloppet favorite Nuncio. Nuncio, who is also owned by Melander, is the 2-1 favorite according to online oddsmakers to win Sunday’s (May 29) prestigious Elitloppet, an invitational for older trotters that features an international lineup, at Solvalla Raceway in Stockholm. Nuncio, a 5-year-old stallion who was a star in the U.S. at ages 2 and 3, has won all four of his races this season and 14 of 17 starts since arriving in Europe last year. He finished third in last year’s Elitloppet. “Last year he was just great; he came to Sweden in good shape,” Melander said in an e-mail translated by associate Simon Hagen. “Jimmy Takter and Jim Oscarsson (who each trained Nuncio in the U.S.) did a great job with him. He trained very good so we decided to participate in the Elitlopp last year even if I think it was a little bit too early. He arrived to my farm in February so he just had two races before the Elitlopp. “This year I have been able to get him in good shape before the race. He has grown enormously much. Last year I saw that he probably needed a year to be perfect, which I think he is now. He is much bigger and stronger.” Nuncio is a son of stallion Andover Hall out of the mare Nicole Isabelle. He raced primarily for Oscarsson at age 2 and solely for Takter at age 3, when Nuncio and regular driver John Campbell won the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot and finished second in the Hambletonian. For his career, Nuncio has won 30 of 44 races, never finishing worse than third in any start, and earned $2.18 million. “I am really impressed that he makes everything so easy,” Melander said. “He is so special, too. He knows that he is best in our stable but he is not cocky or anything. He is so smart. I have trained Gigant Neo and Scarlet Knight, but this horse is so special he actually understands you when you talk to him sometimes.” Melander, who is a renowned photographer as well as a horseman, won the 2010 Elitloppet with Iceland. He grew up less than a mile from Solvalla Raceway and took photos in the stables when he was a teenager. “If I could win again with Nuncio it would be just great,” Melander said. “Iceland was a really good horse but cannot compete with Nuncio. I train them different. Nuncio just wants to race with all my other horses so I have to drive him for himself on the straight track. Usually we have up to 30-35 horses in every set.” Nuncio trained Thursday and will jog and walk in the days prior to the race, Melander said. “He loves to go out and jog,” Melander said. “We also ride him and he really loves it.” Melander has been Nuncio’s regular driver, but will give the lines to Orjan Kilhstrom for Sunday’s Elitloppet. Kilhstrom won last year’s Elitloppet with Magic Tonight and the 2003 edition with From Above. “Orjan Kilhstrom is a better driver than me,” Melander said. “I think sometimes that I am a little bit too kind to (Nuncio). I actually wanted John Campbell to drive him, but his daughter would be getting married this weekend, which I understand is more important.” Nuncio races Sunday in the second of two Elitloppet eliminations. The top four finishers from each division advance to the same-day final. The first elimination features the next three best bets to win the race according to the oddsmakers: 2014 champion Timoko (7-1), formerly U.S.-based Propulsion (9-1) and U.S. representative Resolve (10-1). Timoko, who finished second in this year’s Prix d’Amerique, has won three of six starts this season. The 9-year-old stallion has earned $4.43 million in his career. Five-year-old Propulsion, who raced for trainer Tony Alagna in the States, is 3-for-3 this year. Resolve is trained and driven by two-time Elitloppet winner Ake Svanstedt. “This year almost all the horses can actually win this race,” Melander said. Nuncio isn’t Melander’s only shot at winning the race. He also sends out Volstead in the first elimination. Volstead is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Madame Volo. He was purchased as a yearling for $50,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to stakes-winner High Bridge and his family also includes stakes-winners Missy’s Goalfire, Have You Ever, Lassie’s Goal, and Lear Jetta. “I actually think Volstead has a good chance to be among the (top) three,” Melander said. “His last performance he was outstanding. If we take it to the final and get a decent position, I would almost be worried if I was Nuncio.” Sunday’s card at Solvalla also features appearances by two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Pinkman, French Laundry, and Uncle Lasse in a Group 2 event for 4-year-old trotters. Yannick Gingras will drive Pinkman. Also, millionaire Wild Honey competes in a Group 2 event for 4-year-old female trotters. