by Thomas Hedlund
Jean-Michel Bazire-trained Cleangame (Ouragan de Celland) was superior in Saturday’s $171,000 Prix d’Ete at Vincennes in Paris.
Bazire placed his 8-year-old gelding in third over, which became second over midway through the race. With a little less than a half mile to go, Cleangame was pushed to the lead and in the last turn Bazire let his horse sprint away from the opponents. Cleangame came home in stakes record 1:54.1 over 1.6 miles.
Tony Gio finished strongly as runner up ahead of Drole de Jet.
Korpi’s mare best in Derby
The $370,000 Finnish Derby for 4-year-olds was held at Vermo racetrack on Saturday afternoon and first choice Mascate Match (Muscle Mass) held the chasers behind her after a trip in front.
Stablemate American Hero left quickly behind the gate and got a bit spicy in front during the race’s first quarter. Shortly thereafter, Mascate Match hit the front with trainer Pekka Korpi in the bike and the Muscle Mass mare consolidated her position as the best trotter in the Finnish 4-year-old crop.
Korpi asked for an extra gear in the last turn and Mascate Match answered to that command and had everything under solid control at the home stretch, even if runner up Always Ready seemed to be close at the race’s end.
Mile rate for Mascate Match was 1:58 over 1.6 miles and Pekka Korpi’s mare continues to collect big trophies in Europe. Last year, she won both divisions of $225,000 E3 and the victory in The Derby pushed her lifetime earnings to $732,000.
Riordan successful in Helsinki
Double Exposure was the heavy favorite when the $178,000 Finlandia-Ajo was held at Vermo racetrack in Helsinki, Finland on Friday night (Sept. 4), but another horse trained in Sweden stole the show and impressed a lot.
Finlandia-Ajo is usually held in early May, but due to COVID-19 regulations, the race date was changed this year and the field of 10 trotters was gathered behind the gate late on Friday night.
Heavy raining just minutes ahead of the race made the track a little bit sloppy and the conditions were far from the best, at least if a great mile mark was the object.
Double Exposure came from an impressive win in the $354,000 Hugo Åbergs Memorial and Örjan Kihlström chased the front position when the car accelerated from the field. It costed to reach the lead for the Donato Hanover mare and after 500 meters, Jerry Riordan’s Zarenne Fas (Varenne) attacked three wide, an attack that ended in position first over. The pace was set high considering the conditions and in the last turn it was clear that the stride for the win was between the two front horses.
Zarenne Fas wrestled down Double Exposure shortly ahead of the wire and grabbed an impressive win in 1:52.2.
Without doubt, this was one of the season’s more impressive performances in European harness racing and Riordan was satisfied after the great victory.
“This race turned into a different race compared to Hugo Åbergs Memorial, where Double Exposure had a quite slow first half mile. Today it was higher pace and Zarenne Fas is a Varenne horse. Everyone that remembers him knows that he got tougher for every hard task he got. This is a horse for the Elitloppet, he’s got that speed,” Riordan said.