Captain Corey wins 96th Hambletonian

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East Rutherford, NJ — Captain Corey dictated the fractions under intense pressure and pulled clear in the lane to win Saturday’s (Aug. 7) $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Captain Corey beat Spy Booth by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

Captain Corey beat Spy Booth by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51 despite trotting through a :26 opening quarter, the fastest opening fraction in the stake’s 96-year history.

It gave trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt his second win in the classic for 3-year-old trotters. This time, there was no doubt about the outcome. No asterisk. No intervention by the judges.

Svanstedt got his first Hambletonian trophy in 2017 when Perfect Spirit was elevated to victory after What The Hill was disqualified for interference.

This time, Captain Corey took care of business with a determined effort. Svanstedt fired Captain Corey into the battle right from the start and soon had company in the form of Cuatro De Julio.

Driver Lucas Wallin looked to drop Cuatro De Julio into a pocket trip behind the leader, only to have Yannick Gingras, piloting Delayed Hanover for Svanstedt, close the hole.

Wallin had no choice but to continue the attack.

“He’s a good horse who will fight, but he was a strong horse today,” Svanstedt said.

That was an understatement.

Cuatro De Julio pressed on, ensuring Captain Corey never had a breather around the second turn. After dispatching Cuatro De Julio at the top of the stretch, Captain Corey pulled clear and enjoyed open daylight in the march to the finish line.

“I was worried they were going to come from behind,” Svanstedt said.

Svanstedt looked over his shoulder several times in the lane, only to see nobody in range. Captain Corey was on his way.

Just as in last week’s elimination, Captain Corey was the boss right from the start. The win was his eighth in 12 career starts for the son of Googoo Gaagaa-Luv U All who earned $500,000 for the ownership team of Svanstedt, S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting and Midnight Sun Partners.

Earlier in the year, Svanstedt was concerned when Captain Corey went through a growth spurt that compromised his gait. Since then, the boy developed into a man, and a Hambletonian champion at that!

And the good news didn’t end there for the 62-year-old horseman from Sweden who is making his mark on North American trotting as Ambassador Hanover rallied from last to get third, giving Svanstedt a 1-3 finish. Since arriving in the U.S. in 2014, Svanstedt’s stable has earned more than $30 million in purses.

Captain Corey paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.80 as the 13-10 favorite. Spy Booth, the longest shot in the race at 55-1, returned $28.40 and $14.60. Ambassador Hanover paid $13.60.

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