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing owner Hans Enggren will watch Sunday as his 5-year-old trotter Resolve competes in Sweden's famed Elitloppet at Solvalla Raceway. It has been more than three decades since Enggren can recall having a horse in the elite race, but the thought of his previous attempt to win it with a horse named Spirits Supreme triggers an amusing anecdote which could have started with the line, "A man walks into a bar with a horse." The bar, located in Gettysburg, Pa., near Enggren's adopted hometown of Abbottstown, was owned by Enggren and renamed in honor of Spirits Supreme, who raced in the 1983 Elitloppet. One day, Enggren decided to show off the horse to the establishment's patrons. "To everyone's delight, I brought Spirits Supreme right into the bar," the 86-year-old Enggren said, laughing, "and he gracefully baptized it, I guess you would call it." Spirits Supreme was unsuccessful in his attempt for an Elitloppet victory, not to mention barroom etiquette, but Enggren is hopeful that Resolve can get him to the winner's circle. Resolve, who received the 2015 O'Brien Award for the best older male trotter to compete in Canada, races in the first of two Elitloppet eliminations. The top four finishers from each division advance to the same-day final. Resolve is trained by two-time Elitloppet winner Ake Svanstedt, who also will drive the stallion. Five-year-old stallion Nuncio, whose success in the U.S. at ages 2 and 3 included victories in the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot, competes in the second elimination and is the 2-1 favorite to win the event according to online oddsmakers. Since turning 4, Nuncio has raced in Europe for owner/trainer Stefan Melander. He finished third in the 2015 Elitloppet, which was won by Magic Tonight. Resolve, who will start his elimination from post No. 2, is the fourth choice in the pre-race odds, at 12-1. Timoko, who won the 2014 Elitloppet, is 7-1 and Propulsion is 8-1. Timoko and Propulsion, who raced in the States for trainer Tony Alagna at ages 3 and 4, are in the same elimination as Resolve. Defending champion Magic Tonight, who raced in the U.S. for trainer Noel Daley in his early years, is in the second elimination and will start from post seven. He is 41-1. "I'm very excited," said Enggren, a native of Sweden who moved to the U.S. in 1952. "I know a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to get the horse there and to get me there. It will be nice to meet some old friends and see Resolve race. I know Nuncio has been declared a pretty strong favorite, but I have high hopes for Resolve. "I think an awful lot of my trainer. According to comments I've seen in the Swedish papers, they feel like I feel --- that Svanstedt has improved the horse tremendously." Enggren, perhaps best known as the breeder and owner of 1985 Hambletonian winner Prakas as well as heading Meadowbranch Farms, bought Resolve in July 2014. Last year, Resolve won four of 13 races and hit the board a total of 12 times on his way to $700,938. His wins included the TVG Free For All Series championship and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. He finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final, as well as the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Hambletonian Maturity. This year, Resolve is officially winless in two starts, although he did get to the finish line first in the Mack Lobell Elitloppet Playoff on May 8 at the Meadowlands only to be disqualified for going inside several pylons in the stretch. Despite the missteps, the connections received an Elitloppet invitation. Resolve is the lone U.S.-owned horse in the race. "It would mean a lot," Enggren said about the possibility of winning the race, which he has attended numerous times over the years. "I was brought up in Sweden with horses in the late '30s, early '40s. I always was very closely attached to Solvalla. As a kid, I was there a lot. If we were to win, it would be truly amazing. I have promised everybody here that I'm not going to cry if they take pictures." Is it a promise Enggren thinks he can keep? "We'll see," he said, adding with a laugh, "Perhaps I will wear very black glasses." Ken Weingartner

