06/27/2012 12:54PM

Meadowlands: Arch Madness still the class of the Titan Cup field

Lisa Photo
Arch Madness looks for his second consecutive Titan Cup win on Saturday.

It seems likely that all eyes will be on world record holder Chapter Seven in the $201,700 Titan Cup final (race 6) at the Meadowlands on Friday evening. While his 1:50 4/5 mile in last week’s prep was spectacular, you may not want to overlook the class of the race, Arch Madness.

After an unsuccessful bid in 2011, the well traveled 8-year-old gelding trekked to Sweden in May for another bid at winning the prestigious Elitlopp. Unfortunately he finished second but came back to the U.S. no worse for wear.

“He took the trip pretty well,” said trainer Trond Smedshammer.

Following a similar pattern to 2011, Arch Madness was once again aimed for the Titan Cup and started in the prep for that event. While he was a well beaten third behind Chapter Seven in a stellar 1:50 4/5 world record mile, Smedshammer was hardly worried.

“I didn’t expect him to be any better, but I didn’t expect the competition to be as good as it was,” said Smedshammer on Arch Madness’s performance. “Last year he came back from Sweden and won the Prep in a similar (1):51 mile that he went on Saturday. The next week he came back to win in 1:50 2/5.”

A lifetime earner of $3,542,160, Arch Madness has a spectacular career record of 30 wins and 21 seconds in 81 starts. Despite his age he continues to perform at a high level.

“I don’t think he has lost a step,” remarked Smedshammer. “He is just as sound and healthy as ever. He doesn’t have many starts. He might be 8, but he has had time off and was never overly used.”

Arch Madness (post 4), who reunites with driver Brian Sears this week, will have to be on his best game if he is to defeat Chapter Seven (post 3). The Linda Toscano trainee powered to victory while under minimal urging in the Titan Cup Prep. The 8/5 morning line choice was only making his first start of the year last week.

Last year Chapter Seven’s season was delayed by injuries but culminated with a win in the Breeders Crown for sophomore colt trotters.

The other horse to watch is Winning Mister (post 2). The new millionaire is in the midst of a career season, with 12 wins in 16 starts and $271,176 banked.

Smedshammer, who also has 4-year-old Dejarmbro signed on from post eight, will have plenty of time to concentrate on his older stars. Although the trainer is a Hambletonian mainstay, he only has one hopeful for 2012 in Solvato, a colt he feels is a “nice horse” but hardly a star.

Despite a large crop of 2-year-olds, Smedshammer has yet to find an exciting prospect.

“I don’t have anything that knocks my socks off,” said Smedshammer, who admits with the way the breed is advancing young horses have to be exceptionally gifted to compete on the top level.

Good thing for Smedshammer he has Arch Madness.