Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) handily wining the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Friday at the Meadowlands | Michael Lisa

What jet lag?

June 25, 2016

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Resolve dominated the $200,000 Cutler Memorial Friday at the Meadowlands in his first North American start since traveling to Sweden and back to contest the Elitlopp.

by Dave Little / Meadowlands Media Relations

Displaying no ill effects after traveling to Europe and back and being away from the races for almost a month, Resolve powered down the road to an easy one-length win in the $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Final for trotters Friday (June 24) at the Meadowlands.

The winner’s last start came in the May 29 Elitlopp at Solvalla (Sweden) when the five-year-old son of Muscle Hill—Anikawiesahalee finished second to U.S.-bred Nuncio.

“The horse was very good,” said winning trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. “He came back home (from Sweden) and it took him two weeks to get back to normal.”

Too bad for his foes.

The last time Resolve raced in North America was May 8 at the Meadowlands when he was romping to victory in the inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff before trotting inside a number of pylons and being set back by the judges. Still, his performance was impressive enough for Elitlopp officials to offer him an invitation to the famed Swedish trotting race.

The even-money favorite in the Cutler, Resolve was sent away fast from post seven and had the lead at the quarter pole in :27.1.

Svanstedt did a masterful job of rating the second fraction, which was timed in a sleepy :30 as they hit the half in :57.1. Obrigado, the 2-1 second choice fresh off wins in the Maxie Lee and Hill Memorial, vacated the four hole at the seven-sixteenths and grinded his way into contention at three-quarters, which went in 1:25.4.

Then Svanstedt hit the gas and Resolve responded with a final quarter of :26.3, leaving Obrigado behind while opening up a safe lead. Flanagan Memory, who went a third-over trip, closed well through the stretch to end up a no-threat second. Obrigado held third. Early-season sensation JL Cruze was fourth.

Resolve trotted the mile in 1:52.2 and paid $4.20 to win for owner Hans G Enggren.

The victory pushed Resolve over $1 million in career earnings in North America to go with the more than $150,000 he’s earned in Europe.

It was the 19th edition of the Arthur Cutler Memorial, named for the famed New York restaurateur who used to own horses with Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural before Gural owned the track.

In 1997, Cutler died in his sleep of a heart attack at age 53. About three weeks later, a two-year-old trotting filly Cutler owned with Gural and Art Geiger named Cyclone Annie pulled off a 9-1 upset in a $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes final at the Meadowlands. It was the only race Cyclone Annie ever won. Many of Cutler’s family and friends were at the race that night. “That was such a weird moment because everybody was standing there crying. Everybody was upset, but happy. It was just a very powerful moment,” Geiger said a few years ago in a feature story in The Canadian Sportsman. “From that moment on, (Cutler’s) wife, Alice, and Jeff decided to make a race for Arty at the Meadowlands, which is the Arthur Cutler. It was a very, very poignant moment in all of our lives.”

Gural helped fund the race. Nearly two decades years later, it’s an annual can’t-miss event for Gural, many friends and the Cutler family.

— with files from Dave Briggs

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