08/24/2015 11:29AM

Bergman: Second half of racing season wide-open

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Derick Giwner
Sebastian K was honored Saturday night at Pocono Downs.

There were some great takeaways from Saturday night’s brilliant racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. From purely a racing fans perspective the door appears wide-open for a second half to the season that may look nothing like the first.

Hambletonian winner Pinkman’s break in the Colonial could put driver Yannick Gingras on the fence again. Prior to Saturday’s contest Gingras approached trainer Jimmy Takter and asked if he would be entering Pinkman in the Yonkers Trot with eliminations slated for Saturday August 29. The purpose of the question was clear. Gingras could have a full plate of drives at Mohawk on the same night with Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady eliminations all likely to take place. Foiled Again, coming off a solid third in the Roll With Joe on Sunday at Tioga, is also heading in that direction.

Pinkman captured the first jewel of Trotting’s Triple Crown with Brian Sears in the bike and Takter should have no trouble finding Sears if he does enter Pinkman at Yonkers and eliminations prove necessary.

Takter believed that Pinkman was a bit overanxious before the start on Saturday and that may have caused him to make a rare break in stride. The trainer didn’t believe it had anything to do with him racing barefoot again as he did in the Hambletonian.

While Sears could be returning to the bike behind Pinkman trainer Riina Rekila had looked for the “White Knight” to be present at Pocono this past Saturday night to drive her E L Titan in the $100,000 Sebastian K invitational. “When I entered him I asked the race office what drivers would be here and they suggested Sears,” said Rekila on Saturday. Fortunately for Rekila she was able to find another qualified driver in Tim Tetrick to guide the magnificent son of Muscle Hill and he put the horse in a perfect spot to gain the victory in a career best clocking.

“I really didn’t get that much chance to train him over the winter and into the spring,” said Rekila. “He did a lot of breeding.”

E L Titan is likely to be in the line-up at Georgian Downs this Saturday for the Earl Rowe Memorial. He’s also eligible to the Maple Leaf Trot.

Last year Rekila entered E L Titan in the Yonkers Trot and the Galt at Maywood. With the Yonkers Trot requiring eliminations Rekila elected to pass the Triple Crown event. E L Titan trotted in 1:56 capturing the premier sophomore trot at Maywood rather handily.

E L Titan concluded his 3-year-old campaign with a huge effort finishing second beaten a neck to Father Patrick after racing overland from post ten.

Rekila has managed E L Titan quite well limiting his starts at two and three while maximizing his performances. The fact that he was ready for a 1:51 2/5 effort at Pocono after just two starts says a lot about the trainer’s ability to prepare a horse with limited racing.

With the $1 million International Trot at Yonkers getting closer E L Titan could represent a host of countries being U. S.-bred, based in Canada and trained by the Finnish-born Rekila.

Saturday marked the farewell of Sebastian K with a fitting retirement for the trotter that changed the world over the same surface a year ago. Trainer Ake Svanstedt pointed to his helmet that is embossed with a picture of Sebastian K when asked what the horse meant to him.

“All good things come to an end,” said Svanstedt.

I asked Ake about how big the 1:49 mile was. “I think it was actually a much bigger thing over here (U.S.) than it was in Europe. Over there they think all the horses here have something extra,” said Svanstedt, deflecting the notion as far as his stock was concerned.

Svanstedt said that Resolve, his 4-year-old that finally got the better of J L Cruze on Saturday night only to lose to E L Titan on the wire had been horrible training down this winter. “Once he got behind the gate in the qualifier he was a different horse,” said Svansedt. “And I‘m able to train him now.”

It was nice to learn from Wiggle It Jiggleit’s driver Montrell Teague that the reaction to his drive in the Cane was quite different at home than it was on the Internet. “My dad didn’t say anything,” Teague said. “You know In The Arsenal sat on my back in the Meadowlands Pace and faded. I think Brian (Sears) made the mistake challenging me.” Montrell has a point when you consider that no one questioned why Sears didn’t back off either.

At the same time Teague did handle the Battle Of The Brandywine far differently than the Cane by accepting that horses would leave and just avoiding the issue totally. There are no do-overs in this sport but I get a feeling that an awful lot has been learned in the last three weeks.

Trainer Mark Silva seems to be the “Fix It” guy for owner Jeff Snyder and his success is paying off in a big way for both. “I’m getting better horses now,” said Silva prior to Saturday’s Battle of the Brandywine. Dealt A Winner raced big for Silva in the Meadowlands Pace eliminations and final and then was finally rewarded with the upset 1:47 3/5 Cane Pace victory at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day. Silva was hoping that Dealt A Winner would have drawn better. “The nine hole is really bad here,” sad Silva. “You’re on the other side of the crown in the track.”

Silva said that both of his Snyder-owned 3-year-old pacers would likely be in at Yonkers this Saturday in the Messenger Stakes eliminations. “Rock N Roll World is probably the better of the two on a half-mile track,” said Silva of the third place finisher in this year’s Art Rooney. “I don’t know how Dealt A Winner will do on the half-miler.”

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