08/20/2014 10:35AM

Harness: Sebastian K coming to Yonkers in October

Derick Giwner
Sebastian K became the fastest trotter in history when stopped the timer in 1:49 at Pocono in June.

Having conquered foes throughout North America, Swedish wonder Sebastian K has little left to prove. Despite setting a new mark for trotting speed with a 1:49 world record performance, his connections still aspire to expand his résumé and have committed to race Sebastian K in an Invitational race at Yonkers Raceway as part of the undercard on the Yonkers Trot and Messenger program. 

"We have today accepted the invite to the Yonkers Invitational Trot on 25th October," said co-owner Tristan Sjoberg representing Knutsson Trotting. "It might not be ideal timing for us, or indeed the ideal track, but we are very mindful about the efforts to reinstate the International Trot which I grew up listening to on the radio. We hope that by us accepting the invite it can lure more international horses to come and compete on U.S. soil. Sadly, those kinds of races are lacking in the current North American racing calendar.

"We want to promote U.S. racing to a wider audience and we hope that the current success that ‘Sebastian’ is experiencing will act as a carrot for other European top trotters [to come to North America and race]. If Sebastian’s participation in the Invitational Trot in some small part helps spark more trotters to cross the pond then we are happy."

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The Invitational, recently announced by Yonkers Raceway as a precursor to the return of the International Trot in 2015, is expected to offer a purse in the $250,000 range and be contested at 1 1/4 miles. The International lured horses from around the world to compete at Roosevelt Raceway from 1959 to 1988. The race then moved to Yonkers Raceway until 1995. Sweden’s His Majesty was the last winner.

Sebastian K has won all but one of his starts compiling a 7-for-8 record since hitting these shores. Most recently he romped to an easy victory at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day in a world record-equaling (on a mile track) 1:50 with trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt in the bike. The 8-year-old will make his next start on August 29 in the Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon Downs before heading to Hoosier Park for the Centaur Trot on September 20 and The Red Mile for two consecutive weeks of racing. His connections have yet to decide if he will race in the American-National at Balmoral on October 11 prior to the Yonkers date on October 25. 

Interestingly, the one race Sebastian K is not confirmed for is the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands (eliminations on November 15). One horse that might help in the decision is Commander Crowe. The Swedish star has been invited to the Crown and Sjoberg admitted he would love to rekindle the rivalry.

“It would be nice to renew ‘hostilities’ with that magnificent horse,” said Sjoberg on the possible matchup between Commander Crowe and Sebastian K.  “I think it stands at 4 a piece now, but at this stage we are not staked for the Breeders Crown. We will take a decision in mid-October whether to supplement or not.”

The appearance by Sebastian K at Yonkers Raceway, on a night when the best 3-year-olds on both gaits will compete in the final leg of the Pacing (Messenger) and Trotting (Yonkers Trot) Triple Crowns, will mark the first time the multi-millionaire has raced on a half-mile track.  

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