07/15/2015 9:27AM

Harness: Sebastian K on the sidelines


Sebastian K, the fastest trotter in harness racing history, is currently on the sidelines, according to Tristan Sjoberg, who with his brother Michael Knutsson makes up Knutsson Trotting Inc., the owners of the 9-year-old stallion.

"On Wednesday last week, (trainer) Åke (Svanstedt) trained him and during the fast intervals he showed no signs of lameness," said Sjoberg. "On his way back to the stable, only jogging speed, he became lame left hind. Åke came off his bike and removed the skin boot and found lots of sand and gravel stuck inside, putting pressure on the leg. Åke removed the protection and the lameness disappeared. As a precaution we took him to the clinic on Friday and an ultrasound examination discovered bleeding in the suspensory ligament indicating a tear.

"This past weekend the swelling all but disappeared and he exhibits no lameness. A physical examination on Monday indicated no apparent injury.

"We have decided to jog him every day for two weeks to see how he reacts and we will conduct another ultrasound examination in two weeks’ time.

"If a tear in the suspensory ligament is confirmed then he will have an early retirement and go to stud full-time in North America. But we are still holding out hope that the bleeding seen on the ultrasound was just pressure trauma from the gravel. That might be wishful thinking from his connections but we want to be 110 percent sure it really is a tear in the ligament before we retire him."

Sebastian K won eight of 13 races last year and received the Dan Patch Award as the sport’s best older male trotter. He arrived in the U.S. last year after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50 1/5 in his debut at the Meadowlands and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50 3/5 or faster with his world-record 1:49 triumph at Pocono.

In his only start this year, Sebastian K was second to world champion JL Cruze in the $75,000 Sun Invitational on July 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. JL Cruze rallied in deep stretch to upend Sebastian K by a nose in 1:51. The mile equaled the world record for a 4-year-old trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track set back in 2014 by Wind Of The North.

-USTA Communications Department Release