Hightstown, NJ — Ake Svanstedt liked everything about Southwind Tyrion when he saw the yearling prior to last fall’s Lexington Selected Sale. After purchasing the trotting colt for $145,000 and getting him home, he was less enthused. At least temporarily.
“He was terrible,” Svanstedt said with a laugh. “Until around May, he was pacey and his front step was just up and down. I think he had growing pains. When he was done with the growing, he started stretching out and was good.
“Then the first time he trained at The Meadowlands he was a different horse. And when he qualified, he was amazing.”
Southwind Tyrion won his only qualifier in 1:55.2 and has kept on winning through the first four races of his career. On Saturday, the colt competes in the C$535,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Ontario’s Woodbine Mohawk Park.
He is one of two undefeated colts in the Wellwood, along with Luc Blais-trained Macho Martini. Southwind Tyrion won his Wellwood elimination last week by a nose over On A Streak in 1:54.4 while Macho Martini triumphed by 1-3/4 lengths over Warrawee Whisper in 1:56 for his seventh victory of the campaign.
The winner of the Wellwood receives a spot in the inaugural Mohawk Million, which will be held Sept. 26.
Southwind Tyrion, this season’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, is a son of Muscle Hill out of Taylor Jean. His third dam is Dan Patch Award winner Me Maggie and his extended family includes millionaires Lifetime Pursuit and Whiskey Tax, 2012 Goodtimes Stakes winner Beer Summit, and 2019 Ontario Sire Stakes champ Moon Bridge, who also was trained by Svanstedt.
“He’s a real racehorse,” Svanstedt said about Southwind Tyrion. “He has been more serious since he started racing, at the racetrack and at home. He’s not like a kid anymore. He was like a baby before, but now he is like an old horse. He likes racing. He really likes it.
“Everything is good with him. He is a nice horse to handle. He can leave fast and he has never made a break. He can do everything.”
Svanstedt originally owned Southwind Tyrion with Lennart Agren’s S R F Stable. The ownership group has since grown to include Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Brittany Farms & Riverview.
Agren and Svanstedt teamed to win the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit. Agren is enjoying the ride now with Southwind Tyrion.
“He is a very talented and intelligent horse and he has tremendous speed,” Agren said. “He is strong, powerful, and knows how to finish.”
Agren said he is “absolutely” hoping for a victory Saturday so Southwind Tyrion can grab the final spot in the 10-horse Mohawk Million. Nine starting slots were purchased earlier this year for C$110,000 and those slots can be sold, traded, or leased by their owners. Slot owners do not have to declare a horse for the Mohawk Million until Sept. 22.
Determination, which owns Macho Martini and On A Streak, already possesses a Mohawk Million starting slot. One other slot owner, John Fielding, is among the owners of a Wellwood finalist. He co-owns Nancy Takter-trained Locatelli.
“We’ll see what happens,” Svanstedt said. “We need luck. But I think Southwind Tyrion is as good as he can be.”
Saturday’s Mohawk card also includes the C$335,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters as well as divisions of the Simcoe, Champlain, and Somebeachsomewhere stakes. For complete entries, click here.