05/25/2014 11:40AM

Harness: Timoko wins 2014 Elitlopp

Kimberly Rinker/DRF Harness
Timoko won the Elitlopp final in 1:51 4/5.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for this year’s Elitlopp, with temperatures in the mid-70s, lots of sunshine and a light breeze. 

The French-bred colt Timoko used a second-over journey with Bjorn Goop in the sulky to post a 1:52 4/5 victory in the first heat of the Elitlopp and returned in the final heat to post a 1:51 4/5 clocking. 

Conditioned by trainer Richard Westerink, Timoko finished third in the Elitlopp Final in 2013 as a 6-year-old.  He had 20 wins in 50 tries and $3,038,838 in career earnings prior to his Elitlopp elim, and being paired with Goop for the first time a month ago has proven profitable, as he won easily at Vincennes in that outing. Westerink also harnessed Timoko to victories in France’s Criterium Continental at Vincennes in 2011.

“I was pretty sure the horse would be good in the final,” said Goop. “I’m dreaming; it’s a wonderful dream.”

Hometown favorite Panne de Moteur and driver Örjan Kihlström, who won the first elim for Swedish trainer Stefan Hultman, tying Commander Crowe’s track record clocking of 1:50 4/5 for the mile, finished second in the final.  This 6-year-old stallion has $1,061,258 in earnings from 18 wins in 37 lifetime starts prior to his Elitlopp elim and has won 11 of 13 races at Solvalla since 2012.  In 2013 he captured the Sundsvall Open Trot at Bergsåker and began this season with three straight triumphs in his native country. 

Delicious US was third in the final.

Maven, the US contender vying for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jonas Czernyson was a strong third in the first elim, but finished off the board in the final.  Unfortunately, every time Gingras tried to rally the mare in the final, horses broke in front of him that forced him wide.  The mare saw a lot of the racetrack in the second heat. The 5-year-old daughter of Glidemaster rallied from the back of the pack of eight starters to finish with a lightening brush in that first heat.

Kimberly Rinker   Timoko and driver Bjorn Goop.

“I feel a lot better now that we got that over with,” said Gingras after the first heat. “Maven raced terrific.  I thought she might get a little hot with the crowd and everything, but she was very relaxed.  A few times she perked up, but then she settled right back.  She was super relaxed in the race and just was tremendous.”

There were almost two hours between the Elitlopp elims and the final heat, and after caretaker Caroline Mondin stripped her harness and gave her a bath, Maven took a good roll in the sand.

“That’s just her,” Gingras laughed. “And that’s a great sign of how she’s feeling this afternoon.”

America’s other contender, the 5-year-old Jimmy Takter-trained Uncle Peter, did not fare so well in the second elimination, failing to make it into the Elitlopp final.  The son of Cantab Hall, driven by David Miller, endured a tough, first-over trip and finished a disappointing seventh. According to Miller, the horse choked-down due to a recall prior to the second elimination.

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