Bill Finley

Bill Finley has been covering both thoroughbred and standardbred racing for more than 25 years. He is a racing columnist for ESPN.com and can also be heard on the Down the Stretch show on Saturdays on Sirius XM radio.

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Monday, June 30, 2014


Sebastian K. Sets World Record Mile for Trotters


By Ellen Harvey

Wilkes-Barre, PA ---- All age, all gender, all size track -- it was an “all everything” 1:49 world record for Sebastian K in the $100,000 Sun Invitational for open class trotters on Saturday night (June 28) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

The prior all age, all everything record was 1:49.3 by Enough Talk in 2008 and the five-eighths-mile record was 1:50.2 by Market Share at Harrah’s Philadelphia in May of this year.

In the waning moments of daylight, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt hustled the 8-year-old stallion off the starting gate and to an unchallenged lead, clearing to the rail at the eighth, well before the :26.2 first quarter.

Archangel (Yannick Gingras) and Modern Family (Dave Palone) tucked in behind those two, following the leader to the :55.3 half. Market Share and Tim Tetrick tipped out from sixth just past the half and made a beeline for the top of the field, but could get only to fourth when the field hit the 1:21.4 three-quarters.

Archangel had enough at the head of the stretch and made a break, leaving open lengths between Sebastian K and the rest of the field. In deep stretch, Svanstedt pulled the ear plugs, tapped his horse five times and shook the lines and Sebastian K was all alone at the wire and now all alone in ownership of the world record. The margin of victory was seven lengths. Modern Family was second and Arch Madness was third.

“It’s an amazing mile for a horse,” said assistant trainer Bernie Noren, whose winner's circle interview English is better than Svanstedt’s. “To have a horse like this, come here and do the world record with Ake as trainer and the driver, he’s such a phenomenal animal.

“He really pushed him today to go for it and showcase harness racing. Next is the Maple Leaf in two weeks, hopefully, no need for an elimination and we can go right to the final.

“He raced very handily last time, he usually waits, but last time he didn’t, he just took off. He trained a mile Wednesday and he’s been in the paddock all week, just enjoying life. That’s what we do with all our horses, make sure they enjoy life.”

Dancin Yankee wins $100,000 Invitational Pace

In the $100,000 USTA Invitational for older pacers, Dancin Yankee and driver Tyler Buter made a three-wide move on the final turn on their way to a 1:47.3 win over Thinking Out Loud and Clear Vision.

The time was one-fifth of a second off Dancin Yankee’s world record for an older pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. The 6-year-old horse is trained by Amber Buter for owners Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. He has won 35 of 99 career races and $863,462.

Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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