by Thomas Hedlund
The $133,000 Finlandia-ajo mile race was held at Vermo racetrack in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday (May 9) afternoon and a serious upset winner secured a spot in this year’s Elitloppet.
Trond Andersen trained Hickothepooh (Triton Sund), driven by Vidar Hop, was the unlikely winner with a quarter remaining of the prestigious race when he was fourth over, but when leader Milliondollarrhyme, who passed the half mile in :54.4, ran completely out of power at mid-stretch, Hickothepooh’s finish was enough to sprint to a safe win in 1:52.2.
Nine-year-old Hickothepooh was probably not one of the first horses that was mentioned as an Elitloppet contender this year, but the victory in Finland means that Norway will have at least one horse to root for at Solvalla on May 30.
Next Direction finished well as the runner up ahead of Vernissage Grif.
Big question mark for Dorgos de Guez
Jean-Michel Bazire’s Dorgos de Guez, who is invited to Elitloppet, was big favorite in the $125,000 Prix Kerjacques at Vincennes on Sunday (May 9) afternoon. But Bazire’s trotter left the arena with lots of question marks surrounding him after a weak effort on Vincennes’ big track.
Instead, Bazire could rejoice since Davidson du Pont (Pacha du Pont) was back as a winner in France. Driven by Nicolas Bazire, the Prix d’Amérique runner up Davidson du Pont finished strongly and came home in a mile rate 1:55.4 over 1.6 miles.
Dorgos de Guez did not have his best day at the track and it seems very uncertain if Bazire will race his chestnut gelding at Solvalla in two weeks.
New names for Elitloppet
Delia du Pommereux received a ticket for Elitloppet after her impressive win in Paralympiatravet last weekend, but since Eric Raffin was handed a whipping penalty by the judges at Åby racetrack, it seems likely the people behind Delia du Pommereux will decide to stay home.
Svante Båth’s Very Kronos (Ready Cash) was runner up behind Delia du Pommereux and Båth received an invitation for Elitloppet earlier this week.
Milliondollarrhyme (Ready Cash), who got too fired up in the lead in Finlandia-ajo, got his ticket for Elitloppet on Wednesday afternoon and when $24,000 The Onion’s race was held at Solvalla on Wednesday (May 12) night, another ticket for Elitloppet was at stake. That ticket was claimed by Heavy Sound (Ken Warkentin), who lead all the way for driver Kenneth Haugstad.
Invited horses for the Elitloppet:
Don Fanucci Zet
Vivid Wise As
Dorgos de Guez