Stefan Melander’s Volstead (5m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide) took today’s 1640 meter autostart HKH Prins Daniel V75 Gold (400,000SEK to the winner) clocked in 1.09.8kr (1:52.31 mile rate). Melander drove the 4.8/1 odds third choice and earned an Elitloppet invitation as a result of the win, his 13th in a career that also shows six seconds in 30 starts for earnings of 2,937,250SEK. Volstead was bred in the US by Arden Homestead Stable. 1.1/1 Nimbus CD (6g Mythical Lindy-Kiss of Life-Tenor de Baine) was second today for Erik Adielsson, ahead of 13/1 Ed You (9g Love You-Lancia Brick-Super Arnie) driven by trainer Robert Bergh. 8/1 Mosaique Face with Lutfi Kolgjini up and 12/1 Food Money reined by Jennifer Tillman ended fourth and fifth with Magic Tonight sixth for Orjan Kihlstom and Cool Keeper seventh. Today’s HKH Prins Daniels resulted in the winner Volstead and Magic Tonight to be added to the Elitloppet lineup. The group named so far follows: Magic Tonight Volstead Call Me Keeper On Track Piraten BBS Sugarlight Nuncio Voltigeur de Myrt Resolve Propulsion Un Mec d’Heripre Oasis Bi Your Highness Timoko The Elite race is shaping up to be competitive and interesting to see Nuncio and Timoko do battle. Thomas H. Hicks  

Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) won Solvalla’s Kat 1 on the V64 Wednesday harness racing program over 1640 meters autostart with 100,000SEK to the winner. Owner/trainer Stefan Melander was again at the lines as the 2/5 odds favorite scored timed in 1.10.3kr (mile rate 1:53.11). 7/1 Vasterbo Highflyer (8g Look de Star-Vasterbo Highclass-Pine Chip) was second for Daniel Reden ahead of third finishing 3/1 Nimbus CD (6g Mythical Lindy-Kiss Of Life-Tenor de Baune) with Orjan Kihlstrom up. Food Money and I Saw You were fourth and fifth.  Nuncio, bred by Russell C. Williams of Hanover, PA USA, now has a 30-12-1 slate in 44 career outings for 18,472,726SEK earned. Today’s victory was his sixth straight and 12th in the last 13 starts since being 2-3 in the 2015 Elitloppet. Nuncio scored on April 27 timed in 1.09.9kr (1:52.47), his best of the year. The Elitloppet accepted invites now include Nuncio, Timoko, Your Highness, Oasis Bi, Un med d’Heripre, Propulsion, Resolve and Voltigeur de Myrt.. Thomas H. Hicks  

Tonight’s Prix Kerjacques (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2700 meters, 10 international starters) offers a stellar harness racing lineup and perhaps more 2016 Elitloppet invites. The field as shown below in head number order (horse, driver/trainer, career earnings in euros): Anette du Mirel, Eric Raffin/Anders Lindqvist, 360,330 Africaine, Pierre Vercruysse/Jean-Etienne Dubois, 612,020 Treskool du Caux, David Thomain/Fabrice Souloy, 651,250 Beckman, Franck Ouvrie/Souloy, 676,932 Sierra Leone, J.W. Hallais trainer/driver, 751,250 Olmo Holz, Christophe Martens,/Vincent Martens, 790,906 Lionel, J-M Bazire/Souloy, 801,716 Ustinof du Vivier, Matthieu Abrivard/Sebastien Guarato, 979,340 Univers de Pan, Philippe Daugeard, trainer/driver, 1,476,390 Timoko, Bjorn Goop/Richard Westerink, 3,983,913 Elitloppet accepted invites so far are Timoko, Un Mer d’Heripre, Your Highness and Oasis Bi. Races leading to the May 27 Solvalla Elite Race in addition to the Prix Kerjacques are: May 7, Orebro Gold May 8, MI USA Playoff May 8 Finlandia DIJ May 14  Algot Scotts May 15 Copenhagen Cup May 21 Prins Daniels Thomas H. Hicks

If Mars Blackmon were to handicap Sunday's inaugural harness racing $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands, he might have difficulty putting his finger on Resolve's success. Because unlike the fictional Blackmon's proclamation that "It's gotta be the shoes" to explain Michael Jordan's prowess, Resolve is at his best barefoot. Last year, Resolve won four of 13 races and hit the board a total of 12 times on his way to $700,938 for owner Hans Enggren and trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. His wins included the TVG Free For All Series championship and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. He finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final, as well as the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Hambletonian Maturity. He received Canada's O'Brien Award for best older male trotter. The 5-year-old Resolve is part of an all-star field of nine entered in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff. The race winner will receive an invitation to the Elitlopp