Archangel Ready To Roll
"Whether I would have gone by or not, we’ll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too.”
Archangel’s world-record 1:50 performance in last week’s John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras.
“I kind of thought it was coming. He’s had a couple miles where he’s shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky.”
The five-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday’s $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners.
Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an eight-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history’s fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Archangel’s 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K.
The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh.
“He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn’t make a break,” Gingras said. “Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him."
Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie.
“He’s a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break,” Gingras said. “He’s a little bit grabby. You’ve got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he’ll throw in a funny step, he’s got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he’s pretty good.”
Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth’s Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot.
He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts.
“He’s a horse that didn’t race for a full year, so you know it’s going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going,” Gingras said. “He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don’t think you’ve seen the bottom of him yet.”
The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for three-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for three-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday’s national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
To view entries and program pages for Saturday's star-studded card of harness racing at The Meadowlands, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Meadowlands - Hambletonian Day Program Pages.
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.