Hightstown, NJ — Incommunicado exceeded expectations last season.
On Saturday, he will try to meet them.
Incommunicado is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s $115,583 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. The gelding heads to the race off a season-opening 1:57 win in last week’s single elimination and starts Saturday from post seven with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt.
Last year, Incommunicado won four of 10 races, hit the board a total of nine times, and earned $201,375 for owners Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz. Three of his victories came in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes, including the series final. His remaining score was in a division of the New York Sire Stakes.
“He did better than we expected,” Svanstedt said. “He’s a good-gaited horse and he has a good attitude. He’s a horse that always does what you want. He handles all tracks and he trained back good this winter. He qualified very good (in 1:54.3 on April 10 at The Meadowlands) and then he raced good also. I am happy with him.”
Svanstedt could have accepted a bye and advanced directly to the Dexter final but opted to race Incommunicado in the elimination rather than see the horse untested for three weeks following his qualifier.
“He needed to race, and he raced good,” Svanstedt said about the son of Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla. “I hope he is even sharper this weekend in the final.”
Svanstedt also sends out Ambassador Hanover, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, in the Dexter. The trainer accepted a bye for the colt, who qualified in 1:58.3 on April 17 at The Meadowlands and is making his seasonal debut Saturday. He starts from post two with Svanstedt driving.
“He didn’t need the race (in the elimination),” said Svanstedt, who owns Ambassador Hanover with Order By Stable, Howard Taylor, and Judith Taylor. “He qualified good. I just sat and had a lot of power left. I didn’t want to go faster than (1):58.
“I hope he is good also on Saturday.”
Ambassador Hanover, a son of Chapter Seven out of Angel Eyes Hanover, won his first four starts of 2020, all in the New York Sire Stakes, before finishing fourth in the final. Svanstedt said the colt lost a front shoe early in the race, which hampered his performance. He was beaten by three-quarters of a length.
“He made a break for a couple of steps, but he found the trot again,” Svanstedt said. “But he couldn’t go so good. He had heavy shoes also, so it bothered him a lot when he lost the one. He was good to finish fourth with three shoes.
“This year, he is different,” the trainer added. “Last year, he had a lot of weight in the front. This year, he doesn’t need so much weight in the front, just normal shoes. He has changed. He is better gaited now.”
Ambassador Hanover raced one time following the sire stakes final, finishing seventh in a division of the Bluegrass at Red Mile. He was scratched sick from his next scheduled start in the International Stallion and turned out. He finished the campaign with $123,425.
“He had a long rest after Lexington and he has trained back good,” Svanstedt said. “We’ll race him and see if he is a Hambletonian horse. We will see.”
The Dexter Cup is the season’s first Grand Circuit race for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August’s Hambletonian Stakes, the sport’s premier event for sophomore trotters. Ambassador Hanover is the lone Hambletonian eligible in the Dexter.
In addition to the Dexter Cup, Freehold hosts two divisions of the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old female trotters on Saturday. Svanstedt-trained Illuminata, a Matron Stakes winner last year, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the first division. Ron Burke-trained Hot As Hill gets the 8-5 nod in the second.