at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden on May 29. The Playoff is scheduled for race one on Sunday's matinee program with a post time of 12:40 p.m. It will be broadcast live on national television in Sweden and anchors a six-race trotting block that will make up the V64 wager in Sweden. Resolve will start Sunday from post four and is 10-1 on the morning line. In his only start this season, Resolve finished fourth in the Open Handicap on April 22 at the Meadowlands, behind Playoff contenders Bee A Magician, Gural Hanover, and Shake It Cerry. Racing with shoes on for his seasonal debut, he was last at the halfway point, but finished strong with a :53.4 final half-mile. On Sunday, the shoes will be off. "In his first race, he had a bad post (six) but he came home very fast," Svanstedt said. "He feels good. I think he is in good form; he is in good shape. He has had two weeks to get ready and he feels good when he trained. "Now we are going to race him without shoes and he's much faster without shoes. And now we have a good post. If everything is normal he is going to do a good race." Bee A Magician is the Playoff's 9-5 morning line favorite, starting from post seven with Brian Sears driving for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. The winner of 42 of 66 career races and $3.72 million, Bee A Magician captured her only start this season, the aforementioned Open Handicap at the Meadowlands on April 22. JL Cruze, undefeated in three races this year, is the 2-1 second choice from post one with John Campbell at the lines for trainer Eric Ell. The 6-year-old Bee A Magician was the 2013 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada and the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter. JL Cruze, who is a 5-year-old, was the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter. "JL Cruze is a very good horse and Bee A Magician too," Svanstedt said. "Now she has a bad post; JL Cruze has a good post. I'm impressed with JL Cruze. He is a big and tough horse. Bee A Magician needs a good trip to win, but (Sears) always gives her a good trip. We'll see what happens." Resolve has won 10 of 40 career races and earned $917,125. Svanstedt was pleased with the stallion's 2015 campaign, particularly because the horse was unimpressive while training in Florida during the winter. "I could never dream he would have a year like that when we were training him in Florida last winter," Svanstedt said. "He trained bad. He made breaks all the time when we trained on the round track. The first time he didn't make a break was when we qualified him. "But this winter he trained good; much stronger and better." Svanstedt is in his third year of competing in North America. He was Sweden's Trainer of the Year five times and Driver of the Year on three occasions prior to moving his stable to the U.S. in the winter of 2013. During his career overseas, Svanstedt won many of the top races in Europe, including the Elitlopp twice. He would enjoy the opportunity to return to Sweden with Resolve for another Elitlopp. "If he is as good as I hope, we would go," Svanstedt said. Fans can learn more about each of the horses entered in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff by visiting www.elitloppplayoff.com/ and can join the discussion on social media using #ElitloppPlayoff. Ken Weingartner

Former harness racing Maine champion to make seasonal debut in $150,000 Playoff on Sunday, May 8 at the Meadowlands Trainer Paul Kelley will be the first to admit that his star trotter Obrigado has been "a pleasant surprise." Kelley bought the former Maine-bred champion at the 2013 Harrisburg Sale for $53,000 with the hope that he would develop into a nice open trotter at Saratoga. Instead, the six-year-old gelding by Boy Band - Malimony, by Malabar Man has become a top-class stakes horse who earned $405,535 in 2015 with a signature win in the $200,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs and a runner-up finish to close out the year in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Final. Obrigado is part of an all-star field of nine entered in Sunday's inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands. The race winner will receive an invitation to the Elitlopp at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden on May 29. The Playoff is scheduled for Race 1 on Sunday's matinee program with a post time of 12:40 p.m. It will be broadcast live on national television in Sweden and anchors a six-race trotting block