Day At The Track

Swandre The Giant steps up in Wellwood

04:14 AM 07 Sep 2018 NZST
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Swandre The Giant, harness racing
Swandre The Giant leaves Indiana for Ontario
Dean Gilette photo

After beginning his harness racing career with seven consecutive wins in Indiana and being sold to new owners last week, 2-year-old male trotter Swandre The Giant will compete on the Grand Circuit for the first time when he races in Saturday's second of two eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial Stakes at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Swandre The Giant, now with trainer Jimmy Takter, has won all seven of his races -- a maiden and six Indiana Sire Stakes events -- by a minimum of one length, with an average margin of three lengths. All seven races were at Hoosier Park, where his career-best time of 1:54.2 is two-fifths of a second off the track record for a 2-year-old male trotter.

The colt is now owned by Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva Stables, and Howard Taylor, who purchased him from the stable of trainer-driver Brandon Bates and owners Panic Stable, Terry Ehardt, Brian Hochman, and Richard Barone.

"You always like to have an opportunity to get into these good horses, so when he became available, not that it was a no-brainer, but he had piqued my interest for some time," Bowden said. "It's exciting. It seems like he carries a lot of high speed and it looks like he's done it easily."

Swandre The Giant is a son of Swan For All, who sired 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover and 2017 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trotting champion Fiftydallarbill. Diamond Creek was among the owners of Swan For All during his racing career and remains part of the stallion's syndicate. The colt's dam, Adagio, was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion in 2011.

"We've been a fan of Swan For All for a long time," Bowden said. "I think he's shown with the right horse he can compete outside of (Indiana). Hannelore is the best trotting mare in the last who-knows-how-many years and Fiftydallarbill has shown he's capable of beating the best everyone else has to offer.

"We hope he follows in those footsteps. There's no way to know until they actually do it, but he looked like he had done it relatively easily up to this point and Brandon had done a fantastic job with him. He was in great hands. We figured we might as well take a swing."

The Wellwood attracted 17 horses, which were divided into two eliminations. Yannick Gingras will drive Swandre The Giant, who starts from post No. 2 in his division. His elim also includes Pennsylvania Sire Stakes runner-up White Tiger and Define The World Series winner Royal Rob. The first elimination includes Champlain Stakes division winners Kings County, Hudson River and CT Conabra plus Peter Haughton Memorial runner-up Green Manalishi S.

The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the final on Sept. 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

"I think he's good enough to compete," Bowden said. "We'll find out how good over the next couple weeks. We feel like he belongs up there with that group and he's in the best hands between Jimmy and Yannick, so we're in good shape. You dream, but I've learned to take it one race at a time."

Swandre The Giant, who has earned $148,900 in purses, can follow the Wellwood with the remainder of the Indiana Sire Stakes season and is eligible to the Breeders Crown.

"He will tell us where he should go and how long he should go for," Bowden said. "Jimmy is a master at this. I can sit and play armchair quarterback from Lexington, Kentucky, but I'm not sure that I'm going to be the deciding factor. Jimmy and his staff will get to know the horse and do right by the horse."

Saturday's card also includes two eliminations for the Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters, two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers, and one division of the Simcoe for 3-year-old female pacers. For complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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