05/28/2017 11:31AM

Harness: Bold Eagle sets European record in Elitloppet elimination, Timoko upsets in final

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Björn Goop celebrates Timoko's Elitloppet victory

After trotting the fastest mile in European history (1:50) in his elimination, the Elitloppet final was supposed to be a coronation for Bold Eagle, but he could not deliver the goods, leaving the door open for another French raider, Timoko, to pull a big upset.  With the victory, Timoko, who won the race in 2014, became only the ninth horse to have two Elitloppet titles to his credit.

Driven by Björn Goop, Timoko got the lead in the final while Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) settled into the pocket.  Nuncio (Örjan Kihlström), the defending Elitloppet champion and the other elimination winner, wound up in the first-over position, and he would be followed by Bold Eagle (Franck Nivard).  They raced in that order until the backstretch when Nivard brought Bold Eagle three-wide off the cover.  The favorite didn't gain, though, and Timoko began to slip away turning for home.

In the stretch it was clear that Timoko was home free, with Goop tossing his whip in the air in celebration as the 10-year-old son of Imoko won by about three lengths in 1:51 flat.  Propulsion (Johan Untersteiner) rallied well to finish second, with Resolve edging out Bold Eagle for the third position.  Nuncio had to settle for fifth this year.

"He is like Rocky Balboa! He is king for me," Goop said to the media about Timoko.

Timoko, who is owned by trainer Richard Westerink, was making his fifth appearance in the Elitloppet final and picked up his 34th career victory.  It was also a history-making win for Goop, as he joined Kihlström and Leopold Verroken with three Elitloppet crowns, the third-most in history.  Timoko was the fifth choice in the wagering, going off at nearly 31-1.