Francesco Zet wins Swedish Triple Crown

Francesco Zet wins Swedish Triple Crown

September 6, 2022

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A dramatic Derby win on Sunday made the 4-year-old the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

by Thomas Hedlund

Francesco Zet (Father Patrick) was the undisputed king of the 4-year-old Swedish bred trotters ahead of the $800,000 Derby over 2,640 meters at Jägersro on Sunday (Sept. 4) afternoon.

The Daniel Redén-trained horse was on his way to claiming the ”Swedish Triple Crown” after winning the $200,000 Kungapokalen and $240,000 Sprintermästaren.

The last time a Swedish trotter succeeded in winning all three stakes races was when Gaston Pride did it in 1988. Many have tried since, but failed along the way.

In last year’s Derby at Jägersro, Önas Prince came to the race after victories in the Kungapokalen and the Sprintermästaren, but in the Derby, Calgary Games put an end to the Triple Crown dreams.

This year’s Derby story was similar to the 2021 edition. Tim Nurmos presented an undefeated trotter, a little bit from out of nowhere, in the eliminations and Lulius Boko became the second choice in the final.

With a post position inside of Francesco Zet, the excitement level and expectations ahead of the Derby were high and as the car left the 12-horse field, Lulius Boko flew to the front while favorite Francesco Zet had to settle in third over.

Björn Goop is a smart driver and he noticed that Örjan Kihlström seemed satisfied with his position in third over, so Goop saved some power in front behind Lulius Boko, in order to step on the gas pedal at the back stretch, a half mile to go.

At that point, Francesco Zet attacked three wide and the 4-year-old Father Patrick son showed speed that is rarely seen in races. He flew up the back stretch and landed outside of leader Lulius Boko when the last turn approached and just as that happened, it seemed like the leader gave up.

A bad gait from Francesco Zet with a quarter of a mile to go made the fans at Jägersro lose their breath, but Kihlström saved the situation and Francesco Zet was too strong this day in Malmö. Without pulling the ear plugs, Kihlström enjoyed the home stretch as Francesco Zet became the first Swedish Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

Francesco Zet is very much connected to Jimmy Takter, who visited Jägersro Sunday. Father Patrick is one of Takter’s biggest stars and Francesco Zet’s mother Shaqline (purchased in USA by Redén in 2013) won four races for Takter before she was exported to Redén’s barn in Sweden in 2015.

Francesco Zet is Shaqline’s first offspring and her latest foal, born this year, is by Googoo Gaagaa. She is now in foal with Father Patrick again.

Trainer Daniel Redén had never won The Derby before. His Don Fanucci Zet was runner up behind Hail Mary in 2020 and this was a victory longed for in his career.

“Francesco Zet had a great chance making this dream come true, but all races must be raced and we saw some really great performances from other horses in the eliminations, so I had to gamble a bit with his shoes today and it seems like I gambled hard by removing the bell boots. This horse knows what he’s doing and I can honestly say that I’ve never trained a horse with his capacity or mentality before. It’s like I’m waiting for him to step out of a costume and there’s a human, or something like a human, inside of him. Lina Persson, who takes care of him every day, is the real star of this show. This victory is hers,” said an unusually calm Redén after the race.

Francesco Zet won in a mile rate of 1:55.4 over 1.6 miles and Lulius Boko finished second. Edibear followed as third after a pocket trip.

Francesco Zet has 11 consecutive wins, is 15 out of 17 in his career and has booked $1,388,000 on his bank account. Redén implied that this might have been Francesco Zet’s last start in his career. The breeders are eager to use the horse’s services as a stallion and Stall Zet will make a decision about the horse’s future very soon, but it’s very possible that Francesco Zet will show up at the tracks again when it’s time for Breeders Crown later this fall.

The Derby replay is here.

LARA BOKO FROM THE LEAD

Timo Nurmos had six shots when the $400,000 Derbystoet over 2,140 meters was held at Jägersro on Sunday (Sept. 4) afternoon and the bettors were right on target when they predicted who would win the race.

Lara Boko (Djali Boko) won the Oaks as a 3-year-old and had showed all the better condition during the season as a 4-year-old. After a runner up performance in Stochampionatet in July, she impressed in her Derbystoet elimination and became the first choice in Sunday’s final.

Driver Mika Forss aimed for the lead and after 300 meters the duo hit the front as stablemate Senorita Tokio let Lara Boko take control of the field.

With the favorite in front, nothing much happened and Lara Boko proved to be the best lady this day. A well-deserved win for the entourage around the horse and Mika Forss was very happy after the big win in mile rate 1:55.3 over 1.3 miles.

“Lara Boko acted much more calm today, compared to the prior race and after the pretty easy first 500 meters I thought that we ought to have a good chance winning the race. This is a really good horses and I had plenty of power to use in the end,” said Forss.

Senorita Tokio followed as runner up and the Nurmos stable took the two most noble medals in the race. Flemming Jensen trained Glorius Rain finished third.

Lara Boko’s breeder Boko Stables and her trainer Nurmos finished second in the $800,000 Derby some hours later and this became a memorable racing day for Boko Stables’ manager John Bootsman.

