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EUROPEANS ARRIVE FOR YONKERS INTERNATIONAL TROT
The million-dollar event, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 15th, features 10 invitees racing at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. First post that day is 1:10 PM, with the Trot scheduled for 3:20 PM.
The arriving group represents five of the seven countries vying for the purse equaling last season's as the highest in New York harness history.
Elite trotters from Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway and two from Sweden were on board, joining a trio from the United States and one from Canada in the global trotting classic.
The race was revived in 2015 after a 20-year hiatus by Raceway and Empire City Casino president and CEO Timothy J. Rooney.
The field, alphabetically, is...
BBS Sugarlight - Norway
Explosive de Vie - Sweden
Flanagan Memory - Canada
Hannelore Hanover - USA (mare)
Jonesy -- Finland
Oasis Bi - Italy
Obrigado - USA
On Track Piraten - Sweden
Resolve - USA
Tano Bork - Denmark
The European invaders departed from Liege Airport in eastern Belgium (close to the German city of Dusseldorf), landing approximately 7 AM after a nearly-nine hour transcontinental flight of just over 3,700 miles (5,960 kilometers) or 3,703.4 miles.
The elite trotting sextet was vanned to Stewart Airport (Newburgh, NY) airport for a two-day quarantine, departing for Yonkers Raceway sometime Friday morning (Oct. 7).
Three of the entrants - BBS Sugarlight (4th), Oasis Bi (5th) and On Track Piraten (7th) - competed in the 2015 event, while the winner, Norway's Papagayo E., is injured and unable to defend his title. Italy's Ringostarr Treb had accepted an invitation to participate this year but had some blood issues and did not make the trip.
The USA has a triple threat of million dollar earners. The only mare in the field, Hannelore Hanover (driver Yannick Gingras), was a $32,000 bargain purchase who has won 23 of 37 career races. Resolve (driver Ake Svanstedt), who has 14 career victories and was able to defeat Hannelore in the final of the Maple Leaf Trot last month. Obrigado (driver Mark MacDonald), a modestly-bred Maine gelding, has become, at the age of 6, one of North America's best trotters, with a series of Grand Circuit victories.
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