that will make up the V64 wager in Sweden. Obrigado spent his winter in Florida with Kelley and posted two winning qualifiers at Pompano Park before shipping north. He qualified last Saturday at the Meadowlands in 1:54.1 with a final quarter in 27.1 in his final tune-up before Sunday. "He had a really good winter and Wally Hennessey was especially happy with his second qualifier," explained Kelley. "He needed a good stiff training mile last weekend because he can tend to be a lazy horse. That effort was good for him to stretch his legs and open his lungs up. I don't know if I have him 100 percent where I want him to be, but if he's up to it, he will be right there on the wire and if not, then he is not quite ready." Kelley shares ownership of Obrigado with Linwood Higgins, Stable 45, and the SRF Stable of Lennart Agren. Agren bought the ownership share previously held by Bill Weaver, the legendary owner and breeder who passed away this past February at the age of 79. Agren is from Sweden and owns 2015 Elitlopp Champion, Magic Tonight. "Mr. Agren is a great sportsman and horseman and I know he would love nothing more than to have Obrigado race over at Solvalla," said Kelley. "I have been fortunate to attend the Elitlopp and it is truly a tremendous event. I am familiar with the whole setup over there and know how difficult it is for an American horse to win, especially this year where Nuncio looks like he will be a big favorite and have the home course advantage." Fans can learn more about each of the horses entered in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff by visiting www.elitloppplayoff.com/ and can join the discussion on social media using #ElitloppPlayoff. Wagering Update With the change to the regular Meadowlands schedule by racing on Sunday afternoon, the regular guarantees in the Pick Five and two Pick Four wagers will not be in place. The jackpot amounts in the Super High Five wagers will remain. Justin Horowitz  

Of all the winners of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation's (SRF) Elitlopp harness racing raffle fundraiser, this year's winner, Joe Sbrocco, an Ohio resident, couldn't contain his excitement and shock.   Joe Sbrocco has been an owner for nearly forty years and has enjoyed tremendous success, most recently with Captaintrecherous, and Artspeak. "You gotta be kidding," were his first words when SRF's Director, Judy Bokman called him with the news. The excitement continued for him. "I'm seventy-five years old and I feel like I was just born!"   The seasoned owner is still in the game with a small stake in horses being trained by Brian Brown, Tony Alagna, Paul Kelly, Nancy Johannsen, Jonas Czernyson, Ake Swendsted, Jimmy Takter and Jimmy Arledge.   Mr. Sbrocco and his wife will enjoy a fabulous five day trip to Sweden visiting famous breeding farms, taking a trip to Mendhammer, visiting a yearling auction, sightseeing, enjoying authentic dining at an old world restaurant dating back to the 1700s, and attending the great race at Solvalla.   SRF is a 27 year old organization, unique in its work, as it never relinquishes ownership of its horses. The Elitlopp raffle, as well as the raffle for a trip to the Prix d'Amerique help fund the care of 205 trotters and pacers of which 130 are retired due to age or injuries under the full care and expense of SRF.   SRF thanks Marc and Marcia Goldberg of the Arch Madness fame for their generous gift of sponsorship of the trip from the SRF's Twelve Days of Giving campaign in December 2015. "We can only give these horses a chance when special people like the Goldbergs, and our supporters of this fund raiser make it possible with their kindness; we so appreciate this wonderful support," Paula Campbell, SRF's President added.   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535  

The celebrated Elitlopp in Solvalla Stockholm (Sweden) is one of harness racing's most exciting events in world for those who love the sport of racing.   Offered through a raffle to benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), the drawing is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3rd at 12:30.   This fabulous trip includes a 5 day - 4 night stay for two at a 4-star hotel in the heart of the Stockholm, a welcoming dinner and get together Thursday night, sightseeing on Friday and Saturday morning, entrance to the Solvalla Racetrack Saturday and Sunday and an English speaking tour guide during your entire stay.   