The “barefoot wonder” did it again as Sebastian K. was able to lead from start to finish and set a harness racing track record for older horses with his 1:53 triumph at Vernon Downs Friday in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot.
Leaving like he was shot out of a rocket, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has Sebastian K. on the lead just moments after leaving the starting gate. Also leaving and securing the two-hold trip behind him was Archangel and driver Yannick Gingras as they sped to the opening quarter mile in an easy :28.1.
Then in typical fashion, Svanstedt backed off Sebastian K. to the half mile marker in :57.3 with Archangel right on their backs. It was then that Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick began to move up first-over and following their outside flow was Quick Deal (Matt Kakaley).
When they passed the three-quarters in 1:26.3, Market Share was still gaining ground on the leaders and as they started down the stretch Archangel looked as if he had plenty of trot but no place to go as he was locked in behind Sebastian K. with Market Share on the outside.
Then in the stretch, Svanstedt let Sevastian K. have his head and the world champion trotters pulled away from the group and went on to win with ease by two open lengths. Archangel was second with Market Share third.
His 1:53 clocking tied the track record for older trotters that was first set in 2013 by For You Almost Free.
“It was a great race,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, second trainer for Ake Svanstedt, “He got an easy first half and a pretty good second half. It was an easy race for him tonight. During the off time he does what he always does. He trains twice a week intervals on the sand track and then go in the paddock the rest of the week.
“It is such a great experience to have a good horse like him,” Noren said. “It is good to bring a top horse like Sebastian K. here and that the fans really appreciate him. He has so many fans now and that is great for harness racing. We need that in our sport.
“His next race will be at Hoosier Park on September 20 and then he will go to Lexington,” Noren said. Then we will go to Yonkers for their new International Trot and then maybe if all is OK we will supplement him to the Breeders Crown.”
For Sebastian K. it was his third straight win and eighth victory in nine outings here in the USA. His only loss was by a neck. The eight-year-old son of Korean was bred and is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL. Sebastian K. paid $2.30 to win.