“It’s these kind of races that tell if you have succeeded as a breeder and right now I’m very relieved,” said Bootsman after the Lara Boko victory.

Lara Boko won the $560,000 Oaks last season and finished second to Glamorous Rain in the Breeders Crown final in November. She has won 10 out of 18 starts and her lifetime earnings reached $7,450,000 on Sunday afternoon.

Derbystoet replay is here.

DUSKTODAWN BOOGIE BEST IN FINNISH DERBY

The $240,000 Derby in Finland was held at Vermo racetrack on Saturday (Sept. 3) afternoon and after a thrilling home stretch, the trophy landed in trainer Kenneth Danielsen’s possession.

Danielsen drove his 4-year-old mare Dusktodawn Boogie (Lexus Font) and the duo left second over for position first over as leader Shackhills Twister tried to steal the race in front.

Dusktodawn Boogie came to Finland after a successful winter meeting in Paris, where Jean-Michel Bazire trained the mare and she was the favorite to win Saturday’s Derby in Finland.

And her strength played an important role as she disarmed leader Shackhills Twister shortly ahead of the wire, but a third horse wanted to fight for the win. Nurmos trained Velvet Gold flew fourth wide over the stretch and a photo separated her from winner Dusktodawn Boogie.

The mile rate was 1:57.4 over 1.6 miles and Danielsen now aims high with his horse.

“I hope that we can qualify her for Prix d’Amérique next year,” said Danielsen.

Velvet Gold’s strong finish ended with silver medal while leader Shackhills Twister was third.

Finnish Derby replay here.

BARONCINI’S STAR IMPRESSED

Mauro Baroncini trains Italian 3-year-old dominant Dimitri Ferm (Nad al Sheba) and on Sunday (Sept. 4) afternoon, Andrea Farolfi drove Dimitri Ferm to outstanding victory in the $154,000 Gran Premio Carlo Marangoni in Milan, Italy.

Farolfi hit the lead with his horse and Dimitri Ferm just flew away from his opponents and won in a mile rate 1:56.4 over 1.3 miles.

Dimitri Ferm has collected big trophies earlier in his career. The $154,000 Gran Premio Nazionale and the $154,000 Gran Premio Tito Giovanardi have been claimed before and it seems like Baroncini trains the favorite in the Italian Deby later this fall.

Saturday’s $154,000 Campionato Europeo in Cesena was determined after a race off between two horses from the same owner and trainer. Mattia Orlando trained Usain Töll (Googoo Gaagaa) won the first heat while Cokstile claimed heat two, whereupon a third heat had to determine a winner.

Cokstile did the heavy job outside of his stablemate and won after a strong effort in 1:54.2.

ALLAIRE WON AND LOST AT VINCENNES

Philippe Allaire was the trainer of the day ahead of Vincennes’ Saturday (Sept. 3) race card and he had a nice afternoon in Paris, even if two of his top trotters were beaten.

Five-year-old Hohneck came to the lead as first choice in the $120,000 Prix Jockey, but he couldn’t defend himself when outside trotter Hip Hop Haufor challenged on the outside. And far outside, Bazire trained Hooker Berry (Booster Winner) finished quickly and claimed the title in mile rate 1:57 over 1.6 miles.

Allaire had the favorite in the 3-year-old race the $120,000 Prix Jacques de Vauloge as crop dominant Just A Gigolo entered the track of Vincennes. Just A Gigolo seemed to have the race under complete control as the field turned for home, but big upset Juninho Dry (Carat Williams), trained by Sébastien Guarato, was really strong over the stretch and Just A Gigolo was bested shortly ahead of the wire. The mile rate was 1:59.2 over 1.6 miles for Juninho Dry.

Fabrice Souloy-trained Jamaica Turbo (Charly du Noyer) hit the lead in the $130,000 Criterium des Poulisches for 3-year-old fillies and well-merited Jazzy Perrine could never challenge seriously for the win, even if the finish was strong.

Jamaica Turbo, driven by Franck Nivard, came home in a mile rate of 1:59.1 over 1.6 miles.

Four-year-old mares battled in the $120,000 Prix Gaston de Wazieres and Eric Raffin drove Philippe Moulin trained Inoubliable (Prodigious), who sprinted to a safe win after a cover trip and the Prodigious mare continues to collect big trophies in her career. As a 3-year-old she claimed the
titles in the $120,000 Prix Gelinotte, $120,000 Prix
Roquepine, $120,000 Prix Ozo and $130,000 Criterium des Poulisches.

And then it was time for Allaire to enter the winner’s circle. The 4-year-old colts had their show in the $120,000 Prix Gaston Brunet and when favorite Idao de Tillard went off stride at an early stage, Allaire trained duo Izoard Vedaquais and Italiano Vero (Ready Cash) battled for victory. Izoard Vedaquais had some advantage when the field entered the stretch, but behind him, stablemate Italiano Vero had plenty of power to use. Italiano Vero hit the wire first and this was the colt’s first win since November last year. The mile rate over 1.6 miles was 1:57.2.

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