08/20/2015 4:26PM

Vernon: Caretakers have special bonds with top trotters

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Mark Hall/USTA
Magic Tonight and caretaker Viktor Flink-Ideborn.

Caretakers Malin Boman-Friberg and Viktor Flink-Ideborn enjoy special connections with their horses, D’One and Magic Tonight. It goes beyond simply sharing winning moments.

Boman-Friberg was the caretaker of retired Swedish star Giant Diablo, who is the mother of D’One. Giant Diablo is history’s fastest female trotter thanks to her 1:50 1/5 win in the 2007 Allerage Farms Open Trot at Lexington’s Red Mile. Boman-Friberg’s return to the U.S. with D’One is her first trip back to the States since a second brief visit with Giant Diablo in 2008.

“It’s a very emotional trip for me,” said Boman-Friberg, who looks after the 5-year-old mare D’One for trainer Roger Walmann and ownership group Stall Kenny 23. “Who on earth would believe that I’m first going to go with the mom to America and race and then take her first-born daughter to come here. It’s a super privilege.”

[ VERNON DOWNS: Watch the best older trotters and pacing mares at Vernon on Friday night--Live on DRF!]

Flink-Ideborn is making his first trip to the States, with the Walmann-trained Magic Tonight. It is a return for the 6-year-old trotter, however, as Magic Tonight was born in Pennsylvania and was a multiple-stakes-winner in North America before being exported to Sweden in 2013.

In May, Magic Tonight won the prestigious Elitlopp Invitational at Solvalla Raceway.

“It means a lot to me to be here with him,” said a smiling Flink-Ideborn, who has been Magic Tonight’s caretaker since the horse arrived in Sweden two years ago. “I had to show him Sweden, now he is going to show me America.”

Magic Tonight and D’One both race Friday at Vernon Downs in New York. Magic Tonight is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line in the $200,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot while D’One is the 7-2 second choice in the $177,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot. Orjan Kihlstrom will drive both horses.

Bee A Magician is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Muscle Hill and Market Share is the 5-2 pick in the Crawford Farms. The card also includes the $194,000 Artiscape for older female pacers, where the entry of Anndrovette and Venus Delight is the 5-2 favorite.

D’One, a daughter of stallion Donato Hanover whose victories overseas include the Group 1 Swedish Trotting Oaks in 2013, has won 16 of 29 career races and earned $975,375.

She heads to the Muscle Hill off a winning North American debut on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, where she captured the Fresh Yankee by one length over Bee A Magician in 2:05 for the distance of 1-1/8 miles. The time was only three-fifths of a second off JL Cruze’s world record for the distance.

“We are super happy,” Boman-Friberg said. “It was a little unexpected. I didn’t think she would be that good directly. She was in quarantine a little more than four weeks, so it’s been a long ride, but it turned out really good.”

The Muscle Hill field includes 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry and Dan Patch Award winning divisional champion Classic Martine in addition to 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician.

“It’s a really tough race, but that is why we are doing this,” Boman-Friberg said. “We want to race good races. We are in a good race. She drew bad again (with post seven), but we’re going to give it a shot for sure.”

Another reason for D’One’s trip to North America is to take a crack at breaking her mom’s world record time of 1:50 1/5.

“It would be really awesome if she could beat her mom’s record, for sure,” Boman-Friberg said. “It’s going to be super tough, but I think (Walmann) has a goal on this journey and that is to beat her record.”

Boman-Friberg said there are few similarities between D’One and Giant Diablo.

“The only things like her mom, in my opinion, are her ears and eyes,” Boman-Friberg said. “She is very nice; Giant Diablo was very tough to take care of. She could bite, kick, she was strong. This one is friendly and loves people.”

Magic Tonight is a son of stallion Andover Hall out of the mare Miss Possessed. He has won 20 of 56 career races and earned $1.34 million. He is owned by Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable.

After his own lengthy layoff because of travel and spending time in quarantine, Magic Tonight finished 11th in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands.

“He’s fine,” Flink-Ideborn said. “He has been good since the race. He hadn’t raced for like two months and he usually needs a race. It probably looks worse than it was. He needs time to come here and get settled. Now he’s got that time. I hope he is good.”

The highlight of Flink-Ideborn’s time with Magic Tonight has been the Elitlopp victory, but he feels a bond with the trotter regardless.

“Just saying Elitlopp winner gives me goosebumps,” Flink-Ideborn said. “It’s awesome.

“He’s a really nice horse. He’s a good friend. He’s the best friend you can have." 

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