Raffle tickets are $25 each and funds raised will be used to provide hay and grain, medical, farrier care, rehabilitation, vaccinations, and other related needs for more than 200 Standardbreds currently in SRF's care. More than half of these horses are unadoptable due to age or injury under the full care and expense of SRF for the rest of their lives.   Last minute ticket purchase can be made by contacting admin@srfmail.com, or by phone at 732-446-4422. The winner does not need to be present.   In its 27th year, SRF is solely dedicated to the Standardbred breed and is different from all others as it provides full care for 208 horses, and retires those who are unadoptable at the full expense of the organization.   VISIT OUR WEBSITE   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535

Ten upper level harness racing trotters faced the mobile in this 2100 meter autostart Seinajoki Race in Finland, with a €60,000 purse on the line. 7.5/1 El Mago Pellini (7m Chocolatier-My Intuition-Andover Hall) driven by Adrian Kolgjini recorded a comfortable victory clocked in 1.12.1kr, two lengths the best over 5/1 Ed You (9g Love You-Lancia Brick-Super Arnie) handled by Mika Forss. 10/1 Ringostarr Treb (6m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral-Supergill) rallied for third driven by Wim Paal. Summary and video replay link follow. Lähtö 10 TRO DUO 1. Palkinto 60 000,00 € Katso video Lämminveriset ryhmäajo 2100 m Avoin Seinäjoki-Race P. 60 000 e. (60000-25000-15000-6000-2000) Toto76 Sij. Hevonen Ohjastaja Matka:Rata Aika Palkinto Kerroin 1 6   El Mago Pellini* (SE) Adrian Kolgjini 2100:6 12,1a 60000 € 8,55 2 10   Ed You* (SE) Mika Forss 2100:10 12,4a 25000 € 6,53 3 2   Ringostarr Treb* (IT) Wilhelm Paal 2100:2 12,5a 15000 € 9,89 4 7   Quid Pro Quo* (SE) Erik Adielsson 2100:7 12,6a 6000 € 12,49 5 9   Donna di Quattro* (SE) Christoffer Eriksson 2100:9 12,8a 2000 € 6,37 6 8   Twigs Voici* (SE) Pekka Korpi 2100:8 12,8a   24,53 7 5   Jontte Boy Tuomas Korvenoja 2100:5 12,8a   13,55 8 4   Edward Ale Peter Ingves 2100:4 12,9ax   7,13 9 1   Jeppas Maxi* (SE) Torbjörn Jansson 2100:1 13,0a   5,43 10 3   Bret Boko (SE) Ari Moilanen 2100:3 13,7a   7,69 Väliajat 10.0/Bret Boko, 13.5, 12.0, 10.0 Link: http://tototv.icareus.com/web/guest/archive?video=20160430_25_110 Separately, it was reported that the fine mare Delicious was declared out of the upcoming 2016 Elitloppet. The mare was operated on Friday and trainer Daniel Reden would not comment on the outcome. On Friday it was discovered that Delicious had a swollen carpal. Thomas H. Hicks

Nuncio (5h Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) scored this night in a swift 1.09.9kr (mile 1:52.47) for owner/trainer/driver Stefan Melander at .68/1 odds from post one in a 1640 meter autostart contest at Sovalla, Sweden. It was the fastest time in Europe so far this year. Nuncio now has three wins in as many 2016 starts and a career slate of 29-12-2 in 43 starts for earnings of 18,372,726SEK. Winner’s share of the purse was 80,000SEK. The 3.4/1 Food Money (8g Andover Hall-Windylane Hanover-Lindy Lane) was second for Jennifer Tillman with 4.2/1 Nimbus CD (6f Mythical Lindy-Kiss Of Life-Tenor de Baune) third for Orjan Kihlstrom. On the same V86 card another 1640 meter autostart even, worth 60,000SWK to the winner, went to 2.9/1 Pepi di Jesolo(7g Ganymede-Zanna di Jesolo-Baltic Speed) handled by Bjorn Goop for trainer Edvib Ceka. This 1.11.5kr timed winner bested 3.1/1 Ski To The Max (5f Conway Hall-Enjoy The Sun-Enjoy Lavec) driven by Per Lennartsson. Arden Homestead Stable co-bred this mare with Adelaide Skoglund. 9.6/1 Neon Face (6f Igor November-Pelopanic-Coktail Jet) was third, that one trained by Stig H. Johansson. On Saturday (April 30) at Aby will be the Gr. I Olympiatravet, over 2140 meters autostart with 1.5SEK million to the winner. Nine solid performers will be at the start following the scratch of Papagayo E. 1) On Track Piraten – Johnny Takter 2) B.B.S.Sugarlight – Peter Untersteiner 3) Anna Mix – Pierre Vercruysse 4) Nahar – Robert Bergh 5) Your Highness – Björn Goop 6) Sauveur – Åke Lindblom 7) Spartan Kronos – Conrad Lugauer 8) Papagayo E. – non runner 9) Mosaique Face – Lutfi Kolgjini 10) Gigant Slugger – Jeppe Juel The undercard includes the Lovely Godivas (first prize 250,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart) and that field includes the Chocolatier mares Coco de Vie and Ultimate Wine. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

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