03/31/2016 9:02AM

Meadowlands: Elitlopp Playoff to honor Mack Lobell


The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that the inaugural edition of the track’s newest stake will be titled “The Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff” celebrating the memory of that great trotter. The purse is estimated to be $150,000.

Mack Lobell achieved legendary status in a racing career that spanned six seasons. He was owned during his early career by the One More Time Stables (principally Lou Guida) while being trained and driven by Hall of Fame horsemen Chuck Sylvester and John Campbell. Mack was Horse of the Year in 1987 and 1988 and won virtually all of the classics including the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, International Trot, three Breeders Crowns and the 1988 Elitlopp for those connections. He was later sold to Swedish interests, went on to win Elitlopp again 1990 and retire with career earnings of nearly $4 million.

The race itself was born of a discussion Solvalla Racetrack Directors Markus Myron and Christer Haggstrom had with Meadowlands brass Jeff Gural and Jason Settlemoir during Hambletonian week last summer. Ideas were exchanged and through their joint efforts a trotting bridge between continents has resulted. A group of twenty or so is expected to travel from Sweden to America to attend the race while The Meadowlands will send representatives to Sweden for the Elitlopp.

International interest in the event is very high. The Meadowlands' Sam McKee is working closely with ATG in Sweden on commingling wagers into the Meadowlands pools, which seems a distinct possibility. The Meadowlands is planning to simulcast a block of seven races to Europe, headlined by the Elitlopp Playoff which will be the first race on the Mother’s Day matinee card set for Sunday, May 8 at 12:40 p.m. There have been discussions of having the Elitlopp Playoff race as part of the V75 wager.

Nominations to the inaugural race number 15 and include many of the finest trotters in North America. Among them is 2015 Dan Patch “Trotter of the Year” JL Cruze who makes his first start of the season on Friday at The Meadowlands. Also nominated are 2015 Breeders Crown winner Creatine, TVG FFA Championship winner Resolve and millionaire mares Bee A Maician and Shake It Cerry. The complete list is available on the track website.

The winner will be rewarded with an invitation to participate in the 2016 Elitlopp at the Solvalla Racecourse outside Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, May 29.

Harness racing fan Ken Burgdorf submitted the idea to name the race for Mack Lobell via a message sent to the Harness Racing Fan Zone website.

--edited release (Meadowlands)