by Thomas Hedlund
A direct flight from New York to Sweden aimed at attracting American horses to the Elitlopp weekend will not be offered in 2018.
The flight, offered the last two years by Stockholm’s Solvalla Racetrack in concert with Benders (Palema Racing) is no longer sustainable, said Anders Malmrot, the new director of sport at Solvalla.
”It’s an expensive story with a flight directly to Sweden and this was a test that Karl-Erik Bender was a big part of,” Malmrot said. “We tested it for two years and the interest of coming to Sweden with horses from America was not as big as we hoped for. We got Resolve to race two years in a row, but Solvalla offers a lot of races for horses during this whole weekend and we wanted to see more.”
In 2016, the Meadowlands arranged a qualification race for Elitloppet, a race that Resolve won but was disqualified in and instead Bee A Magician got her ticket for Sweden. When Bee A Magician’s connections chose not to make the journey over the Atlantic ocean, Resolve took her place and finished second behind Nuncio in the final of the Elitlopp.
Last year, Resolve (Åke Svanstedt) won the Arthur J Cutler Memorial, which was the same as the qualifying race for Elitloppet. Resolve horse finished third in the final at Solvalla. Svanstedt also brought some other horses to Sweden, but the interest from the American trainers was not as strong as Solvalla hoped for and this year, there will not be a flight that goes directly from the United States to Sweden for the Elitloppet.
“But that doesn’t stop American horses from coming to Solvalla. We tried this version with direct flight for two years and it has been an expensive thing to do for us. If we are in luck, American horses that would like to visit us this year can maybe travel with French horses from Paris in connection to the weekend, but we will see what happens during the spring. I will make contact with people around interesting horses and we always like to see American horses, trainers and drivers at Solvalla in May,” Malmrot said.
So the news for this year is there is no qualification race for the Elitloppet at Meadowlands and no plane that will take horses from America directly to Sweden.