09/16/2015 1:13PM

Mohawk: Enggren thrilled with Maple Leaf finalist Resolve

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Hans Enggren was unfamiliar with Resolve the first time he saw the trotter during the winter between the horse’s 2- and 3-year-old seasons. He knew, though, at that very moment, he wanted to buy the colt. It was more than eight months before Enggren was successful, but it has proved worth the wait.

Resolve has won four of 17 races and earned $414,446 since Enggren got the horse in July 2014. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Anikawiesahalee, Resolve has hit the board a total of 13 times during that span, including victories in this year’s Vincennes Invitational and last weekend’s Maple Leaf Trot eliminations. Only second-place finishes by a head to E L Titan in the Sebastian K Invitational and by a neck to JL Cruze in the Hambletonian Maturity have prevented Resolve from entering the C$680,000 Maple Leaf Trot final with a four-race win streak.

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“I think he’s in real good form right now,” said the 86-year-old Enggren, perhaps best known as the breeder and owner of 1985 Hambletonian winner Prakas as well as heading Meadowbranch Farms. “I’m thrilled with him. At my age to get a good horse like that again makes me feel awfully good. I kept him on my mind all the time.”

Resolve will start Saturday’s Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters from post No. 1 at Mohawk Racetrack. Trainer Ake Svanstedt also will handle the driving. Natural Herbie, who also won a Maple Leaf Trot elimination, will start from post three for trainer-driver Verlin Yoder.

The field includes 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who is attempting to become the first female trotter to win the Maple Leaf since Peaceful Way in 2006, and defending champion Intimidate.

Mohawk’s Saturday card also features the C$700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters, C$410,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters,  C$404,000 Elegantimage Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters, and C$373,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters.

Post time is 7:25 p.m. for the night’s first race.

Enggren first spotted Resolve while walking around the South Florida Training Center in November 2013. The horse, who in his rookie season equaled the track record for 2-year-old trotters at Tioga Downs with a 1:55 2/5 win in a division of the Kindergarten Classic Series, was then in the care of trainer Roman Lopez.

“I happened to go by just as he was being washed,” said Enggren, a native of Sweden who moved to the U.S. in 1952 and lives in southcentral Pennsylvania. “He caught my eye. I couldn’t take my eye off of him. He had charisma. He looked absolutely gorgeous to me in every way. I tried to buy him right then. I tried many times. It took until July last year until they finally said yes. I ran like crazy to the bank to finish the papers. I just fell in love with him.

“I know Roman, how he brings on a horse very carefully. He wants to know the horse is ready. It’s worked out very well. He’s an unbelievably nice horse; nice to be around, nice to drive evidently.”

Resolve’s best race so far this year, in Enggren’s eyes, was his triumph in the Vincennes. Starting from post 10, the horse was stuck five wide going around the first turn before settling into fifth place. He was forced to go three wide around the final turn, but kicked home in 26 3/5 to win by two lengths in a career-best 1:50 4/5.

“I was very disappointed when he had the 10 post,” Enggren said. “I figured this isn’t going to work out real well. But it worked out absolutely beautifully against a really tough field. I think that was his most fantastic race. But it also was a fantastic race when he lost to JL Cruze and they set the world record for (the distance of) a mile and an eighth.”

Resolve, who has won eight of 35 career races and earned $452,345, captured his Maple Leaf Trot elimination by 3-1/4 lengths over Intimidate in 1:52 4/5.

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“Svanstedt said he’s such a willing competitor,” Enggren said. “They say he is very peppy and seems to love life.”

Following is the field in post order for the Maple Leaf Trot with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Resolve, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt

2. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman

3. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder, Verlin Yoder

4. Flanagan Memory, Tim Tetrick, Rene Dion

5. Lindy’s Tru Grit, Scott Zeron, Julie Miller

6. JL Cruze, John Campbell, Eric Ell

7. Daylon Magician, Jack Moiseyev, Jack Moiseyev

8. Whiskey Tax, Randy Waples, Tom Durand

9. Intimidate, Sylvain Filion, Luc Blais

10. Obrigado, Mark MacDonald, Paul Kelley

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com